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Creatively Christchurch

Creatively Christchurch – Marian McCurdy of Free Theatre

Performance, Theatre

Marian McCurdy has worked with Free Theatre Christchurch since 2002 and has managed the company since 2018, running its Education Programme and Te Puna Toi Research Centre. She spoke to us about her creative practice…

How would you describe what you do?

Whatever is needed to keep Free Theatre going!

What was your most recent project?

A series of cabaret seasons ‘Beggars Banquet’ and ‘Babylon Berlin’ at the heritage Pump House on Tuam St.

What project have you worked on that you’re the most proud of?

Whatever the last one was that we managed to produce against the odds.

What is essential for creatives to have in their life?


What inspires you about Ōtautahi?

What inspires me about my city is engaging with what frustrates me about it. That might sound negative but for me turning what enrages or depresses me into a creative response and sharing these thoughts and experiences with audiences who relate to them in some way keeps me inspired. Art can be a way to become a part of a community of people who care and hope that the things we don’t like about our city (culture, world at large) can be changed.

So much unique and great art, music, writing and theatre has come out of the reaction of artists to the oppressive aspects of our city – what is not perfect about it – and we should be proud of that.

 What piece of advice about your creative work has served you well?

Trust yourself, work hard, ask questions.

What’s the biggest misconception about your creative work?

That because it’s avant-garde it must not be entertaining.

What Christchurch artists do you most admire?

The ones who are still making art.

What artwork/piece of music/performance has taken your breath away?

Maybe once when I was 18 and I saw Michael Parmenter’s Jerusalem in the James Hay Theatre.

Or a friend of mine Stuart when he performed the David Bowie song Lazarus from Blackstar in one of our Ubu Nights back in the Arts Centre. We had some great musicians, Bowie had just died and Stuart’s performance, yeah I guess you could describe it like that.

What do you wish you’d have known about creative work when you were younger?

You will never regret doing what you love, and not what other people want you to love.

What’s your favourite hidden secret in Ōtautahi?

I don’t know if it’s hidden, but the beer garden at Two Thumbs Brewery on Colombo St in Sydenham.

image Marian McCurdy
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