17 Dec 2023

Arts News Sunday 17 December

From Culture 101, 12:58 pm on 17 December 2023

News in from London - on Saturday night, a campaign group of performing artists sounded the alarm on the long Covid crisis, Protect the Heart of the Arts, held a mask handout at London’s Donmar Warehouse theatre. David Tennant is playing the lead in Macbeth there currently.

Protect the Heart of the Arts is asking for the reintroduction of audience masking at select performances in response to the UK’s escalating long Covid crisis. 

A "creature feature" set in the Port of Auckland has been awarded the 2023 David Carson-Parker Embassy Prize in Scriptwriting at Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington. 

Contained was written by Jennifer Wilton as part of her 2023 Master of Arts folio at the International Institute of Modern Letters. 

Which sure sounds like scary things in shipping containers to us!

Acclaimed actress Lucy Lawless is set to unveil her directorial debut, documentary Never Look Away, at  the Sundance Film Festival on January 24. 

The film is about the life of Margaret Moth, a trailblazing New Zealand born CNN camerawoman who fearlessly risks it all to show the reality of war from inside conflict.

Another trailblazer, playwright, poet and novelist Renée died peacefully in Wellington, on the 11th of December. She was 94. 

An inspiration to many as teacher and mentor, Renee's plays were among the first to put women centre stage, and her fiction - working-class women, takatāpui and Māori. 

Renée first began writing seriously at the age of 50.

It was the 32nd Wellington Theatre Awards  Ngā Whakarākei O Whātaitai this week. 

The Peter Harcourt New Playwright award went to Freya Daly Sadgrove, the Dorothy McKegg Actor of the Year to Julie Edwards and The Grant Tilly Performer of the Year to Erina Daniels. 

Katie Wolfe's The Haka Party Incident received may of the top awards including best Play, director and production of the year. 

And the Mayoral Award for Significant Contribution to Theatre went to critic and teacher Professor David O'Donnell

Not such good news from Going West literary Festival in Titirangi who have announced they won't be producing a 2024 edition.

They cite the flow-on effects of Covid and arts funding being at crisis point. The Going West Trust is reassessing the festival's future whilst focussing on its Shadbolt House project, a writers' residency in the former Titirangi home of Maurice Shadbolt.

Finally this week we also mourn the loss of Wiremu Kaua  a passionate advocate of te reo Māori and cultural advisor to many organisations. 

Since 2008 he had been kaumatua to Arts Access Aotearoa Putanga Toi ki Aotearoa. In 2018, Bill's services to Māori, Education and the State were recognised when he became an Officer of the Order of New Zealand Merit.