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Drone, worker or queen - which one are you?

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A new immersive dance-theatre work from Stuart Lloyd-Harris and Julia Harvie takes you on a performance experience behind the barriers of The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

HIVE - which has 20 shows over 12 days starting next Friday 6 September - gives the audience a unique opportunity to see behind the fences and enter the Engineering Extension, one of The Arts Centre’s eight yet to be restored heritage buildings. While 15 of the centre’s buildings have reopened since the 2011 earthquake, the Engineering Extension building has been closed to the public for more than eight years.

The performance will breathe new life into the building site, integrating cinema, theatre, dance and live music from cellist Nicole Reddington and composer Andrew McMillan. It brings together three of Aotearoa’s hottest and most versatile contemporary dance artists - Josie Archer, Kosta Bogoievski and Melbourne-based Sarah Elsworth. It is a truly multidisciplinary work.

HIVE will absorb you. The show explores how layered social structures and systems influence the roles we play within society. We spend our lives swinging back and forth between believing we have more control over the world than we do, and feeling, just as wrongly, that we have none. It addresses the question of why we are all searching to belong and how we actively and passively employ tactics and play roles to be a part of society.

Visual artist Lloyd-Harris and choreographer Harvie are keenly aware of giving audiences agency in their work compared to the traditional theatre-going experience.

"It’s a true privilege to be making a work for this space," Harvie says.

"We want to give our audiences a sense of ownership and volition within the work and of the space. We draw on the experience of someone at a music gig, a cabaret or a gallery, where you get to curate your own experience - lose yourself, sing along, drink, talk and move - and we draw on all these influences for HIVE. This is very much about ‘the experience’ and how it invites you to be involved in the ideas of the work."

Arts Centre chief executive Philip Aldridge says HIVE is dynamic and captivating, reframing both performance and the unrestored space.

"HIVE redefines what it means to be in the audience as you don high-visibility vests and head into the out of bounds here at The Arts Centre to follow the performers around as the story unfolds around you."

Aldridge says the series, which is a partnership between Lloyd-Harris, Harvie and The Arts Centre, is part of the rejuvenated centre’s expanding arts and cultural events programme.

"Partnering with other creatives and performers, such as Stuart and Julia, is a core part of The Arts Centre’s DNA. It helps the community really feel they have ownership of this space, which does indeed belong to the people of Canterbury and visitors. It also helps us provide greater diversity in our offerings."

Lloyd-Harris and Harvie believe it is important to make work that is not easily defined but uses whatever necessary to explore ideas.

"Performance, like any art form, should ask questions rather than provide answers - it should ask us to look at the world from different angles and perspectives," says Lloyd-Harris. "It’s not just about making something beautiful, but asks us to engage with bigger ideas, gives space for us to reflect and relate concepts and ideas to our own lives and this can be messy, ugly and maybe even terrifying, but ultimately, it should transcend the superficial imagery of beauty and connect with us on a deeper level."

Don’t miss this opportunity to go beyond the barriers for this unique performance experience!

Dates: Tuesdays to Saturdays from Friday 6 September until Saturday 21 September 2019.

Times: A 7.30pm performance on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 5.30pm and 7.30pm performances on

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Cost: $17.50 for students (ID required) and children and $27.50 for adults. Buy: Tickets are on sale now from artscentre.org.nz/events/hive/

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