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The SEEyD Theatre Company presents: Turbine

The SEEyD Theatre Company presents: Turbine

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Downstage Theatre - Media Release
Released 13/01/2009


We’re the Saudi Arabia of wind!
The SEEyD Theatre Company returns with Turbine to Downstage Theatre

With the controversial issue of wind farming SEEyD “blows another gust of fresh air through Wellington theatre” (Laurie Atkinson, The Dominion Post). What happens when a company that’s doing everything it can to save the environment can’t reconcile with an already environmentally conscious family? At first the self-sufficient Gusten household in Ohanui is united in its opposition to erect seventy turbines in their ‘backyard’, but a family secret, erotic fiction, an autistic son, global warming and a most unlikely love story combine to crack their resolve.

SEEyD’s Turbine is a compelling, topical and romantic comedy, inspired by a major wind farm project near Wellington. Director Tim Spite, Winner of the 2008 Chapman Tripp Director of the Year Award for Paua, gives the controversial issue of wind parks a balanced airing: “Interviewing people on both sides of the debate uncovered a more complex issue than I had anticipated, but when I was told that the residents didn’t want to hear the relevant explanations for their various concerns, I thought that’s it!” So Turbine is not just about wind farming, it’s about human opposition to any sort of change, their unwillingness to compromise, as Spite explains: “What sort of pressure needs to be applied to a person before they listen, see the other side’s point of view, change their minds about an issue. Any issue, whether it be politics or relationships.”

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Turbine, which has been re-written and updated for its Downstage debut, premiered at BATS in 2006. It plays from 13 February till 7 March at 7 pm (no shows Sundays and Mondays), with a matinee on Saturday 21 February at 2pm. Prices for the show range from $20 to $42. Special Early Bird discounts apply. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone at (04) 801 6946 or in person at Downstage’s box office. For up-to-date information, prices and bookings visit

Starring Nick Dunbar, Emma Kinane, Lee Smith-Gibbons and Tim Spite
Directed by Tim Spite | Lighting Design: Jennifer Lal | Sound Design: Gil Eva Craig
Duration: 90 min, no interval


Biography Tim Spite (Director)

Tim Spite has starred in over seventy shows since graduating from Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School eighteen years ago. He has won 13 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards, including Best Designer, Best New Director, Most Original Production and Best Actor and most recently Director of the Year for Paua. He has co-written thirteen plays, eight of which were created by his group The SEEyD Theatre Company. Recent creations, The Remedy Syndrome and Turbine were both nominated for Best New NZ Play. Most recently he co-wrote and directed Lullaby Jock for Centrepoint Theatre, directed the Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School graduation production of Arcadia, and produced, co-wrote, directed and starred in Paua. Paua premiered in January 2008 at Downstage and was nominated as Production of the Year at the 2008 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. His TV credits include roles in The Hothouse and The Pretender. He has a major role in the television feature Until Proven Innocent to be screened in early 2009.

Background information: Project West Wind

Meridian Energy is constructing Project West Wind near Makara, south and east of Wellington. The wind farm will have sixty-two 2.3-megawatt Siemens turbines. Meridian expects that Project West Wind will be the most productive wind farm in New Zealand. The funnelling effect of Cook Strait means the site has strong and consistent wind speeds.

The wind farm site is marginal farmland, but it has a long history of human activity. In pre-European times the area was heavily populated by Maori because of its strategic position and access to plentiful seafood on the coast. There are a number of historic sites in the area, including pa, ngakia (gardens) and urupa (burial grounds). The area was mined for gold between the 1860s and the early 20th century. During the Second World War two gun emplacements and associated structures were built on the cliffs overlooking Cook Strait. The HVDC power cables (which link the North and South Islands) come ashore within the wind farm site at Oteranga Bay.

Project West Wind is expected to generate electricity over 90% of the time, and it is expected to have a capacity factor of around 47% (capacity factor is the amount of electricity actually generated relative to the amount that would have been produced if the generator had been running at its full output over the same period). The international average capacity factor of wind farms is 23%.

In upholding the resource consent for West Wind, the Environment Court decided that West Wind was appropriate in its location, given it would make use of a world class wind resource, and that the conditions placed on the project would achieve the sustainable management of Makara’s natural and physical resources.

The 2.3 megawatt turbines will stand 111 metres tall. The towers will be 67 metres high, and the blades are 40 metres long. On an annual basis, the turbines are expected to generate enough electricity to meet the needs of 70,000 average homes. The turbines will generate electricity in winds between 15 and 90 kilometres per hour. In extreme weather conditions, the turbines will automatically shut down to prevent damage.

West Wind is a challenging site to access from Wellington, as local roads are narrow and winding. Turbine components from overseas will arrive at Picton, at the top of the South Island, be unloaded and then delivered across the Cook Strait to the wind farm site by barge. Turbine components will be offloaded at a temporary wharf in Oteranga Bay. Fourty-two kilometres of road will link the wharf and the turbine platforms. In most places the roads will be seven metres wide. Meridian expects to begin generating electricity in early 2009. The turbines will be installed and commissioned in groups, allowing the site to generate increasing amounts of electricity as work continues. Construction will be complete by the end of 2009.

The turbines will be linked to an on-site substation with underground cabling. From the substation, the wind farm will be connected with a short overhead line to the Wilton-Central Park double circuit transmission line.

Source (12.01.2009):

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