Performers test revamped theatre
Singers, dancers and musicians from IDEA Services recently put a newly upgraded community theatre in Wellington through its paces.
Performers from throughout Wellington, the Kāpiti Coast and the Hutt Valley took to the stage in the Cultural Club Activity Showcase. The event was a first for Culture Club and the first to make full use of the theatre’s new lighting rig and projector at the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre.
The concert for friends and family included a kapa haka performance led by Matt White, a set of songs from the Kemp Street Choir and music with Island Bay musician Andreas Lepper.
Service Manager Elvis Trocio says the Culture Club performers get together every week. The choir meets on Mondays, the kapa haka group on Thursdays and musicians get together with Andreas on Fridays. “This is an IDEA Services initiative. We [thought] how about we combine our areas and just create a group in which everyone could participate?”
The kapa haka group of around 20 people meets at Ngā Hau e Whā o Maparārangi Marae in Newlands, north of Wellington. Along with music, their sessions include weaving and storytelling. Their showcase included Ti Rakau, the traditional Māori stick game, and the presentation of pepeha from three people – Rosemary Malcolm, Mahirangi Adams and Brian Rapana.
Elvis says the Culture Club would keep the focus on Māori culture through the Matariki celebrations and would then shift to explore the Samoan culture for several months.
Service Manager Esther Doleman, who helped to organise the show, says the activity programme has been running since the beginning of the year and has community support. “We tap into who we have in the community for knowledge.”
She says around 15 people are in the choir and a further 10 do music with Andreas. “Different people come to different things. Every Friday there is a collection of people who go to his workshop and do improvised music and learn to play musical instruments. The choir is led by one of our employees, Kate Dean. They find songs that they like singing.”
The Newtown Community and Cultural Centre reopened in May after a two-year, multi-million-dollar upgrade, including a complete internal refresh and refit, a full renovation of the iconic theatre, and the installation of a lift so everyone can now access the first floor.
Newtown Community and Cultural Centre Kaiwhakahaere / Manager Eryn Gribble says this was the first event to use the stage lighting in a more formal way. It also used the house sound system for backing tracks for various groups and the wireless microphones. “Our layout is more accessible – before it was rather hard to work out where you were going in the space. This has been resolved – our hallways are wider as well.”
Caption: Presenting their pepeha (from left) Rosemary Malcolm, Mahirangi Adams, Support Worker Sonia Malcolm and Brian Rapana.