© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Court Theatre paving the way forward for a diverse stage presence

Louise Ternouth

Māori and Pasifika works at The Court Theatre keep selling out.

For many years, The Court Theatre has worked to support Māori and Pasifika writers, performers, directors and producers within the theatre community in Ōtautahi. 

The theatre aimed to engage with Māori and Pasifika in their communities, schools and on their marae through performing arts. 

The Court Theatre Māori and Pasifika Producer, Vanessa Gray, said there was high demand for a reflection of these communities. 

All shows featured in The Court Theatre's latest initiative Ē Toru sold out, indicating public support for stories and perspectives of Māori and Pasifika culture. 

The performances included 'Rīpeka,' written by Tania Gilchrist, 'Au Ko Tuvalu' written by 'Tavita Nielson-Mamea' and 'Palu' written by YINOT.  

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'Astroman' written by Albert Belz, directed by Nancy Brunning and starring Tola Newbery will soon premiere on their main stage with the first showcase on 27th October and will run until the 2nd of November. 

In future, The Court Theatre hopes it's work will help develop diversity amongst theatre practitioners enabling them to pass on their passion to future generations. 

"It makes it seem more achievable, our people doing this work, future generations can recognise their own people then follow in the footsteps of the giants before them" Said Ms. Gray. 

"There has been has been a significant push for Māori and Pasifika works and it hasn't been done before as strongly as it is now, the timing seems perfect for more of this kind of work". 

Thanks to this initiative, previously unappreciated stories have gained their audience.