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Asian theatre

Orientation wins the Hackman Cup at the Auckland Theatre Awards!!


We are supremely honoured and incredibly stoked as the The Auckland Theatre Awards were announced this arvo!

Our Q Matchbox production Orientation is the winner of the Hackman Cup for Most Original Production!!

And - our amazing SM, producer for Fresh off the Page, performer in Tide Waits For No Man and first time playwright or PINAY Marianne Infante, and our incredibly talented production designer, set designer and costume designer Micheal McCabe were BOTH awarded Outstanding Newcomer award for 2018!

Thank you to everyone who has supported PAT and the team over this incredible year. Your votes and support make it clear that the work we create is necessary - here's to continuing to challenge stereotypes, empowering marginalised voices and making hot messes in 2019!



Kelly GilbrideNahyeon LeeNatasha Anthea LayRuby Reihana-WilsonKhalid ParkarMicheal McCabeEmi PogoniMarianne InfanteAlistair KwunChye-Ling HuangAhi KarunaharanCindy JangNatasha BunkallMayen MehtaMarwin Maui SilerioKyle ChuenEugene YaoPaul LewisJacqueline DrewCalvin SangLindsay YeeSacha Stejko

And special thanks to those who participated in our development workshops.

Check out the rest of the awards here:

"Complex, personal, beautifully executed" - Theatrereview for Tide Waits For No Man

Nikita Tu-Bryant

Nikita Tu-Bryant

Tide Waits For No Man opened to a packed Wellington audience for a PAT first!

Thanks to Tim Stevenson from Theatereview for our first review of the season, running til Saturday 8th.

Check it out here or below!

Tickets here


Review by Tim Stevenson

Complex, personal, beautifully executed and drawing on a rich and diverse palette, Tide Waits for No Man: Episode Grace presents a narrative about a young Taiwanese artist raised in Aotearoa grappling with the conflicting calls of love, self-realisation and traditional cultural imperatives. 

The conflicts which Grace (Nikita 雅涵 Tu-Bryant) must deal with are brought to a head by the death of her Ye-ye*, a patriarchal figure who will appear throughout the show in different guises - benign and protective, overbearing and hostile, even aggressive. We can guess that Grace’s Ye-ye also personifies the rule makers who lay down the expectations for women - ‘Clean’, ‘Silent’, ‘Calm’ - which break up the narrative into sections.

The complexity of the culture or cultures within which Grace is trying to live and grow is also mirrored in what we see on stage. What appear to be traditional Taiwanese/ Chinese elements come to the fore here, including the white costumes of the two mourners (Chye-Ling Huang, Marianne Infante) who also appear as part of the narrative, and the figure of Ye-ye himself. However, we are also shown contemporary/ traditional and old/ young divisions, and the show’s conclusion is expressed in part by Grace dressing in an outfit that integrates all elements.


Tide Waits for No Man: Episode Grace uses a variety of theatrical modes to deliver its narrative, and it stands out for its inventive use of different forms of dance and movement, shadow puppets and three-dimensional puppets in combination. This approach means that the action on stage is constantly shifting in mode and also location, which makes for a more varied vocabulary but also places particular demands on the performers. It’s a triumph of this production that the different modes are woven together so seamlessly and skilfully.

This is a striking-looking show which demonstrates a keen sense of visual impact. The bridge / path projected on the backdrop in particular – like an image from a traditional Chinese silk painting – is both dramatically effective and beautiful. The first appearance of Ye-ye on stage (as opposed to on the backdrop) is a highlight.

The production has a very strong cast who have obviously worked hard and closely together to create a unified narrative out of so many moving parts.

Tu-Bryant’s performance is a tour de force: powerful, flexible, committed, expressive.

Huang and Infante display skill and versatility in their dual roles as mourner and puppeteer. Infante has also done the choreography, drawing on an impressive and eloquent range of styles.

Variety and cultural diversity are also a feature of the highly effective sound effects and musical accompaniment, designed by the versatile Tu-Bryant. 

Nikita Tu-Bryant, Chye-Ling Huang and Marianne Infante

Nikita Tu-Bryant, Chye-Ling Huang and Marianne Infante

The sound and lighting operators (Nic Cave-Lynch, lighting; Wendy Collings, sound) deserve the enthusiastic applause they receive at the end. A production like this, which switches modes so frequently, relies on technical effects being delivered dead on cue every time, and Cave-Lynch and Collings never drop a stitch. 
 - - - - - - - - - - |
*Google translates ‘Ye-ye’ as ‘grandpa’ in Mandarin. Your reviewer notes that Google doesn’t always get translations right and apologises for any offence given. 

Photo Credit: Kenneth Chapman

Mother tongues - Nikita Tu-Bryant's take on a bilingual upbringing

“How do you cross barriers, when words don’t exist in the other tongue?”

Artist, performer and first time director Nikita Tu-Bryant shares her story ahead of her debut non-dialogue show, Tide Waits For No man.


Mandarin-Chinese was my mother tongue, and soon after English followed.
Growing up in a Taiwanese/Pakeha household, I witnessed the constant frustrations of trying to communicate clearly though English and Chinese translations.

It is hard enough communicating well with a common language. How do you cross barriers, when words don’t exist in the other tongue?

Recent years have seen me collaborate with many non-english speaking Asian Artists in Japan. There, we would have month-long workshops to create a full-length theatre piece, with our different Artistic skills combined - and no words.

This experience instilled hope in me, that despite cultural and language barriers, if given the space and time, we can all learn to communicate and connect with one another.


Before captions for TV or film existed, I have memories of stop-starting English films and explaining the storyline to my mother. A decade later she is using words I don’t even know existed, but my habit of explaining storylines have remained - much to the annoyance of those who watch films with me.

My mother is the compass I have followed making this show. And though her English is well-beyond now, this is dedicated to all the mothers who are just beginning that journey.

Photos by Ankita Singh

Tide Waits For No Man performs at BATS Dec 4th - 8th.

Book here

Beyond the D-word - The Future of Asian Representation discussed

Diversity is hot - but now what?

“A panel on diversity is like a panel on world peace. It should be seeking a time when we no longer need such panels. It should be a panel actively working towards its own irrelevance. The fact that we’re still having them not only means that we continue to fail, but the false sense of accomplishment in simply having one is deceiving us into thinking that something was tried.” - Marlon James

PAT and Basement attempted to answer the question at Basement Theatre at their regular event Unseen: Unsaid. A future focused discussion prompted by Basement’s 10 year anniversary kicked off talking about Asian representation across the industry - how far we've come and what we can do now to move forward. OG Asians and millennial practitioners just hitting their stride chatted with non-Asian people in positions of casting to find out where the blocks are and how we can remove them together. 



Hweiling Ow

Ahi Karunaharan

Amanda Rees

Ankita Singh

Roseanne Liang

and host, Julie Zhu

Check out some of Julie’s notes and quotes from the evening to kick off your own discussion!

Being confined to the diversity brand

“Why do our published works tend to rehash the same handful of themes and, in particular, the theme of inter-generational conflict set against the backdrop of culture clash? The answer is, in part, connected to the commodification of literature, whereby the writing of an ethnic group becomes a genre (like chick-lit, detective fiction, thriller), and its writers find themselves constrained within the bounds of a brand – a formulaic and ultimately oppressive expectation.” - Kavita Bhanot

- The current trope in many Asian diaspora storytelling is about our relationship to assimilation, to whiteness. Has that become a trope that we are over now? Or do we need to keep rehashing new and alternative interpretations of it?

- It also still centres white people, therefore making them more comfortable or feeling relevant?

Privileged assimilated voices, who gets to speak and be represented?

“To focus only on numbers, to talk only about the need for a greater ‘diversity’ of writers in terms of background, is a limited and misleading approach. The real problem is not simply a monoculture but a mono-ideology, a mono-perspective.” - Kavita Bhanot


- Westernised, educated, middle-class voices with believable NZ accents are promoted above others.

- Chinese and East Asian privilege within 'Asian' spaces.

- Assimilation and the model minority, we are always striving to not be like ‘them’, we’re Asian but not Asian Asian, distancing ourselves from our more overtly Other parents perhaps, so that we can more easily and confidently and stealthily fit into mainstream white spaces.

- CRA described as essentially a white story but happens to be played by Asian people and that that is great. Is that the highest goal we want to strive for?

Academia and the elitism of the diversity conversation

Who is left out of the diversity conversation? Who does not even have the language to talk about these issues? E.g. older generations not exposed to this type of discourse, those too busy trying to survive to be able to indulge in learning discourse.

Criticism and the precariousness of criticism

Where is the room for criticism of work in our own communities? If there is so little room for success, for representation, must we be grateful and celebrate every small morsel we are thrown?

Representation and that desire to see ourselves represented, where is the room for systemic change, not seeing the word for the trees

At the moment the conversation around diversity still centres white people as the sun which we all revolve around. Diversity upholds white supremacy, how do we dismantle that? Can we?

- Ghassan Hage talks about diversity being like a multicultural fair where all the stalls of migrant cultures are neatly on display to be consumed by white people, it is there to serve their enrichment. How do we ensure our interactions with other groups who are not our own are not tokenistic? How do we create authentic relationships?

- Why are we still fighting to be part of the mainstream, are we upholding white supremacy by constantly asking to be let into the system and structure that continues to oppress us, what does decolonisation mean to you?

- Systemic change versus individual change. (Individual change looks like one of us getting funding.)

"Orientation is a hugely significant work: sexy, smart, and not putting up with your shit." - New reviews!

"This play could not have cared less about perfectly crafted impeccable representations. On the contrary, the use of cultural symbols is trivial and bleak, seeking to blow mono-dimensional representations into pieces.” - Hainamana


Thanks to Theatrescenes, Hainamana and Appetite for the Arts for their sizzling reviews of Orientation. Check em out below!



Appetite for the Arts

Orientation is on for two more nights at Q Theatre. Don’t miss it!