Whitireia and WelTec drama students shine at NZ Fringe 2023

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Students and graduates of the performing arts programme at Whitireia and WelTec (Te Pūkenga ), based out of the campus Te Auaha in central Wellington, are taking their talents and skills to NZ Fringe this February and March.

Five shows at this year’s NZ Fringe are created and produced by Whitireia graduates and students in the New Zealand Diploma of Drama (a two year acting course at Te Auaha campus) or the one year extension course, Bachelor of Creativity (Performing arts – Drama).

The five shows are: CAUTION WET FLOOR; Nailed It!- a builder play; Two very serious plays, Goths against classical music, and Who hears the cries of the children.

Aimee Dredge, who is in her third year of study at Whitireia and will graduate with a degree in performing arts this year, co-created a production company - The Awkward Company - with two fellow students, and put together the show Nailed It!-a builder play.

Aimee, who enrolled at Whitireia straight from highschool at Awatapu College in Palmerston North, hopes that this is the start of a successful career in the arts.

“I am super passionate about theatre, and I want to continue creating my own work with the company I started.”

Nailed It!-a builder play is about a ragtag group of builders on a site, including a female ‘tradie’, and for Aimee, the show is really about inclusivity and breaking down stigmas.

“My Dad and brother are in construction and so it's a familiar space for me, I wanted to create something funny, but also genuine and that demonstrates no matter who you are, dreams and ambitions are worthwhile and achievable,” says Aimee.

The show will be on the 17th, 18th and 19th February at Te Auaha.

Jackson Burling, who got his diploma at Whitireia and then went on to get the degree in performing arts, created the solo show, CAUTION WET FLOOR, which will also be on at NZ Fringe.   

Jackson describes how he got involved in NZ Fringe: “During my three years of studying at Whitireia we were constantly learning techniques and encouraged to make solo work amongst other things. We've always had a relationship with the NZ Fringe team as we'd annually have them come meet us and speak to us about the festival. My show combines physical comedy, clever craftsmanship and the simplicity of laughter to prove that sometimes the grimiest of surfaces can clean up the best. What happens when the person hiding behind the wet floor sign gets swept into the spotlight?”

The show will be on from 21st to 25th February at Te Auaha.

“We couldn’t be more proud of our current students and grads getting out there and doing the mahi to put their own original ideas and stories on stage in NZ Fringe,” says Paula van Beek, a stage and screen tutor at Whitireia. “In our course we teach theatre making and creative enterprise as well as acting which allows our students to create their own original work and have the skills to produce their own work in professional contexts such as NZ Fringe. We emphasize collaboration and whanaungatanga in our programme and encourage our students to all support each other. We are so excited when our learners form production companies to produce their own or each other’s work.”

Final auditions are open for the New Zealand Diploma of Drama 2023 at Whitireia with the first day of the programme on 20th February. Applications will be accepted up to 17 February 2023. With only a few spaces left those interested are encouraged to apply with a self-tape video audition today via this link: https://www.whitireiaweltec.ac.nz/study-programmes/creativity/performing-arts/new-zealand-diploma-in-drama-l6/.

NZ Fringe is an arts festival based in Wellington which has been going for 32 years. It is run by the not-for-profit Creative Capital Arts Trust, who also bring audiences Aotearoa's favourite free arts festival, CubaDupa. NZ Fringe is proud to be TE KŌHANGA O AUAHA — THE BIRTHPLACE OF BRILLIANCE. Further information on NZ Fringe can be found here: https://fringe.co.nz/

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