Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


InterACT Festival to take centre stage

InterACT Festival to take centre stage

New Zealand’s first arts festival showcasing the abilities of more than 150 disabled artists will take place in Auckland in the aftermath of the Rugby World Cup from 28 to 30 October.

The InterACT Festival will include more than 30 performances, workshops and forums at the Corbans Estate Arts Centre in Henderson (during the day) and Glen Eden Playhouse (night performances). It’s the brainchild of Paula Crimmens, who is also the founder and director of Auckland disability arts theatre company Interacting.

“I wanted to present a festival specifically for disabled people so they could feel at home and able to enjoy a whole range of arts activities,” she says. “I also want to open people’s eyes to what’s possible, and the contributions disabled people make to the fabric of their local communities.”

She promises the festival will be “exhilarating, full of surprises, sometimes quirky and always, always entertaining’’.

A former theatre director, Paula retrained as a drama therapist before moving to New Zealand from London in 1996 and began working at Rosehill Special School in Papakura.

After directing several shows for special schools, Paula realised there was an opportunity to help inspire people in other organisations to get involved in theatre. That’s when Interacting was born.

A year later, in 2007, Paula attended Awakenings, an annual disability arts festival in Australia, with Interacting actor and trustee Treena Armstrong. It got Paula thinking about setting up a similar festival in New Zealand.

“I thought how great it would be to have a festival in New Zealand that celebrates the disabled community and their unique talents,’’ she says.

‘’My favourite part in Awakenings was the open stage, which was held on a couple of evenings and gave people the opportunity to perform on stage in front of an appreciative audience. It reminded me of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where you can see such a range of theatre from the sublime to the ridiculous. I just loved it.’’

A festival organising committee of six have been meeting every week throughout the year. Paula says they have made a lot of connections and there has been a lot of support – from corporates to community organisations and individuals, volunteering their help and expertise.

“We also have professional choreographers, lighting designers and sound technicians – people who can make the shows as good as they can be – and we’re very grateful for their support,’’ Paula says.

As well as workshops in film, circus, drumming, belly dancing and drama, there are a number of forums on offer. For example, Arts Access Aotearoa is working with Auckland Creative Access Network (CAN) to present a forum on Sunday 30 October, featuring the activities of creative spaces using the Pecha Kucha format.

Paula is also directing two Interacting shows. The first is Journeys, starring Shannon, who has cerebral palsy and tells the story of her birth mother, who kept her pregnancy at the age of 16 a secret and decided to give up her daughter for adoption.

The second show is Ring a Ring a Rosie, the actors’ interpretation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

“There’s a varied programme with a strong visual component for Deaf and hearing-impaired people,” Paula says. “The focus is on audience development, capacity building and networking via the workshops, forums and showcase performances.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


2021: NZ To Host Women’s Rugby World Cup

New Zealand’s successful bid to host the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup will raise the profile of the game locally and provide a valuable economic boost for the game, Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson says. More>>


Max Rashbrooke Review: Mahler 7 - NZSO

Gustav Mahler’s Seventh Symphony may be one of the least well-known of its ilk, but Edo de Waart and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra made a compelling case for a reassessment. They showed us a work of immense variety, surprising contrast and delicate shades of light and dark. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Strange Overtones - David Byrne's American Utopia Tour

Scotch-born singer-songwriter David Byrne starts each show on his latest world tour stroking a pink brain as he sits alone at a table in a gray three-button Kenzo suit singing a song called Here from his latest album American Utopia. More>>

Governor-General's Speech: Armistice Day 100 Years On

The response was more muted amongst our soldiers at the Front. Many received the news quietly... There was no cheering. The chaps didn’t get excited. It was just a matter of relief. We didn’t celebrate at all. More>>


Auckland Fringe Programme: A Celebration Of The Bizarre And Beautiful

Building on a huge 2018 programme that saw 492 creatives take 81 events for ventures around the city for a total of 347 performances, Auckland Fringe returns this summer, running February 19 – March 3, 2019. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland