What is the Play About?

EarthDance was commissioned for the Aoraki Festival in New Zealand and first performed by the Christchurch Actors' Company.

Using dance sequences along with extracts from Shakespeare's plays, the audience are presented with a series of images that take them through the formation of New Zealand's geographical and cultural identity.



"Bruce Goodman's new work is bicultural dance-theatre of a unique kind. It is Shakespeare made local, the Bard in Aotearoa. Shakespeare's overseer is the immortal, mystical Prospero. Under his watchful eye, a magical South Sea world is revealed. Simple creatures are involved in a struggle to survive; jellyfish and playful dolphin, curious crab and starfish, weta and tuatara, bat and stately moa. Survival of the fittest gives way to creative conflict with the arrival of man, first in the waka and then in the tall ships, tangata whenua and settler. Finally Shakespeare himself arrives, with a cauldron of magical characters, who mirror the complex bicultural world of modern New Zealand. EarthDance is a rare gem, exciting and original theatre."
The Christchurch Press

"EarthDance used the wooded setting to great advantage. Bruce Goodman's concept was brilliant and his music magnificent. The dance interpretation traced the creation of the earth in a blaze of color. Music was interlaced with Shakespeare's words. The moon rose. It was magic."
Elizabeth Grubb in Theatre News

"EarthDance was profoundly irritating. It was naive and thoroughly out-of-date. Culture suffered from parody in the name of entertainment. It was underpopulated and very diffuse. It lacked any substance of truth. It was presented outside in somewhat barren grounds."
Maggie Burke in Theatre News

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Chop the Beanstalk
Little Red Riding Hood