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Award winning work inspired by Rodney Bell heads on tour

Performer and creator Rodney Bell
Director Malia Johnston

After a hugely successful tour in 2018 that included 32 performances in theatres, prisons and Marae, Rodney Bell returns with his award-winning performance work Meremere, heading to even more centres this July and August.

Meremere is a powerful and engaging autobiographical work in response to Bell’s extraordinary life, and the series of events that have been incredibly unique for one individual to experience in a lifetime. This multimedia performance piece has been developed in collaboration with director Malia Johnston’s performance design company Movement of the Human (MOTH). Meremere includes AV by award winning designer Rowan Pierce, and live music from the highly talented Eden Mulholland bringing this insightful, surprising and very personal story to life.

In 2018, Bell performed across the North Island, as well as in Singapore and the Gold Coast. Meremere also took out Actor of the Year, Director of the Year, Sound Design of the Year, and Excellence Award for AV Design at the 2018 Wellington Theatre Awards. The production has also seen Bell win the 2017 Arts Access Artistic Achievement Award, and the 2016 Attitude Artistic Achievement Award in what has been an extraordinary career.

A critically acclaimed dancer and performer, Bell is internationally renowned for his physically integrated performance and has been dancing professionally since 1994 when he began as a founding member of Touch Compass Dance Trust. Bell relocated to California in 2007 to join AXIS Dance Company as principal dancer, touring to 32 states until 2012. Bell faced many challenges after finishing with AXIS before his return to New Zealand, including a period of homelessness on the streets of San Francisco; a life changing experience that inspired the creation of Meremere.

Bell and Malia Johnston danced together between 1999-2003 and Rodney has worked closely with Johnston since his return to Aotearoa. Johnston has a 20-year background in choreography and performance direction, she has collaborated with an incredibly diverse range of performers and arts organisations, creating new work for both the national and international stage. Johnston is notable for her many years of working on the World of Wearable Art Awards show.

“Meremere is a small but beautifully formed production that takes us on a journey of undiminished hope and wonder” – Theatreview

“His dancing is moving and absorbing, sculptural and full of emotion…” – NZ Herald

“This autobiographical, multi-disciplinary and life-affirming survival story drew the cheering opening night audience to its feet.” – Dominion Post


Fri 26 July, 8PM & Sat 27 July, 4PM & 8PM
Māoriland Hub, Ōtaki

Tue 30 July 11.30AM & 7.30PM
Theatre Royal Nelson, Nelson

Wed 31 July 7.30PM – Panel Talk “What A Fool Honesty Is” as part of the Word Festival
The Piano, Christchurch

Thu 1 – Sat 3 August, 7PM, & Fri 2 Aug, 1PM – as part of the Christchurch Arts Festival
The Piano, Christchurch

Tue 6 August, 7PM
Hokitika Regent Theatre, Hokitika

Thu 8 August, 7PM
Oamaru Opera House, Oamaru

More performances to be announced.

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