Formed especially for 2018, the WOW Creative Team are putting their all into bringing you a stunning theatrical show that presents the amazing works of WOW designers from all around the world. Don’t miss your chance to see this magical 30th anniversary show – there will never be another WOW 2018!

 

 

 
 
We asked this year’s Creative Team to talk to us about what they’re most excited about for WOW 2018 and what it’s like being a part of the WOW Awards Show. Click to see what they had to say: 
Dame Suzie Moncrieff  
WOW Founder & Script Writer
Malia Johnston
Show Director
 
Geoff Cobham
Set & Lighting Designer
Paul McLaney
Music Director
 
Rowan Pierce
AV Designer
 
Victoria Colombus
Director of Choreography
Barbara Darragh
Costume Designer
 
Sophie Ham
Head of Costume
 

 

 

DAME SUZIE MONCRIEFF
WOW Founder / Script Writer

 

 

How long have you worked with WOW?
Since the beginning.

Describe WOW 2018 in one word. 
Extravaganza

What is your role in WOW 2018?
My role is script writing and show music compilation and feel for each section of the show.

Who or what is your creative inspiration?
Inspiration comes from all over the place: film, books, characters I meet, music, art, the myriad of ideas that dwell in my brain!

What excites you about working on a WOW Awards Show?
To see the script become a theatrical reality within the journey of the music score and incredible lighting, and the joy it brings to the audiences and to the designers when they see the way in which we showcase their incredible works of art on stage in front of an audience of up to 60,000 people.

Even though we know you can’t reveal much about the 2018 WOW Awards Show, can you give us an idea of what we can expect from this special anniversary show…?
From a nostalgic glimpse from the past our audience can expect to be taken on an unforgettable, magical, dreamlike journey into another world.

 

 

A bit about Dame Suzie Moncrieff: 

Dame Suzie Moncrieff is the creator and founder of the original WOW concept and the driving force behind the WOW phenomenon. She was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1998, and a Dame in 2011. In that same year, she was awarded Wellingtonian of the year for her contribution to the arts. In 2014, Moncrieff was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Massey University for her contribution to the public in the field of art and design. In 2015, Moncrieff was named Deloitte Top 200 visionary leader for the year.

For most of the WOW’s history, Dame Suzie was WOW’s Show Director, working with various creative teams on the show script and music score, and creating the distinct aesthetic that is intrinsic to WOW. In 2018 she is returning to work alongside Show Director Malia Johnston to present the 30th anniversary show.

 

 

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MALIA JOHNSTON
Show Director

 


How long have you worked with WOW?
I’ve worked with WOW for 14 shows so far, this year will be my 15th show.

Do you have a favourite WOW garment?
There are quite a few but I think Superminx (Simon Hames, Christchurch, New Zealand WOW 1999) has a special place for me. It’s really theatrical and I love the ingenuity of the piece.

Describe WOW 2018 in one word. 
Extraordinary

What is your role in WOW 2018?
My role as the Show Director of WOW 2018 is to direct everything that happens on stage. I am working collaboratively with WOW Founder, Dame Suzie Moncrieff and Set and Lighting Designer Geoff Cobham to develop concepts for and design the new show. I’m also working closely with composers / musicians, our AV Designer and the costume designers to develop various show elements. Once show rehearsals begin (in August 2018), I’ll work alongside the Director of Choreography and the selected garments to integrate them into the show alongside the scenic and performance elements that we create in response to each of the competition sections. I’ll also work with the other Choreographers, dancers and specialists in areas such as cultural movement, aerial work and musicians, to weave their unique skills and talents into the show. There is of course a vast amount of production work going on behind the scenes. We are all working collaboratively to bring all the different components together and ensure WOW 2018 – the 30th anniversary show – will be a fantastic experience for our audiences. 

Who or what is your creative inspiration?
Music is a huge inspiration for me. I also draw inspiration from many other sources – film, visual art, design, writing, to name a few. During WOW, I draw additional inspiration from the creative team and from the fabulously creative garments that designers from all over the world enter into the show. I also draw a lot of inspiration from the worlds of dance, choreography and circus. The dancers and performers that work on WOW make huge contributions to the show and I draw a lot of inspiration from their creativity and talents. 

What excites you about working on a WOW Awards Show?
I love working with Suzie. We worked together to create WOW shows for many years (2002 – 2014), so I’m very excited to be working with her again this year. I also get excited by the opportunity to create a choreographic and performative platform that presents the garments entered into the competition. I love the creativity of the garments and am blown away by the skill and work that has gone into them. I work intimately with the garments so even though I don’t meet all the designers I feel I get to know them a little through their creations. It’s an amazing, humbling and very special opportunity to work with people’s creations and glimpse the passion behind them. 

What is different about working on a WOW show compared with other shows you have worked on?
WOW is unique in many ways. It involves a vast and very diverse range of performers from different disciplines, all of whom contribute to what is one of New Zealand’s largest scale arts event spectaculars. But WOW is not just a show. It’s also a design competition for which designers around the world craft unique garments for the moving body. This aligns to Dame Suzie’s creative vision for WOW, which is to take art off the walls and put it on the body. WOW is unique in drawing together many different artistic and performance disciplines. There are several performance layers occurring from dance, to live music, audio visual components, aerial work and shifting set design. The show involves seven unique sections, each section involves its own design concept, composition and choreography – like seven smaller shows coming together to make the whole vent. Having over 100 pieces of original works of art to work makes each year very unique – there’s nothing else quite like it!  

Even though we know you can’t reveal much about the 2018 WOW Awards Show, can you give us an idea of what we can expect from this special anniversary show…?
It’s going to be an EPIC journey – I’m excited to see how we fit everyone and everything on the stage!

 

 

A bit about Malia Johnston: 

A choreographer and performance director, Malia Johnston has a repertoire spanning 20 years. With her own company Movement Of The Human, Johnston has collaborated with an incredibly diverse range of performers and arts organisations, creating new work for both the national and international stage.

Johnston has worked on 14 previous WOW Shows, including 7 as Artistic Director (2007-2014). She directed WOW’s debut show at the 2012 Hong Kong Arts Festival.

In 2018, Johnston was commissioned to create a new work for the Commonwealth Arts Festival in Australia; presented a piece at the inaugural Asia Pacific True Colours Festival in Singapore; had her show RUSHES feature at New Zealand Festival in Wellington; and toured a solo work, MEREMERE, with artist Rodney Bell across New Zealand.  In 2017 she was an Associate Artist for Auckland Theatre Company, where she began developing a new work, MOON. Johnston is an Arts Ambassador for Te Auaha NZ Institute of Creativity and teaches choreography at tertiary institutions across NZ.

 

 

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GEOFF COBHAM
Set and Lighting Designer

 

 

How long have you worked with WOW?
This is my first year working with WOW.

Do you have a favourite WOW garment?
Many, but all the ones with lights, and the castle and the wooden ones!

Describe WOW 2018 in one word.
Unique.

What is your role in WOW 2018?
I am designing the set and lighting for 2018. This involves me collaborating with Suzie and Malia to devise amazing, but not too distracting backdrops to support each section and create a world for the garments to live in. I will also create a unique lighting look for each section that creates a mood and highlights the garments.

Who or what is your creative inspiration?
Many and varied: nature, Gregory Crewdson (American photographer), Romeo Castellucci (Italian theatre maker), Oerol Festival (a festival which takes place on a Netherlands’ island and is full of participatory theatre and art installations). 

What excites you about working on a WOW Awards Show?
I can’t wait to see what garments have been designed for each section. I’m really excited to be part of presenting them to an audience. 

What is different about working on a WOW show compared with other shows you have worked on?
It’s like working on a big dance show. Actually, it’s like working on six big dance shows at once. Each section is its own unique adventure. There are way less boundaries in a WOW Awards Show – we’re not confined by narrative, we just need to be true to the intent of the section and dream big.

Even though we know you can’t reveal much about the 2018 WOW Awards Show, can you give us an idea of what we can expect from this special anniversary show…?
Although I cannot even sew on a button, I know I can fashion a world that befits and highlights this year’s garments, so that they will be presented in a unique and surprising way.

 

 

A bit about Geoff Cobham:

Geoff Cobham has worked as an event producer, production manager, lighting designer, set designer, and venue designer. His work ranges from many smaller innovative productions at some of Australia’s best independent theatres and non-theatre venues (tents, warehouses, etc), to large scale theatre/dance productions, festivals, exhibitions, events, museums and venue creation. Cobham’s love of light and dance has led him to work with many of Australia’s top choreographers and allowed him to explore the endless combinations of colour, angle, intensity and movement, of light. With his company Bluebottle he has designed many lighting installations and lit public artworks, buildings, landscapes and freeways. Cobham is currently resident designer with State Theatre Company of South Australia. Cobham has won numerous awards in Australia including a Helpmann, Ruby, Green Room and Sydney Theatre Awards. 2018 marks his first time working with World of WearableArt.

 

 

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PAUL MCLANEY
Music Director

 

 

How long have you worked with WOW?
The 30th anniversary show is my first appointment with WOW.

Do you have a favourite WOW garment?
I remember being very impressed by Lady of the Wood (David Walker, United States, WOW 2009) but every year is overwhelmed by stunning creations.

Describe WOW 2018 in one word.
Celebration.

What is your role in WOW 2018?
I am undertaking the role of Music Director for the 2018 show. It is a little different this year as each section will feature the talents of an individual New Zealand composer covering a wide range of genres. My role is to facilitate, steer and direct those compositions into the body of a consolidated show.

Who or what is your creative inspiration?
I think the sheer breadth of creativity that is encompassed within a WOW show is intoxicating. The collision of artistic disciplines both inspires, feeds and enhances the creative process, as well as the finished article. 

What excites you about working on a WOW Awards Show?
The WOW Awards Show lives outside a strict narrative arc, and to my mind that suggests a sort of dreamstate logic where multiple aethetics and suggestions are made. I believe that’s a huge part of its success – it really is like a dream from which you don’t want to wake up. 

Even though we know you can’t reveal much about the 2018 WOW Awards Show, can you give us an idea of what we can expect from this special anniversary show…?
I think the 30th anniversary show will be a celebration of the success of not only the show itself, but on a deeper level as a triumph to the creative spirit. By presenting each individual section as an opportunity to showcase some of our leading composers, the show is again elevating and championing our creative community.

 

 

A bit about Paul McLaney

In a recording and performance career spanning 20 years, Paul McLaney’s music offerings have spanned the acoustic music of his solo career, the rock and pop of Gramsci, and the ambient electronica of The Impending Adorations. Added to this is his ever-expanding body of work for theatre. There is a common thread: “I believe that the essential ingredient for a piece of music to work is empathy. One mind speaking to another, and for there to be a consensus of thought and feeling in that conversation. It follows then that within this there must be a fundamental truth that is communicated honestly.”

 

 

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Left to right: 
Superminx, Simon Hames, New Zealand (1999)
Gothic Habit, Lynn Christiansen, United States (2014)
Lady of the Wood, David Walker, United States (2009)

 

ROWAN PIERCE
AV Designer

 

 

How long have you worked with WOW?
6 years.

Describe WOW 2018 in one word.
Full.

What is your role in WOW 2018?
AV Designer.

Who or what is your creative inspiration?
Creative environments/events/moments that impact people on an experiential and sensory level is at the core of my interests as an artist. Manipulating time and space in ways that you wouldn’t be able to experience in everyday life. 

What excites you about working on a WOW Awards Show?
The chance to work with a range of visual and spatial ideas on a large scale. The nature of the show is so eclectic and working with such an array of design ideas is an invigorating and busy challenge. 

What is different about working on a WOW show compared with other shows you have worked on?
Bringing together designers’ work from all around the world to present it as one. It’s not often that you work primarily to support pieces of art designed by people from all different walks of life. Having that vast input of ideas and shaping an environment to support that variation is one of the things that stands out with WOW.

Even though we know you can’t reveal much about the 2018 WOW Awards Show, can you give us an idea of what we can expect from this special anniversary show…?
Hmm… hard to explain but let’s just say that you can expect to see images from the past mingling side-by-side with the present as we propel WOW into the future!

 

 

A bit about Rowan Pierce:

Rowan Pierce is an artist who produces and exhibits work, collaboratively and individually, across a range of mediums including live performance, music, film and installation. Pierce is interested in provoking a sense of the unknown and the unseen in his work, often with an emphasis on live orchestration of performance and the projected video image. Critically acclaimed in his field, Pierce’s designs have been presented internationally. Pierce is a core collaborator with Movement Of The Human, a company specialising in contemporary live art practice.

 

 

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VICTORIA COLOMBUS
Director of Choreography

 

How long have you worked with WOW?
Since 2010

Describe WOW 2018 in one word.
Wow!

What is your role in WOW 2018?
My role as Director of Choreography is to collaborate with the Show Director and work alongside the other guest Choreographers.

Who or what is your creative inspiration?
The garments and the music are the two key creative inspirations for me. From the moment I see the garments and hear the music I start to get a feel for how to bring these extraordinary works of art to life. This is where my creative journey begins and I start working out how to make them come to life within the context of the show.

What excites you about working on a WOW Awards Show?
It is the opportunity to step into the fantastical world of WOW. It transports you into this creative banquet which is a place surrounded by layers of inspiration – the garments, the performers, the incredible work of the other creatives – this all makes for a magical world. 

Even though we know you can’t reveal much about the 2018 WOW Awards Show, can you give us an idea of what we can expect from this special anniversary show…?
It’s going to be exciting to create a show that honours the history of what has gone before throughout 30 years of WOW but also looks to the future. It’s going to be a beautiful world. 

 

 

A bit about Victoria Colombus:

Victoria (Tor) Colombus has worked as a freelance dancer, touring internationally, and has been with WOW since 2010. She has choreographed for Footnote New Zealand Dance and toured her work to Tempo Dance Festival, the Pacific Dance Festival & Lighthouse and the Body Festival. For the past nine years she has been a full-time tutor at the New Zealand School of Dance. 

 

 

 

 

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BARBARA DARRAGH
Costume Designer

 

A bit about Barbara Darragh:

Barbara Darragh is an Emmy-nominated New Zealand costume designer with numerous feature film and television drama credits. Her Emmy nomination was for the US Starz series Spartacus, which was filmed in New Zealand from 2010-2013, produced by Rob Tapert. She also designed costumes for Tapert’s Hercules five telemovies that preceded the Hercules, The Legendary Journeys series.

Her most recent film was Beyond the Edge, for The Dead Lands producer Matthew Metcalfe.

She won New Zealand Screen Awards for costume design on River Queen (2006), directed by Vincent Ward, and The End of the Golden Weather (1992), directed by Ian Mune. Other feature films include Bridge to Terabithia, The Frighteners, directed by Peter Jackson and several of New Zealand’s early features including The Last Tattoo, The Footstep Man (directed by The Dead Lands’ director of photography Leon Narbey) and Came a Hot Friday (Ian Mune).

 

 

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SOPHIE HAM
Head of Costume

 

How long have you worked with WOW?
This is my seventh year.

Do you have a favourite WOW garment?
They’re all amazing.

Describe WOW 2018 in one word.
Inspiring.

What is your role in WOW 2018?
Creation of costumes for all the performers who support the inspiring world of WOW 2018. I do this by working with the creatives and the costume construction team. The team then works through all the shows to help the performers and make sure that the design of the world is maintained.

Who or what is your creative inspiration?
My source of creative inspiration very much depends on the show being designed. I do spend several hours on the internet and really enjoy my time digging deeper and deeper while researching a design.

What excites you about working on a WOW Awards Show?
Working with the people – a very special group who are all so proud to be working on the show. 

What is different about working on a WOW show compared with other shows you have worked on?
The scale is vast, bigger than ever. There are large numbers of people back stage who support a lot of people on stage, who then entertain the massive audience every show. All in all, it is a huge group of people working together to create a great show. 

Even though we know you can’t reveal much about the 2018 WOW Awards Show, can you give us an idea of what we can expect from this special anniversary show…?
WOW 2018 will be an inspiring show of epic proportions that promises to take people out of their everyday world. 

 

 

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