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Leading British Figures Join the Pacific


FEBRUARY 22 2007

Leading British Figures Join the Pacific

This year’s Pasifika Playwrights programme, developing and showcasing Pacific Island theatre in Auckland, features the visit of two influential British figures, Associate Director of London’s Royal Court Theatre Ola Animashawun and acclaimed playwright Tanika Gupta.

Animashawun and Gupta have been working from the UK with four new Pacific Island playwrights, selected to be developed as part of Playmarket and Auckland City Council’s annual Pasifika Playwrights Development Forum. The playwrights are Jay Junior Williams, Victoria Schimdt, Louise Tu’u and Jason Greenwood, and the festival will involve dozens of Pacific Island theatre practitioners. Times and details are provided below.

Brought to New Zealand by Newwayintheatre with support from Creative New Zealand, British Council and Asia Foundation New Zealand, Animashawun and Gupta will contribute to a series of free public readings, presentations and discussions from March 3 to 7 at THE EDGE as part of the Celebrate Pasifika festival.

Since its establishment in 2005, Pasifika Playwrights has become a vital crucible for the development of Pacific Island theatre and its community. Thursday afternoon March 6 sees an annual forum featuring examples of work in development, presentations by leading figures like Victor Rodger (My Name is Gary Cooper) and Dianna Fuemana (Mapaki) , and panel discussions including “Who told you you couldn’t write about that?” and “The future of Pacific Island Theatre in Auckland”.

On Tuesday evening March 4 there will be a playreading of Tanika Gupta’s critically acclaimed Fragile Land, a play about what nationhood means to second-generation immigrants. On Friday evening March 7 are presentations of plays by Victoria Schimdt and Jay Junior Williams, workshopped during the week with Gupta and Animashawun, and leading Pacific figures like Justine Simei Barton, Vela Manusuate and Nathaniel Lees.

Ola Animashawun is a leading UK figure in the development of playwrights. He has been the Head of the Royal Court Young Writers Programme (youth, community, and education department) since 1998, working as a producer, director and youth drama worker for one of the world’s leading new writing theatres.

Tanika Gupta’s work has been staged by some of the UK’s leading theatres, including the Royal Court, National, Hampstead and Young Vic. She is a bilingual British Bengali and a winner of the Asian Women Achievement Award for arts and culture.


NO NAMES by Junior Williams (Cook Island/Niue)

During one diabolical weekend, the lives of the Takalo family collide through a series of secret liaisons, young betrayals, and shattered histories.

Friday 7th March, Limelight, Aotea Centre, 5pm.

O LE OLAGA (This is Life) by Victoria Schimdt (Samoa/German)

The story of a young Samoan man Pati and his four friends. Pati has big dreams but very few people understand his passion for music, or they choose to ignore.

Friday 7th March, Limelight, Aotea Centre, 7pm.

Pasifika Playwrights Public Forum

Thursday 6th March, Limelight, Aotea Centre, 3.30pm – 5.30pm.

Pasifika Playwrights International Series 08 Play Reading.

Fragile Land by Tanika Gupta

Tuesday 4th March, Limelight, Aotea Centre, 7pm

Newwayintheatre is a leading Pacific Island Producer whose past productions include My Mother Dreaming, Mapaki and The Packer. Playmarket is New Zealand’s leading playwright development organisation and playwrights’ agency, and receives core funding from Creative New Zealand.


Pasifika Playwrights International Series 08 is presented by ‘newwayintheatre’ in partnership with Auckland City, Creative New Zealand, Playmarket, the British Council and Asia Foundation New Zealand.


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