Rotorua entertainer Bobby Howard is feeling a mixture of emotion in the lead-up to her bilingual musical being showcased to the community, as part of the Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival.
Bobby's original composition entitled Aroha (Love), will feature in ‘Ngā Kākano o Aronui’ at Prince’s Gate on Friday 13 September from 7pm.
She will perform alongside Rotorua artists, Jack Grace and Matiu Hamuera, who will also be premiering original work.
“I’m excited but nervous because it’s the first time I’ve put forward one of my creations,” she says. “While I’m active in the musical theatre space, to create a bilingual work was daunting because of the language and tikanga around aspects of Māori narratives.
“I wanted to compose music and tell a story from a Māori perspective with themes everyone can understand – messages that are grounded in Māoritanga (Māoridom).”
Ms Howard was inspired to write the musical after attending a workshop where she spoke to Tim McDonald and Steven Kennedy from iTheatrics, an organisation which adapts Broadway musicals for young people to perform. They encouraged her to write a Māori musical.
She is now looking forward to performing and hearing feedback from the audience at Ngā Kākano o Aronui.
“Getting involved in the Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival has been a fantastic way to network and engage with other local artists. It’s great to support the local creative scene and to see more Māori artforms.
“I love that the inaugural festival’s in Rotorua – a place of creativity and indigenous genius – and I encourage locals to come along to Ngā Kākano o Aronui and be part of history.”
Tickets to Ngā Kākano o Aronui are $20 each and available at https://bit.ly/30q2sEd