Recently I started working towards my Masters in Creative Writing with Massey University. And I do mean working towards. I have completed one post-grad paper (yay), and now I am waiting to hear if I have been accepted into the programme. I did well in the post-grad paper, so I am hoping for acceptance. (I am putting this here– I write in NZ English, so I am so sorry for all the American readers in advance)
The irony is that I applied to do my Masters in Creative Writing with Victoria University back in 2012. I was waitlisted for the programme there- they have 20 spots for writers and 10 for scriptwriters. At the time I was set on writing literary novels. And I was annoyed at not getting in.
However, it has been a blessing in disguise, because if I had done it, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am now, or working in Theatre… or wanting to produce works for theatre.
I also am fully aware of every person I mention this to, they automatically roll their eyes and ask why I am not pursuing something more worthwhile. Meh. Theatre is worthwhile. I have gained confidence, friends, social skills, leadership skills and better mental health working in theatre. And that is just one person. But Theatre is more than just the individual.
I have become more and more focussed on 2 elements of Theatre – Theatre for Community and Theatre for Social Change (both of these have upcoming posts btw, and 2 projects I am currently up to my neck in). This paper I have completed at Massey is “Community Theatre” which isn’t what I thought it would be when I signed up… but… it is about telling the stories of a community, with a slant towards social change. So it combines both my passions unknowingly.
ANYWAY… here is the theatre project we completed working with “Just Zilch”. “Just Zilch” is a supermarket that rescues food from larger stores and cafe’s around Palmerston North, and redistributes it to those who need it. Everyone who comes receives enough food to get by for a day or so, for free, no judgement, no form filling, none of that. They open for 2 shifts a day, and hand out thousands of food items to hundreds of people. I love that the focus is on feeding the people and treating everyone with respect. I love the community surrounding the organisation, and the little things, like supplying women with sanitary products, with dignity and advice and options. It is a very human organisation, in the best possible sense.
As an environmentalist and vegan, the idea of food waste annoys me in general. Throwing perfectly good food away just because it didn’t sell is a waste of packaging, time, resources going into the product itself, money and investment. It also does not treat the producers with respect, as a lot of hard work went into the supply of the product, just to be thrown away. And as for mis-labelled products- I was very thrilled to see mislabelled products donated by the producers to be given away.
Here is the performance we put on at Massey. I’ll post the site-specific work when it is uploaded.