Friday, 07 August 2020

WHITIANGA WEATHER

It's A Wrap - "Bubble Bites" online performing arts series a resounding success

Two months ago amidst the COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown, Creative Mercury Bay (CMB) embarked on a unique online video series, “Bubble Bites.”

The series came to an end on Thursday last week, after a 10-week stint.

Bubble Bites was a weekly video series of 30 minute pre-recorded shows, which aired every Thursday on Creative Mercury Bay’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Each episode offered “bites” of local creativity by showcasing performing arts talent from all over the Coromandel Peninsula. Artists video-recorded their performances in their “bubbles” and sent them through to CMB to be incorporated into an episode.

From Coromandel to Kuaotunu, Whitianga to Whenuakite, Tairua to Thames, Bubble Bites encompassed a total of 33 original compositions, including poetry, theatre, dance, various genres of music and even cooking! A truly inclusive community initiative, Bubble Bites featured the creative talents of people from all walks of life, ages and abilities.

Bubble Bites was born out of a desire to help Coromandel Peninsula performance artists and their audiences stay connected during the COVID-19 lockdown and bubble restrictions.

The CMB team have been blown away by the performing arts contributions and the reflective nature of some of the acts. “Bubble Bites was our way of championing local creativity at a time when Aotearoa was socially and physically distanced from each other,” says Jan Wright, acting cair of CMB. “We got a sense that local artists were craving an outlet for their creative practice and we know just how deeply our local audiences appreciate seeing local artists perform, so we worked to get artists and audiences together despite lockdown. The result was entertaining, heartwarming and quite profound.

“We’ve featured some spectacular creations that have really delved into the personal impact of the COVID-19 lockdown and the current state of the global pandemic. Artistic expression can have a cathartic effect for both the artist and their audience and we’ve heard from many of the Bubble Bites participants about how meaningful it was to express their experience and share it with an audience.”

The first three Bubble Bites episodes were partially funded by Creative Mercury Bay, with the latter half of the series made possible by the Creative New Zealand Arts Continuity Grant.

“We were absolutely thrilled to be successful with our funding application to Creative New Zealand and greatly appreciative of their support,” says Jan. “We couldn’t have offered the further seven episodes without their grant.”

“It was part of Creative New Zealand’s objective to have their Arts Continuity Grant support not only artists through lockdown, but also the technicians who work behind the scenes in the arts and who suddenly found themselves without work and income as events were cancelled.”

As a result, Bubble Bites was a team effort of local services, with the overall project managed by Creative Mercury Bay coordinator, Kerryn Wakelin. Each episode was edited and mixed by sound engineer and video editor, Dave Rhodes of Dave Rhodes Productions and promotional services were provided by marketing specialist Anusha Bhana of Korimako Comms. Additional support was provided by Emma Mudgway, founder of THINK Coromandel Gig Guide, and graphic design services were provided by Ange Gregory of Firefly Graphic Design.

Creative Mercury Bay would like to thank all the participating artists for their exceptional contributions. The CMB team would also like to express their gratitude for the publicity support provided by Coromandel’s CFM, The Mercury Bay Informer, All About Whitianga and Coromandel’s More FM.

The Bubble Bites series is available to view in its entirety on the CMB YouTube Channel and Facebook page.

Pictured: Part of the Creative Mercury Bay team responsible for the “Bubble Bites” series. From the left - Anusha Bhana, Dave Rhodes, Emma Mudgway (CMB Trustee), Kerryn Wakelin (CMB coordinator), Jan Wright (CMB acting chair) and Fletch Handscomb (CMB committee member).

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.