Thursday, November 21, 2013

[pima.nius] Invitation to Elephant in the Garden of Gethsemane

12:17 PM |





Phoenix Performing Arts with support from Leadership New Zealand and Vodafone Foundation would like to warmly invite you to the development season of Elephant in the Garden of Gethsemane a play created and directed by Jay Junior Williams of Phoenix Performing Arts. 

This is an opportunity for you to support Jay and Phoenix in their journey to develop this important work commenting on issues facing many young New Zealanders today.

There are two night in which you not only get the opportunity to see the show but also get to contribute both to Phoenix and Leadership NZ.

The Monday night show is presented in conjunction with the Vodafone NZ Foundation which Jay was a recipient of their "World of Difference" award 2013.

The Tuesday night show is presented in conjunction with Leadership NZ which Jay was a participant in their 2013 Leadership programme.

Both the Vodafone Foundation and Leadership NZ have shown real belief and commitment to Jay and this project looking to contribute to NZ society through the arts.

These special fund-raising nights will contribute to Phoenix Performing Arts ability to further their important work with youth in West Auckland and to put on a full-season of this work in 2014.

The Tuesday night show will also contribute to LeadershipNZ's scholarship fund. Jay wants to give-back and enable other leaders from the arts and community sectors to have the opportunity to experience the LeadershipNZ programme all monies from ticket sales will go to the LNZ scholarship fund. 

Vodafone NZ will also be in support matching dollar for dollar and proceeds going directly to help Phoenix – double bang for your buck.

The issues covered in the play are very topical in the news but sadly a daily reality for many youth. Jay and Phoenix have devised a play which offers a view of this reality with pathways in which to transcend these issues – a bullying culture, loss of identity, loss of self-worth, being lost in an untrusted system, depression, mental illness, and contemplations of ending it all.

Young Maui Filemu born into a confusing 21st century world asks, "How do I fit?"  His quest takes him on a journey through mental illnessand betrayal. After suffering hardships and loss, in the end he finds himself becoming proud of his individuality. Maui's journey is for all of us who want to be free to be ourselves. This powerful contemporary ugly duckling story, grown out of West Auckland, layered with Maori and Pacific urban influences and performed by a talented cast of young actors, dancers and musicians, is a poetic and operatic drama of transcendence.

Please go to the Q-Theatre website in order to purchase tickets in support of this wonderful cause.

Website: http://www.qtheatre.co.nz/elephant-garden-gethsemane

Phone Bookings: 09 309 9771

Date and time: Monday & Tuesday, 25th & 26th November, 7:30pm

Location: Q-Theatre, The Loft, Queen Street, Auckland


Your support is much appreciated.

Kind Regards

Phoenix Performing Arts/Phoenix NZYP (New Zealand Young Performers)

DD: (09) 8384455 xtn 215
MOB: 021 208 4289
WEB: 
www.phoenixnzyp.com

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pacific islands media association
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aotearoa, new zealand
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

[pima.nius] MR: A New Play Tackles Youth Issues Headon

5:56 PM |

Media Release

A New Play Tackles Youth Issues Head-On

Elephant in the Garden of Gethsemane – a story of courage and unspoken truth

By Jay Junior Williams

 

Facing up to the issues of youth bullying and the resultant effects within communities, especially those in the West Auckland area is a task that Jay Junior Williams, the creator of 'Elephant in the Garden of Gethsemane' has taken by the horns.

 

With a cast of talented young West Aucklanders, Williams fuses Maori and Pacific motifs with gritty hard-hitting realities of youth living real daily lives – somewhere between lost and found. It is an ugly duckling story described as a poetic and operatic drama of transcendence.

 

"The transcendence we're talking about is that of self-worth and the freedom to be yourself," explains Williams.

 

The play touching on issues of bullying, depression and suicide have all been issues big in the news of the day re: Roast Busters and others. But, Williams says, these are not new issues and he's been working with them since 2007 when he began Phoenix NZYP (New Zealand Young Performers).

 

"Contrast to the Roast Busters, we've got a group of young men doing incredibly positive things. But, what these guys have done is highlight the issues we've been working with all along. Bullying today has changed and it's time communities and especially schools started recognising that."

 

Elephant in the Garden of Gethsemane examines some of these issues, which Williams is passionate about. He goes on,

 

"You know it's about responsibility; of the bystander, the community, the schools all to feel a certain level of responsibility towards each other. If we had more of this, then intervention and reaction would be so much more meaningful. What we're about [Phoenix] is being proactive and tackling the problems in a real multi-dimensional way, which is what our communities and schools should also be doing."

 

As a secondary school teacher, Williams explains that all too many times bullying would go unnoticed until it was too late – especially cyber bullying which is almost invisible except to those involved.

 

"This is the worst thing about it. We haven't yet learnt to identify it as something as real as getting punched in the face. But, it can be much worse than just a physical act. This is part of the reason I wanted to do the play, to bring awareness to the power of words and the humiliation this can wield over others, especially in an online context."

 

Williams says that the recent spate of news items about these issues serve to highlight the gap in societies responsibilities to teach emotional literacy and care particularly through our schooling system.

 

"Phoenix as an organisation is robust and has provided opportunities for hundreds of young people to transition and transform through accessible forums and empathetic encounters. These are not always accessible in the schooling system and so we find that we are catching those who leak through the cracks."

 

Elephant in the Garden of Gethsemane examines the issues in a non-traditional narrative. It points to a betrayal of the system, as in the Garden of Gethsemane, whereby the elephant standing in this garden is covered in a shroud of secrecy and ignored.

 

"We're using a non-traditional narrative because what people don't understand is that these issues have evolved and yet we are still using old mechanisms. We're trying to make it accessible and also to be able to bring out the discussion that needs to be had around these issues. It's not about laying blame, as some have been doing, it's about finding solutions and forums in which young people may be free to share."

 

Although the Elephant in the Garden of Gethsemane ends in a positive, as with the story of the ugly duckling, this doesn't always happen in real life. Williams points to the fact that for a real change to happen over the long-term to stop bullying, violence and suicide the community has to stand-up attack it in a multi-dimensional way and get support from government dollar for dollar. Williams concludes,

 

"I don't have all the answers but I do know that at least my organisation has been and will continue to be part of the answer. I'd like to see community, schools and individuals really find solutions that connect and share through a focus on wellbeing. We're helping out with providing art as a mechanism for change and we hope that others may see some worth in this."

 

* Jay Junior Williams is the founder of Phoenix NZYP, a Senior Secondary Schools drama teacher and social change agent.

* As a recipient of the Vodafone World of Difference Award 2013, Jay worked on a number of projects through the year - Matariki (drawing awareness of it's significance for Maori), Phase 1 young writers festival, Candid (showcase of emerging artists), Blood in Water theatre piece, Women's Refuge Campaign in Palmerston North, The White Ribbon Campaign, Anti-Bullying Campaign in schools, visit to NYC.

* Elephant in the Garden of Gethsemane also has limited public seating in a fundraiser performance for Leadership NZ on Tuesday 26th November 8pm, preceded by an address by Mr Williams at 730pm. Contact Q-Theatre for enquiries.

 

For direct interviews with Jay Junior Williams or the cast, please contact:

Jay Williams, MOB: 021 208 4289, Email: phoenixnzyp@hotmail.com

 

For feature articles/multi-media please contact Aaron Taouma, MOB: 022 123 1050, Email: hottymedia@gmail.com

 

For ticketing details at Corban Estate Arts Centre (Shed 1) on Friday 13th December at 8pm (preceded by a directors talk at 730pm), you can find out more at info@ceac.org.nz or ph: 838 4455, website: www.ceac.org.nz.


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pacific islands media association
pima.nius@gmail.com
aotearoa, new zealand
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The pima.nius googlegroup is a facility for discussion and distributing information. Content sent by this googlegroup are forwarded from various networks and media publications.
 
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