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  • Lisa Jayne Allan

SLAM! And... we're out. :)

Kia ora koutou! Hagley Theatre Company has packed out for the year, the Open Stage Studios have been re-set and reports are ready to hit the post. Our final season for 2022, was SLAM! It was an evening of dance, film, physical theatre, scenes and... slam poetry! Slam refers to a kind of performance poetry that often takes on a rhythmic or dramatic mode of delivery. It also refers to a night of such poetry and there are slams taking place all over Aotearoa at any given time. There is even a national competition run by Wellington's Motif, with championships and award-winning poets situated right here, in Ōtautahi. Claudia Jardine holds the local title for 2022, knocking kiwi playwright and poet Nathan Joe from his two year successive perch. Flanked by greatness such as this, HTC students create their own slam poetry under the guidance of our voice and physical theatre tutor, Rachael Schönberger. This year our students tackled subjects as wide-ranging as mental health (Spiders in My Mind, by Sam Bowden-Cooke), body image (Who am I?, by Hayley Lomas), climate change (Climate Change, by Rylee Cleine), a light-hearted look at nationality (I hate the French, by Callum Jones) and the irony of jokes (People Love Jokes, by Julius Magyaya) featuring the impactful final line, "People love jokes, but only when it suits them." Rachael says, "I get students to write about subjects that are personal to them, things they know something about and think would resonate with others. The refining and editing process involves the details of how it makes them feel, writing about this, finding metaphors for saying the same thing, substituting words to create interest, rhyme, rhythm, alliteration etc. They use their pieces to consolidate their voicework." ​Featuring in the night were also a selection of these poems filmed out on location with Richard Bell, a few stills of which you can see alongside these kupu (words). Dance, physical theatre, a film of The Orange Cone Project, and scene work rounded out the night, deliciously accompanied by platters, making the evening a full package of entertainment and a fitting celebration of the year's mahi. A few words from artistic director, Cameron Mattox: 2022 has seen another year pass by with some excellent performances from students within the company. I am pleased to see nine of our whānau are returning for a second year of study before they head off in 2024 to do their training professionally with the top acting schools. We farewell Hayley and Olympia who have been selected by UNITEC for their professional training in 2023 as well as others in the first-year program who are heading to University or in the work place. A big thank you to my tutors who make the program robust and exciting for all involved. To Rachael, Richard, Brendon, Fleur and Lisa, a major thank you for your work this year and for the artistic integrity you bring to HTC. -Cameron Mattox

"Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini. My success is not mine alone, it is the success of the collective." - from 'Aroha,' by Dr Hinemoa Elder. Acknowledging here the entire HTC whānau, past, present and future, as we complete 2022 as a company. It has been a beautiful year of growth, connection and creativity. May the ripples of what we have gained together, spread wide and benefit many. Our final round of auditions and interviews are late January, 2023. Our year starts on Tuesday 7th of February. Please visit to apply online. Follow your vision!

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