Te Puna Toi - Performance Research Project
Te Puna Toi (est. 2001) is the performance research arm of Free Theatre. Te Puna Toi works between the local and the international and between the avant-garde and the traditional in theatre, performance and film. It is especially interested in hosting events and supporting research and publications which produce ideas about the performance of encounter and identity between cultures – in particular, between European and Māori, but also amongst European, Māori, Pasifika, Asian and other peoples, as New Zealand becomes increasingly multi-cultural in its orientation. This is especially relevant in post-quake Christchurch where the usual ideas around identity have been unsettled and new migrants come to help build a new city - there is an opportunity here to create meetings between cultures that lead to new and surprising ideas about who we are and where we are going.
As the research and events branch of Free Theatre, Te Puna Toi is located in our home in The Gym in The Arts Centre of Christchurch. We're committed to preserving and promoting the work of New Zealand artists, providing an essential resource for those wishing to study and to make performances and films in Aotearoa/New Zealand as well as to make the work of international artists available locally. We have operated in collaboration with partners, the Centre for Performance Research (Aberystwyth, Wales) and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.
Te Puna Toi was established in 2001 by the Department of Theatre and Film Studies co-founded by Peter Falkenberg and Sharon Mazer (Falkenberg is current director of the centre) at the University of Canterbury in order to provide a New Zealand-centred platform for performance research and has hosted conferences such as PSi - Performance Studies International (2003) and artists including filmmaker Barry Barclay (2001), performer Cristina Castrillo (2001), Professor Jörg Drews (2004), Atamira Dance Collective (2005), pianist Gao Ping (2007), Professor Manfred Waffender (2008), playwright Werner Fritsch (2008 and 2010), filmmaker Lech Majewski (2009), Professor Richard Gough (2011), and director Taiporoutu Huata (2001 and 2015).
Free Theatre ensemble member Marian McCurdy has a just published a book Acting and its Refusal in Theatre and Film with Intellect in which she discusses several Free Theatre productions.
Markets and Puppets (workshops and talks)
The Gym, Nov/Dec 2017
Ars Acustica (workshops and talks)
The Gym, April 2018
A Midsummer Nights Dream (2019)