Tour ends with three shows at BATS

Young & Hungry’s tour of A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES comes to an end in Wellington with three public performances at BATS Theatre.

July 5th, 6th and 7th  | 6.30PM

BATS Theatre | 1 Kent Terrace

Tickets are $15 

Visit www.bats.co.nz  or call (04)802 4175to book 

A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES cast (from left) Laura Thompson, Ariadne Baltazar, Patrick Tafa and Liam Hughes after their performance at Gisborne Girls’ High School.

Mid-tour catch up with the ACOTH cast

The cast of Young and Hungry’s A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES have been touring around schools across New Zealand, from Dunedin in the south all the way up to Kaitaia, before heading back down to Wellington for public performances at BATS Theatre. Along the way they have performed to thousands of students, who each take away something different from the show.

We caught up with the cast and asked them about the tour so far:  

  1.  What has been the best feedback you’ve had from students?

Pat: For me it’s their big laughter. I can tell they’re enjoying the show. Also students who are just keen on advice and open to it as well.

Laura: We overheard some students in Nelson saying that the show had completely changed their idea of what theatre is, which is so exciting!

Liam:  Probably the best feedback is a hi-five from one of the “cool kids” who at first don’t seem interested but by the end are fully engaged.

  1. Favourite moment/ highlight of the tour so far? 

Pat: Seeing the beautiful South Island! 

Laura: I’ve been blown away by how engaged the students have been with the show. I didn’t know how they’d respond to live theatre – I wondered if they’d lose interest or find it a bit strange because it’s different from a lot of the entertainment they usually consume. But all of the students have been so invested, which has been so rewarding and which I am very grateful for!

Liam: The highlight of the tour for me has been seeing parts of the country that I have never seen before. I’m moving overseas in September so it’s a nice send off to tour around our backyard. 

  1. Low point of the tour?

Pat: Schools cancelling shows. Booo!

Laura: We’ve had a few schools that have had to cancel, which has been disappointing. The show is definitely strongest when we’re performing consistently and working with students almost every day, so too many days off can actually be a bit disorienting!

Liam:  The low point for me is when a bunch of schools cancelled for whatever reason (mainly due to mock exams I imagine) and we were left with a lot of free time in a place where there wasn’t much to do. 

  1. What message from A Country of Two Halves resonates with the students?

Pat: I think we give them an insight into different lifestyles and perspectives through the characters and their stories.

Laura: I think the students really take away from our show that theatre should and can be for everyone. Our show doesn’t have lavish props or sets, and we’re working in school halls, so I think there’s a real element of, hey, I could do this! We’re also sharing New Zealand stories from a diverse range of voices, which again encourages the students to dream about their own stories being told. I think it’s helped them to see theatre as something that is accessible and relevant.

Liam:  A message that resonates the most seems to be that everyone has demons and that no one is perfect. The show really highlights different perspectives throughout New Zealand and allows the kids to empathise with a whole range of people and cultures without a sense of being “taught” or spoken down to. It’s up to them what they take from the show, and I think that’s the most important thing. 

Auckland public performance of A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES

Tickets are on sale now for the Auckland public performance of our touring show A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES. 

Sunday, June 17th | 4PM

TAPAC (The Auckland Performing Arts Centre) | 100 Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland

Tickets are $12 for students and $15 for adults. 

Visit www.tapac.org.nz to book 

Don’t miss the chance to see our fabulous cast of Ariadne Baltazar, Laura Thompson, Liam Hughes and Patrick Tafa in action. 

Directed by Patrick Davies, A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES consists of extracts from New Zealand plays that help us understand how the ‘other half’ live: whether it be the haves and the have nots, rural and city, or privileged and un-empowered.

This 45-minute bare bones programme of New Zealand theatre (followed by a five-minute Q&A) can open discussion about the misunderstandings that keep us divided and what brings us together.

The show includes extracts from Wednesday to Come (Renée), Ka Shue (Letters Home) (Lynda Chanwai-Earle), Urban Hymns (Mīria George), Broken River (Ralph McCubbin Howell), The Debate (Riwia Brown), Revenge of the Amazons (Jean Betts), Sham (Jess Sayer), and The Tutor (Dave Armstrong).

 

A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES: The Cast!

Cast of A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES, from left, Ariadne Baltazar, Laura Thompson, Liam Hughes, and Patrick Tafa.

Four talented actors will be touring to schools across New Zealand with the Young and Hungry National Schools Tour.

Ariadne Baltazar, Laura Thompson, Patrick Tafa, and Liam Hughes make up the cast for A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES, and started rehearsals this week in Wellington.

Director Patrick Davies said each actor brought something unique to the table and an openness with their acting style which suited all of the eight play extracts.

“I’m thrilled to be directing the Y&H Tour. It’s an exciting opportunity to rake through the rich history of New Zealand playwrights in presenting polarised aspects of our culture.”

The tour runs in the second term from May 15 to July 7, 2018. If you would like to have these actors perform at your school, check out the tour details here.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CAST:

Laura Thompson grew up in Titirangi, West Auckland, and is of Ngāi Tahu descent. Laura completed a Bachelor of Performing Arts at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, and upon graduating spent 16 months on Shortland Street playing the villainous Dr Victoria Anderton. Since then she has continued to work in television and on a number of short films. Laura is also an educator for Rape Prevention Education, teaching high school students about consent and promoting healthy relationships. In her spare time, Laura loves writing, kickboxing and getting outdoors.

Liam Hughes is a recent graduate of Unitec’s Performing and Screen Arts Bachelor Course and an actor at Auckland Actors. He has always been into acting since he was little, but it wasn’t until he went to Northcote College and joined the Drama Class that he knew he was obsessed. Liam took part in the 2013 Young and Hungry Festival at The Basement Theatre, has acted in a number of web series and is currently on your screens in an ad for a ‘finger-lick’in-good’ product.

Ariadne Baltazar began seriously pursuing acting as a career in Yr 11 at Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt. She participated in the O’Shea Shield, school productions and community productions such as Jim Moriarty’s The Battalion in collaboration with Te Rakau during her final year. At the end of Yr 13, she was awarded the Juliet Howard Cup for Drama and went on to study at Toi Whakaari: NZ School of Drama in Wellington, and graduated with a Bachelor for Performing Arts: Acting. Named after the Greek princess who became a goddess, Ariadne (pronounced Aryadeen – like Aria and Dean together), or Ari as she goes by these days, has been learning Korean for 2 years which led her to become an ‘Army’: an avid fan of the trending South Korean boy-band BTS.

Patrick Tafa first gave acting a go in high school. After gaining lots of laughs and positive reactions from the audience during his first performance, he knew that’s what he wanted to do. Hailing from Onehunga in Auckland, Pat joined Massive Theatre Company at 16-years-old when his mum enrolled him for an acting workshop, he absolutely loved it and has been with the company ever since. Last year, he got a taste of touring life when he went on the road with the company’s devised work The Wholehearted. You may recognise Pat as Falani from Westside, the prequel series to Outrageous Fortune, which he has just finished filming the fourth season.