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Where’s the Support, AUT?

by AUT Performing Arts

contributing writers

AUT claims to be a vibrant, inclusive and welcoming place, so you'd think it would jump at the opportunity to amplify its theatre community... right? Wrong. At AUT Performing Arts, we produce amazing shows for students to watch and participate in but face one challenge after the next. This is due to an immense lack of support from the university, which supposedly prides itself on its student community.

We are AUT’s only arts and performance club. Despite starting fairly recently and dealing with Covid restrictions, we have already managed to put on a major production, two variety shows, one play and several workshops attended by hundreds of people. We are currently working on a second major production for October this year – Peter Pan for Grown Ups.

Last year our major production, The Multiversity, was an entirely original, student-led show that we performed in Aotea Centre, but even this was not enough to make AUT care. It didn’t seem to matter that we gave them publicity by virtue of being the AUT performing arts club. They denied our request for help with advertising or extra funding, and not one single AUT representative came to watch our show, or even asked us how it went. They could have found out that we sold 270 tickets! We were lucky to get a very generous grant from AUTSA last year, but this has not been possible in 2023 due to the dismal budget that AUT allocates to the club space.

After the success of last year’s production, our growing membership and our well-attended events, we thought things might be different. However, we have had even more difficulty in producing this year’s show due to the decreased funding and inaccessibility of AUT services. We have faced countless obstacles in accessing AUT’s performing arts space, which is built for shows and performances, so you’d think that we’d be able to use it. Did you even know we had a performing arts space at AUT? We didn’t! It has been incredibly difficult for us to get access, and even then it seems as if us being in there is a nuisance. So why would AUT build a performance space but not want performances to be held there?

Okay, so maybe AUT doesn’t care about the performing arts or our shows. But why should they? Because we’re literally doing the most for them. Not only are we providing one of the most active and spirited community spaces at AUT, we are also spreading the good word about AUT to the general public, establishing the AUT name within the Auckland theatre community and showcasing an excellent image for their reputation.

Prospective students could be tipped over to AUT by coming to our shows, seeing our community and wanting to be a part of it. We’re also meeting a need that they aren’t. There is no performing arts degree here. We are the only vessel for people to express and expel their creative performance energy. Considering the number of screen production, radio and advertising students at AUT, you’d think quite a few of them would be interested in performance, no?

Lastly, AUT should care because university is about the experience and the community. Have you ever heard old people say that student life and the lifelong friends they made were the most important thing they got out of university? Let's be honest, it’s probably the only thing that stays with you when you leave (other than a piece of paper). AUTPA shows are crucial to fostering vibrant student communities at AUT. There is nothing quite like putting on a show to bring people together. And our club members form one of the most tight-knit and supportive groups at AUT. Our core group’s lives have been forever changed by AUTPA, and our club is like family to them.

Peter Pan for Grown Ups is the culmination of two years of hard work and dedication. Our show involves over 50 AUT students, both on and off stage, and is adapted and directed by AUT students completely voluntarily. Funnier and more risqué than your childhood favourite, Peter Pan for Grown Ups is a wild and magical adventure through our modernised and even wackier Neverland, full of fun, music, magic and dance. Come and support us to show AUT that the arts matter!

Tickets for Peter Pan for Grown Ups are available now! See our social media for details: @aut_performing_arts.


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