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This week on Standing Room Only Lynn Freeman talks to "Trumpet Diva" Edwina Thorne on the eve of her trip to play in the prestigious "Lady Got Chops" jazz festival in New York, and to Swedish composer Jonas Forssell on the eve of his long-awaited passion project, a chamber opera based on a novel by Margaret MahyCatherine Chidgey has good news for fellow writers, while the Arts Foundation is going through "interesting times" - we talk to the Chair Garth Gallaway.

Meanwhile, Irish choreographer - and New Zealand Festival artist-in-residence - Michael Keegan-Dolan is planning his next show, while performer Julia Croft is ready to launch a solo production, Working on my Night Moves.  The Laugh Track features legend in his own mind Garry Starr, editor Harry Ricketts celebrates 125 issues of New Zealand Review of Books, and glass artist Ben Young does it his way.


12:37  Writer Catherine Chidgey

catherine chidgey

catherine chidgey Photo: supplied

The scrapping of the BNZ Katherine Mansfield Short Story Competition a few years ago robbed writers of an important opportunity to have their work published.  The cash prize was handy too!

Today that void's being filled, thanks to the efforts of award-winning writer Catherine Chidgey and the University of Waikato

She tells Lynn Freeman about the new Sargeson Prize short story competition with two divisions: Open and one for Secondary Students:  All the information is here.

12:45  Big changes at the Arts Foundation

Garth Gallaway

Garth Gallaway Photo: supplied

The Arts Foundation funds Laureate, Icon and Philanthrophy awards as well as administering several significant overseas artists residences.  But now it's undergoing massive changes, losing key staff and bringing in a new fundraising company.

The private arts philanthropic organisation Brown Bread carried out a review of the Foundation last year.  And now it's taking a place at the table.

While more details are promised in May, the Foundation's Chair Garth Gallaway has announced that Brown Bread will take over managing the Foundation's operations - with the emphasis on significantly growing its revenue base. 

At the same time, after 17 years as Executive Director - effectively ever since the Foundation started - Simon Bowden has announced his departure. 

These changes have concerned many in the arts community who are unsure what the future holds for artists. Lynn Freeman asks Garth Gallaway what led to them, and why now?

1:10 At The Movies

Simon Morris reviews Stan & Ollie, Escape Room and Vox Lux

1:33 Michael Keegan-Dolan

Demons and dancers...  They're the starting point for a new production by one of Ireland's best known choreographers and theatre makers - and it's a production that's being created in New Zealand.

Over six weeks, as the first New Zealand Festival Artist In Residence, Michael Keegan-Dolan is workshopping the new production, with a cast of long-time members of his company and newbies, including a New Zealand Dance school student.

The as-yet unnamed show will play in Wellington for the Festival next year, but before that it premieres overseas. It's being co-produced with Dublin Theatre Festival and Sadler's Wells London.
Michael Keegan-Dolan has a long history with the New Zealand Festival.  He presented three of his earlier shows there over the past decade.  His new residency is called Made In Wellington.

Lynn Freeman dropped in on the fifth day of rehearsals, and asked Michael if he came to New Zealand with fully formed ideas or an open mind:

1:47  Edwina Thorne

Edwina Thorne

Edwina Thorne Photo: supplied

For years, Edwina Thorne has been one of the go-to trumpet players in this country - ever since she was a bubbly teenager in the Rodger Fox Big Band!

Since then, Edwina's studied alongside the legendary Branford Marsalis, jammed with Etta James and Chick Corea  and played all over South America with her own Latin Jazz band La Chicas.

And this month she's the sole New Zealander invited to play at an international festival in New York called "Lady Got Chops" - a pretty good description of Edwina Thorne as it happens!

Edwina tells Lynn Freeman the music scene for women's changed since she started out as a young trumpet player. :

She appears at the "Lady Got Chops" Festival in New York later this month. 


2:06 The Laugh Track - Damien Warren-Smith aka Garry Starr

Garry Starr

Garry Starr Photo: supplied

The theatre is dying and only one man can save it, by conquering every single theatre genre there is in just one hour! 

That's the conceit behind a show called Garry Starr Performs Everything, one of the undoubted highlights of the New Zealand Fringe.

Garry Starr is the creation of Australian actor Damien Warren-Smith, and he joins Lynn Freeman on this week's Laugh Track.

Damien/Garry's picks include Rosie Smith, Ali G and Billy Connolly.  Garry Starr performs Everything opens at Wellington's Bats Theatre on March 11.


2:23  Julia Croft

Auckland performer Julia Croft  divides her time between creating new shows and touring them overseas with the company Zanetti Productions, finding audiences in Australia, the UK, Singapore and now Canada.

The third in her trilogy of feminist, multi-genre works is about to premiere at Auckland's Basement Theatre.

It's the first show in the theatre's "Visions" programme that aims to showcase and support performers with international aspirations.

Just like the two earlier solo works in her trilogy, If there's not dancing at the revolution, I'm not coming and Power Ballad - created with the help of Nisha Madhan and Virginal Frankovich - Julia will take Working On My Night Moves overseas.

Lynn Freeman asked Julia Croft why so few New Zealand shows take the chance and go out into the world?

2:38  Harry Ricketts looks back on 21 years of New Zealand Review of Books

Harry Ricketts

Harry Ricketts Photo: supplied

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Photo: supplied

The just renamed New Zealand Review of Books/Pukapuka Aotearoa has just published its 125th issue since launching its offering of in-depth book reviews and opinion pieces back in 1991.

The periodical comes out four times a year, and prides itself on being this country's literary journal of record.

For instance, the 125th edition's contributors include C K Stead, Paula Morris, Barbara Else and Simon Upton,as well as the more than 20 books reviewed that range from fiction and poetry to non-fiction.

Lynn Freeman talks with Harry Ricketts who's been the co-editor of the New Zealand Review Of Books/Pukapuka Aotearoa for 21 years.  She first asked how the literary landscape has changed since the Review's early years.

2:49 Jonas Forssell

More than 30 years ago, Margaret Mahy wrote a novel about an elderly woman with Alzheirmer's who's befriended by a teenager.

A young Swedish composer read a translated version of Memory and instantly saw its potential as an opera.

It's taken three decades, but Jonas Forssell will finally premiere his opera in Sweden in October this year. He's just been putting finishing touches to it, and finding out more about Margaret during a recent stay in New Zealand.

That included meeting Margaret's daughter Bridget, visiting the writer's favourite spots, talking to some Kiwi composers and researching while at the NZ Pacific Studio in the Wairarapa.

Jonas Forssell tells Lynn Freeman he was given the book to read in 1991:

3:06 Drama at 3 - Fall of the Shah (BBC) and Appointment with Samarra

Fall of the Shah is a 9-part BBC drama series about the Iranian Revolution that changed the world, 40 years ago. It's written by Steve Waters and narrated by Dame Diana Rigg.  Episode 2: 'Black Friday'.

Appointment with Samarra is a thriller in six parts by New Zealand writer Stuart Hoar.

3.52  Glass-worker Ben Young's unique practice

Last month we visited the CoLab glass artists conference in Whanganui.

One of the guest speakers was Mt Maunganui-based Ben Young, who creates his work by cutting slabs of laminated glass and gluing them together.

Ben tells Lynn Freeman he's a keen surfer and a former boat builder, and those skills have proved handy in his new career:


Music played in this show

Artist: The Beatles
Song: Penny Lane
Composer: Lennon-McCartney
Album: Magical Mystery Tour
Label: Parlophone
Played at:  12.33

Artist: Beirut
Song: Nantes
Composer: Condon
Album: The Flying Club Cup
Label: 4.AD
Played at:  12.58

Artist:  Sly and the Family Stone
Song: I want to take you higher
Composer: Stewart
Album:  Stand
Label:  Epic
Played at: 1.06

Artist: Love
Song: Alone again or
Composer:  Maclean
Album: Forever Changes
Label: Elektra
Played at:  1.42

Artist:  Edwina Thorne
Song: Rain
Composer: Thorne
Album: Original
Label: Gazelle
Played at:  1.46

Artist:  Billy Joel
Song: Zanzibar
Composer:  Joel
Album:  52nd Street
Label: CBS
Played at:  1.58

Artist: Kenny Ball
Song:  Midnight in Moscow
Composer: Solovev-Sedoj
Album: The Collection
Label: Castle
Played at: 2.24

Artist: The Tijuana Brass
Song: The Lonely Bull
Composer: Lake
Album: The very best
Label: A&M
Played at: 2.58

Artist: Manic Street Preachers
Song: Kevin Carter
Composer: Bradfield-James
Album: Everything must go
Label: Epic
Played at:  3.58