Free Theatre Christchurch (est. 1979) is New Zealand's longest running producer of experimental theatre. The company serves as a laboratory for established and emerging artists to work together to create innovative, high quality performance work.
We're very excited to announce that we are returning home! Free Theatre is taking up the first arts-practice tenancy in the new Arts Centre. The Gym - the old Boys' High gymnasium (which formerly housed the Academy Cinema) has been restored to its original form and strengthened for contemporary use. Free Theatre in collaboration with the Arts Circus (which featured in the Christchurch Council Rebuild Plan and the CCDU Blueprint) will take up a two-year lease of the space.
Free Theatre will introduce a programme of new interdisciplinary projects such as:
Ubu Nights: a series of weekly entertainments (combining theatre, music, film and hospitality) that engage diverse communities in interactive and sensory experiences. Free Theatre will collaborate with Christchurch artists from different disciplines.
Kafkaâ€™s Amerika: following on from I Sing the Body Electric (voted Best Theatre by The Press in 2012), this interdisciplinary project explores the latest available technology. Collaborators for this project include visual artist Julia Morison, filmmaker Slavko Martinov and designer Jason Mill.
We are also launching an Education Programme 'Pataphysical Theatre' to introduce children, teenagers and adults to Free Theatre's training. This will include classes on puppet and mask, movement, voice and acting for camera. Details and enrollment information will be released within the next month.
Around this programme of new works and education Arts Circus will provide much needed space and technical resources for festivals and events. Free Theatre and Arts Circus have developed a â€˜light-touchâ€™ design for The Gym that allows for flexible use of the space. The space will provide a quality set-up for a wide range of performances, events and entertainment.
We are very grateful for the support of the The Arts Centre and Christchurch City Council for making this lease possible and for the ongoing support of The Canterbury Community Trust and Creative New Zealand. We're currently fundraising for our first big project Kafka's Amerika, if you'd like to help please contact us.
Thanks again to everyone who took part in and supported Free Theatre's main event for last year Canterbury Tales as part of FESTA 2013. So many local artists, architecture and design students from Christchurch, Auckland and Sydney, business people, and members of the community, sponsored, funded and volunteered their time, enthusiasm and resources to this project - Canterbury Tales would never have happened without you.