The co-director of a theatre production in South Auckland says raw Pacific talent outshines their small budget.
Southside Rise directed by The Black Friars theatre company, has brought together 60 students from eight different schools, to tell the story of being a Pacific leader in South Auckland.
Southside Rise. Photo Credit: T. Sao.
Co-director Lauie Tofa says a lot of hard work has gone into the show, with very little resources.
"We don't have enough money to buy a flash set or whatever," he says. "It's just a plain stage with raw talent on it and that's all we need."
Tofa says The Black Friars is self-funded and it's not cheap to put a show on but they want Pacific stories to be told.
"Money’s never been a big factor for us," he says. "As long as the stories are being told in the way we want them to be told, that’s all that matters.”
The Black Friars ran a workshop with the students at the end of last year, and wrote the Southside Rise script based on the students' personal experiences of being a leader at school, home, church or in the community.
Co-director Denyce Su'a says the show looks at leadership through a Pacific lense.
"It doesn't always look the same to everyone, especially for our young Polynesian people," she says. "It can be our mums working in the kitchen or our older brother and sister working seven days a week."
Tofa says the students have learnt a lot from this experience.
"Something we hope they take away from this production is that their stories matter, their grandfathers' stories matter, where they're from matters."
Southside Rise rehearsal. Photo Credit: T. Sao
Su'a says she's touched by the positive feedback they've received from the audience.
"It's nice for audiences to come in and see stories they can really relate to," she says. "To see their own stories on stage."
Tofa says it's the first professional production for most of the students and the talent has been amazing.
"I've seen their confidence pick up and they're on fire now."
"I'm blown away by the level of magic these kids bring to the stage," says Su'a.
Southside Rise is currently showing at the Mangere Arts Centre in South Auckland.