Click Suite 4 Ballet on the street

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Emily Loughnan, Loughlan Prior
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Meike Ahlers
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Chris Callus, Animator, Rex McIntosh, Animator, Mink Boyce, Cristina Campos
  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    Streamliner Productions, Jono Tucker, videographer, Amy McLennan, make up
  • Client
    Wellington City Council

For a few weeks last winter, the Wellington City Council took over the facade of the newly refurbished St James Theatre bringing the work of the Royal NZ Ballet to the streets for all to see.

The Council were keen to test the impact of digital art work in the city. The new season of the Cinderella ballet (with a very modern rainbow twist) combined with reopening of the St James Theatre made for a perfect opportunity. It was time to reach out and invite new audiences to come to the theatre and enjoy a night of hilarity, and inclusiveness.

A projection was created on the St James to:
- bring a new audience to the Ballet;
- celebrate the opening of this refurbished building;
- share the art form with the people of Wellington;
- test what such digital work could achieve; and
- celebrate the rainbow community at the heart of this modern interpretation of a classic story.

The projection itself used video of the dancers to show off their incredible characterisations at an enormous scale, over the Theatre. The Click Suite and Royal New Zealand Ballet teams worked together to capture the essence of the ballet in several short scenes.

The Click Suite team then enhanced all the videos with special effects and animations, even making the building itself seem part of the cast. The result was a series of short sequences that stitched together to tell the story of the ballet and provide entertainment to the commuters and bar patrons below.

The impact was incredible.

The projections created the highest volume in ticket sales across the entire season; the day after the projection started being the peak of all ticket sales, with steady sales following.

Making it unmissable, by having such a large scale on an historic building, meant that it was noticed. It was talked about. It was filmed and shared.

No other medium could have created such impact with our city-based young mobile audience. It was great to see them watching the spectacle from the street. They celebrated the rainbow story and cheered, as Prince Charming, trapped in his mother’s dream of a future bride, meets his Prince Dashing …

For the first time, the ballet was reaching a new audience, using a new communication technique and getting noticed.

The projections were enjoyed by many over the week they were on including those who wouldn’t normally afford to go to the theatre. Many people commented that they brought the ballet to the street, verbalising a key objective for the City Council who wanted a wider audience for this institution. “I’m going to go home and say I’ve seen the ballet!”

Reaching a new audience was a critical outcome for the Ballet; and to have the theatre full of the diverse rainbow community night after night was an incredible success. The energy inside the theatre was quite different to a traditional ballet, with audiences up on their feet dancing in the finale, roars of laughter at the slapstick comedic moments in the show, and cheers for the Prince and Cinderella’s individual happy endings that could not have been more different to the traditional story.

Hooray for all, indeed.