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NUTS NZ Newsletter #11


Welcome to eleventh edition of NUTS NZ – the Newsletter for University Theatre Studies New Zealand. The purpose of the newsletter is to help us communicate more effectively as a community of scholars interested in Theatre and Performance. We have an interesting selection of stories and items for you in our third issue for 2016. In this issue, in our “NUTS People” segment, we profile Nicola Hyland and Lekan Balogun. We have also included information on Professor Peter O’Connor inaugural professorial lecture titled “Pedagogies of Surprise:  The joy and art of teaching.”  We are also promoting the Augusto Boal Applied Theatre Workshop; it is an intensive workshop held in Auckland on the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of September.  We have quite a range of performances (past and upcoming) to showcase along with an update from the ADSA Awards and Murray Edmond’s latest publication.  Further to this, we have added a segment about Victor Rodger’s Latest project FCC. Rodger is this year’s Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago. We plan to circulate our twelfth edition of NUTS NZ on the 11th of November, and we will need items of news by the 28th of October (especially an academic and  postgraduate student to  showcase). As always, submissions should be sent to the NUTS NZ editor Jane Marshall:  j.g.marshall@massey.ac.nz

Kind regards,
NUTS NZ editors: Jane Marshall and Rand Hazou.

Newsletter Issue  Information Required by  Date of Circulation
 Issue 12 28 October 2016 11 November 2016

NUTS People


Nicola Hyland

Research: My recent research is mostly about ways of looking at contemporary Māori performance using ideas and values from Te Ao Māori. I write about performances that I feel really strongly about; shows that make me angry or electrified. I also dabble in a bit of performance studies, researching events and encounters outside of the theatre using post-colonial and critical race theory angles. That’s where Beyoncé comes into it.

Theatre: A few goodies were Red Leap’s Dust Pilgrim, Te Rehia’s Solotello and Mana Wahine by Okareka Dance theatre. That show was the business.

Reading: I just finished A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, set around the attempted assassination of Bob Marley. I’m reading a script in development about love and mountain climbing in Wanaka. Plus a bunch of plays and strategic reports from the “stuff I’m working on” box.


Lekan Balogun

Research: My research and background are in the areas of script writing and directing, Mask performance and Yoruba ritual and aesthetics, especially in the aspects of comparative studies with other world religions. In my ongoing PhD research in the field of postcolonial Shakespeare adaptation, I am applying that knowledge to explore the cultural and political relevance of a range of adaptations of Shakespeare, drawn from across the globe. I classify these works (some familiar but previously read differently) as Orisa, a term which describes both Yoruba arts and religion. As part of the research, I will also develop a new adaptation of Julius Caesar, which examines present-day socio-political situation in my country, Nigeria.

Theatre: I saw two plays at Circa Theatre recently courtesy of the British Council in Wellington: King Lear, starring Ray Henwood as King Lear, and as directed by Michael Hurst; and SolOthelloby Regan Taylor. While I wasn’t disappointed with the first at all because the directing was good and actors really great, Regan’s one-man interpretation of Shakespeare’s Othello was awesome.

Reading: At the moment I am reading Alexander Leggatt’s Shakespeare’s Political Drama; Michael Hattaway (ed) The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare’s History Plays; and Alun Munslow & Robert, A. Rosenstone (eds) Experiments with Rethinking History, in order to guide the writing of my adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Upcoming Lectures

Professor Peter O’Connor inaugural professorial lecture: “Pedagogies of Surprise:  The joy and art of teaching.”

Hosted by the University of Auckland, Faculty of Education and Social Work

Peter O’Connor’s inaugural professorial lecture is a celebration of excellence in research undertaken by one of the Faculty of Education and Social Work’s most recently appointed professors. Professor Peter O’Connor is an internationally recognised expert in applied theatre and drama education. His work focuses on the difference that creativity can make in the lives of the disenfranchised and marginalised in our communities. Peter is the founding director of Everyday Theatre, a national theatre in education programme on preventing family violence and child abuse, and the Teaspoon of Light Theatre Company.

When: Tuesday, 20 September 2016 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. 6pm Drinks reception | 7pm Inaugural lecture

Where: Neon Foyer, Faculty of Engineering – 20 Symonds Street, Auckland, Auckland 1010





“We are all actors: being a citizen is not living in society, it is changing it.” Augusto Boal (1931-2009).

DAY 1 • Introduction to Boal • Warm Ups • Acting for Non-Actors • Introduction to Image Theatre DAY 2 • Warm Ups • Introduction of The Joker • Application of Image Theatre • Organisational Setting Practice • Joker Practice Skott Taylor is a trained actor, director and musician with a specialisation in theatre and development from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. Skott is the founder and director of NewSeed Creative Consulting which focuses on working with companies to align their purpose driven cultural vision and business strategy through theatre-based engagement techniques. With over 12 years of experience in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan Skott has teamed up with Fiona Mogridge & Co. of Auckland, New Zealand to develop and deliver programs to both for-profit and non-profit companies around Asia and New Zealand. Learn the methodology of Augusto Boal’s theatre of the oppressed alongside actors trained in theatre and specific Boal techniques. This is an intensive two day programme of professional development which introduces you to the history and technique of Boal work, with the added focus on how you can use these techniques with people in various settings. The interest and positive feedback from their last workshop at TAPAC has meant a return this year with a specific focus on applied techniques for work in the community and organisations. You may be an artist, a facilitator, a teacher, or work across social and organisational development, or simply someone interested to explore and learn. Join Skott and Fiona on a journey of discovery to build your skill in using these techniques for effective group work.

Date: Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd September 2016

Location: TAPAC, 100 Motions Road, Auckland, New Zealand

Price: $300 (artist rate applies)

Booking: www.tapac.org.nz (Masterclasses & Workshops) Information: Please email – fiona@creativebusiness.co.nz


Frankenstein in The Gym

The Free Theatre Christchurch’s recent season.

Below is a link to some reviews of the season.









“Finely balances spectacle, performance and audience engagement”
Erin Harrington, Theatreview, 18 June 2016

“Free Theatre’s latest offering “completely mad””
Georgina Stylianou, The Press, 18 June 2016



Love and Information- By Caryl Churchill

Directed by Rachel Lenart for “Modern Drama,” Massey University, Palmerston North Campus, June 2016









“What do you think? Is it better to know things or not know things”

Massey’s 300 level paper, Modern Drama involves the study of six plays from the late nineteenth century to today. The plays chosen for study all significantly shifted the perceptions of theatre of their time, many revolutionising the form entirely. This year, after six weeks of study, Palmerston North students faced a tough question, which play would we take into production. The choice was entirely theirs. The class staged a dramaturgical debate where the ideas were vigorously explored. Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children went head to head against O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape but the overwhelming support was behind Caryl Churchill’s 2012 play; Love and Information. Through passion and reason, team Churchill rallied the rest and pulled voters to their side. And so, the 2016 Modern Drama production process began.

Love and Information is a dense and daring text. It redefines tradition concepts of narrative, it disregards character development, favouring ideas. A bombardment of ideas, issues, feelings. With a team of two student dramaturgs, we began to dissect this play and its themes and musicality, its richness and its humanity. The play is divided into seven sections, each containing seven scenes. It is presented as screeds of unattributed dialogue. Churchill stipulates that while each section must be performed in order, the scenes within them should be shifted around as preferred by the company. The play ends with a final scene, that must conclude it, called Facts. In this scene, a series of facts are questioned and answered, again by unspecified voices. An amazing 11th hour discovery by a student dramaturg, revealed that none of these facts are true!

Each student took on both a production and a performance role in this project, from design to publicity and stage management with a vision focussed by the dramatrugs and director. It was a thrilling, intense and thoroughly rewarding process.

“Outstanding Ensemble”- Richard Mayes, Tribune.



Upcoming Performances at The University of Auckland

The University of Auckland has a season of 5 postgraduate productions by MA students coming up in October, including work by Beth Kayes, Kayleigh Haworth, Anton Antsiferov and Rachel Longshaw-Park.

Flow, Create, Connect – Victor Rodger’s Latest Entity.

Award-winning playwright and this years Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago, Victor Rodger, started monthly play readings in Auckland last year. These readings are of diverse plays that were mostly unproduced in New Zealand under the umbrella of his entity FCC (Flow, Create Connect).  Calling on a combination of veterans and newcomers, the results have been threefold: to give diverse practitioners a chance to deal with well-written complex roles that they are generally not getting in mainstream productions;  to expose audiences to these largely unfamiliar  texts; and to ultimately stage some of these plays in professional productions.  The readings began last year with John Kneubuhl’s Think of a Garden and have since included plays such as  Sugar Mummies by Tanika Gupta, Yellow Face by David Henry Hwang and Barbecue by Robert O’Hara. There have also been readings in Sydney, Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin.  The first FCC reading to go on and receive a full production was Puzzy by Hawaiian-Filipina writer Kiki (co-written with Rodger).  It debuted at The Basement this year to critical acclaim. The next FCC reading to go into full production will be Tusiata Avia’s Wild Dogs Under My Skirt at the Mangere Arts Centre next month. See the flyer below.

Wild Dogs Under My Skirt

wild dogs rough


ADSA Awards Update

NZ theatre scholars were well-represented at the ADSA awards this year.  Nicola Hyland won the Marlis Thiersch Prize for the best published article or chapter for her article: “Beyoncé’s Response (eh?): Feeling in Ihi of Spontaneous Haka Performance in Aotearoa/New Zealand” in TDR: The Drama Review 59(1): 67 – 82.  Marianne Schultz was given an honourable mention for her 2015 article: “A ‘Harmony of Frenzy’: Maori in Manhattan, 1909-10” in Theatre Journal 67(3): 445 – 464.

Ex-pat Diana Looser won the Rob Jordan Prize for Best Monograph for Remaking Pacific Pasts: History, Memory and Identity in Contemporary Theatre from Oceania Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press 2014.  Emma Willis was named runner up for Emma Willis, Theatricality, Dark Tourism and Ethical Spectatorship: Absent Others US and UK: Palgrave Macmillan 2014.

Recent Publications

Murray Edmond has an article in the forthcoming Journal of New Zealand Literature about playwriting in New Zealand from 1975 to 2000: ‘Not Much to Do Except Watch Each Other’s Lives Unfold: Playwriting 1975-2000 in Aotearoa.’



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