After a hugely successful tour in 2018 that included 32 performances in theatres, prisons and marae, Rodney Bell is in Ōtaki at the Māoriland Hub with his award-winning performance work, Meremere.
The performance is on the Friday and Saturday nights of July 26 and 27, with a matinee show on the Saturday.
Meremere is a powerful and engaging autobiographical work in response to Rodney’s extraordinary life, and the series of events that have been unique for one individual to experience in a lifetime.
The multimedia performance piece has been developed in collaboration with director Malia Johnston’s performance design company, Movement of the Human (Moth). Meremere includes audio-visual by award-winning designer Rowan Pierce, and live music from the highly talented Eden Mulholland, who bring this insightful, surprising and very personal story to life.
In 2018, Rodney performed across the North Island, as well as in Singapore and the Gold Coast. Meremere also took awards for actor of the year, director of the year, sound design of the year, and the excellence award for AV design at the 2018 Wellington Theatre Awards. The production has also given Rodney the 2017 Arts Access Artistic Achievement Award, and the 2016 Attitude Artistic Achievement Award in what has been an extraordinary career.
A critically acclaimed dancer and performer, he is internationally renowned for his physically integrated performance. He has been dancing professionally since 1994 when he began as a founding member of Touch Compass Dance Trust. He moved to California in 2007 to join Axis Dance Company as principal dancer, touring to 32 states until 2012. He had many challenges after finishing with Axis and before returning to New Zealand, including a period of homelessness on the streets of San Francisco – an experience that inspired Meremere.
Rodney and Malia Johnston danced together between 1999-2003 and Rodney has worked closely with Malia since his return to Aotearoa. Malia has a 20-year background in choreography and performance direction, she has collaborated with a diverse range of performers and arts organisations, and created new work for both the national and international stage. She is notable for her many years of working on the World of Wearable Art Awards show.
Meremere, 8pm Friday, July 26; 4pm and 8pm Saturday, July 27 at the Māoriland Hub, Ōtaki. Tickets at iticket.co.nz and at the Māoriland Hub, $20 waged, $15 unwaged.