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New Silo Commission Platforms Our Stars To Herald Matariki

Silo Theatre platforms leading Aotearoa talent to celebrate Matariki with the World Premiere of a new participatory audio play, MAURI TAU. This immersive sound event is written and directed by Scotty Cotter (Tainui), complemented with original sound design and composition from Fran Kora (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Pūkeko) and Matt Eller (Evoke Audio) featuring voice performances from some of Aotearoa’s most celebrated performers including Nicola Kāwana (Ngāruahine), Rachel House (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mutunga), Tanea Heke (Ngāpuhi) and Te Kohe Tuhaka (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tūhoe). Streaming via silotheatre.co.nz, audiences across Aotearoa and the globe will get to listen to MAURI TAU, with audio sessions daily at dawn and dusk from 2 - 18 July.

Matariki, huarahi ki te oranga tangata
Matariki, pathway to the wellbeing of humanity

Each winter in Aotearoa, tangata whenua look skyward for the heliacal arrival of Te Kāhui o Matariki. The cluster, known globally as Pleiades, or The Seven Sisters, arrives in the heavens and shines brightest just before dawn. Heralding the arrival of the Māori New Year, Matariki is more than just a harvest festival; for iwi across Aotearoa it is a time to honour those we have lost in the year that has been, acknowledge our blessings and to look forward to the year ahead. Matariki is also increasingly finding its space as a nationally significant celebration, with 2022 set to be the first public holiday celebration of Matariki.

MAURI TAU sees writer Scotty Cotter echo and honour the kaupapa of the celebration creating an introspective sound journey through time and space. Listeners are invited and guided on a hīkoi within their own backyard, neighbourhood streets and parks, maunga, forest and beaches. Over the course of the journey, participants are invited to take time to walk in our realm, listen and contemplate.

"In MAURI TAU I wanted to create time for the listener to reconnect with themselves and to actively connect with each star of Matariki. So whoever is taking part in this sonic experience feels a sense of kinship with the deeper essence of Matariki. On a personal level I also wrote this piece as a way to heal and celebrate the memory of my mate, mentor and pou of Māori Theatre Nancy Brunning."
Scotty Cotter, Playwright, Director & Performer

The nine whetu of Matariki featured in MAURI TAU are magically brought to life by a star-studded cast of outstanding Māori artists, including Akinehi Munroe as ‘Waitī’ (Te Aupōuri, Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa) (Vegas, The Wolves), Fran Kora as ‘Waitā’ (Modern Māori Quartet, The Pā Boys), Lana Garland as ‘Tupuānuku’ (Runaway, King Kong), Matariki Whatarau as ‘Tupuārangi’ (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Whanaunga) (Find Me a Māori Bride, The Pā Boys), Nicola Kāwana as ‘Waipunarangi’ (The Brokenwood Mysteries, UPU, Find Me a Māori Bride), Rachel House as ‘Pōhutukawa’ (Cousins, Thor: Ragnarok, Moana), Scotty Cotter as ‘Hiwaiterangi’ (Kura, The Sounds, Find Me a Māori Bride), Tanea Heke as ‘Matariki’ (Cousins, Number 2) and Te Kohe Tuhaka as ‘Ururangi’ (Vegas, The Deadlands).

MAURI TAU playfully explores the characteristics within Te Iwa o Matariki, combining poetic, foreboding and playful writing with a contemporary auditory soundscape from sound designers Fran Kora and Matt Eller. Listeners are encouraged to venture outside in the fresh air and walk their own route whilst listening to MAURI TAU - connecting to Matariki at sunrise or sunset.

Fran Kora is a celebrated artist, known to many as a member of music acts Kora and Modern Māori Quartet. While creating MAURI TAU’s soundscape, Fran explored solfeggio frequencies in an effort to build an holistic aural environment for the listener. Fran assigned each whetu in the cluster an appropriate solfeggio frequency, each with a corresponding healing property. Solfeggio frequencies are specific audio tones thought to have physical and spiritual healing abilities, which have been employed across ancient global cultures and re-entered contemporary audio culture in the 1970’s. Fran’s collaboration on this project was inevitable after reading Cotter’s script: he knew that he had to be involved in creating this work for audiences across Aotearoa.

Celebrating the Māori New Year with the creation of this work is a blessing. Matariki is a spiritual time of growth, healing, change and a celebration of our culture. As a sound designer I've always wanted to play with solfeggio frequencies in a Māori creation. MAURI TAU is a project that has allowed us as creators to connect on a much deeper level.
- Fran Kora, Sound Designer

Leading the project is multidimensional theatre maker, director and producer Whetu Silver (Ngāti Pakahi ki Whangaroa, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāpuhi). Most recently Whetu worked as Assistant Director on The Haka Party Incident for Auckland Theatre Company and Auckland Arts Festival. Silver’s leadership of the production draws on all of her knowledge and experience in arts production, and her passion for uplifting Māori practitioners and their arts practice.

Globally as living beings on this planet we have been forced to address the disregard we have unconsciously practiced for too long around our lack of care for ourselves and those around us, including our plant life, our waterways, animals and insects. 
MAURI TAU offers us a precious moment in time and space to receive the rongoā and heed the call and listen deeply to what the stars are asking of us, to hear, to see, to remember about who truly we are.
Mai i runga, mai i raro ko te mauri. Mauri Oho! Mauri Ora! Mauri Tau!” 
- Whetu Silver, Co-Producer

Supported through Creative New Zealand’s Adaptation Fund, Silo Theatre was able to commission and bring all of these artists together to create MAURI TAU as part of its 2021 season. The company hopes the work will offer people and communities across the country and in other parts of the world an opportunity to become more familiar with Te Iwa o Matariki, building understanding around its significance in both Te Ao Māori and contemporary culture in Aotearoa. Audiences are encouraged to book, grab their smartphones, headphones, and take a haerenga outdoors whilst listening to a truly unique piece of audio theatre.

Silo Theatre is one of Aotearoa’s leading producers of contemporary theatre. The creative process for MAURI TAU has been led and informed by kaupapa Māori. The work sits in relationship to previous Silo co-productions and programming that seeks to platform and centre storytelling by tangata whenua and pasefika moana voices including Cellfish, UPU, Wild Dogs Under My Skirt and Hui. Silo is both honoured and excited to be supporting this production and outstanding group of artists.

Silo's kaupapa is underpinned by a commitment to new forms of storytelling and contemporary theatre-making - work that speaks directly to our cultural context and what is going on in the world (and in this case, directly to you via your headphones!). With MAURI TAU we have embarked on a creative process that is experimental, underpinned by a desire to play with the form of theatre and performance storytelling for a digital platform. We want to dream beyond filmed ‘live theatre production’ viewed via screens. It was important that this commission enabled artists to work and create using new methods and tools to expand on their theatre practice - and critically to provide a special space for the audience's imagination to fly - that still felt active and participatory.” 
- Ahi Karunaharan, Silo Theatre Associate Artistic Director

The idea for this new commission came out of the myriad challenges that COVID-19 brought for the live creative arts sector in 2020, and MAURI TAU is Silo’s first major foray into digital creation. It’s an offering that will also provide communities beyond the company’s hometown of Tāmaki Makaurau a chance to engage with their boundary-pushing productions. For many (including the company and production team!), MAURI TAU is an opportunity to learn more about Matariki.

MAURI TAU will be available worldwide via silotheatre.co.nz from 2 - 18 July. Participants require headphones and a smartphone/other device with WiFi or mobile data connectivity. Sessions will take place daily at 6 AM, 7 AM, 8 AM, 6 PM, 7 PM & 8 PM, with additional sessions at 11 AM & 3 PM on weekends, and it is recommended that participants listen to the work outdoors.

For more information, visit silotheatre.co.nz

MAURI TAU
Written and directed by Scotty Cotter
A new Silo commission

Available via silotheatre.co.nz
2 - 18 July 2021

Daily sessions at 6 AM, 7 AM, 8 AM, 5 PM, 6 PM, 7 PM & 8 PM
Additional weekend sessions at 11 AM & 3 PM

$10 per admission/stream
Tickets on sale 14 June, via silotheatre.co.nz

Content Warning: MAURI TAU is an immersive work that encourages personal introspection. Reflections on loss or grief are considered in this audio-play.

Playwright and Director: Scotty Cotter
Co-Producer: Whetu Silver
Pou Whirinaki: Josephine Stewart Te-Whiu (Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa)
Sound Design: Fran Kora with Matt Eller
Performance: Akinehi Munroe, Fran Kora, Lana Garland, Matariki Whatarau, Nicola Kāwana, Rachel House, Scotty Cotter, Tanea Heke, and Te Kohe Tuhaka

Silo Theatre proudly acknowledges the support of their Principal Partner Milford Asset Management, and funding partners Creative New Zealand, Foundation North and Auckland Council.

 

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