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Lunchtime Theatre returns

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Performing Arts students are excited Lunchtime Theatre is running again this semester.

Lunchtime Theatre is back and students are “chomping at the bit” to tread the boards once again, says Allen Hall Theatre manager and professional practice fellow Martyn Roberts.

After a hiatus during semester 1, Lunchtime Theatre will run at the University of Otago’s Allen Hall Theatre on Thursdays and Fridays at 1pm, and some will be on at 7pm on Thursdays this semester.

It is open to students, university staff and members of the public, and features shows by 400-level theatre students, as well as shows by other performing arts students.

“It’s unique, we’re the only university that offers an open access, week by week theatre production on campus,” Roberts says.

“It’s pretty special.”

There was a feeling of “grief” among the University’s theatre community when the decision was made to “pull the plug” on the semester 1 season because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“Cancelling a whole season, it’s the first time in a 30-plus year history that it’s ever had a hiatus of a whole semester.

“It was disappointing, but it was the safest decision.”

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Allen Hall Theatre manager and professional practice fellow Martyn Roberts says students were disappointed Lunchtime Theatre was cancelled during semester one.

During the lockdown periods of 2020 the theatre held performances online, but once students returned to campus, it was clear how much they missed the live Lunchtime Theatre shows.

During the semester 2 season, social distancing will be maintained, and all audience members must wear a mask.

Earlier this year the theatre called for submissions from theatre and performing arts students, and spots were then allocated within the Lunchtime Theatre schedule.

“A lot of energy and thought goes into those shows, the director, casting, the ideas and whole infrastructure,” Roberts says.

Students are provided with the theatre space and crew and get the opportunity to go through the process of putting on a show with a safety net place. Some of the performances are being assessed, while others are being held for fun, giving students a chance to test out things they’ve learned.

“There are people in the industry who still talk about their experiences in lunchtime theatre as being formative.”

Shows will run at 1pm Thursdays and Fridays, and some at 7pm Thursdays. Tickets are $5 for students/unwaged, $7 for everyone else. See the theatre’s Facebook page for further details.

Kōrero by Koren Allpress, Internal Communications Adviser