NZ theatre will take centre stage
Month’s celebration of Kiwi plays begins next September
New Zealand theatre is to be “celebrated and elevated” with a month-long event. Playwright Roger Hall, one of the country’s most prolific and successful theatre writers, yesterday announced plans for a NZ Theatre Month next September.
Speaking at Theatre NZ’s TheatreFest finals, a competition for community and school groups, Hall said he wants professional and community stage outfits to perform plays by local writers to show the depth, breadth and quality of NZ work.
He cites figures from Playmarket showing it gave permission for 300 productions of NZ work in 2016 while 30 more locally written plays were performed overseas.
“They brought in $4.3 million of ticket sales and this represents only works licensed by Playmarket,” says Hall.
In addition, sport and entertainment research specialists the Gemba Group say theatre attendance is higher than for any sport except rugby. Gemba NZ’s general manager, Richard Howarth, says the number of adults going to the theatre has increased by 13 per cent since 2015.
“We put that down to it meeting people’s desire for both a social occasion and a fun, enjoyable evening out, as they are two of the key motivating factors we track for event attendance,” says Howarth.
“That wasn’t a surprise result to us, as we know there are more people who consider themselves to be passionate about theatre than popular traditional Kiwi sports like cricket and netball, or playing electronic or computer games.”
With theatre at venues ranging from The Civic to Garnet Station cafe; in bars, basements and buses, purpose-built theatres, community centres and school halls from