The PIYN project involves aspiring artists and performers from Auckland's diverse communities, working with the best of contemporary UK talent, to collaborate, create and celebrate. The programme involves capacity building workshops, online and face to face collaborations and master-classes in creativity.

The British Council New Zealand in association with Iron Oxide (UK) and Made in Scotland are proud to announce the NZ tour of one of the most thought-provoking, relevant and outstanding pieces of theatre from the UK in recent memory – Adura Onashile in HeLa.

HeLa 2013 - by Adura Onashile (Iron-Oxide) (5)


1951 Henrietta Lacks walked into the coloured section of the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore with a pain in her abdomen. A biopsy revealed a cancer that would kill her just months later. A cell sample taken without her permission was used as the raw material for some of the most important scientific discoveries of the past 100 years.

Against a backdrop that charts the scientific milestones of the HeLa cell Line; this production seeks to bring Henrietta Lacks back to life, using testimony from her family members, the scientific community and the doctors that treated her.

HeLa is an engaging exploration of the vast scientific progress made possible by the cells of one, unknown woman. It’s a commentary and history leason about the fascinating life story of Ms Lacks and her amazing HeLa strain cells that just wouldn’t die. With wonderfully powerful acting, Adura Onashile brings us a story of institutionalised racism, social reasponsibility and medical ethics. Centered around Henrietta’s family, Onashile plays various roles as the years tick by and the medical discoveries (including vaccines, human genome, stem cells etc.), continue – all the result of the HeLA cells, which were removed and subsequently used by the profession for research without familial consent for over 50 years – a situation that has only very recently been remedied. HeLa highlights the need for full disclosure in an age of increased medical science entrenchment in our societies, with hard-hitting and thought provoking theatre.

Adura Onashile is a writer and charismatic performer with diverse experience in political, verbatim, site-specific and physical theatre. She has worked with companies including the National theatre of Scotland, National Theatre, Urban Theatre Projects, Australia’s foremost site specific company, Chicago Shakespeare Company, St Anne’s Warehouse, The LIFT festival, The Clod Ensemble, The Belarus Free Theatre and Vox Motus. Adura has toured internationally with both the Foreign Commonwealth Office and the British Council.

HeLa 2013 - by Adura Onashile (Iron-Oxide) 2

“…a shocking slice of shamefully hidden history … theatrically bold in the telling, with Onashile’s heart-rending performance at its centre” [The Herald]

“The fusion of video, music, monologue and physicality makes HeLa a feast for all the senses. This extraordinary, true story is treated with delicacy and astuteness…” [The Peoples Review]

HeLa takes place at IceFest Christchurch – Thu 09 Oct to Fri 10 Oct.

Then to Otago Medical School Wellington, (at Otago campus Wellington not Dunedin), for a one-off performance Oct 16th, and onto Q Theatre in Auckland for a season Oct 21-25.

Street art is the movement of the youth generation worldwide. Artists such as Banksy and Antony Lister have taken what started at guerilla art on the street into galleries and museums around the globe.  With a new crop of young visionary artists transforming walls and streets with 3d inspired art, stencils, paint-stripped vistas and irreverant public notice high-jackings, the movement is alive and well and here to stay! … Oi You! is the South Island and New Zealand’s premier festival representing this movement.

Oi YOU! presents RISE has enjoyed unprecedented success, almost 120,000 (in a city of 400,000) people have been through the Canterbury Museum in New Zealand’s broken city of Christchurch since it opened just before Christmas, making it the most visited show in the Museum’s history already! RISE is open to the public 7 days a week 9am – 5.30pm until 23 March admission is free and the Oi YOU!

Beyond the museum the people of Christchurch are flocking to see all the huge walls transformed into beautiful vistas by the amazing list of artists who came to the city to help brighten the place up.

Artists include Eno, Askew (both NZ), the fabulous Antony Lister and Roa (both UK) and of course the UK’s Godfather of the scene Banksy. Make sure you take a chance to check out the art if you are in Christchurch.

Photo Luke Shirlaw:


The Banksy Collection is a subset of the Oi YOU! Collection and includes 22 works and a whole raft of memorabilia by the world’s most talked about artist. It’s on show here in its entirity for the first time.

Iconic classics include ‘The Flower Thrower’, ‘Kids on Guns’ and ‘Kate Moss’. ‘Grannies’, ‘Monkey Queen’ and ‘Trolley Hunters’ are among some the public’s favourite limited edition prints and the collection also includes rarely seen treats like ‘Pink Smiley Copper’.












To help celebrate a re-invigorated sister city relationship between Dunedin and Edinburgh, led by the British Council New Zealand, we were extremely excited about bringing two of the most talented young Scottish musicians to Dunedin. Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson,

Recently, the British Council NZ sent Gene Jouavel on a fact-finding mission to the UK to his old stomping ground in London, to find out a bit more about the state of London markets, with a view to helping the evolution of Auckland’s own numerous markets.

This August, British Council NZ arts manager Gareth Farry travelled to Edinburgh to immerse himself in the famous Edinburgh Fringe festival and the British Council Showcase contained within it. What follows is his round-up of shows and events.

Auckland’s creative co-working space BizDojo Co.Space and British Council NZ hosted a presentation on 3 April by Richard Reynolds, a passionate and charismatic gardener and founder of Guerrilla Gardening UK. With guests wondering “What is guerrilla gardening?”, Richard was very quick to clear up that it had nothing to do with animal gardening, or dressing […]

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