Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School reopens BATS Theatre in August with a sensational Double Bill season that will leave you wondering what went on during lockdown.
Working collaboratively with industry rangatira, Jarod Rawiri, Victor Rodger, Hone Kouka, Kia Mau Festival and BATS Theatre, Toi Whakaari students proudly present new works, Pre Lockdown Post and Lockdown La Ronde.
Toi Whakaari Director, Tanea Heke says, 2020 was always going to be a significant year for the school, which is celebrating its 50th Birthday Golden Jubilee.
“What a significant year it’s turned out to be. COVID-19 has seen our industry and students be more innovative and agile than ever before. Toi Whakaari has a dual role, to ensure our students have the discipline specific training for their crafts and to support our students to be independent and carve their own pathways.
“Hone, Jarod and Victor have collaborated with our students to bring these works to the stage. They are the first new works in Aotearoa that mark the influence of COVID-19. To have these Rangatira walk alongside our students in every role, this is what makes Toi Whakaari unique”, says Tanea.
Double Bill is the final performance for Toi Whakaari Third Year Acting students, while work by students from First and Second Year Arts Management are producing the season, Third Year Design and Second Year Costume round out the creative team.
Pre Lockdown Post was created by Third Year acting students over the COVID-19 lockdown period, and sculpted and directed by Hone Kouka. The key narrative of this work follows where these students were at and how they coped over that tumultuous time.
2020 and beyond, Aotearoa is no longer the country we once knew. We dance, debate, bake, mourn, rage and celebrate through this time. A fired up dance crew, fantastical dreamscapes, internet drop outs, a funeral, a love story, a lone protester and the new future. A lone grandmother with the onset of dementia, prospective hooks ups, inane internet challenges, and witnessing the new norm - this is Pre Lockdown Post.
"As a roopū this group of creatives has shown me we are in good hands for the future. Courageous in korero, fearless in creation and unflinching in what pātai they ask. The world is not what we once knew, a wero was laid at their feet and this mahi is their response to that." – Hone Kouka
Lockdown La Ronde written by Victor Rodger, directed by Jarod Rawiri brings a distinctly contemporary tale of ten LGBTQIA+ twenty somethings as they connect - or at least try to - during lockdown. From a horny fitness instructor in Brazil to a gay chat room hustler in Wellington, the only things not on lockdown are their desires.
Who better to direct this unique production than Jarod Rawiri best known as Mo Hannah on Shortland Street, this star of screen and stage has returned to Wellington and his Toi Whakaari roots to stylishly shape this neon monster Lockdown La Ronde.
“For me, Level 4 meant looking inward. This searching lit a creative fire. I was hungry to be an artist. To serve my communities. To support my whānau and my mates. Lockdown La Ronde is a response to this new normal. A loud, gay, fist raised, neon drenched response. It's a lil bit extra. Welcome to the new normal.” – Jarod Rawiri
Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School Double Bill Season
Pre Lockdown Post Written by Third Year acting students. Sculpted and directed by Hone Kouka
Lockdown La Ronde Written by Victor Rodger. Directed by Jarod Rawiri (R18 - Sexually Explicit)