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International Accolades for NZ Children’s Theatre

19 October 2005

International Accolades for New Zealand Children’s Theatre

New Zealand’s national theatre for children has been invited to make its international debut by two of the most prestigious arts centres in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Sydney Opera House and The Arts Centre in Melbourne have both purchased Capital E National Theatre for Children’s production Hinepau for seasons in 2006 - 3-6 October The Arts Centre, 10-21 October Sydney Opera House.

“Sydney Opera House is thrilled to present New Zealand’s Capital E National Theatre for Children in 2006,” says Sydney Opera House Producer Noel Jordan. “Hinepau is a stunning production that truly celebrates Maori culture in a format which is accessible, engaging and importantly, fun.”

Based on the award-winning story by New Zealand writer Gavin Bishop, Hinepau is adapted and directed by award-winning actor/director Rachel House and premiered to rave reviews at the Capital E National Arts Festival in March 2005.

The Dominion Post 2005 “ …in the future theatre companies for adults will have to match the standards of presentation set in …the production. (Hinepau). The attention to detail in every department …with not a second of condescension or talking down to the audience – is truly exhilarating and heartening …the best use of audio visual technique I have seen in theatre.”

With street-wise humour and dynamic design it tells the tale of a young girl banished from her village for being different, exploring themes of peer pressure and Maori culture. Its cast of cool teenage characters combined with audio visuals, digital soundscapes and hand-crafted props and puppets make it appealing to families and children aged 7-14 years.

Mr Jordan said it was refreshing to discover a work that celebrated the importance of place traditions and customs, especially in a time where global culture had become “increasingly homogenised and entertainment for children was tempered with a Disney-fied aesthetic”.

Capital E National Theatre for Children General Manager Stephen Blackburn said it affirmed the investment The Company had made in developing a unique New Zealand repertoire for children’s stage shows…”but to achieve this when the company has only been going since 1997, is frankly remarkable.

“More recently we have been focused on overseas networks and late last year hosted international producers and presenters, resulting in our Australian debut. We are also consulting with the international community of producers and presenters who are keen to hold their annual symposium through Capital E in Wellington, New Zealand in 2007.”

Capital E National Theatre for Children is one of New Zealand’s leading professional touring theatre companies, focused on creating and presenting new works for children nationwide. It is part of Wellington’s Capital E creative technology and live performance facility for children managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding support from the Wellington City Council.

The Company is funded recurrently by Creative New Zealand with $262,000 in the current year and an additional $16,000 grant for the Hinepau Australian tour.

Director/adaptation - Rachel House (Chapman Tripp Director of the Year 2001)
Design – Glenn Ashworth
Sound Design - Stephen Gallagher (Chapman Tripp Sound Designer of the Year 2004)
Lighting Design - Jennnifer Lal (Chapman Tripp Lighting Designer of the Year 2004, 2001, 1999).

Gavin Bishop is acknowledged internationally for his many books and illustrations. Hinepau is the second book he has written based on his Maori ancestry. Hinepau carries the name of his mother, an old family name which goes back hundreds of years.


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