Refugee, Migrant And Local Youth Unite To Explore Identity In New Work
I AM…and…I AM
This summer twenty young refugee, migrant and local performers will work together across two intensive weeks, traversing themes of identity, community and belonging, to create and perform the fully devised work I AM…and…I AM, playing on 20 and 21 January at Oratia Settlers Hall.
Alongside weekly workshops held throughout the year, every January Mixit provides this summer immersive opportunity where participants and emerging artistic leaders come together to devise a show from scratch, developed out of a richly provocative theme, all led by a team of inspiring professional artists.
I AM…and…I AM explores the joys and challenges involved when juggling multiple identities in today's world. The young performers, from a diversity of backgrounds, embrace where they are from AND the place where they now live. How they honour family, community, and customs AND how to navigate pathways forward in a new country.
This year’s programme includes participants from India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chile, South Africa, Morocco, Sudan, Myanmar, New Zealand, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and more.
Mixit is a creative community project that supports young people by using creativity as a vehicle to develop core life skills, build confidence and increase resilience so they can constructively move forward with their lives. Initiated in 2005, Mixit began offering weekly workshops in 2006 providing opportunities for participation in a creative process as a means to enable individuals to stand stronger, both on their own and united together.
Over 10,000 young people have flowed through the programmes, with many lives significantly transformed. A central focus is supporting young people from former refugee and migrant backgrounds, but Mixit also welcomes local youth and recognises that when young people of all backgrounds come together it helps break down the barriers of difference that so often generate suspicion and tension. In turn initiatives such as Mixit can help build stronger, connected and positive communities.
Under the guidance of Mixit Director, Wendy Preston, I AM…and…I AM will be led by a theatre director Ahi Karunaharan, choreographer Ray Santiago and musician Priya Sami.
Dates: 20 & 21 January, 2024
Times: 1pm and 5pm
Venue: Oratia Settlers Hall – 567 West Coast Rd, Oratia
Gold Coin Entry
The Leadership Team:
Ahi Karunaharan is a regular professional presence in the theatre scene as a leading writer and director working with ATC and Prayas Theatre Companies, Silo Theatre, as a tutor at Toi Whakaari, along with mounting his own independent work – often reflecting memories and stories of growing up in Sri Lanka.
Ray Santiago, originally from the Philippines, is a Mixit Alumni. A contemporary dance graduate from Unitec, Ray came to Mixit as a Creative Intern during the 2020 summer performance project and discovered a space that supported young people who grew up in places beyond NZ. He felt so at home that he wished to continue and has not looked back ever since. Ray is now part of the Mixit Alumni Squad who actively facilitate creative workshops around the country, as well as contributing to the leadership of the core Mixit programmes based in Tamaki Makaurau.
Priya Sami is a musician from a Fijian Indian/Irish Pakeha family and together with her sisters (including her renowned sibling Madeleine) they have a band called The Sami Sisters. Priya has regularly facilitated creative opportunities with young people, including with the Music Commission and as a regular artistic mentor with the Ngā Rangatahi Toa - Manawa Ora performance projects, mentoring rangatahi to explore music and song writing.
Along with supporting teenagers Mixit is always looking out for opportunities to support young emerging artists, designers, entrepreneurs, managers, and in any area where young people are looking for in-roads to establish their future careers.
I AM…and…I AM
will employ several Alumni in key roles – running the daily catering kitchen, holding production management roles, staging needs and additionally a Toi Whakaari graduate will be invited as a creative intern to join the floor – shadowing the creative leadership team and role modelling creative courage from within the performance team.