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It’s a blustery Tuesday night on Courtenay Place as my boyfriend and I walk hand in hand towards BATS Theatre. Actually it’s more like I’m dragging him along with me. He’s reluctantly agreed to watch a stand-up comedy show with me, and I am hoping to convert him into a theatre fanatic. As we enter BATS I am warmed with the familiarity of this space that I know and love, but my attention shifts to my partner’s apprehensive gaze and I realise how intimidating it can feel in here. By the time we reach the bar, I have already pointed out three theatre lecturers, two tutors, and a woman I saw in a show on Saturday night. He is bewildered by this society of people that he never knew existed and feeling both nervous and excited to experience theatre for the first time.
Once inside the Dome I flick through the promotional material for Pressure Makes Diamonds: Laura Daniels and we sit right near the front. As the lights dim, he whispers to me that he hopes he won’t be picked for audience interaction and I assure him that he’ll be fine. This turned out to be an incredible lie. Murphy’s law insists that Laura’s first gag is to demand to know exactly who he is. He tentatively replies with “Mitchell” and she proceeds to drag him on to stage and force him to tell a “dick joke.” The awkwardness of the situation is palpable and I resist the urge to run on to stage and answer for him. But he was completely okay, of course. Perhaps even thrilled with the rush of being on stage. The first time is always strange and awkward, but just like sex it gets better every time you try it.
It’s difficult to believe that in ancient Greek times, the amphitheatre was a hive of social activity not dissimilar to celebrated rugby games here in New Zealand. Every kind of person could be found at the theatre, not just practitioners and experts, (except I think that women weren’t allowed to go!) and this is all apart of what made it such a fun and inclusive environment. After the show Mitchell is talking about the performance, what he liked/disliked and how he would have reacted differently if he was called up on stage again. Laura’s self-deprecating humour was endearing. She wasn’t afraid to make fun of her flaws such as her inability to pronounce the Welsh place name “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” and her drunken attempt to memorise this word on a long-haul flight was hilarious. Being involved with theatre needn’t be as difficult as pronouncing this word, it should be a conversation that everybody can speak to and not this inaccessible “high-art” that it often times becomes.
Moral of the story: take people to the theatre and make theatre that is inclusive of everybody.
MY SHOUT: Another Round at the Thistle Inn
InSite invites you to celebrate 176 years of community and change at Wellington’s oldest pub, the Thistle Inn.
MY SHOUT is a site-specific production, where performance, song, and interaction are generated from the history and atmosphere of the Thistle Inn. Director Kerryn Palmer describes site-specific performance as a way of allowing the past to resonate with the present. “Through using a site we awaken memories that have stepped into the walls of a site over the years. We also add to those memories by creating our own.”
Through ensemble, improvisation and song, InSite presents a dynamic piece of theatre that captures the essence of Wellington’s first pub.
Journey with us through the different rooms of the Thistle Inn, for an immersive exploration of Wellington’s social history. Meet iconic characters such as Katherine Mansfield and Te Rauparaha, and drink in the singing, laughter, and entertainment as we pay tribute to this unique site.
What: MY SHOUT: Another Round at the Thistle Inn
When: May 29–31, 2.00pm and 7.00pm on Sunday, 7.00pm on Monday and Tuesday.
Where: The Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave St., Thorndon, Wellington.
Tickets: $18.00 (*one drink of choice included*).
To book: email firstname.lastname@example.org.