Nelson Fringe Festival

I’ve just spent a week at the very first Nelson Fringe Festival. There I presented my show Sanctuary, operated the tech for Deborah Eve Rea’s show Take back the Hood and presented three workshops on Wellness through Creativity.

We had a wonderful time presenting Sanctuary and it was well received. We were nominated for “Edgiest Show” at the Fringe awards and received the below glowing review in the Nelson Mail

Sanctuary. Refinery Art Space, 5 May 2015.

The perfect elixir to the cool, night air was the warm hug Sweet Muffin Productions provided with their performance of “Sanctuary”. A short play, (less than half an hour) centred about a poignant theme of gaining freedom by overcoming fear.

A cunning, yet endearing, feline narrator tells the story. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the birds have lost their voices and only they are able to save themselves and regain their songs. As the audience settled into their seats, a refreshing, yet mellow atmosphere was created using the claves, a warbler and small flute to recreate bird song. The chatter from the audience competed with the music until a beautifully draped creature flew in centre stage to begin the tale. To a reinvention of Bob Marley’s, “Three Little Birds”, the show took flight with a short, comical rendition, reflecting the moment all the birds were once happily singing together.

The stage set was that of a sumptuous nesting ground, decorated in an eclectic mix of cloths of varying textures and colours. The whole production was styled with a bohemian ease, simple, liberal and casual.

While the stage remained a constant, brightness, each of the three actors playing the birds used textiles to create shade and spaces in which the sorrowful loss of each bird’s song occurred. An equally “chilled” musician accompanied the narrator, with effective sound effects and music, particularly using the lower register of the flute, to reflect tension, fear and sadness. A divine narrator/cat prowled the stage, signifying the Fear that needed to be overcome. A cleverly directed, almost choreographed scene, depicts this theme toward the end. A unified vocal celebrates the end of the play as bird song is restored. A sense of growth, triumph and hope flies off the stage and over the audience.

While it is not highly experimental, Sanctuary, is certainly beautifully crafted and performed. It is cute, yet seductive; simple yet sophisticated. This little play sits nicely, nested in the programme of events in this year’s Nelson Fringe Festival.

The Lightbowl Collective is a group started by myself and Kaly Newman. We are looking to present workshops on Wellness through creativity. We devised a series of workshops to be presented over 6 1 hour 30 min sessions. In Nelson we turned this series into 3 2 hour sessions, called Trust, Self-identity and Celebration. It was awesome to try the workshops out! Next we are heading to a Creativity in Corrections Symposium from Arts Access Aotearoa to look at taking them to Prisons.

Below is a short, ridiculous Vlog I made about the Nelson Trip. Sometimes life on tour can be silly!


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