Flow Show Coming to Feilding Little Theatre

  • Flow Show Coming to Feilding Little Theatre
Flow Show Coming to Feilding Little Theatre

Flow Show Coming to Feilding Little Theatre

Just in time to celebrate NZ Music Month, from our near neighbour of Whanganui, The Flow Collective, are bringing a new show to Feilding Little Theatre. Flow: Beautrais x de Vegt is a unique show that celebrates the Whanganui River and the stories of its people.

It is made up of sixteen original compositions by Elizabeth de Vegt using poems from Airini Beautrais’ collection Flow: Whanganui River Poems (VUP2017) as lyrical inspiration. The compositions celebrate Beautrais’ poems by exploring traditional and contemporary musical forms, including jazz, working songs, sea shanties, folk, country and pop. More importantly, this unique creative collaboration elevates the stories at its core ensuring they continue to be shared and remembered.

The show features composer Elizabeth de Vegt (lead vocals, piano, guitar) with accompanists Andrew Wetherall (guitar), Hamish Jellyman (bass and backing vocals), Brad McMillan (Drums) and Elise Goodge (taonga pūoro and backing vocals). The group is known as The Flow Collective.

Composer Elizabeth de Vegt (Lizzie) completed her Masters in Music majoring in Composition at Waikato University. She had the support of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation for her creative studies, including traveling to America to attend Bang on a Can. Her contemporary classical compositions have been performed internationally and by the NZSO.

Lizzie says, “We were thrilled to perform at the Feilding Little Theatre. We love performing the show, especially in smaller communities where the connection to the natural environment and local histories is strong.”

Throughout the writing process for the show, the musicians worked with Te Rūnanga o Tūpoho. Renowned Whanganui artist and designer Cecelia Kumeroa, Tūpoho Arts Representative, and Sacha Te Utupoto Keating generously agreed to consult on the project. Their advice resulted in some alterations, and also affirmation that the music appropriately represents the Māori stories and kaupapa referenced within.

Flow: Beautrais x de Vegt will be performed at Feilding Little Theatre, Friday 3 May at 7.30pm. Doors open at 7pm, tickets are available from Under the Radar. Admission is $25. Cash door sales, CDs, merchandise and programmes will be on sale on the day. For further information about the show visit www.flowalbum.com.

In the same year, 2017, the Te Awa Tupua Bill was passed in parliament, granting the Whanganui River legal personhood, Okham Award Winner, Airini Beautrais, released a collection of poetry named Flow. Published by Victoria University Press Te Herenga Waka, Flow explores the Whanganui River from its geological formations to its people and its history, both Māori and colonial. In her review of the book Elizabeth Morton writes, “With Beautrais’ collection, every poem feels necessarily placed, perfectly considered, and yet surprising. This is a work that demonstrates the potency of this poet, her range, and her ability to use language to take the reader dancing.”

It was the breadth of poetic form, demonstrated in this collection, that first inspired Whanganui based composer, Elizabeth de Vegt, to set some of her poems to music. De Vegt completed a Masters of Music, with first class honours and was the Creative Performing Arts Person of the Year in 2009 at The University of Waikato. It was late in 2020, after a difficult year of lockdowns, interrupted work and two small children to care for that de Vegt found compositional inspiration in Flow and approached Beautrais for permission to work with her words.

The compositions were premiered to a live audience in March of 2021 in an outdoor setting, overlooking the Whanganui River, the creative life blood of the project. It was after this first public airing that de Vegt, again with Beautrais’ blessing, embarked on the next phase of the project and enlisted more Whanganui musical talent, Hamish Jellyman, Andrew Wetherall, Brad McMillan and Elise Goodge to add further flesh to her compositions. Facilitating percussive and melodic layers and adding Taonga Puoro (traditional Māori musical instruments) to appropriate stories within the songs.

The culmination of this project is the show and album Flow – Beautrais x de Vegt.

“This is a gorgeous album, timeless in its approach, and beautiful in all facets.”
– Kev Rowland – Music Net NZ

“She brought Airini’s words into a whole new world, and all five musicians played as one throughout. Only a special outfit can do that. Did I mention the smiles? There were lots, from band and audience alike.”
Michael Tweed – NZME

Check out all things The Flow Collective below: