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HERE & NOW Festival shows announced


Since 2009, Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) has produced an annual youth theatre festival, providing an invaluable training ground for aspiring young actors, writers, directors, designers and crew to work alongside seasoned professionals and established artists. This year’s line-up of three exciting new works will be presented at the ASB Waterfront Theatre from 26 to 30 April.

Auckland Theatre Company Associate Director and HERE & NOW Festival Director Lynne Cardy says, “Over the past ten years ATC’s youth festival in its various forms has introduced 27 new works to Auckland audiences, from homegrown and international plays, through to immersive experiences and the award-winning BOYS (2017). This year, we are thrilled to be shining the spotlight on three communities that all have something important to say.”

The HERE & NOW season runs over five days, and consists of two new commissions from local writers and a site-responsive work led by Wellington-based experimental artists Binge Culture.

The first work, The Gangster’s Paradise, is a comic redemption story with roots in South Auckland. Award-winning playwright and theatre-maker Leki Jackson-Bourke (Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, Tick Tick Boom, Inky Pinky Ponky) took inspiration from his high school days as a bad-boy rapper and reluctant Year 13 growing up on Auckland’s ‘South Side’.

Directed by prolific actor and director Fasitua Amosa (Rendered, Still Life WIth Chickens, The Haka Party Incident), and designed by Rachael Walker (The Daylight Atheist/Joan, Under the Mountain, Nell Gwynn), The Gangster’s Paradise features 16 vibrant young actors aged 15 - 25. Official show warning: there will be singing, rapping and krumping!

The second play is 8 Reasonable Demands by Joni Nelson, in her first commission for ATC. In this hilarious and surprising black comedy the LGBTQI community takes centre stage as six characters grapple with their identities - and each other.

Joni, a graduate of ATC’s Young Writer’s Table programme, has set the play in the aftermath of Auckland's annual Big Gay Out. Uniquely, the gender identity of each young actor cast matches the identity of the character they play. This is a funny and surprising play which touches on some serious topics in a thoughtful and authentic way, with an absolutely outrageous twist.

The third work in the festival Watch Party, a special commission from dynamic performance company Binge Culture, unashamedly celebrates the online community. Devised by the cast and directed by Binge Culture, the audience of Watch Party are invited to use their mobiles and participate in an online adventure, activating the public spaces of the ASB Waterfront Theatre.

Binge Culture shows are renowned for being playful, satirical and intellectually rigorous.

The HERE & NOW festival will involve over 200 young people aged between 15 to 25, and includes a special schools-only event on Tuesday 30 April featuring a school matinee performance and a careers day with stalls, forums and workshops presented by drama and performing arts training institutions from around the country, as well as access to actor’s agents and recent graduates.


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