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THEATRE THREAD: Tense | Can I Live? | The Savage Coloniser

Tusiata Avia

Fierce, furious, fabulously unforgiving: from its premiere at Auckland Arts Festival comes the celebrated stage adaptation of Tusiata Avia’s unapologetic poetry collection.

Inspired by the poems of celebrated New Zealand Samoan poet, Tusiata Avia who became the first female Pasifika poet to win the Ockham Book Award for poetry for The Savage Coloniser Book, this show presents a sometimes blistering, sometimes amusing, but always clear-eyed examination of colonisation and the continually thorny subjects of race in Aotearoa.

Following on from the triumphant, internationally acclaimed Wild Dogs Under My Skirt, and again under the artful direction of Anapela Polata’ivao, Avia’s examination of race and racism, the colonised and the coloniser, is full of bold humour, courage and lacerating truths.

Not to be missed!
“a production of unparalleled excellence” – Spinoff
“honest, disruptive, and empowering” – Theatrescenes

Thurs 19 + Fri 20 Oct | 8pm | 70 min
Schools Show: Fri 20 Oct 1pm
Pay What You Can (PWYC)


Fehinti Balogun + Complicité

“Why don’t we talk about it?” Fehinti Balogun asks this urgent question and offers an invitation in Can I Live?, a vital new digital performance about the climate catastrophe, sharing his personal journey into the biggest challenge of our times. From “…the most influential and consistently interesting theatre company working in Britain.”

Weaving his personal story with spoken word, rap, theatre and the scientific facts, Fehinti charts a course through the fundamental issues underpinning the emergency, identifying the intimate relationship between the environmental crisis & the global struggle for social justice, and sharing how, as a young Black British man, he has found his place in the climate movement.

In the face of a sense of helplessness about the climate catastrophe, Can I Live? is an outstretched hand, inviting audiences to recognise they are not alone – and that through understanding the issues and connecting with the many powerful activists around the globe driving change, we can find a sense of hope for the future.

“…the most influential and consistently interesting theatre company working in Britain.” – The Times

A Complicité production in association with the Barbican, London, supported by Doc Society and Oxford Playhouse. Supported by Arts Council England and Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Photo by David Hewitt: Filmed production, Complicité’s Can I Live? with Fehinti Balogun.

Accessibility Programme:
This film will be Open Captioned, meaning the captions will play on screen.

There is also Audio Description available for this performance.

For more information or to book a headset, please email or call/text the Nelson Arts Festival on 027 241 4599.

Sun 22 Oct | 4pm | 60 min
Pay What You Can (PWYC)


Written by Donna McLeod, Presented by Te Oro Hā

Māori Theatre about the Nelson Tenths with pūrākau, taonga pūoro, waiata, and poetry, from the artists behind sell-out hit Parihaka.

As a mokopuna of Taranaki, Donna McLeod carried her Nanny’s kete to hui in the 70s, where the kaupapa was the Nelson Tenths.

In 2023, her whānau live on papakāinga in Motueka. Donna refuses to let her mokopuna carry her kete.

Intergenerational history. My history. Your history. Our history.
Wed 25 Oct | 7.30pm | 60 min
Ticket link for Motueka Show

Thurs 26 Oct | 8pm | 60 min
Ticket link for Whakatū Nelson Show

Schools Show: Fri 27 Oct | 1pm

Pay What You Can (PWYC)

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