Inspired people, new ideas, innovation and exciting performance are the lifeblood of theatre practice in Aotearoa New Zealand.
BATS Theatre’s Purpose/Kaupapa is to provide a supportive, professional and accessible theatre venue that fosters the development of practitioners, audiences and New Zealand performance work.
BATS theatre is a presenter venue staging an annual programme to its audience. Our programme aims to develop live performance practitioners, audiences and new theatre works from Aotearoa New Zealand, presenting the best of cutting edge and experimental theatre from New Zealand and overseas. Many of these works go on tour and become national hits and even if the shows don’t continue on, the actors, writers, producers, designers and directors do.
As a presenting venue we are reliant on co-operatives wanting to produce works at BATS. These co-operatives are driven by artists, producers and already established theatre companies who submit scripts or proposals for us to consider in our programming.
Fundamental to BATS is the maintenance of low ticket prices and a share/risk policy between the theatre & co operatives which ensures that we remain New Zealand’s most accessible professional theatre for both audiences and practitioners – we want going to the Theatre to be as easy and accessible as going to the movies!
Ticket prices average around: $15 to $20 for waged persons, and $12 to $15 for unwaged persons.
No one expects the Spanish um . . . Joseph K is a darkly comic modern adaptation of Franz Kafka's THE TRIAL written by award-winning writer and comedian Tom Basden. Mysterious forces have disrupted London banker Joseph K’s 30th birthday, thrusting him into circumstances out of his control as he stumbles through the bureaucracy of his unexplained arrest. Winners of BEST THEATRE Dunedin Fringe 2013, my accomplice are back with this biting and brilliant satire on rules, red tape and The Establishment. Starring Chapman Tripp award-winners Paul Waggott, Erin Banks, Ralph McCubbin Howell and local up-and-comer Sam Hallahan. Directed by Uther Dean. Creative Produced by Hannah Banks. Production Managed by Kate Clarkin. Designed by Meg Rollandi, Nick Zwart, and Tane Upjohn-Beatson. 'Both hilarious and scarily believable' – Jon Davis (The Londonist) 'A fiercely precocious mixture of youthful irreverence and razor-sharp insight' – Dominic Cavendish (The Telegraph) More information at myaccomplice.co.nz
Some of the best improvisers from NZIF meet for the first time on stage to weave honest monologues and scenes into a show as delicious as honey on crumpet with a cup of tea in bed. NZIF brings together improvisers from all over New Zealand and Australia together. What better way to get to know each other than by sharing some true stories and then improvising scenes inspired by those stories on stage? With an audience! Crumpet is the signature format of the troupe Crumpet, a group that came out of WIT.
A breathtaking evolution in improvisation. Jason Geary, Rik Brown and Karl McConnell take to the stage to tell one single narrative using nothing but each other for inspiration. 3 Minds. 1 Story. No Gimmicks. Part of the 2013 New Zealand Improv Festival. Want to see all three shows in one night? Email the box office to book three shows for only $36 (or $30 concession).
#Divas Join the WIT Improv Divas as they look at what’s really going on behind those cheery smugdates we all see on our Facebook timelines. In scenes inspired by real-life Facebook updates, the Divas explore this pervasive social medium where everyone’s lives are on display – but the truth is a lot harder to pin down.
It’s open day in Limbo. Come along and witness the machinations of this humble little transit lounge for the recently deceased. People come through Limbo because there’s something unresolved from their lives. A helpful receptionist enables re-enactments of these moments so the dead folk can move on to the ‘other side’. It just so happens that these secrets, regrets, and discoveries, mirror aspects of the audience members lives! Body in Space is a diverse and dynamic company, cultivating a killer reputation in NZ’s artiest town of Nelson. Join us for masterful, meaningful story telling that will leave you happy to be alive! On Body in Space’s regular improv show The Deep End: “…fresh, witty and unexpected… as good as any I’ve seen.” – The Nelson Mail On Body in Space’s adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest: “They are funny. They are sexy. They are smart.” – Theatreview
Just over the hill from Wellington, on the northern edge of Te Awaiti station, sits a small town that shares the same name. The kind of town you only go to when you’re going somewhere else, where the local dairy serves the second biggest ice creams in the lower North Island. Next to the town’s most notable land feature sits the Te Awaiti Resort and Conference Centre; family run, at least it certainly feels that way. In this town where nothing ever happens, anything could happen…. Wellington Improvisation Troupe present the penultimate episode of the seventh annual season of the capital’s longest running improvised theatre experience, The Young and the WITless 7. Follow the sagas and stories of the people of fictional Te Awaiti as WIT weaves a tale of drama, melodrama and mischief; every episode totally improvised, every twist and turn a surprise. Drawing both on NZ’s soap tradition (Shortland Street, Gloss, Palmolive) and on WIT’s own improvisation pedigree (Thrills & Swoon, Micetro, CSI: Wainui) The Young and the WITless 7 will make you laugh, cry, and feel every emotion a poignant stare into the middle distance can muster. Directed by Jennifer O’Sullivan Featuring: Christine Brooks, Nicola Pauling, Steven Youngblood, Kate Wilson, Lyndon Hood, Barry Miskimmin, Kirstin Price, Anton van Helden, Tai Samaeli, Maggie Cargill, Mary Little and Amy Williamson “Unpredictable soap produces amusing absurdism” – Phoebe Smith, Theatreview “Formidable and funny” – Jackson Coe, Theatreview
Joe is a cop, and good at his job. In almost twenty years on the force, he’s put away hundreds of criminals and received a dozen medals and commendations from the city. But two weeks from retirement, Joe is pulled into one last case: a case that seems to reach all the way to the very highest levels of the department. And if that wasn’t enough, his new partner’s a… A what? Each night, the audience will select a new partner for Joe at random. Will it be a zombie? A monkey? A robot? A ninja? A leprechaun? Each partner brings its own special abilities, knowledge, connections, and problems. Hilarious problems. Loose Cannons: a buddy cop show with a twist, exploring a world of crime that could explode unpredictably at any moment. Directed by Derek Flores and Matt Powell, Loose Cannons is fast paced, playful, comedic storytelling at its best.
The unconstrained imaginations of the Reverend Jellie improvisers guarantees every tailor-made scene will travel unpredictable routes to surreal heights. Gain evil pleasure in making the troupe sweat with obscure scene suggestions and marvel at the quick wit that makes them flourish in spontaneity – leaving you with an insatiable appetite for more of the uproarious outcomes. “…performed with a high degree of skill…recommended to anyone who loves improvised theatre and wants a laugh a minute for the full sixty.” – Theatreview.org.nz “…performed fantastically and never flinched.” - 24daysofgiggles.com
“This is f**king awesome!” – Macklemore, The Heist, 2012. Thrift Shop is a bargain hunter’s dream. The cast head to a local opportunity shop to source costume and set. Alongside the volunteers, shoppers, and donors, they collect material: clothing, books, bric-a-brac. These items and experiences are loaned to us for one night to create and inspire our show. At the end of the performance, members of the audience have the opportunity to purchase any items (excluding the performers). The rest is returned to the shop, along with the proceeds, and a donation from the ticket sales. Thrift Shop is born from the challenges of travelling theatre. However small the show, touring is a logistical (and budgetary) nightmare. This encourages artists to use local community as a resource to help solve these problems, and in turn give something back. It promotes the sharing of resources, and the promotion of local communities through theatre.
The experience of creating a story should be like going on an adventure; like stepping into a dark cave. PlayShop’s Into the Dark Cave will transform BATS Theatre into the boundless landscapes we built as children, where a few chairs and a sheet would turn into castles and space-stations. The audience will be invited to join the improvisers on a stage strewn with mattresses, pillows and blankets. There, under the warm glow of household lamps (and marshmellows, for sustenance), the stories shared by improvisers and audience alike will leap to life as live-action, shadow-play and puppetry. As well as the usual ensemble of fearless actors, Into the Dark Cave will feature a full host of acoustic musicians, scenographers and props-builders, all helping to spontaneously create daring stories. To delve Into the Dark Cave is to let go your imagination. Come join PlayShop as your guides. The journey will be harrowing, beautiful, and joyful.
Created by Melbourne improviser David S. Innes, Time Lord is an exciting, rollicking adventure in Time and Space. An improvised science fiction adventure, in the style of Doctor Who, where the audience choose the title of the story. David S. Innes is the Artistic Director of Melbourne’s The Impro Box, a company that specialises in improvised versions of television shows, movies and genres. David is very passionate about genre and in particular Doctor Who and is excited to share his passion with a new audience in New Zealand.
Hoorah! Grab lashings of Ginger Beer and prepare for Timmy to get licky. Those Jolly Hockeysticks ConArtists are back to improvise through a spiffing escapade in the style of beloved children’s author Enid Blyton. The Thrusting Three, The Silly Six or perhaps The Frisky Four will solve epic adventures involving pesky adults with the help of their good solid English Values and immensely sensible shoes. Oh, and they’ll probably eat some scones too. Warning: May contain grown men in shorts. “A marvellous time is had by all. Jane Austen would turn in her grave with delight! … Rollicking fun!” Austen Found, Rip It Up Adelaide February 2010 “As the tale unfolds it becomes obvious what consummate professionals they are…” Bite Me, May 2010 After the smash hit sell-out success of Austen Found: The Undiscovered Musicals of Jane Austen (NZIF 2008) we suggest you should be prepared (like Baden Powell) and book early.
Moments and connections. People who meet people who meet other people who, in turn, meet other people. Improvised short stories exploring the moments we forget but to which others cling.
Hear ye! Hear ye! (Alarums from within) Four of New Zealand’s most seasoned improvisors are boldly advancing onto your thrust stage with a Shakespearean-based improvised tale for all to enjoy. Shakespeare: As You Write It puts the power of the bard into your hands. You choose the story and the merry band of players will dance to your tune, complete with sword fights, star-crossed lovers and silly hats. It’s a Shakespeare/Pop Culture mash-up for the ages! Featuring Brendon Bennetts, Jeff Clark, Ralph McCubbin-Howell and Dan Allan “With a stirring ‘hey nonny nonny’ the audience spilled out into the frosty evening, satisfied and gleefully recounting their favourite scenes. If only all lessons in literature were so entertaining.” – Theatreview
Community Choirs are always interesting collections of folk, brought together by their love of, rather than skill with, music. Hear their stories and hear choral music improvised for the first time! Greg Ellis is the man behind Vance Fontaine and together with an intrepid team of improvisers – who’ve only been together for 3 hours beforehand – they’ll create the songs and stories behind an eclectic and eccentric group. Performers from around the country come together to create the choir and its music. You’ll hear the stories of this group of misfits and then the songs inspired by those tales. This sort of improvised musical has never been attempted before in New Zealand and this is your chance to catch it for the very first time.
One improvisor is trapped on stage for an entire show trying to survive as the rest of the cast puts them through their paces. A whirlwind of characters, genres and situations; it’s the ultimate test of improv endurance. The final show of the festival! Catch a selection of NZ’s best as they take on this challenging and exciting format.
“If homelessness is to be eradicated in our society, it will require more than emergency accommodation, night shelters and soup kitchens.” (NewsWire.co.nz, 2012) “Got any Chump Change?” A dark comedy accompanied by Wellington band The Digg. Directed by Anna Shaw A Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School and Victoria University Master of Theatre Arts (Directing) Production.
I BETTY YA DIDN'T KNOW THIS ABOUT COLONIAL NEW ZEALAND It's the middle of the 19th century and rich people hate poor people like, a lot. In England they are trying hard to rid the streets of the lower classes. Through no fault of her own, Betty the maid is thrown in with the scamps and tramps on a ship bound for the factories of Australia. Forever an optimist, Betty finds some likeminded souls amongst the riff raff who share her dream of a life undivided by class. A Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School and Victoria University Master of Theatre Arts (Directing) Production
By John Patrick Shanley A play about two people so human, it hurts. 30 years since its first live performance, this play by the Oscar-winning writer of Moonstruck and Doubt follows two lost souls and their chance meeting in a bar one night. “…the equivalent of sitting at ringside watching a prize fight that concludes in a loving embrace” – The New York Times Directed by Chaz Harris (Someone Like You, BATS 2012) Cast: Vere Hampson-Tindale, Janelle Pollock
Chop/Stick is not a story. It's a cheeky delve into how we see ourselves, how we see each other and who for the love of all things holy "we" is. Evelyn (Evie) isn't Chinese enough for her Grandma but is Asian enough - without being too Asian - for her best friend Kayla. Steve discovers he may be even more interesting than Melissa. Melissa would probably agree. Kingston has a fresh take on freshness and, if anyone asks, he's at the library. Thirteen diverse New Zealanders all played by diverse New Zealander Michelle Ang.
After sell-out seasons in Auckland, Dolly Mixture is about to cast a spell on Wellington. When demented doll collector Beverley Beavington advertises for a home stay; Crispin Merriweather fits the bill. He's virginal, friendless and easily manipulated. ?With the dead eyes of hundred of dolls watching them Beverley elicits Crispin’s help to embark on a little satanic ritual. Yvette Parsons (Silent Night), Thomas Sainsbury (Yeti Trilogy) and Sarah Houbolt join outrageous forces in this deranged new play that will make your skin crawl. Don't come alone...