Innovative theatre company Two Productions is taking up residency at the Arts Centre, bringing a unique style of performance and education to the site.
Run by theatre-makers Tom Eason and Holly Chappell-Eason, Two Productions will move into the Common Room building, located near the North Quad. The company secured the space with help from Christchurch City Council’s Creative Industries Support Fund.
Two Productions will focus on developing and showcasing original works using theatre-makers from across the country, with its first major public show being an interpretation of Moby Dick. It will also run education programmes and workshops, with the intent of nurturing young actors and theatre-makers in Christchurch.
Tom and Holly describe their style as “accessible anarchy”, with each performance encouraging social change.
“We want to make people think, challenge their perceptions about issues – but always in a fun and engaging way,” Tom says.
Bringing Two Productions back to Christchurch was a “no-brainer” for the couple.
“This is the city we both grew up in, and where we first fell in love with theatre,” Holly says.
“To get the opportunity to take a space in the Arts Centre is just incredible. It’s beginning to reclaim its place as an arts hub, so it’s the perfect place for us.”
The building being leased by Two Productions is the original Common Room (1916) used by Canterbury College’s male students – a building that celebrates its centenary in 2016. Following the opening of the Student Union building (1929), the Common Room was used for other purposes, including the offices of student magazine Canta in the 1930s.
Tom and Holly met in 2005 at Original Scripts Theatre School, a Christchurch-based theatre training school co-owned by Holly’s mother. After both completing degrees at Canterbury University, they headed to Toi Whakaari, the country’s premier drama school. They both graduated in 2012 – Tom with a Bachelor of Performing Arts (Acting) and Holly with a Master’s Degree in Directing.
The couple has produced several shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, including The Powerful Event, an interactive theatre experience which was part of Christchurch’s ‘Life in Vacant Spaces’ project. They have also spent months in Berlin, working closely with a German theatre company.