Greetings from New Zealand

Richard Grevers (
Wed, 06 Aug 97 01:15:11 PDT


I've been subscribing to this list for a few weeks now.
(It's been a bit quiet lately but I understand you've had some fairly
major mail crashes in the 'States).

I don't know if this is the "done thing" but I thought I'd tell you
a bit about myself by way of introduction.
I am a free-lance lighting and set designer based in Christchurch,
New Zealand. (On the East coast of the South Island, pop approx 300,000,
currently experiencing a week of cold, wet southerly winds.)

I would say dance is my favourite medium to light, although I don't often get
the opportunity. Our big successful contemporary companies (Douglas Wright etc)
are based in Wellington or Auckland, and while there are half a dozen choreographers
doing some good work down here, they are under-funded and low-tech.

(With a restructured Arts Council getting diminishing funding in real terms, NZ has
slipped to having only three full-time professional theatre companies (Christchurch's
being the most successful), one Ballet Company, One National and four semi-pro regional
orchestras. Opera and contemporary dance are all part-time affairs. Most artists and
technicians outside this few are partly dependent on Income Support (unemployment Benefit))

My most regular dance gig is the annual recital of one of our more liberal and
interesting (no exam stuff) dance schools, Dance Corporate. About 30 items, jazz,
contemporary, a bit of ballet, belly and improv. A 48 channel rig with a computer-assisted
manual lighting desk. One rehearsal, almost in real time, so the lighting is fairly improv.
In fact, the guest soloist is usually injured so doesn't rehearse, and that item becomes
totally improv!

I'd love to do a project where I work with the choreographer from day one and we use
lighting ideas as the starting point for choreography. (Probably been done before!) However,
it's the usual problem of a) finding a choreographer(s) who has the time/energy.

One project I did that might be of interest to people was NZ's first (and so far only) series
of underwater concerts, in 1993. Take a diving pool. Add scuba-diving percussionists with drums,
cymbals, tubular bells, and a range of other mostly metallic hittables. Mic them with hydrophones (in
fact the best results come from using the hydrophone as the drumstick, so make sure they are
rugged). Put the sound through a 24V amplifier to an underwater loudspeaker (basically a large
piezo device, with some wierd dynamic responses as it couples to an incompressable medium).

Submerse audience (at least one ear must be underwater in order to hear). Season with a plastic
sea cave, viking dinghy, dry ice pellets etc. [ideas tucked away in case of future events
include small lasers sealed in plastic bottles, projecting onto bubble screens etc.
Shine light (and play videos) through the underwater viewing windows, as well as off the
diving boards (less effective due to surface effects) and watch it change colour with distance.
The audiences loved the opportunity to interact directly with light (some brought scuba gear).

I am also on the National executive of NZATT (The New Zealand Association
for Theatre Design, Craft and Technology), being editor of their magazine PROFILE.
Talking of which, is there anyone out there who would be interested in writing an
overview article of the sorts of things covered in the DTZ site. (interactive, sensor driven
imagery etc.) - about 1000 words?

Maybe if we could get a project of this nature off the ground here, it would be the sort of
thing that would attract a grant. However, in a small country, getting access to specialised
equipment can be either difficult or expensive. (home-made solutions welcome!)

Now that I've got a bit more time on my hands I will be reading some of the postings
more closely. I have pointed one or two friends in the direction of Webbed feats
(by the way, are people aware that there is an on-line video cam (updated every
5 minutes) from Bryant Park? It's at, and it was
pure coincidence that I stumbled across it.
The webbed feast sounds like a great idea, but time zone could make it a little tricky here!

| Nzatt Richard Grevers, editor, Profile |
| nZatt PO Box 3263, Christchurch 8015, NZ |
| nzAtt Ph/fax 64 3 379-3094 |
| nzaTt Mobile 025-221-5053 |
| nzatT email |