Binge Culture / Barbarian Productions

It's a Trial

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It's a Trial!' is a co-production between Binge Culture and Barbarian Productions. It's unique performance fusing courtroom drama with community theatre - a theatrical forum to discuss social issues.

Staged like a genuine trial and loosely following real court procedures, the show stages a serious debate but makes it entertaining, accessible and, we would argue, more effective, with the assistance of some absurd (but very professional) characters. Joel Baxendale and Karin McCracken feature as opposing lawyers and call on real expert witnesses to help win the case, all under the watchful eye of maverick Judge Jody (Jo Randerson) and her court taker (Maria Williams). As part of the performance, audience members are invited to be members of the jury, sketch artists, or to watch from the public gallery.

We've presented the show twice, at BATS Theatre and Wellington Museum in 2016 and it was awarded 'Most Original Production' at the Wellington Theatre Awards that year, but we think this show has much further to go. We believe this piece of theatre has the potential to create genuine, useful discussion about important issues facing communities. The trial format is inherently theatrical making discussion of difficult issues entertaining, yet it simultaneously makes the debate more rigorous; with penetrating cross-examinations, mediation from the judge and with a jury of peers as the ultimate arbiters.

Ultimately we would like to get the show to a place where we could respond to issues as they arise, help communities facilitate debates they need to have, and source all the expert witnesses that form such a large part of the show from within the audience.

There's a lot of work to be done to get to that stage though. The next step is to workshop the show and then present the it to a new audience. To do this we're teaming up with the Basement Theatre to bring it to the Auckland Fringe, where we're specifically targeting the arts community to have a open and frank debate about whether commercial incentives have any place in the arts. This development and presentation is an important 'trial' where we can test and refine the work in a safe context and get maximum feedback on the work.

Help us with the next stage of development for this trailblazing show, as we hone the dramaturgy, work the issues, develop the process, and push this important work to greater heights.

Tēnā rawa atu koe.

Karin, Joel, Jo, Maria and Anya