Truth and Big Lies

Truth and Big Lies

If my cal­cu­la­tions are cor­rect, the New Zea­l­and Inter­na­tion­al Com­edy Fest­iv­al should be going on as you read these very words. The com­edy fest­iv­al is, like so many events on the Wel­ling­ton cul­tur­al cal­en­dar, so routinely won­der­ful and elec­tric that it is easy to take it for gran­ted. Every year for more than two weeks this […]

The more things change

The more things change

Ever since I took over this column in early 2012, I feel like everything I have writ­ten has come with the sub­text of com­ing change. Much as we love it, Wellington’s theatre scene has been on shaky ground, mired in shift­ing sands for quite a while now. There always seemed to be a shad­ow just […]

You know, for the kids

You know, for the kids

There is a ques­tion that has been rat­tling round my head: why is it that cinephiles can so hap­pily and pub­licly admit to the ador­a­tion of children’s films — half of Pix­ar and Ghibli’s mar­ket seems to be grown-ups splat­ter­ing the world with acclaim that they’re more than just kid­die fod­der — and yet theatregoers […]

Circa 2015

Circa 2015

Circa 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 […]

Something’s Fishy in the State of Theatremark

Something’s Fishy in the State of Theatremark

Some define art by say­ing that it is everything done without mater­i­al pur­pose. Even ignor­ing the fact that this codi­fies the darkest corners of the Inter­net as art, this view is prov­ably false.             Art is not done without pur­pose; art is done for val­id­a­tion. There is noth­ing more mater­i­al, more tan­gible, than the desperate, […]

Man Alone

There is a long his­tory of solo shows in this coun­try. From the early icon­ic works of Bruce Mason — shows he would per­form him­self up and down the coun­try, like End of the Golden Weath­er — through to Indi­an Ink, a com­pany at times not defined by how uni­ver­sally people love their solo shows […]

Arts and Sciences

Arts and Sciences

One of the least pro­duct­ive things going on in the cur­rent cul­tur­al con­ver­sa­tion is the idea that the arts and the sci­ences need to be sep­ar­ate. A lot of this seems to be rooted in the belief that arts solely exist to enter­tain (or at the very least dis­tract), and the sci­ences solely exist to […]

The Biggest OE

The Biggest OE

I shouldn’t have to tell you that this year marks the centen­ni­al of the start of the First World War. The well-recor­ded and tra­gic involve­ment of many men from New Zea­l­and means that we are sure to see, over the next four years, many retell­ings and rein­ter­pret­a­tions of this ‘Great War’ across all media in […]

Learning in public

Learning in public

There are many advant­ages to writ­ing for the stage. The feed­back of a live audi­ence is dir­ect and often undeni­able. It is easi­er, at least if you’re not look­ing to be paid, to get a play per­formed than a book pub­lished or a film pro­duced. As theatre, in most cases, is a com­mun­al cre­at­ive process, […]

Comedy: The four funniest people in the city* (*that you probably haven’t heard of)

Comedy: The four funniest people in the city* (*that you probably haven’t heard of)

In Wel­ling­ton we are very good at ven­er­at­ing the comedi­ans we’ve raised and gif­ted to the world. We are quick to remind people that without Wel­ling­ton the world wouldn’t have Dai Hen­wood, Taika Wai­titi or Flight of the Conchords. They are inscribed on our cul­tur­al memory. It’s inter­est­ing then, since we dwell so much on […]