TAHI Festival: A spotlight on solo performance

Promotional poster for Tahi. Text reads Tahi: New Zealand Festival of Solo Performances, Performances, workshops, forum. www.tahifestivalnz.com

This August, Wellington will host the inaugural TAHI festival. Directed by Victoria University of Wellington theatre tutor and alumna Dr Sally Richards, this five-day festival is dedicated to solo performance and features 17 performances from established and emerging artists, including students from Victoria University of Wellington.

"TAHI provides a platform to bring together, celebrate, and sustain Aotearoa's solo theatre performers and their work. The festival acknowledges our fine whakapapa of solo performance, how we have found our unique voice(s) in story-telling in this particular way,” says Richards.

“It will be an opportunity for theatre-makers to share their work and knowledge. We want to develop new audiences for solo work, by supplying a degustation menu for them. Audiences are able to sample a diverse range of solo shows: autobiography, biography, premieres, emerging artists, physical theatre, the absurd, and the eloquent.”

Another focus for the festival is highlighting the collaborative process and dispelling the idea of ‘solo’ performance being a solo project. “The festival recognises the contributions of directors, designers, producers, and technicians. The workshops and panels throughout the festival will address these critical relationships,” Richards explains.

The workshops, led by experienced industry practitioners, will give practical insights into performing, directing, and devising for solo performance, while the panels will engage audiences, practitioners, and producers/venues in a variety of discussions about the practice of solo performance.

Richards’ plans for the festival reach further than just a regular fixture on the capital's cultural calendar. “We want to continue to grow—more shows, greater diversity, and to tap into the international market. We are also looking at opportunities to tour the festival to the regions,” Richards says.

TAHI festival runs from 20–24 August at BATS Theatre.