17 December 2012


Well, it's that merry time of year again when we all look forward to some time off to enjoy the holidays with family and friends. But before we say goodbye to 2012, we thought we'd take a look back at the year of theatre at Circa.

And what a year it was!

We kicked things off last January with the post-Christmas return of the Roger Hall panto, Aladdin - he's right behind you!

The summer fun continued with another return season - 2011's smash hit The Motor Camp, the cracker Kiwi camping comedy!

Circa Two warmed up with the haunting and mesmeric Esencia del Flamenco by the Desde Sevilla Flamenco Dance Company, bringing the essence of flamenco to Circa's smaller theatre space.

The spirit of dance continued in Circa Two with Meeting Karpovsky, an award-winning production featuring Helen Moulder and Sir Jon Trimmer.

Peninsula, Circa's contribution to the New Zealand International Arts Festival, captivated audiences with its touching story, brilliant acting, superb direction and impressive staging. This Circa production was recently recognized with 2012 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for New Zealand Play of the Year (playwright Gary Henderson) and Sound Designer of the Year (Chris Ward).

Up next in Circa Two was the new musical Floral Notes, in which theatre favourites Geraldine Brophy and Jane Keller delighted audiences with an evening of super songs and first-rate entertainment.

The Improvisors brought their on-the-spot antics to a number of shows for young and old alike throughout the year: Theatresports, History Never Repeats and Improv Cage Match had audiences shouting from their seats. The season of Improvisors Kids school holiday shows turned fairy tales on their heads: Ugly Stepsisters, The 3 Bears ... and Goldilocks and Fairy Godfather - interactive fun for younger audiences!

Music and dancing became the main theme in Circa One during Roger Hall's A Shortcut to Happiness, a fabulous new comedy and the lives, loves and misadventures of a folk-dancing class. Cast member Elena Stejko won the 2012 Chapman Tripp Award for Actress of the Year for her turn as Russian immigrant and dance teacher Natasha.

Circa Two journeyed 100 years in the past and back again in the bitterly comic new play Chekhov in Hell, to take a critical look at the 21st Century through the eyes of the great Russian playwright.

The Arthur Miller masterpiece All My Sons awed Circa One audiences with a powerful and profoundly moving story and riveting performances. Cast member Richard Dey was recognized for his work with a 2012 Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for an Outstanding Performance. Circa offered an audio described performance of All My Sons for blind and visually impaired audience members.

Tawata Productions brought another truly remarkable play to Circa Two with Sunset Road, a coming of age story set in 1975 Rotorua.

Audiences could barely keep themselves from dancing in the aisles when The BeatGirls took over Circa One with their hit show Spector. Sharing the life and times of Phil Spector as well his impressive array of hit songs, The BeatGrirls once again delighted with pure entertainment. With the addition of honourary 'BeatBoy' Jay Chasland, Spector was a mid-winter hit!

A late addition to the 2012 programme, Nuclear Family amazed audiences as performer Yael Gezentvey transformed between 12 multi-cultural characters in a tour-de-force performance of a riveting solo show.

August saw the World Premiere production of the first stage adaptation of the best-selling memoir, West End Girls - a true story of love, life, laughter and sex. Cast member Victoria Abbott won the 2012 Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for Most Promising Female Newcomer of the Year for her work as lead character - and the memoir's author - Barbara Tate.

Another tour-de-force solo performance in Circa Two left audiences reeling from a truly emotional journey of love and loss: Catherine Downes starred in the dramatic adaptation of Joan Didion's best-selling memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking.

Circa One became one house in two different time periods for the multi award-winning Clybourne Park. Sharp, clever and wickedly funny, it probed the contemporary fault line between property and prejudice. Cast member Nacy Brunning was awarded the 2012 Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for Supporting Actress of the Year for her work in the play.

Tikapa Productions presented Manawa in Circa Two, a shocking, challenging and very funny exploration of the New Zealand justice system.

The fast-moving contemporary drama The Truth Game transformed Circa One into a daily newspaper office and introduced Circa audiences to the very real battle between traditional media and the ever-changing digital media.

A story of love, loss and family, The Mourning After was another presentation by Circa partners Tawata Productions. Beautifully performed by playwright Ahi Karunaharan, Circa Two audiences were transported to a tsunami-ravaged seaside village in Sri Lanka.

In November, Circa celebrated its one millionth patron to its waterfront location with a big party and the launch of plans to improve on the building and facilities. First up will be to replace the seats in Circa One, and Circa is raising money for this endeavour by 'selling' the new seats - $1,000 will get you a signature  plaque on the back of one of the seats. For more info or to buy a seat, please contact Cara Hill, Marketing Manager, at marketing@circa.co.nz.

The World Premiere production of The Tigers of Wrath captivated Circa Two audiences with a brilliant script, stellar performances and a dynamic set.

We whirled you into the Christmas season with the return of the first Roger Hall pantomime, Cinderella. This show is currently captivating 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.

Finally, Ray Henwood reminded us about the true meaning of Christmas with his solo presentation of A Christmas CarolThis show ends on 22 December and performances are filling up - get your tickets by calling the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or going online at www.circa.co.nz.

We’d like to thank our patrons, sponsors and the Wellington theatre community for your support this year, and wish you all the best for 2013. Our last performance for the year is on 23 December, after which we will close until 2 January.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Circa Theatre!

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