Wow! Productions is Dunedin’s premiere theatre collective. It was formed in mid-1996 as a co-operative of actors, directors and other theatre & creative practitioners with a shared vision to provide a professionally-constituted creative forum. Wow! is overseen by a Charitable Trust, the current board of which comprises Martyn Roberts (chair); Cindy Diver (deputy chair); Alison Finigan (secretary); Hilary Halba; Lisa Warrington (archive) Donna Agnew (Treasurer): Peter Chin; Courtney Drummond; and Liesel Mitchell. Wow! presents an eclectic programme of plays and events which respond positively to the theatrical climate of Dunedin.
‘Wow! Productions have established themselves as reliable providers of very high quality theatre’
Otago Daily Times
‘Wow! Productions has the uncanny ability to choose the right venue and the right actors for the right play’
Sunday Star Times
To ensure that the theatrical language of this city reflects the voice of our country, the plays Wow! has chosen to present have always included plays by New Zealand writers like Gary Henderson (An Unseasonable Fall of Snow, Lines of Fire); Duncan Sarkies (Saving Grace); Fiona Samuel (One Flesh); Apirana Taylor (Whaea Kairau: Mother Hundred-Eater) and Ken Duncum (Cherish, Horseplay) to name a few.
In addition, Wow! has produced significant works by overseas writers, including Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa and Martin McDonagh’s Beauty Queen of Leenane. These choices are formed in response to other professional offerings in the city, and to broaden the range of works available for Dunedin audiences.
Wow! embraces diversity through its desire to cross genres and boundaries, by forming partnerships – for example with dancers & choreographers (Daniel Belton and Donnine Harrison, One Flesh); designers (clothing designer Darlene Gore, Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love); other theatre collectives (most notably Kilimogo Productions, Te Whaea and Blue Smoke) and visual artists (Ewan MacDougall, Twelfth Night); (Paul Trotman, dunEDINburgh! a photographic exhibition of Dunedin and Edinburgh sites on the streets of Edinburgh).
As well as performing in conventional theatre venues, Wow! has developed a reputation for mounting innovative productions in site-specific and/or non-theatre spaces. These include Toitu and the Otago Museum Special Exhibitions Gallery; the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Temple and Carnegie Galleries; the Athenaeum Building; a bar, cafés, offices and a hairdressing salon. The use of these ‘found’ spaces allows the themes, tone and subject matter of the plays to dictate the most appropriate venue for their presentation – along with the artistic decisions of the creative artists involved.
Wow!’s offering for the Inaugural Otago Festival of the Arts in 2000, Ken Duncam’s An Unseasonable Fall of Snow, took place in Ruby in the Dust, a downstairs bar. The Dunedin Public Art Gallery was home for Duncum’s Cherish, for the 2004 Festival. Dunedin’s Victorian Railway Station was the venue for Gary Henderson’s Lines of Fire, commissioned for the 2006 Festival, The Cape in 2008, Stuart Hoar’s Backwards in High Heels visited various community halls throughout Dunedin and environs for the 2010 Festival. Farley’s Arcade in 2015 helped celebrate Dunedin’s 150 years as a city.
Wow! is very pleased to be building new connections and collaborations through the 2019-2020 Season with the Dunedin Public Libraries and other major cultural institutions in our city.