Blackboard Theatre Collective

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Christchurch based collective with a mission to expand the theatrical climate in New Zealand by creating opportunities for young emerging professionals.

 Nomi Cohen and Jeremy Hinman

Blackboard Theatre Collective//John Armstrong Performs  

MAKE SURE YOU GO SEE CATCH ME IF YOU CAN at The Piano from the 24th-26th of August! It’ll be a banger of a time! Many thanks to Blackboard for having a chat.

Peace out x

John A

Tell us about the people in your theatre company
Nomi: In Blackboard Theatre Collective we have myself, I am a graduate of NASDA and The Actors Programme up in Auckland. I have years of experience being in stage shows, writing cabarets, a bit of producing both for theatre and film. Next to me I have Jeremy Hinman
Jeremy: I’ve worked over in Australia as a producer, director and choreographer so off-stage as well as onstage, again both in television production as well. The other two NASDA graduates we have as well are Ben Freeth and Jack Marshall who are both local boys here in Christchurch. Ben has a lot of stage management experience an kinda just does everything in and around theatre. And Jack is obviously very well renowned both on-stage and also for selling houses.
And our fifth member is Nick Purdie who is currently in the UK working for the Rose Theatre which is a kinda Pop Up Globe but in York. He has a lot of production experience, publicity as well as onstage stuff as well.
So between the five of us we have quite an eclectic off-stage skill set as-well as plenty of on-stage experience too.
What sparked the idea for the company?
Jeremy: I graduated in 2011 which happened to be the same year that the city fell over and so I headed over to Australia straight away and spent five years living over there. When I came back to do Legally Blonde and The Court Theatre with the rest of the guys in the company, I had originally planned to go straight back to Australia after the show finished but I got here and realised that the climate had really changed and their were a lot of cool things happening so I kind of got the guys together and started talking about what we could do both to connect performers but also increase opportunities in the areas that we thought could be developed in the industry and that’s how we came together with the company and our mission statement too. We realised that we all have very similar passions for areas that we can grow the industry here in Christchurch and New Zealand.
Nomi: And also just that we have so many extremely talented friends and friends of friends and just graduates all around the country who are not being employed. Not because they’re not good enough, not because they don’t work enough not because they’re not suited to the roles. Literally just because their are not enough roles to go around. There’s not enough work. So we wanted to help the industry grow in that way.
Tell us a bit about your fundraising concert, He Says, He She Says (performed Aug 12th) 
Jeremy: So He Says, She Says is a gender-bending concert we put together to fund-raise for the company. So we got forty local artists. It’s a really intense cross-section of the Christchurch creative industry. People Like Ali Harper and Eilish Moran are always seen on the stage at The Court Theatre. We’ve got a lot of regulars from the Showbiz productions such as Amy Straker and Cameron Douglas Naomi Ferguson. The credibility of the people we’ve put together still floors me.
Nomi: It’s pretty stunning.
Jeremy: And they have essentially all come on-board to support our vision they’re all donating their time and talent to help us fund-raise and are all singing songs which were written for the opposite sex. So it’s gonna me a really exciting night (it was) and I think everybody who’s in the audience is gonna have a really good time.
Nomi: We’re also launching our upcoming season, so that means that if you come along you will be one of the first to know exactly what we’re planning to do for the next year which is really exciting it’s like a sneak peak, woo! There will also be a raffle which even if you aren’t coming on the night, you can buy tickets for because these prize packs are insane. We’re talking tickets to Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Mis, Astroman, Peter Pan goes wrong and a full season pass to our own company shows such as Catch Me if you Can which we’re doing next. We’ve got chopping boards and bow-ties we’ve got food vouchers. Both tickets and a CD for Ali Harpers’ show Songs’ for Nobodies. Like I wanna enter. Can I enter?
Jeremy: No you can’t ahah. You just can’t
Nomi: ughhh
What are your long term goals for the company?
Jeremy: He Says, She Says is an event that we’re hoping to make an annual event, this year we’re fund-raising for our company which will help us get started but in the future we really want to be able to use that night for the industry to come together and fund-raise for a good cause. We’ve got a few things that we as a company and individuals are really passionate about supporting in terms of charities and infrastructure around the country. We’re really passionate as well about presenting diverse forms of theatre, so we’ve got this night at the moment. Next night we’ve got Catch me if You Can which is a semi-stage concert so it’s not a full production. So their are other ways that we can present this material and expose Christchurch and our audiences further afield to some of this brilliant content.
Nomi: Also we’re really interested in developing all sorts of facets of the creative industry. So we’re doing programs for directors, writers, stage managers, sound and lighting operators and designers etc. So we named our company Blackboard Theatre Collective because as we move forward into the future we want to collaborate and help grow the next generation of theatre practitioners.
Do you have any plans to move throughout the country?
Jeremy: We’re starting here in Christchurch but in the future we definitely want to be working up and down the country. It’s really important to us that we get the artists across the country talking to each other and working together and supporting each other in every way possible.
Nomi: We want to add to the conversation. We want to continue the conversation and be a part of the conversation so that we can grow together as an industry.

 

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