Te Auaha Students Revive Two Outstanding Samoan Plays for New Audiences

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Te Auaha New Zealand Institute of Creativity students are to perform two plays by Samoan playwright Victor Roger at BATS Theatre in August.

The plays showcase the cross-disciplinary collaboration that the tertiary education facility is becoming known for.

Te Auaha Siva Samoa tutor, Taofi Mose-Tuiloma, and her Samoan dance students are collaborating with nineteen third year student actors from the Te Auaha creative degree on two Victor Roger plays at BATS Theatre – Sons and My Name is Gary Cooper. Sons is directed by Sasha Gibb and My Name is Gary Cooper is directed by Te Auaha acting tutor Tess Jamieson-Karaha.

“Victor has Samoan and Pākehā heritage and both the plays are set in Samoan contexts. As the majority of the actors are non-Samoan, the language and culture are both new to them. Taofi has been appointed cultural advisor and is helping them develop their characters, understand Fa’a Samoa (the customs of Samoa), speak well and build a connection with Samoa. Taofi is also choreographing and teaching Siva Samoa (Samoan dance) for the plays,” says Te Auaha Director Victoria Spackman. “Both plays are majority English and easily understood by non-Samoan speakers.”

“I am loving this work as it is fresh and new,” says Taofi Mose-Tuiloma. “Some people question why Palagi and other non-Samoan actors are playing Samoan roles, but as a Samoan woman I welcome it. I think of it as a Palagi person challenging themselves to step into my world, a world that is foreign them."

I am proud to share my culture with the students and they are very dedicated. This is the beauty of the theatre industry. Actors have to step into other worlds and characters all the time.

Both shows are at Bats Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace, Wellington. Sons runs from 14 to 18 August at 8pm and My Name is Gary Cooper runs from 21 to 25 August at 8pm.

Book at www.bats.co.nz

Te Auaha New Zealand Institute of Creativity is a state‐of‐the‐art creative campus which opened in Wellington in March this year. Te Auaha offers a world‐first Bachelor of Creativity with 5 different majors, providing students with the skills they need for the jobs of the future.