Short+Sweet Auckland 2014

Short+Sweet is back again for 2014. The festival that brings you ten minute blocks of theatre, dance and song.

Short+Sweet Auckland presents a 4 week season featuring over 35 plays, 40 dance pieces and 10 short musicals. Each rendition of the festival features the collaboration of over 50 directors, 40 playwrights, 40 choreographers, 10 composers and close to 300 performers... all volunteers!

A night at Short+Sweet consists of the audience seeing ten pieces, each of which is no longer than ten-minutes. It is a night in the theatre where you never quite know what is coming next. You are presented with a feast of styles and subjects, and the next piece is only ever ten minutes away. At the end the audience are asked to vote for their favourite prompting the show to conclude with a foyer filled with discussion and debate.

for more information and to view the 2014 programme visit the Short+Sweet website here

Amanda Billing tours with Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra

Amanda Billing features on the Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra's upcoming album Be Mine Tonight, due for release Friday 7th November.

She will be joining the band for the national tour, kicking off in Dunedin on November 8th, where the band will pay tribute to the best of Kiwi music with audiences up and down the country, finishing up in the band's hometown of Wellington where they will play two very special nights at the James Cabaret on 5th and 6th December.

The album is sure to surprise and delight with its characteristically unpredictable mix of well-known contemporary and classic songs. It features special guests including Lisa Tomlins (fresh off a world tour with Neil Finn), Hawaiian ukulele artist Pi’ikea Clark and Canadian ukulele star James Hill.

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra are renowned for their unique combination of charming humour, disarmingly small instruments, sublime musicality and hilarious audience participation - a joyful formula that has been in hot demand worldwide.

Last year, the band wowed crowds at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and sold out the prestigious Union Chapel in London, with UK critics raving: “These guys and girls sing as well as they play - and they play like a dream” and “The party hit of this year’s Fringe” (STV Scotland); “Great chemistry, genuine warmth; the show climaxes to rapturous applause” (Festival Journal).

for more information on their upcoming tour visit the WIOU website


presented by The Town Centre
5 - 13 September

The Town Centre presents genre-defying, anarchic and party fueled hour in which 4 performers lie, cheat and run gleefully into the face of failure. LIES is a deliberately unstable world of theatrical discord and pure play.

The Town Centre is a cult of deconstructionist theatre makers who specialize in breaking apart theatrical spaces, bridging holes between performers and audiences and building stories like houses of cards then smashing them all to pieces. They are fascinated with Failure.

This is not traditional theatre, but instead, a team of traditionally trained artists navigating new ways of vying for the audience's trust and affections.

A Town Centre show is a party. It's an elaborate rouse to get you in the same room as them. Because they think you're sexy and it's just not as fun without you.

See the shows that people claim "ruins all other theatre" and call "exhilarating, inspiring and brilliant".

featuring Julia Croft, Lara Fischel-Chisholm, Simon Haren and Ash Jones
direction by Nisha Madhan

for more information and to buy tickets visit the Basement Theatre website

Wine Lips

by Sam Brooks
26 - 30 August

Backstage at his new show, Scotty has invited actor and ex-girlfriend Brit to share a bottle of wine with him. She brings the wine, he brings the unpleasant memories. They both bring the quarter life crisis.

Award-winner Sam Brooks and Basement mainstays Chelsea McEwan Millar and Nic Sampson take you out of the theatre and throw you into the dark recesses of the green room, where shared histories and awkward memories smack lips in the mirror. Wine Lips, playing at the Bastement Studio from August 26th, invites you into the backstage world of the theatrical performer...

featuring Chelsea McEwan Millar and Nic Sampson

for more information and to book tickets visit the Basement Theatre website


by Amy Herzog
28 August - 20 September

This is no standard-issue thriller. It's taut, genre-busting storytelling which grabs you from its first breath.

Zack and Abby are doing the whole twenty-something, expat thing in the most romantic city in the world. She's teaching yoga and he's saving lives, working for Doctors Without Borders. It's enviable, it's idyllic, it's young love. But are they really living the dream or just sleeping with the enemy?

It kicks off with an awkward afternoon moment. She's just caught him indulging in a little online porn when he should be at work. And so our boy and our girl begin the delicate skirting of the abyss: in the co-dependency of their own creation, seismic shifts are occuring just beneath the surface. Sometimes the most dangerous lies are the ones you allow yourself to believe.

Throbbing with nerve-wracking tension and slow-burn intensity, this is a gripping portrait of intimacy on the edge of collapse. Amy Herzog is the next big thing internationally and this latest work caused a big fuss at Steppenwolf In Chicago last year.

featuring Sophie Henderson, Karima Madut, Tawanda Manyimo and Matt Whelan
direction by Oliver Driver

for more information and to book tickets visit the Silo Theatre website


presented by Fractious Tash & Last Tapes Theatre Company
27 August - 6 September

The lights are low. The gin is in great supply. The band is playing your favourites. In the smoky depths of a 50's London gay bar, the tipsy regulars loosen their dinner jackets to ask - who the f*ck is Ernest? Under the beady eye of top-bitch, Lady Bracknell, two dandy fops squabble over the love of two dreamy sweethearts, and the name 'Ernest' seems to matter an awful lot...

Brimming with vivacious wit, a bit of bravado and some downright silliness, Earnest is an audacious reimagining that blasts the cobwebs off Oscar Wilde's saucy play.

Bringing the belowed text to life is a sprightly all-male cast, a sexy live band, and the greatest hits of Cher (yes, Cher!). It's the perfect marriage of classic tunes like Turn Back Time and The Shoop Shoop Song, and Wilde's devilish one-liners.

Fractious Tash (Confessions, Titus) and Last Tapes Theatre Company (The Last Five Years, Verbatim) have joined forces to bring you a show like no other, taking everything you thought you knew about Oscar's play and catapaulting it skyward. Rebooted and revamped, this is Oscar's quintessential comedy as you've never seen it before!

featuring Jordan Mooney, David Sutherland, Eli Matthewson, Oscar Wilson, Stephen Butterworth, Jordan Selwyn, Andrew Ford, Cole Jenkins
direction by Benjamin Henson

for more information and to book ticket visit the Q Theatre website

Where are the women film makers?

Taken from Script to Screen newsletter.

The Directors and Editors Guild of New Zealand and WIFT host a hugely important discussion at The Basement on Mon 25th of August. At Script to Screen we have postponed our monthly Writer's Room in order to get behind this crucial discussion and encourage everyone to attend.

Kim Hall facilitates a panel with Gayelene Preston, Annie Goldson, Cushla Dillon and Jackie Van Beek to ask where are the women film makers?

Whilst in New Zealand our statistics are slightly better, the fact that of the US 100 top box office films of 2013 less than 2% were women means that this conversation needs to be had,

RSVP with to secure your place. WIFT and DEGNZ members free entry. $10 for non-members.

Young playwrights at Basement Theatre

Taken from NZ Herald, by Dionne Christian.

After her parents acrimoniously divorced, scriptwriter Jess Sayer thought there were two ways of coping.

"Some people turn to drugs or start drinking, but I wrote a play, which I suppose is a safer way of dealing with it."

Sayer, who turns 24 on the opening night of her drama Fix, had never read a play and had seen only a handful performed. They included an Auckland production of August Strindberg's 1888 tragicomedy Creditors, which inspired her to write her own script.

After reading it to a friend, she was persuaded to enter Playmarket's b4 25 playwriting competition and won the 2011 award.

"I was quite shocked because I had no idea about what I was doing. I just wanted to make sense of things that had happened and I am interested in how people cope when they're on the knife-edge of sanity, which is the scenario in this play."

Read the full article here.

Reviews - Housebound

Reviewed by Richard Kuipers, Variety.

A marvelously entertaining combo of haunted-house thriller, murder mystery and domestic comedy, Housebound marks a mighty impressive feature bow for Kiwi scripter-helmer-editor Gerard Johnstone. Featuring a dynamite central performance by Morgana O'Reilly as an angry young troublemaker who gets more than she bargained for while serving a home detention order, this near-flawless mix of laughs and scares is one of the genre-related highlights of the year.

Armed with everything required to become a hit with general viewers, the pic is currently winning admirers on a festival run that includes the audience award at Scotland's Dead by Dawn horror fest.

Read the full review here.

Read the Hollywood Reporter review here.

New NZ On Air TV funding announced

Taken from Stuff, by Katie Kenny.

After six incredible seasons, Outrageous Fortune has gained funding for one more. A prequel. Local drama has received an $18 million funding boost from NZ On Air to back three new Kiwi series, including West Side Story, a journey into Ted's murky past.

From the Platinum Fund for TV One, Hillary will be a landmark series about lauded beekeeper-turned-adventurer, Sir Edmund Hillary. The six-part drama has been created by the experienced writing team of Tom Scott and Greg McGee and is based on the story told be Hillary to Scott for his biography.

Meanwhile, on TV2, Dave and Cara's unconventional love story continues in a second series of Step Dave. Following its successful first season, the lighthearted family drama is back with the trails and triumphs of blended family life.

Read the full article here.
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