19 December 2011

2011: Marking 35 years of great theatre at Circa!

It’s that time again – how did it get here so fast? – the season to celebrate with family and friends, and reflect on the fantastic year of theatre (our 35th anniversary!) that is rapidly coming to a close.

2011 began as most do around here, with the return of the Roger Hall Christmas pantomime, Robin Hood. No he didn’t! Oh yes he did!

Next, we set out in the caravan with the cracker Kiwi comedy The Motor Camp. This sell-out summer hit caused a sensation with audiences, and will be returning by popular demand in 2012 – don’t miss it!

Heat kicked off the year in Circa Two, bringing a truly moving and provocative love story and its own alternative energy power source to Circa’s second space.

The Improvisors were a big presence at Circa throughout the year with a variety of shows for adults and kids alike: Improv Cage Match, Theatresports, Snake Oil, Policitics – The Musical, Mild Wild West, A Knight to Remember and Spaced Out. That is a whole lotta improv!

In the thrilling spy spoof Our Man In Havana, Circa One audiences were delighted by the dexterity of the multi-role playing cast, who took on more than 30 characters between the four of them amidst the colourful and seedy underworld of 1950s Cuba.

As part of the 2011 New Zealand Fringe Festival, the musical wonder that was flect-Re-flect enjoyed a short season in Circa Two, fascinating audiences with its originality and energy.

In March, Circa Two audiences were treated to yet another musical wonder, the delightful and charming Fairy Stories. You have never seen your favourite fairy tales quite like this!

Circa celebrated its 35th anniversary with the epic, exciting and explosive Pulitzer Prize-winning August: Osage County. A sell-out season of positively riveting performances, three of the cast were recognized with 2011 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards: Jennifer Ludlam for Best Actress, Michele Amas for Outstanding Performance and Lauren Gibson for Most Promising Female Newcomer.

In April, the Beatgirls returned to Circa Two with their hit show from 2010, BeatCamp! Once again, audiences were practically dancing in the aisles as the lovely and talented BeatGirls sang and danced their way through the decades, from The Andrew Sisters to Amy Winehouse!

Next up in Circa One was the modern Kiwi classic The Lead Wait. Captivating audiences with its unsettling hypernaturalism and dark wit, it was recognized with Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for Set Designer of the Year (Andrew Foster) and Sound Designer of the Year (Chris Ward).

Audiences couldn’t help tapping their toes to the cabaret music of Boomers Behaving Badly, a sell-out show that combined Jane Keller’s special style of storytelling with her virtuoso Broadway voice.

We were made privy to some of the deep, dark family secrets of Sir Winston Churchill in the world premiere of the new New Zealand play Meet the Churchills. A fresh and funny perspective on an iconic and larger-than-life family!

An Oak Tree took traditional theatre and turned it on its head. A play for two actors in which only one knows the script, audiences were mesmerized by the ways in which actor Tim Spite would feed the lines to his co-star – a different guest actor for every performance.

When the Rain Stops Falling enchanted and challenged Circa One audiences out of their mid-winter doldrums, through a sweeping, multi-generational family drama of epic proportions. Cast member Christopher Brougham was awarded Best Supporting Actor at the 2011 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards.

Eight was another departure from traditional theatre, with a premise that invited the audience to vote on which six of the eight monologues they would see in each performance. With the partnership of some of New Zealand’s hottest clothing designers, Eight was an engaging, intriguing and slick production that entranced Circa Two audiences.

Just in time for the Rugby World Cup, the return season of the Roger Hall hit Four Flat Whites in Italy took audiences on a hilarious journey with two mismatched couples. Fun-filled dream holiday … yeah right!

Also during the World Cup, the Tawata Productions play I, George Nepia treated audiences to a look at the life and times of legendary rugby player Geroge Nepia. After playing to sold-out houses in Circa Two, I, George Nepia swept the 2011 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards, winning Most Promising Director, Director of the Year (Jason Te Kare), Actor of the Year (Jarod Rawiri) and Production of the Year. It came back for another dynamite season in Circa Two in December.

The return season of the Tawata Productions hit He Reo Aroha delighted audiences in September with a heartwarming love story, beautiful music and inspiring performances.

Sex Drive turned Circa One into the Pack ‘n’ Pullet Poultry Factory where three women put their second division Lotto winnings into opening a mobile sex shop. An unforgettable production that had audiences belly laughing into the aisles. And who can forget Dame Kate Harcourt’s final outfit?!

A late entry into the Circa Two season, Drowning in Veronica Lake told us the story of the legendary actress through actor Alex Ellis’ compelling performance and the use of a truly unique costume.

Finally, we whirled you into the Christmas season with the return of one of Roger Hall’s earlier pantomimes, Aladdin. This show is currently enchanting audiences of young and old alike, and will return in January to continue to enchant. Get your tickets by calling the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or go online at www.circa.co.nz.

We’d like to thank our patrons, sponsors and the Wellington theatre community for your support during our 35th birthday, and wish you all the best for 2012. We will close for the year on 23 December, and reopen on 2 January with the first drama on the waterfront post of 2012!

Happy Holidays from everyone at Circa Theatre!

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