Strip’s irregular ‘family’ on tour
K ROAD has long been a beacon for misfits, alternative culture and bohemian spirits, Will Barling says.
And it’s where the Mt Albert dancer first felt at home.
The characters and stories of the notorious central Auckland landmark are being brought to the stage as the Okareka Dance Company kicks off its tour of its latest offering K’ Rd Strip on June 11.
Mr Barling would sneak out to the bright lights of the iconic strip as a 15-year-old.
‘‘At school you’d be bullied for being gay or being a bit different but then you’d come up here and everyone’s a family. You felt safe and welcomed for being kind of odd.’’
The show is a living, breathing incarnation of the people who have lived and worked on K Rd, he says.
Six performers combine contemporary dance, theatre and live vocals featuring an all-New Zealand music score from the likes of Gin Wigmore and Th’ Dudes.
The show transcends gen- res in the same way K Rd transcends communities, Mr Barling says.
‘‘Expect to have your mind opened.’’
Each performer has their own take on what the street and the show’s message represent but for the 27-yearold it is one of acceptance.
‘‘For yourself and other people. It’s not just for gay people, it’s for everyone who doesn’t fit in.
‘‘That’s what it’s been like for the cast.
‘‘All of our stories have that same kind of thread of acceptance and feeling of being nurtured.’’
But it is not all bright lights and good times.
The show also traces the street’s dark and vulnerable side.
There is only one K Rd but every town and every city around the world has its own incarnation, he says.
Mr Barling hopes certain themes will resonate with audiences elsewhere as the show tours New Zealand.