Auckland Theatre Company announces new creative development programme

Katie Wolfe, Kate Parker and Malia Johnston become Auckland Theatre Company's first Artistic Associates

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Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) has initiated an exciting creative development programme for New Zealand artists. The ATC Artistic Associates initiative is a vision and a pathway to create stronger relationships, providing provocation and encouraging artistic development for both the company and the artists involved.

ATC is delighted to announce the first Artistic Associates for 2017 are Katie Wolfe (This is Her, The Women, Luncheon), Kate Parker (Red Leap; The Arrival) and Malia Johnston (Billy Elliot The Musical, Meremere, Mana Wahine).

ATC Artistic Director, Colin McColl, says the new initiative is integral to the future of Auckland Theatre Company.

“Because we believe it’s time for some fresh thinking, time for provocations, time for people to challenge our accepted way of doing things, this year we are excited to be working with three Artistic Associates to offer diverse perspectives to our work, stimulate our ideas on performance and build the artistic capacity of Auckland Theatre Company.”

The associates have already commenced their research and development, with the aim of ultimately developing their own projects within ATC’s programme.

Director and Choreographer Malia Johnston says, “It’s an honour to be part of ATC’s Artistic Associates. As a creative director and movement maker, I’m constantly looking to create new and different experiences for audiences, and I’m really excited that ATC believe that the ‘physical arts' have a significant role to play in the development of work for the new theatre.

“The programme has created a very open space for us to play, explore and dream, and I’m grateful for that because this sort of opportunity is very rare,” Johnston says.

The associates will also have access to space and rehearsal rooms at ATC, which is already being taken up by Katie Wolfe who will be rehearsing Te Puhi there in May.

Auckland Theatre Company has always had a strong mandate for working closely alongside New Zealand artists since its inception in 1992. As the Company moved into its new home at the brand new ASB Waterfront Theatre in September last year, ATC has been taking advantage of the newfound possibilities.

More about the Artistic Associates for 2017

Kate Parker is a puppeteer, physical performer, devisor, and maker. Raised and educated in Northland, Kate graduated from the John Bolton School in Melbourne. She was a co-founder and an artistic director of Red Leap and co-creator of their acclaimed and award-winning theatrical adaption of Shaun Tan’s the Arrival.  In 2010 Kate was awarded with a New Generation Arts Laureate from the Arts Foundation of NZ.

Katie Wolfe (Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Tama) is well known to audiences throughout New Zealand for her work on stage and screen. More recently she has focused her talents on directing, most notably for the acclaimed short film This is Her, and the telefeature Nights in the Gardens of Spain, adapted from Witi Ihimaera’s novel. Following on from her production of The Women for Silo Theatre, she has put her energy behind productions of a number of new New Zealand plays including Luncheon, The Mooncake and the Kumara and two plays she also directed for the Auckland Theatre Company’s Next Stage - 2080 and Anahera, to be produced by Circa Theatre in 2017.

Malia Johnston graduated from Unitec with a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts in 1998, and since then has created a significant body of performance work including choreography for Auckland Theatre Company’s Billy Elliot the Musical last year. Malia is the Artistic Director of Movement of the Human and has collaborated with other artists to create Meremere, Brouhaha, and Mana Wahine. She was awarded the Creative NZ Choreographic Fellowship in 2013.  Malia was the Artistic Director and choreographer of the World of Wearable Art Awards Show from 2002-2014. She has worked on public and commemorative events including the opening of the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in 2015 and the New Zealand Day performance at the Shanghai World Expo in 2010.