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Black Mirror, Ted Talks and Alice in Wonderland: wildly different inspirations for Auckland Theatre Company's annual youth theatre festival

Emerging writers, directors and performers shine on the spectacular ASB Waterfront Theatre stage with ATC’s 2018 Here & Now Festival.


Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) will present an annual youth theatre festival, Here & Now, in April.

Here & Now is a four-day takeover of the ASB Waterfront Theatre featuring some of the most exciting emerging talent in New Zealand Theatre.

Now in its second year, Here & Now 2018 follows on from the success of last year’s festival which premiered Eleanor Bishop’s BOYS, a production Metro Magazine described as one of the best and most important of 2017.

The first show in the Here & Now 2018 line-up is TENDER, devised by the cast under the masterful direction of Benjamin Henson (Red Speedo, Titus, The Importance of Being Earnest) alongside first-time director Ana Scotney (The Breaker Upperers, The Contours of Heaven). With defiant honesty, 10 young Aucklanders invite the audience in for a chat about love, sex and relationships, opening their hearts and encouraging all of us to try a little tenderness. In our ‘woke’ world, these young people explore the realities of love.

Next up is YOU FIRST, a new play by emerging writer Billie Staples (When the world was wide, BRAVADO!), directed by ATC’s Associate Director Lynne Cardy and starring a cast aged 13 – 25. Cardy, was in the casting team for the children in ATC’s production of Billy Elliot the Musical and recent Auckland Arts Festival hit 1984.

In the near distant future, a cataclysmic storm has levelled Aotearoa, forcing millions to move and toppling society. Teenagers are rounded up and forced to live underground under a ruthless regime where they must complete dangerous dares or disappear. Dan Williams (When Sun & Moon Collide, Boys, The Pitchfork Disney) will create the dystopian world with his evocative set and costume designs. Black Mirror meets Hunger Games in a production which depicts our beautiful country after an environmental catastrophe.

Here & Now will also feature ALICE, a devised work directed by Leo Gene Peters (Don Juan, Jekyll & Hyde, One Day Moko, Basement Christmas show) in his trademark intimate yet playful style. The cast include emerging professionals such as Ava Diakhaby and Tatum Warren-Ngata (BOYS), alongside many recent graduates from New Zealand’s top drama schools.

A group of ordinary friends are thrust into a strange mystery that takes them into seedy clubs, the supernatural underground, a secluded DOC cabin and to the most sinister place of all: Sylvia Park. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the films of David Lynch and the urban landscape of Auckland, Alice is a funny, anarchic, thrilling and imaginative celebration of how ridiculous and beautiful our lives can be.

Other events in the Here & Now festival include The Big Schmooze - a beginners guide to working in theatre, and Play Lunch - an opportunity to hear new scripts in development from young writers. With performances galore, acoustic sets in the Atrium every evening and an array of events, Here & Now festival is an exciting celebration of exceptional talent.


Further information: 



For media information, images and interviews, please contact Miryam Jacobi from Mr Fahrenheit Publicity, on or 027 366 2277



Here & Now Festival 2018

ASB Waterfront Theatre: 20 – 23 April 2018



Friday 20 April - 6:30pm

Saturday 22 April - 6pm

Sunday 23 April - 3pm

Monday 24 April - 6.30pm


You First

Friday 20 April - 8pm

Saturday 22 April - 7:30pm

Sunday 23 April - 4:30pm

Monday 24 April - 8pm



Friday 20 April - 9:30pm

Saturday 22 April - 9pm

Sunday 23 April - 6pm

Monday 24 April - 9.30pm





Directed by: Benjamin Henson & Ana Scotney

Written by: Devised by directors and cast

Costume & set designer: Amy Snape



Augustine Dube

Zoe Fong

Muna Arbon

Sean Farrell

Wumi Amokeodo

Emily Smith

Murdoch Keane

Catherine Yates

Jess Bennett





Written by: Billie Staples

Directed by: Lynne Cardy

Costume & set designer: Dan Williams



Dylan Thuraisingham

Leonardo Gunter

Erica Harrison

Kiri Naik

Oli Mathiesen

Emma Campbell

Karlton Laing

Doug Grant

Queenie Samuel

Madi Hewett

Emma Buckley

Julia McDonald

Opara Panagoda




Directed by: Leo Gene Peters

Costume & set designer: Amy Snape

Devised by: the cast



Georgia Hoskins-Smith

Ava Diakhaby

Rob Harper

Asha Haines

Tamara Gussy

Tatum Warren-Ngata

Phoebe McKellar

Josh Metcalfe

Carrisse Utai

Lydia Buckley

Ruby Love