They lit up Auckland for 2011's Rugby World Cup after touring the world with a giant inflatable rugby ball; created a multimedia extravangza for luxury brand Louis Vuitton; produced eye-popping shows for David Jones and designer Collete Dinnigan and once flooded Aotea Square to launch Auckland's art festival.

Now the powerhouse New Zealand events company Inside Out Productions is lending its talents to a small but growing charity making its annual show at the Basement Theatre.

Inside Out, founded by Michael Mizrahi and Marie Adams, joins actor Chris Graham and singer-songwriter Laughton Kora as mentors to help produce Manawa Ora for Ngā Rangatahi Toa.

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With the catch phrase "before you teach me, you have to reach me", NRT uses creative arts to get young people once labelled as "trouble-makers" back into mainstream education or work. As well as creative arts mentoring, it offers wrap-around whanau support.

Manawa Ora comprises performances devised by the youth themselves in an intensive two-week series of workshops that draw on their personal experiences. Mizrahi says his daughter Ella recommended they see an NRT show because they would find it powerful.

"We went to the show last year at The Basement and were very moved," he says. "We bought the tee shirts and sweatshirts as a gesture of support but knew we could do more, so we got in touch and offered to help."

Michael Mizrahi and partner Marie Adams have created events all over the world. Now they're joining forces with local charity Ngā Rangatahi Toa.
Michael Mizrahi and partner Marie Adams have created events all over the world. Now they're joining forces with local charity Ngā Rangatahi Toa.

Huia O'Sullivan, executive director of NRT, suggested they help with the production which is now in its seventh year. Mizrahi acknowledges it's very different to the sorts of work he and Adams have done most recently.

"One is painting with broad strokes to mass audiences often televised, the other is intimate and soulful," he says. "But that is where Marie and I began, in small scale intimate theatre. Creating our self-devised work through improvisation, connecting to a live audience up close and personal. It will always be our first love."

Mizrahi says they'll add technical touches and enhance the show-going experience.

"But to be fair, we are very much in a support role this year. Chris [Graham] is directing and guiding the process. We worked with Chris on an Opera/Happening we staged call So Far, when we flooded Aotea Square to launch the idea of an Auckland Arts Festival."

Manawa Ora 2019 is at the Basement Theatre, Tuesday October 8 to Thursday October 10.

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