The Gathering brings together theatre and arts practitioners from the Magdalena network to show work in progress, give constructive feedback about the work, to network, exchange and nurture each other. The first two Gatherings were extremely rich events, attracting everyone from experienced professional theatre makers to young students to audience members. The Gathering operates on a shoestring budget with a D.I.Y. philosophy and a blackboard programme that is finalised on the first day of the event.
Thanks to the Wellington City Council; People’s Coffee; Actrix; Ministry of Women’s Affairs; and the NZ Diversity Action Programme.
We were thinking about a name and a theme for the Gathering. Concerned that too specific a theme might limit or exclude current work or thinking, we wanted both name and theme to be something necessary, useful, relevant in these very troubled times but broad enough to encompass a variety of contributions and be stimulating to thought and actions in the theatre.
A discussion of the S word arose (sustainability). What does it mean when applied to the making of our theatre? How big a carbon footprint does a fully staged theatre performance leave? What cost to light the lights? Mention was made of an upcoming STAB production (Heat, by Lynda Chanwai-Earle) that is going to be totally self-sustainable, powered off-grid with lights, sound and electronics all powered as far as possible from low drain and/or renewable energy.
The words ‘the power of theatre’ took on new meaning. As did other words often associated with theatre such as energy, charged, electric, and atmospheric. But the Gathering as an event is also about recognising that our own resources can become depleted too if not renewed, topped up, replenished. Hence Recharge.
We hope the action will be two-way, energy both taken in and given out. The individual artist absorbs the energy of the surrounding atmosphere in a way that restores their strength and faith in themselves and their work, at the same time the artist’s purpose and will is strengthened and clarified so that they might regather their forces for the necessary onward charge.