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Major Awards End Fairytale Year For Red Leap

Media Release – Embargoed until 7pm, Monday 13 December, 2011

Major Awards Fairytale Ending to Breakthrough Year for ‘Magical’ Red Leap Theatre

Creator of international Festival hit The Arrival, Red Leap Theatre, is ending 2010 on a high, with a new Auckland Arts Festival work in the wings; major recognition from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand, and six wins at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards.

The Arts Foundation of New Zealand today announced Red Leap co-director, Kate Parker, as one of five 2010 recipients of its prestigious $25,000 New Generation Awards.

On Sunday 5 December, Red Leap’s magical production The Arrival swept the Chapman Tripp Wellington Theatre Awards, winning six awards, including Production of the Year. Julie Nolan, the co-director of Red Leap, was named Director of the Year.

The recognition caps two years of tremendous success for Red Leap Theatre, which was formed in 2008, by longtime collaborators Kate Parker and Julie Nolan, and producer Lauren Hughes. Their first work, The Arrival was developed and commissioned by Auckland Arts Festival. The Arrival premiered at Auckland’s Civic Theatre in March 2009 to both public and critical acclaim, and box office success, and went on to win plaudits at Sydney Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival and the NZ International Arts Festival.

Red Leap’s new work, Paper Sky – A Love Story, the tale of Henry, a loner, and the mysterious Lumina, will premiere at the Mercury Theatre and the Glen Eden Playhouse, in March 2011, as part of Auckland Arts Festival. Further international tours of The Arrival are planned for 2011.

Red Leap founders and company co-directors, Kate Parker and Julie Nolan, say the awards are a great boost to the company, and a tribute they share with their supporters and creative collaborators.

“You can't win awards like this without the support of an incredible team,” says Kate Parker.

“Many, many people have given their time and energy to create our work with us and these awards are an opportunity to celebrate and thank them. Without this energy we would have ideas without form, and talk with no action.

“These awards have given me the impetus to continue with the business of being an artist, which at times can be such a challenge financially.”

Julie Nolan paid tribute to Australian author Shaun Tan, whose book The Arrival was the basis for Red Leap’s award-winning theatre production.

“When I remember making The Arrival, I think of many, many brave and generous people, right back to the people whose stories were gathered for Shaun Tan to create the book that inspired us so deeply, and his generosity in allowing us to tell the story in our way,” she says.

“Also the people who shared their incredible stories of migration and displacement with us, the extraordinary cast, the designers, production crew, the festival team, interns, volunteers, our families - this work was made with layers and layers of support and dedication.

“Receiving these awards are a tribute to the collective energy that goes into a work of this scale and our commitment as a company to exploration and innovation in the creative process.“

Auckland Arts Festival Chair, Victoria Carter, and Chief Executive, David Inns, congratulated Kate, Julie and the company on behalf of the Festival team.

“The Festival is thrilled to see this well-deserved success for one of our most exciting arts companies,” says Victoria Carter. “We have been proud to work with Kate and Julie over the past few years.”
“This is a great example of the role a Festival fulfills: nurturing and developing a show, then helping the company produce and promote a work, growing an audience and then helping it tour.
“More than 11,000 people in New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong have now seen this wonderful Kiwi work.”
Auckland Arts Festival Artistic Director, David Malacari, said he considered Red Leap Theatre to be one of the country’s brightest creative companies.
“Supporting the work of our many fine artists is one of the primary functions of Auckland Arts Festival,” he says.

“The success of Kate Parker and Julie Nolan with The Arrival is a testament to their creativity and artistry and I am really proud of our role in that success. The Arrival is only one step on their path as artists and I eagerly anticipate their future projects – including the new work they will be presenting in Auckland Arts Festival 2011, Paper Sky.

“Great artists will keep creating and I congratulate Kate Parker on this award knowing that she has so much more to say and to give to audiences, and I eagerly look forward to the stories that she will tell.”

The New Generation Awards are funded by Freemasons New Zealand and are available to artists in the early stages of careers with significant achievements and an exciting future ahead. In 2010, five Awards of $25,000 each were presented to recipients were selected by curator Lynn Freeman, from National Radio’s Arts on Sunday. Detailed information on all recipients is available at

The 2010 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards celebrated professional theatre in Wellington, with an awards ceremony on Sunday 5 December. A panel of Wellington theatre critics selected nominees in 19 categories from 100 eligible shows. The Arrival won six awards: Production of the Year, Most Original Production, Director of the Year (Julie Nolan), Costume Designer of the Year (Elizabeth Whiting), Set Designer of the Year, (John Verryt), and Most Promising Female Newcomer of the Year (Ella Becroft).


Praise for The Arrival:
[The Arrival] is a highlight of the Festival... a visual feast... a mesmerizing, enthralling production rapturously received that speaks both of the past yet to the present. Don't miss it.
Lynne Lancaster, Arts Hub AU (Sydney Festival season)

“This adaption is a storybook come to life, but it's also much more than that.
Joyful but far from frivolous, it offers a sympathetic understanding of the immigrant's lot,
using the type of warm, inventive, real-object performance that only theatre can offer.
The Arrival is world class; one of the best examples of its kind you'll ever see.”
Janet McAllister, NZ Herald Review (Auckland Arts Festival season)

“The Arrival is a stand-out physical theatre production of exquisite visual artistry and astonishing ensemble work performed to a visceral sound score. It has – and will – grace festival stages around the world and is not to be missed … there is nothing the imaginations of this creative team is not equal to …
Red Leap Theatre is now a major force in New Zealand theatre and deserves support at every level.
The Arrival is accessible to all ages and stages across the full spectrum of society.”
John Smythe, Theatreview (NZ International Festival season)

About Red Leap Theatre

Under the leadership of Kate Parker and Julie Nolan (Artistic Co-directors) and Lauren Hughes (Producer), Red Leap Theatre is New Zealand’s leading image and movement based theatre company.

The Company was established in 2008 to produce the Auckland Festival commission The Arrival and all future collaborations between Kate Parker and Julie Nolan. Red LeapTheatre also represents previous collaborations by Kate and Julie including: Moahunting (2001), The Butcher’s Daughter (2003), and Beyond The Blue, (2008).

Red Leap Theatre is a Charitable Trust, which in addition to producing high quality productions develops practitioners, audiences and the art form for physical devised theatre in New Zealand through a variety of education and community based initiatives.

Kate Parker & Julie Nolan - Co creators
Kate Parker and Julie Nolan met in 1995 while studying at the John Bolton Theatre School, Melbourne. They returned to New Zealand shortly after, and quickly established themselves as entrepreneurial theatre artists creating, performing, producing and teaching their craft.

In addition to their work together Kate and Julie have made many independent contributions to the theatre sector. Julie was the producer for Massive Company for several years during which time she toured their production Sons Of Charlie Paora to Manchester and the Royal Court. Kate is well known for creating the role of Duck in Indian Ink’s production The Candlestickmaker, a role she has toured extensively with Indian Ink Theatre Company. Julie directed the Children’s Section in last year’s World of Wearable Arts and Kate has been the Creative Director of Waitakere’s Trash to Fashion Awards since 2006.

Both Kate and Julie have taught extensively for organizations such as Unitec School of Performing and Screen Arts, University of Auckland, Auckland Theatre Company, Massive Company, Performing Arts School of NZ, Mixit - Refugee Arts Group and several Auckland Secondary Schools.

Lauren Hughes - Producer
Lauren began her career teaching dance and working in a variety of venue management roles. From 1999 to 2006 she worked at THE EDGE, concluding her time there as Creative Programmes Manager where she founded the STAMP Creative Development Programme, managed THE EDGE festival and major presenter relationships and produced their international programme.

Lauren has been a long time fan of work by Kate Parker and Julie Nolan. She was associated with the presentation of The Butcher’s Daughter and Beyond the Blue through her work at THE EDGE but formally joined Red Leap to produce The Arrival in 2007. Lauren is committed to a long term future with Red Leap and continues to participate in the wider New Zealand arts sector as the Administrator for the Performing Arts Network of New Zealand.

About Auckland Arts Festival:

Auckland Arts Festival is the region’s biggest celebration of arts and culture. The biennial Festival, which began in 2003, will celebrate its fifth birthday in 2011 with a dazzling line-up of more than 75 separate events involving over 500 artists – concerts, productions, arts exhibitions, seminars, workshops and family activities. Tickets to the 2011 Festival (2-20 March) are now on sale.

The Festival’s hallmark blend of serious, innovative work and broad appeal events, plus an accessible ticketing policy, ensure that it is a celebration for the whole region. Major Festival events take place all across the city – in West Auckland, The North Shore, and South Auckland and in the central city – as well as site-specific sculptural works that respond to our unique geography.

Since its inception, Auckland Arts Festival has built a reputation for presenting top quality work from around the world, including a spectacular fireworks display by pyrotechnic artists Groupe F, theatrical masterworks by Japanese company Ishinha, and the legendary Robert Lepage’s company Ex Machina, and sell-out cabaret sensation La Clique. The Festival prides itself on developing and presenting the very best in New Zealand work, including the magical 2009 theatre piece, The Arrival, which has become an international success story, The Songmaker’s Chair, by Albert Wendt, and the Michael Parmenter retrospective, Commotion.

Auckland Arts Festival is governed by the Auckland Festival Trust, a board chaired by Victoria Carter. Trustees are Rick Carlyon, Roger MacDonnell, Toni Millar, Jim Moser, Ilona Rodgers, Heather Shotter, Fred Ward, and Richard Waddel. The Festival’s 2011 executive team is Artistic Director David Malacari and CEO David Inns.

Sponsorship is crucial to presenting an event of this size. Major Sponsors and Funders for 2011 include Core Funder: Auckland Council; Gold Sponsors: New Zealand Post Group, TV3 and Colenso BBDO; Key Funding Partners: Creative New Zealand, ASB Community Trust, The Lion Foundation, Pub Charity, THE EDGE and Heart of the City; Silver Sponsors: Westpac, Auckland Airport, The Radio Network and Stoneleigh; Bronze Sponsors: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Formica, Wilson Parking, Russell McVeagh and OGGI.

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