BULA VINAKA !
Since its establishment in 2002 by Nina Nawalowalo and Tom McCrory, The Conch has enjoyed an extraordinary rate of growth and success.
Our first season of Vula premiered in 2002 at BATS Theatre, and then went on to play to huge critical acclaim for three weeks at the Sydney Opera House in 2006, and 12 weeks of international touring in 2008, including a highly successful tour of 6 cities in Holland and a sold out 10-night season at London’s Barbican Theatre.
Groundbreaking second work Masi was the first Fijian work to be commissioned by The New Zealand International Arts Festival, the first ever major international work to tour to Fiji and the first Fijian work programmed in the Sydney Festival, and has met with significant critical and audience acclaim.
In addition to its international networks the Conch is committed to national touring with seasons of its work playing at the New Zealand International Festival in Wellington as well as Christchurch, Taupo and Auckland Festivals.
The development of its Conchus programme, with an emphasis on mentoring and development of emerging pacific artists, launched with the inaugural Conchus season at BATS Theatre in 2009. Conchus has gone from strength to strength, providing workshops nationally and internationally and internships for 22 emerging Pacific artists.
This programme has been recognised for its innovation with The Conch delivering a five hundred thousand dollar British Council Community theatre project in The Solomon Islands, funded by The European Union and British High Commission over 2013/14. The project, co-devised with Ingrid Leary of The British Council, is the first of its kind in the Solomon Islands.
“This kind of project, which is innovative and distinctive and which plays to EU cultural strengths, is a trailblazer,” The British High Commissioner at the project launch, May 2013.
The Conch founders, Nina Nawalowalo and Tom McCrory, are both internationally acclaimed theatre artists with a proven track record of 28 years work in the industry. As the first ever female Melanesian theatre director globally, Nina holds a unique position as a voice in world theatre, and Tom has an international reputation as a theatre artist and teacher, and as Head of the Movement Programme at Toi Whakaari, trained over 270 of New Zealand’s leading actors in his 15 year tenure.
In addition to their work with The Conch Nina and Tom have made a significant contribution to Wellington theatre, demonstrating their commitment to enabling the emergence of new voices and the development of new audiences.
The Conch has and will continue to fulfill its promise to produce groundbreaking NZ-Pacific theatre of the highest international production values.