World Without Strangers

World Without Strangers

Two multimedia concerts featuring our world music ensemble, Many Hands.

Working dates: July - October 1995

Event dates: 27 October 1995

Vital statistics: 7 hours, 70 crew, 700 tickets sold

With the extremely hard work of an amazing cast and crew, all of whom worked for free; we developed the idea of World Without Strangers into a show which journeyed further and had far greater effect than I ever anticipated. We transmitted live onto the Internet - a first for New Zealand - and also via high speed link to McMurdo Base, Antarctica - a world first.

15 drummers, 15 dancers, 4 bagpipers, 4 flautists, a saxophonist, a trumpeter and trombonist, 2 guitarists, a bass player, a keyboardist, a cellist, 6 vocalists, 16 artists and 4 jugglers on stilts playing with fire....

The Scottish reel and techno beat, or the ancient Japanese taiko together with a rhythm originating in Africa, or maybe a combination of classical Chinese harp and song mixed up with Rarotongan log drumming. You'll find them all in World Without Strangers.

Publicity blurb for WWS

The show was so popular that (at the last minute) we had to put on two performances back-to-back in order to cater for demand. A five-minute piece on World Without Strangers was shown on Newsnight the following week. Financially we broke even -  with no sponsorship or seed funding.

We filmed the show, and used the footage to make our first promo video - for ONE the following year.

My roles included:

  • Co-producer
  • Publicist
  • Sponsorship liaison
  • Artistic director
  • Financial controller
  • Performer

My responsibilities included:

  • Initial development of the concept
  • Taking over the role of artistic director when our original AD had to pull out
  • Gathering, organising and communicating with the 70 members of the cast and crew
  • Contacting people who could help us, and motivating them to do so for no payment
  • Bringing together 20 artists who created twelve 5-metre banners, each based on a different Many Hands song, and organising two exhibitions of these in Wellington
  • Dealing with publicity for the show including writing and producing our press kit, liaising with members of Wellington's press (both news and arts reviews), talking to Wellington's creative people about our plans; and encouraging TVNZ's Newsnight to attend and film the show
  • Planning and organising rehearsals for the 50 members of Many Hands
  • Financial management
  • Organising our crew and performers to sell tickets for the show
  • Drumming, singing and dancing in the show itself.

As a result of this show, we were invited by Malcolm Turner, director of the Wellington Fringe Festival, to create and organise a series of events to mark the opening of the Festival, something that had not previously been attempted.

This was my favourite Many Hands performance, as it was the first time that we had performed as a full group (with 50 of us on stage at times), and we turned it into a real multicultural, multimedia event. Organising the venue as well as the show meant that the entire production was my responsibility, which was quite a challenge. I found I could bring creative people together and motivate them, and I had a talent for persuading people to provide their services, their facilities or equipment for free. Find out more about Many Hands

It was an incredible team effort and the six weeks of rehearsals - creating the music and choreography together, learning from each other and playing together - were a joy.

For the first time I also took the role of frontperson, both on-stage and off. I was amazed to find myself talking with the media, doing TV interviews and chatting with the audience during the show - the idea of which in the past had always terrified me. I realised that my confidence had grown through knowing my subject inside out, and having passion for what I was doing.