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Students Collaborate and Create Instructions For Life

Students Collaborate and Create Instructions For Life

Strange interludes, tremendous honesty, occasional disturbing moments and general silliness are all woven into Carving in Ice Theatre’s latest production, Instructions for Life.

Opening on May 16 at the Playhouse, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, the play is a devised theatre piece, collectively collaborated by a group of 13, including seven Waikato University students and four former students.

“We started with absolutely no script,” says director Gaye Poole, who teaches Theatre Studies at Waikato University.

“We began playing an exercise about games instructions, giving each other game instructions, pillowslips over heads, conversations about the anatomical advantages of being a boy at parties, and a group of 12 eager devising collaborators willing to make a piece of theatre together.”

The piece evolved organically and incrementally from there as a result of the homework given to the group each week; 'bring something that makes an interesting sound', 'write an apology letter to someone', 'choose a pair of old shoes from this large bag'.

Sometimes devised shows are produced by groups (here in New Zealand and more prolifically internationally) who specialise in collective collaboration as their primary means of theatre-making.

Carving in Ice typically has not worked that way in the past but several of the group had a particular desire to work again on a collective collaboration after working together on Flights of Absurdia last year.

Hillary scholar, theatre studies student and the play’s producer, Brendan Theodore says he has been very aware of the performers’ willingness to do some quite strange things when asked including drawing on their personal lives.

The play is a snapshot montage of twenty-first century life.

“Being alive is a complex business and if there isn’t any definitive instruction manual, where and how are we getting information on what we should be doing?” says Poole.

“It is a reaffirmation of what it is to be human and a reminder that there are glimpses of the extraordinary to be found within the most mundane pastimes.”

The play runs on May 16, 17 and 18 at 7.30pm at the Playhouse, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts in Hamilton before moving out to the Gaslight Theatre in Cambridge for shows on June 6, 7 and 8 at 7.30pm and June 9, 2pm.

Tickets: Concession/Student $15 | Adult $20
Bookings: | 0800 TICKETEK
Ticketek booking fees may apply

For more info, please visit:

Rehearsing life: The cast of Instructions for Life listening to instructions.


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