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Brecht or bust in The Collective

Te Auaha is proud to present its upcoming season of The Collective (Tāpere Nui, 14-22 June), Wellington playwright Jean Betts’ award-winning theatrical adaptation of John Fuegi’s shattering 1994 exposé, Brecht & Co. Told with Betts’ trademark humour, empathy and biting political wit, The Collective gives names and voices to the many uncredited women who collectively created some of the 20th Century’s most revered theatrical works.

“I chose this work for Te Auaha’s students for several reasons” explains director Paula van Beek. “The Collective is a fantastic work for actors because it’s a play about the process of creating theatre; who does the work, how the threads do (or don’t) come together into a singular vision, and who gets the credit or blame for that. I also couldn’t ignore that we’re in the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp. There’s currently much more readiness in the media and the general public to absorb the stories women have been trying to tell for generations, so it’s awesome to take that opportunity and present The Collective here and now. And as a feminist theatre practitioner in New Zealand, of course I love the fact that this brilliant, wry, dynamic script came to be because Jean Betts, a feminist and a Wellingtonian, decided to tackle the subject.”

The Collective is also absolutely hilarious,” Paula adds. “You can know nothing about Brecht, nothing about feminism, nothing at all about 1930s Germany and still get all the jokes. It’s a riotously funny romp.”

As current political movements create more space than ever for female voices to rise in protest and solidarity here and around the world, The Collective’s examination of gendered dominance and exploitation is acutely relevant, while also clearly showing that the struggle for gender equality is by no means limited by time or place. Don’t miss this rowdy, rambunctious, poignant production penned by one of Aotearoa’s most celebrated playwrights.

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