In February 2019 Wakefield village was at the heart of a massive forest fire that burnt 2300ha across Pigeon Valley and the surrounding forests of Tasman District. The entire Wakefield community, 3000 people, was evacuated for several days and the village locked down by police and army - the first time in New Zealand history that a whole community has been relocated. Some families were unable to return to their homes for up to a fortnight. For the children of Wakefield School this was a massive and, for some, traumatic event; abandoning homes, belongings, animals and security.
Fireflight! retells the story of the fire and evacuation through an original theatre work written, produced and performed by students of Wakefield School under the direction of theatre professionals, Lisa and Dan Allan. Recalling the smoke-filled skies and constant noise of helicopters and fire engines, our talented young company combines their real experiences with their imaginations. As disaster strikes and it's time to abandon homes, the unseen realm of dragons, fairies and talking pets come to the fore.
With original words, movement, music and visual imagery Fireflight! portrays the Pigeon Valley fire through the fresh, naïve, fantastical and honest stories of children who were closest to it. In their sense-making of this event we glimpse the next generation living with climate change and its effects on their lives now and into the future.
Fireflight! has been enabled with funding from the Ministry of Education's Creatives in Schools programme.