2019 Auckland Fringe Festival Provocation

Each year, our Studio Space is informed by a provocation that we believe will push artists to take creative risks, and play with both politics and process. The Auckland Fringe is a time to experiment and we want our Basement Community to be inspired and encouraged to do so!

In 2017 we offered the Performance Salon as a place for artists to test ideas and push the boundaries of their own personal practice. In 2018 we hosted a range of 1:1 works performed to just one audience member in several areas of our whare.

For 2019, our provocation attempts to position ourselves both locally and globally through the Ghent Manifesto. This manifesto is a set of ten rules to follow when making theatre, created by the Belgium company, The International Institute of Political Murder.

There may not be a single production in this Fringe season that meets all ten rules and that’s okay! It’s about challenging yourself and going to play where you haven’t played before. Like the Danish filmmaking manifesto Dogme 95, which had a set of rules for filmmakers to be guided by, we’re looking for considered live performance that is inspired and challenged by guidelines.



It’s not just about portraying the world anymore. It’s about changing it. The aim is not to depict the real, but to make the representation itself real.


Theatre is not a product, it is a production process. Research, castings, rehearsals and related debates must be publicly accessible.


The authorship is entirely up to those involved in the rehearsals and the performance, whatever their function may be – and to no one else.


The literal adaptation of classics on stage is forbidden. If a source text – whether book, film or play – is used at the outset of the project, it may only represent up to 20 percent of the final performance time.


At least a quarter of the rehearsal time must take place outside a theatre. A theatre space is any space in which a play has been rehearsed or performed.


At least two different languages must be spoken on stage in each production.


At least two of the actors on stage must not be professional actors. Animals don’t count, but they are welcome.


The total volume of the stage set must not exceed 20 cubic metres, i.e. it must be able to be contained in a van that can be driven with a normal driving licence.


At least one production per season must be rehearsed or performed in a conflict or war zone, without any cultural infrastructure.


Each production must be shown in at least ten locations in at least three countries. No production can be removed from the NTGent/Basement Fringe repertoire before this number has been reached.

This last rule is particularly complicated being on the edge of the world but we encourage you to think outside the box with this. This could be in areas of NZ where you have never been to before, performing for groups of people in society that you haven’t yet considered to reach.

For more information on the Ghent Manifesto have a read here! Things to think about…

  • At this point we just want to hear your thoughts and ideas, pure and simple. We may be able to negotiate the logistics of how this can happen and what pricing structure, venue hire, or risk share model would work best for what you are trying to achieve. Everything is possible!

  • Unlike the Main Space we will not be double billing the studio. The manifesto has restrictions in itself so we are letting you go wild with the use of space.

  • If you are interested in participating in but need some help figuring out how to work with the rules of the provocation, please get in touch with gabrielle@basementtheatre.co.nz. We are here to help!

Apply here.