The Powerful Event

136 Manchester St

The Powerful Event was an interactive theatre piece by Holly Chappell and Tom Eason of Two Productions.  “Our idea was to open the audience up through humour, oppress them until they wished to change the world of the show then give them opportunity to do so,” says Holly. “We allowed time and space afterwards to remove the NMG ponchos reflect and talk with the performers out of character. We are interested in asking how we can empower the young people of Christchurch to fight for what they want their world to be.”

LIVS' role:

Site access, CERA negotiations


About this project

Christchurch is in a time of redevelopment, decisions are being made and we believe young people need to be a part of that discussion. To put their ideas forward they need to feel their voice has worth. This show encourages innovation and initiative from its audience, not passivity and silence. Therefore the benefit of this piece is that on a large scale Christchurch young people are not only exposed to the concept that their opinions are worthwhile, the usefulness of their innovation is overtly asked of them.

The first test season of The Powerful Event was on a vacant space in Christchurch and was constructed entirely out of shipping containers and covered fencing. The roots of this project began with a ten-show test season in Christchurch just before Christmas 2013. The premise was that the international corporation, Nouveau Monde Global, had arrived in Christchurch to capitalise on cheap real estate and to find participants in their latest initiative, ‘The Human Energy Program’.

The audience arrived to a press conference led by the two faces of the corporation, then quickly found themselves wearing NMG emblazoned plastic ponchos, separated into shipping containers and undergoing a rigorous group job interview process, where they were graded and divided based on skills. After series of tests and physicals, being led between different containers and witnessing performative moments, they received their scores. The ‘generators’ were locked into a fenced in courtyard to power the NMG hyper-grid by bouncing a large, silver swiss ball into the air as a group. The ‘analysts’, watching through small eyeholes in the fencing, counted arbitrary events such as “how many times the generating sphere touches the ground” and “how many times a generator wipes their forehead”. All the while the disillusioned Australasian Spokeswoman, Jane Chang, found suitable audience members to form a group of rebels to break the generators and analysts out of the now oppressive Human Energy Program. They infiltrate and mobilise the rest of the audience, overthrow the dictator type leader and bolt cutter their way to freedom.  Video clips and more photos on Facebook.

Supported by:

Christchurch City Council


Get the latest

Sign up to our (irregular!) email newsletter to hear the latest on what we're up to.