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Seed-circa_1Circa Theatre has had an odd hand­ful of years. The whole envir­on­ment around the arts has shif­ted, and audi­ences with it. Circa’s greatest skill has always been know­ing its audi­ence and what they want, so these shift­ing soils did not dis­turb it, but simply threw it into an invig­or­at­ing era of experimentation.

The theatre allowed young­er com­pan­ies into Circa Two, giv­ing out­fits like Trick of the Light (The Road That Wasn’t There) and Show Pony (Thomas Monckton’s The Pian­ist) the chance to prove that their elec­tric, eclect­ic works can stand strong beside the latest and greatest well-made plays from across the seas.

Circa also pushed the boat out in the work they pro­grammed for them­selves, and while this led, as all exper­i­ments do, to both suc­cesses and fail­ures, it has pro­voked an evol­u­tion in the work they offer. Nowhere is that more clear than in their pro­gramme for this year.

While some of the old favour­ites recur — Roger Hall’s Robin Hood: The Pan­to­mime will see in next Christ­mas and Robert Lord’s The Trav­el­ling Squir­rel arrives in Septem­ber — the pro­gramme, which is avail­able in full at or in a phys­ic­al form basic­ally any­where you’d find a fly­er, is full of excit­ing, new and most won­der­fully loc­al work.

The year starts — it’s on right now actu­ally — with Elisa­beth Easther’s Adam Award-win­ning Seed, a warm hug of a play about sev­er­al women’s struggles to con­ceive (or, in some cases, the struggle to con­ceive of con­ceiv­ing). I know it’s 2015 and we shouldn’t have to be happy with major­ity female-led work (both on stage and behind the scenes) gra­cing one of our big­ger stages, but a quick glance through oth­er theatres’ pro­grammes shows us this, unfor­tu­nately, is an occa­sion for celebration.

The young com­pan­ies are back, too, with Trick of the Light not only filling the Septem­ber school hol­i­days in Circa Two with their beau­ti­ful Book­bind­er, but also tak­ing to the main stage in March with Beards! Beards! Beards! They’re keep­ing the sub­ject mat­ter of that show pretty close to their chests but say there is a clue or three in the title. I’m still stumped.

Also gradu­at­ing to Circa One is The Pian­ist, the most fun I had last year in a theatre; and Wake Up Tomor­row, a work from won­der­fully named loc­al com­pany Every­body Cool Lives Here, made with dis­abled youth from across the community.

Circa opened them­selves up to the new, and you need only glance through this pro­gramme to see that we, the theatre-going pub­lic of Wel­ling­ton, are the ones reap­ing the bene­fits. With a new–old BATS and this bold state­ment of a pro­gramme from Circa, it looks like 2015 is going to be a good time to be a fan of the stage in this city.