September is NZ Theatre Month, and if you did not know that, you are not alone. This is its first year.
It's an annual event planned for the next five years and, around the country, theatres, professional and amateur, are presenting and celebrating New Zealand plays.
Roger Hall is probably this country's best known and most successful playwright, and it is through his work that NZ Theatre Month is happening.
"Dean Parker (New Zealand screenwriter, playwright, journalist and political commentator) suggested it years ago, and nothing happened. A committee was established but no one could agree. So I set up a committee of one (me) and got it started. But I have Malcolm Calder slaving away on the heavy lifting — setting up the Trust, getting it registered as a charitable Trust, doing the website, and a lot more. It's planned for five years so here we go with year one …," says Roger.
The trust comprises Roger Hall, Malcolm Calder and publishing consultant John Daly-Peoples, bringing together a broad range of experience, knowledge and expertise. All are passionate about New Zealand theatre, committed to good governance and are collectively responsible for setting the organisation's strategic direction.
While pretty much everything has its own day, month or year — last Friday was National Poetry Day — it's about time Kiwi theatre was acknowledged and honoured. We need to perform the plays and get audiences out to the theatres to see them.
So full marks to Roger Hall and the trust for getting the ball rolling, hopefully for the next five years.
"It's time theatre as a whole got more recognition — generally people know what's on locally but have no idea of the range and diversity there is," says Roger.
Which is why theatres in centres big and small are queuing up to help by putting on a Kiwi play.
"Thanks to people in various centres throughout the country , activities and events rare happening in many places."
As part of NZ Theatre Month, Wanganui Repertory Theatre is presenting Eugenia from September 14-22. Eugenia is written by Aussie-turned-Kiwi Lorae Parry and directed by Phil Hudson.
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Money. It's always about money. For working people, it is the measure by which they are valued, and if conditions can't be improved and the corporate bosses aren't going to restore the resources their staff enjoyed before so much was shifted offshore and shareholders became the priority, then extra money is all they have to ask for.
Nurses, teachers, struggling with modern demands and the results of previous (and existing) policies, can only ask for more money to compensate them for the high stress their jobs bestow.
But All Blacks? Rugby players? Men whose primary concern is to move a ball from one end of a field to another are among the latest to hint at the need for more money. Apparently, high salaries overseas are luring players away from New Zealand, weakening our "national" sport.
In December, 2016, a collective bargaining agreement between New Zealand Rugby and the Players' Association gave a cash injection to raise the players' salary fund to $191 million by 2019. That made some of the All Blacks — but not all — millionaires. They were earning that much in a year, while the Silver Ferns are earning a fraction of that.
All Blacks or Silver Ferns, they are all still extremely well paid in comparison with people who actually do something for their fellow creatures, whether teaching or caring for them. For All Blacks to be asking for more money while teachers and nurses are being criticised for doing the same — and they deserve it! — is crass and insensitive. Some people just don't know when they're well off.
Remember, your predecessors played the game and represented their country unpaid, taking time out from their businesses, farms and employment to wear the silver fern.