NYT in 2014
THE EMPTY CITY - Summer Show
‘The dirt, the joy, the rust, the car parks, the late fast food runs, the graffiti, the shadow of Parihaka and the sweep of the Hatea.’
Northland Youth Theatre is in the midst of creating its next innovative summer spectacular, this time at the old Recycling Centre at Pohe Island.
The 2014 company are applying their prodigious talents to an investigation of how our local community lives, and how it could be. The band of young theatre makers have been walking the streets, going to schools, talking to grandparents, and hanging at the library, in order to explore Whangarei from as many angles as possible.
Following the last two highly celebrated summer events, ‘Quarry’ and ‘Odyssey’ (which has since had successful seasons at The Auckland Performing Arts Centre and Aotea Square), this year’s show promises to be full of their inventive and unique theatrical energy. ‘Empty City’, directed by Laurel Devenie and Katy Maudlin, will breathe life into the old Recycling Centre on Pohe Island. It sees a cast of 26 young actors creating a story about their own community, while at the same time integrating the medieval story of the Pied Piper, a tale about a city which lost its children.
‘It’s a story about taking things for granted, making promises, investing in our future and examining what we truly value as individuals and as a community.’ says Devenie, ‘We’ve been really enjoying examining how children engage with our city spaces as well as the retelling of some of the specific memories and stories the cast have been uncovering about places we all know so well. Bank st, Hatea, Parihaka, the Pak’ n Save carpark - they each have highly specific connotations for all of us.’
‘The story will lead you through your own streets, as they are now and as they have been, and weave a tale of a city that has broken a promise,’ says Maudlin. ’There will be singing, swinging, sketching, playing and scribbling, a city swarming with rats and a stranger who comes to town.’
The use of the former recycling centre has been facilitated through Whangarei's Space Use and Emergent Enterprise (suee) initiative, with Bike Northland granting the use of the premises, teaming up with NYT to prepare the venue for performance rehearsals throughout January, leading up to the show.
‘It’s exciting to be bringing groups together, to see the space being activated, and to offer the people of Whangarei the chance to gain a new experience of a place that for such a long time has been an integral part of our lives. The place holds many memories, and significance, for our community and allowing these types of spaces to be used in innovative ways is great for our city,’ says suee representative and designer of the show, Ash Holwell.
This will see NYT continuing to activate unique local spaces and engaging Northland’s young people as theatre-makers and audience members. They create theatre that is specific to our place. A crafted and fragile expression of what it is to be a young person of Whangarei in our time.
‘NYT has a rich history and diverse list of alumni scattered throughout the theatre industry in New Zealand. The productions created over the summer holidays with hundreds of teenagers over the years has been an integral part of NYT’s strength. We are delighted that this tradition is rebuilding and has found so much support from the community and Creative New Zealand,’ says Peter Larsen, Artistic Director of the company.
Crew: Ash Holwell, Peter Larsen, Juliet Esveld, Dallas Rees, Stacey Henderson, Maeve Adair, Stan Hallett-Pullen, Tim Bell, Hannah Mitchell, Trent Morgan, Gareth Mauchline.
Cast: Anthony Crum, Austyn Mills, Carlos Wirihana, Christopher King, Cinta Damerell, Dean Atkins, Ebony Fairclough, Hannah Gwillim, Kipling Davies-Colley, Mataara Stokes, Nicola Brown, Sandi Williamson, Stacey Henderson, Storm Studdart, Summer Millett, Thomas Gowing, Tim Atkins, Tomasin Fisher-Johnson, JT Taylor, Merc Rihari, Indigo Cody-Paul, Zelde Morrison-Smith, Cajun Morrison-Smith, Florence Morrison-Smith, Genghis Gardes, William Burns.