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Auckland Theatre Company announces new festival of work-in-development: 2017's The Navigators

Katie Wolfe, Malia Johnston and Kate Parker to present the first showings of new works-in-development at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in October


Earlier this year Auckland Theatre Company (ATC), appointed the company’s first-ever associate artists: Katie Wolfe (The Mooncake & The Kumara, The Women, Luncheon), Kate Parker (Red Leap; The Arrival) and Malia Johnston (Billy Elliot The Musical, Meremere, Mana Wahine).

From developing material at ATC comes The Navigators; a three-day showcase of three entirely different, original and dynamic pieces of work-in-development at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in October.

The Wild Seed Thief by Kate Parker is an environmental fable featuring Parker’s stunning visual imagery.

MOON, by Malia Johnston, is a dance-theatre piece inspired by the night sky as a place of dreams and imaginings.

The Haka Party Incident by Katie Wolfe is a piece of documentary-theatre that explores the events that occurred in Auckland in 1979 when activists closed down the annual mock haka performed by Auckland Engineering students, changing race relations in Aotearoa forever.

The Navigators is born out of ATC’s quest to find new ways of working with theatre practitioners, diversifying its programming, and conceiving different and inter-disciplinary ways to make original, homegrown theatre.

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

“We believe it’s time for some fresh thinking, for provocations and for people to challenge our accepted way of doing things. We are excited to be working with these three extraordinary wahine toa who bring diverse perspectives to the table and stimulate our ideas on performance in order to build the artistic capacity of the company.”

For audiences, The Navigators is a chance to gain an insight into how theatre and live performance is created. Not only that, ATC and the Artistic Associates want the audience to become part of the development of these new works by providing feedback, ideas and feelings about the showings, in order to further develop and grow each work.

Artistic Associate, Malia Johnston, believes the programme is breaking new ground.

“With no rules or expectations and with the encouragement towards strong work, we, as artists, have been challenged as well as nurtured. This is a programme that is investing in original New Zealand made work and extends well beyond tradition.” 

Since inception in 1992, ATC has always had a strong mandate to develop and produce new work. Following the move into its new home at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in September last year, ATC has been taking advantage of the newfound possibilities.



The Haka Party Incident

The Haka Party Incident created and directed by Katie Wolfe, is documentary theatre based on an event that changed race relations in Aotearoa forever: a violent stoush between the University of Auckland engineering students preparing for their annual mock haka down Queen Street and members of activist group He Taua. Exploring ‘the alchemy of performance and truth’, Katie’s piece features differing perspectives of those who were there, their views and experiences, then and now.


Moon by Malia Johnston is a dance-theatre piece inspired by the night sky as a place of dreams and imaginings. We now use our cell phones to navigate and connect us, but the cosmos is the original internet which guided intrepid explorers. Working with long-time collaborators Eden Mulholland and Rowan Pierce, and with contributions from young writers, Malia invites you to add your voices and responses to Moon.

The Wild Seed Thief

The Wild Seed Thief, created and directed by Kate Parker is an original environmental fable featuring stunning visual imagery. Inspired by perilous journeys, ancient trees and incredible creatures, Kate imagines a dystopian future where the fate of the world rests in the hands of children, the senses of animals and in seeds as old as time. Suitable for everyone seven years and older.

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 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, presented at 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.

For media information, images and interviews, please contact Miryam Jacobi, Publicist, on or 027 366 2277

Further information: 


The Navigators

Season Dates: 6 – 8 October, 2018

Venue: ASB Waterfront Theatre, Wynyard Quarter

Booking info: or 0800 ATC TIX (282 849)



Directed by Malia Johnston


Cuba Haslam

Claire O’Neil

Sean McDonald

Melana Khabazi

Taniora Motutere


The Wild Seed Thief

Created and directed by Kate Parker


Tama Jarman

Justin Haiu

Rosie Tapsell

Leroy Lakamu

Amber-Rose Henshall


The Haka Party Incident

Created and directed by Katie Wolfe


Aroha Rawson

Kimo Houltham

Kate McGill

Johnny Bright

Fasitua Amosa



John Verryt                 

Eden Mulholland

Rowan Pierce

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