Taurima Vibes presents ATAWHAI 2018

Press Release – Elephant Publicity

Taurima Vibes presents
In association with Changing Minds

Recognising the value of promoting wellbeing and positive mental health in Aotearoa,cultural change agent Taurima Vibes is embarking on the fourth edition of their celebrated arts intervention and multi-disciplinary festival, ATAWHAI. Presenting its most expansive programme yet, events under the festival umbrella will be showcased throughout September and October in Auckland and Wellington, strategically timed with Mental Health Awareness Week from October 8-14.

Atawhai, meaning to show kindness, will lead from the front, embracing the work of a number of high-potential New Zealand theatre artists with lived experience or significant curiosity about the complexity of mental health in New Zealand. With a need to liberate necessary conversations about our wellbeing among ordinary New Zealanders, leading Māori director and facilitator Borni Te Rongopai Tukiwaho’s intention is to incrementally expand their activities and reach over the whole of New Zealand.

“We want to extend the message beyond the week; this conversation is a constant,” explains Tukiwaho. “Atawhai aims to bridge the gap between those brave enough to speak to their lived experience and audiences from all walks of life who recognise the need for positive social change and the eradication of stigma.”

Recent statistics from the Mental Health Foundation show that 50-80% of all New Zealanders will experience a mental health or addiction problem in their lifetime, with around 20% in any one year. Aiming to reach out to people directly affected by mental health issues, the festival is presented in association with Changing Minds, a national not-for-profit wellbeing organisation operated by people with personal experience in recovery from mental health and addiction issues. Changing Minds CEO Taimi Allan, who hails from the performing arts industry having worked as an actor, knows first-hand how healing performance can be when combating mental health struggles. “Storytelling in this way allows people to relate on a personal level to experiences we otherwise find difficult to talk about,” Allan says.

At the centre of the festival are performances of two new works developed through previous iterations of Atawhai. Daniel Goodwin’s BREATHE, which has just closed its premiere season at Basement Theatre, will travel to Wellington as part of the festival. Demystifying the reality of living with schizophrenia, it is a story of dancing in the thick of it; connection, play, and what makes us human. BREATHE is directed by Tukiwaho and features next generation talents Aiwa Pooamorn, Ben Moore, Natasha Daniel, Camilla Walker and Anjula Prakash.

This season will be followed up with the world premiere of Isaac Te Reina’s ALL GOOD, a work focused on Māori youth suicide prevention. Shortlisted for Playmarket’s b425 Competition earlier this year, Te Reina is definitely one to watch having taken home the 2018 Creative NZ Ngā Manu Pirere Award for Best Emerging Artist. An artist who jumps across genres, his short film Entropy was accepted into the 2014 Pasadena International Film Festival and he was selected to participate in the Māoriland Film Festival’s 2018 Native Slam programme.

Atawhai will continue to create without judgement, championing the growth of new works-in-development by Brady Peeti, Gabe Satiu, Zach Robinson, Natasha Lay, Ardon England and Chris Molloy. Over the month of October, these emerging lived experience writers will hothouse their new plays at Te Pou Theatre as part of Atawhai’s Writers Network, under the expert guidance of leading practitioners such as Renee Liang, Stuart Hoar, Taiaroa Royal, Gary Henderson, Murray Edmond and Jason Te Mete.

Atawhai will also tautoko the work of peer-led initiatives and services with a range of satellite events that will see Taurima Vibes working in support. Under the festival umbrella, Johnny Mateson of the Mental Health Foundation brings his annual concert to Atawhai for the first time, with the 11th iteration of The October Gig offering a chance for local musicians to bring light to Mental Health Awareness Week. The spoken word evening Pūrerehua is dedicated to dear friend of the Taurima Vibes whanau, Michelle Durey, a suicide prevention advocate and slam poet who passed away two years ago and was instrumental in building the first Atawhai. Performances of Natasha Lay’s Maniac (On The Dance Floor) which is being developed as part of the 2018 Writers Network, and Aaron Richardson’s Paper Planes, a black comedy incorporating shadow puppetry as a vehicle to explore the writer’s personal experiences with depression, complete the public programme.

ATAWHAI: impactful health promotion through performance. Taurima Vibes continues to walk alongside the community.
September 18 – October 25
BREATHE by Daniel Goodwin
September 18-22 – 8pm – BATS Theatre (Wellington) – Bookings at bats.co.nz
Living with schizophrenia isn’t that bad. It’s like being in Harry Potter except it’s not and it sucks. You didn’t get a wand and the snakes still talk. What a rip-off, right?

ALL GOOD by Isaac Te Reina, Director Whetu Silver
September 25-29 – 6pm– Basement Theatre (Auckland) – Bookings at iticket.co.nz
October 9-13 – 8pm – BATS Theatre (Wellington) – Bookings at bats.co.nz
A young fiesty Parekura and a passionate dream chasing Ra re-unite on a night out in the town. Their past rekindles a kind, odd romance again while they enjoy the night.

PAPER PLANES by Aaron Richardson
October 2-6 – 6.30pm – Basement Theatre (Auckland)
Bookings at iticket.co.nz
A girl, a bedroom and a dog. Oh and puppets, there’s puppets too.
Produced by Physica Theatre Company, supported by Taurima Vibes Ltd and the Atawhai Festival

THE OCTOBER GIG: 11th annual Mental Health Musical Jamboree
October 11th – 6pm – Ponsonby Baptist Church (Auckland)
Tickets available at the door
John Mateson from the Mental Health Foundation curates an evening of performances from members of the mental health sector

PŪREREHUA: Spoken Word evening in honour of Michelle Durey
October 17 – 7.30pm – Garnet Station (Auckland) – Koha entry
A tribute to Michelle Durey, the creator of Atawhai’s first spoken word evening. Pūrerehua or ‘butterfly’ is an evening of spoken word poetry and conversation around mental health.

October 22-25 – 7.30pm – Te Pou Theatre (Auckland)
Bookings at tepoutheatre.co.nz
Maniac (On The Dance Floor) s a comedy dance-lipsync extravaganza about happiness, unhappiness and making a song and dance about it.

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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