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New and improved Te Pou Theatre continues to excite audiences

Te Pou Theatre is delighted with its new and improved venue, and so are its audiences. New Zealand’s only Māori-led performing arts centre has been revamped and revitalised with a new rehearsal space, dressing rooms, community facility and a state-of-the-art auditorium.

The last few years have been challenging for this unique theatre. Unable to perform with live audiences during Covid restrictions, Te Pou is delighted to be back face-to-face with theatregoers.

And Te Pou offers a rich and varied programme. Upcoming highlights include the Comedy Mixtape, which promises belly-ache laughs from some of Tāmaki Makaurau’s top comedic talents.

The new play The Handlers will premiere in May. Written by the talented Poata Alvie McKree, it explores the experiences of three Māori women working at The West’s Crown Lynn crockery factory in the 1970s. The play promises to make audiences laugh, cry, reminisce, and get fired up.

However, according to Amanda Rees Kaihautū Taha Hinengaro at Te Pou, the theatre isn’t just about live performances. Developing local talent is also a priority, and the theatre offers professional development opportunities for local designers, directors and creatives.

In addition, Te Pou runs a special rangatahi programme that gives locals opportunities to showcase their writing, directing, and acting talents. Amanda says four shows were delivered last year as part of the programme. And planning for this year is well advanced, with shows due to be staged in September.

The tenth annual Kōanga Festival will run again this spring from 7 to 28 September. The programme of events is still being finalised, but it will kick off with a free Whānau Day on 7 September and showcase homegrown talent over three weeks.

Amanda says that the performing arts sector is vital to community wellbeing. And after last year's floods, that role has become more critical than ever. 'Te Pou plays a crucial part in supporting increased connection, wellbeing and resilience within our West Auckland community,’ she says.

The theatre can also help in a practical sense. A special fundraising event raised much-needed support and the morale of locals affected by the flooding.

However, Te Pou Theatre is a charitable trust and relies on donations and grant funding. Amanda says ticket prices are kept as low as possible to make live theatre accessible to everyone.

Funding of $10,000 from the Your West Support Fund has helped Te Pou build even stronger connections with communities in The West. The money has gone towards the salary costs of the Poutoko Whānau role. The job holder promotes the theatre’s events programme and connects with the community. Te Pou’s facilities are also available for hire to community organisations.

With Te Pou Theatre, you can enjoy live theatre at its best right here in The West. So, check out the website and visit the Corban Estate Arts Centre, 2 Mount Lebanon Lane, Henderson.