Ghosts in the theatre


GHOST STORY: Actor Beth Jones appears in former Gisborne woman Emma Maguire’s first play Why Are We Still Here? which opens at Wellington’s BATS Theatre next month. Picture supplied

A new theatre festival is to stage former Gisborne woman Emma Maguire’s first play at Wellington’s BATS Theatre next month. Six Degrees is a new festival at which Maguire will make her debut as playwright and director of her play, Why Are We Still Here?

“Why Are We Still Here? is a tale of desperation, grief, found families, and how hard it is to truly move on from life,” says Maguire.

Four lost women find shelter in a desolate theatre during a violent storm. To their surprise, the building isn’t actually abandoned and its two former occupants are taken by their new guests.

“It’s a ghost story — except the ghosts are mostly more lonely than threatening. It’s got movement pieces threaded throughout, and it plays around with light and shadow and what we can make out of a dystopian setting without providing a lot of backstory.”

The inspiration for the play came about through Emma’s fascination with old buildings.

“The transformative power of abandoned places has always been fascinating to me. It’s exciting to go into a new space and wonder what has happened in there and what history it has — especially in buildings like theatres where thousands upon thousands of stories have been told. It’s like a window into a totally different world.”

The world and the characters were devised by the actors during a six week devised drama session this year.

“It’s an interesting process and very different from starting with a script and going from there,”says Maguire.

“It tends to be lot more collaborative than scripted work, which I really enjoy.”

Although she has acted and performed for as long as she can remember Maguire’s love of theatre grew while she was a student at Gisborne Girls’ High School, She has also done theatrical work with Musical Theatre Gisborne and a variety of other groups, both in and out of Gisborne.

Maguire’s masters degree included papers in advanced directing and playwriting. The final part of the degree is a creative project — her play.

The Six Degrees Festival consists of six shows led and created by Victoria University masters students.

  • Why Are We Still Here? written and directed by Emma Maguire, BATS Theatre, Wellington, February 5-9, 6.30pm.

A new theatre festival is to stage former Gisborne woman Emma Maguire’s first play at Wellington’s BATS Theatre next month. Six Degrees is a new festival at which Maguire will make her debut as playwright and director of her play, Why Are We Still Here?

“Why Are We Still Here? is a tale of desperation, grief, found families, and how hard it is to truly move on from life,” says Maguire.

Four lost women find shelter in a desolate theatre during a violent storm. To their surprise, the building isn’t actually abandoned and its two former occupants are taken by their new guests.

“It’s a ghost story — except the ghosts are mostly more lonely than threatening. It’s got movement pieces threaded throughout, and it plays around with light and shadow and what we can make out of a dystopian setting without providing a lot of backstory.”

The inspiration for the play came about through Emma’s fascination with old buildings.

“The transformative power of abandoned places has always been fascinating to me. It’s exciting to go into a new space and wonder what has happened in there and what history it has — especially in buildings like theatres where thousands upon thousands of stories have been told. It’s like a window into a totally different world.”

The world and the characters were devised by the actors during a six week devised drama session this year.

“It’s an interesting process and very different from starting with a script and going from there,”says Maguire.

“It tends to be lot more collaborative than scripted work, which I really enjoy.”

Although she has acted and performed for as long as she can remember Maguire’s love of theatre grew while she was a student at Gisborne Girls’ High School, She has also done theatrical work with Musical Theatre Gisborne and a variety of other groups, both in and out of Gisborne.

Maguire’s masters degree included papers in advanced directing and playwriting. The final part of the degree is a creative project — her play.

The Six Degrees Festival consists of six shows led and created by Victoria University masters students.

  • Why Are We Still Here? written and directed by Emma Maguire, BATS Theatre, Wellington, February 5-9, 6.30pm.

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