News & Events

Funding available to boost Palmy’s creative projects

Wednesday January 20 2021

Manawatū Summer Shakespeare will present A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Victoria Esplanade from 4 March, thanks in part to a grant from Palmerston North City Council’s Creative Communities Scheme.

Photo shows woman standing on a balcony.

Director Mel. Cook will bring A Midsummer Night’s Dream to life for this year’s Manawatū Summer Shakespeare production, which has been supported by Creative Communities Scheme funds.

Round 2 for applications for funding under the scheme for 2020-21 will open at 8am on Monday 1 February and close at 4pm on Monday 1 March. If you have a project with an arts or cultural focus, head to our Creative Communities Scheme webpage to learn more and submit an application.

This year’s Summer Shakespeare production is again directed by Mel. Cook, who directed last year’s Twelfth Night as the recipient of Palmerston North’s Visiting Artist Residency. It is a silver lining of the Covid-19 environment that Mel is still in New Zealand and again sharing their talents with the city production. Show dates are 4-7 March (matinee on Sunday) and 10-13 March at the Victoria Esplanade.

A graduate of RADA’s Acting BA and Birkbeck University of London’s MFA in Theatre Directing, Mel has led multiple productions for theatres in the United Kingdom and United States. Summer Shakespeare audiences will be treated through Mel’s experience in devising and directing site-specific, interactive and digital events, as well as classic, cabaret, physical and improvised theatre. The director runs Snakebit Theatricals, which makes work for festivals including VAULT, LIFT, Latitude, and Wilderness, and has worked with world-leading theatre companies. On a previous visit to New Zealand, Mel spent time at Auckland’s Covert Theatre for the T2 comedy festival.

Producer Rachel Lenart says audiences can expect to see some great theatrical talent on show. “Auditions were fantastic, we had around 35 people audition and a whole heap of fun in workshopping the text with our hugely talented community. Fifteen have been cast in the play from ages 18-74.”

Manawatū Summer Shakespeare, supported by Massey University, received $4,000 under the Creative Communities Scheme, which is a partnership between Palmerston North City Council and Creative New Zealand to fund local arts and cultural projects.

To be eligible for scheme funding, your project must:

  • have an arts or cultural focus
  • take place within Palmerston North City Council boundaries
  • benefit local communities
  • not have started before an application for funding has been assessed
  • not have been funded by Creative New Zealand for the same purpose.

Council Community Funding Coordinator Brooke Carter says Round 1 of the Creative Communities Scheme, which opened on 3 August and closed on 31 August 2020, disbursed $54,615.84 to 15 successful applicants.

Between 2017-18 and 2019-20 financial years, the Council disbursed $281,038 under the Creative Communities Scheme.

The budget for 2020-21 Round 2 is $72,725.82 and applicants will be notified of the decision by 1 April.

Carter says the scheme’s support of art in the community contributes to the vibrancy and attractiveness of Palmerston North. “There are no set numbers as to how many people will receive funding. It is dependent on the quality of applications and how many people apply.”

Two Creative Communities Scheme public sessions will be held to share information and answer any questions. These will be held:

  • Tuesday 9 February, 12-2pm: Square Edge Community Arts
  • Thursday 11 February, 5.30-6.30pm: The Stomach (Lombard Street), a former recipient of the Creative Communities Scheme