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Blazing energy and virtuosity warms Downstage

Blazing energy and virtuosity warms Downstage in winter

Downstage Theatre is proud to present the Wellington premiere season of acclaimed percussion group Strike’s brand new stage show Elemental. At its world premiere at the Erupt Festival in Taupo in May audiences responded with standing ovations as one half of a Bedford truck, fire guns and a waterfall, mixed with high-energy drum beats filled the stage. Company Manager Jamie Bull says Strike are absolutely delighted to return to Downstage following their very successful debut season of Cubed in 2002 at the theatre.

“Elemental has been specifically designed for intimate theatres, and Downstage is the perfect venue for this show,” Bull says. Elemental, Strike’s follow-up to their award-winning stage show In The Cube (Winner Wellington Fringe Best Music Award 2007), features four of the country’s top percussionists harnessing the sonic power of the elements; fire, water, earth and the airwaves. The hour and a half non-stop show takes the audience on a breathtaking rhythmical journey and includes all new compositions, including two from top New Zealand composer Gareth Farr.

The percussionists Tom Pierard, Leni Sulusi, Murray Hickman and Tim Whitta have been working out at the gym daily to cope with the physical demands of the performance, which includes backflipping while drumming. “It is stunning. They’ve really pushed the boundaries this time; creating new instruments, new sounds and dramatic new mobile sets. They’ve moved percussion into new places. This is going to be an exciting ride for the audience,” says Strike Manager Jamie Bull.

“This show captures things that Strike has not yet explored in music and theatrics, combining many different musical styles, technology, lights and sound. This show is going to be the best yet,” says Tim Whitta. Leni Sulusi agrees: “The show leaves no room for audiences to be bored.”

Founded in 1993 as a classically trained percussion ensemble, Strike has evolved into a high-energy drumming group combining movement and theatre-based performance. Featuring New Zealand’s most outstanding percussionists, the group’s skilful creativity, choreography and humour has wowed, entertained, moved, surprised and impressed audiences around the world, including China, Japan and Hong Kong.

Elemental plays at Downstage from Thursday 3 July till Saturday 26 July, Monday to Wednesday at 6.30 pm and Thursday to Saturday at 7.30 pm. There will be two $20 previews (Thursday 3 July and Friday 4 July) and an afternoon matinee at 3 pm on Saturday 19 July. Tickets can be purchased online at, at Downstage’s box office or by phone at (04) 801 6946.

For more information on the show and the venue please visit Downstage’s website at or the theatre blog at or Strike’s website at


"A compelling experience… if you missed it, you missed something truly special."
The Capital Times

"The intensity, speed, technical brilliance, musicianship and sheer stamina to sustain such a performance was nothing short of miraculous."
The Evening Standard

"Uncompromising brilliance, building up tension to new heights”
The Press

For further information on Elemental and interview requests please contact:

Markus Stitz, Marketing Manager Downstage Theatre
Phone: (04) 802 6392

This press release and additional media material on the show are available to download at

Strike Elemental - The works

Territory (Murray Hickman and Tim Whitta 2003)
Streams (Tim Whitta 2008)
Lunar Cycles (Tim Whitta 2008)
Pukul (Gareth Farr 2003) Commissioned by Strike and first performed in their show Farr Blitz
Tubes (Gareth Farr 2008) Commissioned by Strike with funding from Creative New Zealand
Underfoot (Tom Pierard 2008)
Earthworks (Tim Whitta 2008)
Relentless (Murray Hickman 2008)
Water Sketches (Murray Hickman 2008)
Igniter (Strike 2008)
Blast (Takumi Motokawa 2008)
Drumflip (Leni Sulusi 2008)
Ukare Funk (Gareth Farr 2008)
Hydrophonic (Murray Hickman and Strike 2008)
Lava (Takumi Motokawa 2008)

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