The 2021 and 2022 executive committees are delighted to introduce Stray Theatre Company’s Kaupapa.
What is a Kaupapa?
A kaupapa is a set of values, principles and plans which have been agreed upon by a group. A kaupapa for Stray Theatre Company (Stray) was requested back in 2019, and since then the club has been tracking its development and gathering opinions from its members to form its own kaupapa.
We are very proud of this kaupapa and hope it will be useful for our members and future executives. A kaupapa is built from its people, so if at any point in the future you have further thoughts or would like to suggest any amendments, please do let the executive committee of the club know.
Stray and its kaupapa
The Stray Kaupapa was formed for and by its members out of a wish for the constant betterment of the club and its future success. The Kaupapa will ensure Stray has a framework to be built upon year by year, something which can grow despite changes of executives and members, and must continue to transparently involve its members in the dialogue surrounding the club’s trajectories.
The executive committee will endeavour to correctly represent the desires of its members and community. The ongoing goal is the development of a club which is prominent in the theatre scene and which has the confidence of its people and the wider public.
What is Stray?
As a club, the Stray Theatre Company is mostly made up of Waipapa Taumata Rau (University of Auckland) students who have had an interest in the performing arts before university and want to begin or continue this involvement, find like-minded friends, and/or develop their practice further alongside tertiary study. Anyone who joins Stray will be embraced into a warm, relaxed, and loving space, where they can feel confident, have fun, and unwind from their life’s demands among a community of creatives. Stray aims to create a community that operates with positivity, provides opportunities for socialisation, integrates its new members with care and attention, and caters to changing demographics with year-on-year decision making based on company input. The ongoing goal is a group where everyone feels connected, free to be different, celebrated for their individuality, and encouraged to create and collaborate.
While building a comfortable space, Stray’s abundant programme and ethos of support will facilitate a challenging space, where its members can grow and experiment. Here will be an environment which is both safe and daring, at times relaxing, at others demanding, where members can explore new aspects of theatre-making (centre-stage, backstage, administrative, etc.) or new subjects out of their comfort zones naturally and without fear of failure. As a not-for-profit, Stray is free to focus on the development of its members and portfolio as its first priority. Members of Stray can likewise treat their time with the company as singularly devoted to their own needs and development as a creative.
By joining Stray, members are choosing to both enjoy and contribute to the positive community and theatre practice of the company. Members are encouraged to open their minds and care for each other. Consequently, there will be zero tolerance for discrimination of any sort, both implicit and explicit. Members are expected to act with both playful creative abandon, as well as professional and reciprocal respect.
Stray’s definition of professionalism includes empathetic respect and care for the lives of its members, especially recognising the struggles and demands of student life and how this may take precedence over Stray’s not-for-profit, passion-driven commitment. There will be company-wide appreciation for the time and energy of others. At the same time, Stray’s culture of reciprocal respect will ensure there is an appropriate level of commitment and obligation felt by its members.
How will Stray progress?
As a theatre company, Stray will endeavour to be affordable (to join and watch), transparent, boundary-pushing, accessible, and ambitious. Shows will aim to grow Stray’s ambitions and offerings by investing any and all show profits into the betterment of the club. Stray also has a commitment to the arts, to its proliferation and development, and a desire to make a real contribution to the Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) art scene. It will spread the love of theatre to the university community by creating theatre which is accessible, which reflects the cultures of Tāmaki Makaurau, and which is thought-provoking and relevant. As the Waipapa Taumata Rau’s largest theatre club, Stray has a responsibility to help the young theatre community of Tāmaki Makaurau, and their ideas, flourish by actively creating spaces for them to flourish in. It also has a responsibility to respect, acknowledge, and showcase te ao Māori.
Stray will endeavour to grow in its member’s attributes such as entrepreneurship, good teamwork, open-mindedness, conscientiousness, and commitment. Stray will also be visible to the community, actively seeking to promote its own name and the individual talents of its members to the wider world.
What will Stray endeavour to include in its programme?
Members of Stray can expect a constant flow of opportunities, no matter in what area their interest in theatre lies, to build up their theatre-related skills. Workshops will be based on both on-stage and off-stage drama skills, by facilitators who are engaging and excel in their fields, and of which a portion will be active professionals. Members can exercise their creativity and develop their skills by participating in Stray shows, where there will be effort to: provide a platform for original work by Stray members; accept submissions from all, to encourage Stray’s expansion of offerings; produce at least one show a year which has as much of an all-comers cast as possible, such as a short play festival show and/or a devised show; represent a range of stories, particularly those with culturally or socially significant narratives, those with depth and sincerity, those with originality and experimentation, and also those with wacky freedom and fun.
As a student-led, semi-professional company, Stray will provide a bridging platform for those who love theatre to sustain and adapt that passion during their transition into the working world. Stray members will get to experience and enter the professional creative industries, as well as engage with the economic necessities of being a theatre-maker, with the support of the club.