Tadpole realising founder goals Channel Magazine salutes Louise Wallace and John Antony for fostering professional theatre on the Shore
When Louise Wallace and John Antony envisaged a professional theatre company on the Shore back in 2012 they wanted to ensure it would give employment to established actors, while offering experience to those beginning in theatre, to showcase their skills on stage in the minor roles. Tadpole Productions also instigated training and mentoring for backstage and technical crew to assist those aiming for a career in the industry.
Two productions a year have been produced since 2012 – to date all plays, but the intention is to add small musical, educational or experimental pieces into the mix, offering a balanced repertoire. Tadpole Productions works in partnership with the PumpHouse Theatre Board, for reciprocal benefit and they already have a growing audience base, following on from the success of inaugural shows.
2012 saw two acclaimed productions staged – historical drama “The Lion in Winter” and the Neil Simon comedy “Last of the Red Hot Lovers”. For their productions in 2013 Tadpole presented the internationally acclaimed play “Driving Miss Daisy” with iconic New Zealand actors George Henare and Annie Whittle playing the two leading roles, followed by the thriller “The Woman in Black”. 2014 begins with the comedy “Absent Friends” in May, to be followed by a drama in October.
One of the highlights for Louise and John has been the development of technical training for the backstage crews. Originally introduced by Andy Saker and Robert Owens for their students from Rosmini College, some have been with Tadpole for every show. Early mentored students include Sam Westley, who has recently graduated from the South Seas Film and Television School and his brother Ryan Westley, who is now in his first year at South Seas. Another student is Simon Woodard, who left Rosmini at the end of last year (winning the Headmasters Award) and has just begun the Communications Degree course at AUT, looking to major in television.
Simon has worked at the PumpHouse Theatre for over four years and has gone from lighting and sound operation to backstage manager during his time involved with Tadpole. He has also worked at Q Theatre and the Town Hall and was employed at the Vic Theatre in Devonport as a venue technician. Simon has worked on shows such as X Factor, NZGT, Christmas in the Park and the Music Awards, expanding his skill set whenever possible. He has found his time with Tadpole stimulating and rewarding and is grateful for the opportunities to work alongside professionals in his chosen field.
Absent Friends – May 8 to 18 at The PumpHouse.