Locals entertain via Bubble Bites 

An innovative online video series, called “Bubble Bites” is helping Coromandel Peninsula’s performing artists and their audiences stay connected during the Covid-19 bubble restrictions. Bubble Bites is a weekly video series of 30-minute pre-recorded shows, featuring three artists each performing 10-minute “bites” of original material.


Each new episode is made available to view on Creative Mercury Bay’s YouTube Channel on Thursdays at 5:30pm with the debut show released last week. “We understand what a difficult and uncertain time it is right now for all creatives within the arts community, as well as everyone who would usually participate as audience members at creative events,” says Jan Wright, trustee of Creative Mercury Bay and Creative Coromandel chair. “Our team has been brainstorming innovative ways to support the local arts sector through this tough time, so creatives can continue to work on their art practices and share their creations with what we know is a tremendously warm and appreciative audience.” 


Creative Mercury Bay is inviting performing artists from all walks of life and from all over the Coromandel Peninsula to participate by virtually welcoming  audiences into their “bubble,” whether it be a rehearsal space, jam room, the dining room table or the couch and to keep their performances organic and unplugged in true Coromandel style - wherever in their bubble they feel most comfortable and creative. “We don’t want technology to be a barrier to participation, so you don’t need any fancy recording or sound equipment to take part, a phone or laptop video recording is perfect,” says Jan. The work must be their own creation or something they have been directly involved in producing and have full permission to perform.


Bubble Bites Episode 1 featured performances by Lance and Ava Strong from Crimson Coast, poet Howard Saunders, country musicians Alan and Julia Rhodes, and an exclusive performance by folk-punk duo Let’s Go Descarrego. Lance and Ava Strong’s unplugged versions of original songs were reflections of the changing times and the desire to do good. “The song, ‘If it was All Left to Me,’ is about those feelings of how I could do more to help make the world a better place for our children and future generations,” says Lance. “These are things that I think everyone feels a bit. Especially at this time when we’re realising that when we come out of our bubbles we absolutely have to build a better world.” 


Howard Saunders’ poignant poem, “Te Puia - Hot Water Beach,” about life as a 70-yearold man during the Covid-19 crisis, was a moving observation of how life has been for many in the community during lockdown. “Big thanks to Creative Mercury Bay for their innovation and support to create a platform for local artists,” Howard says. “As a 70-year-old, IT isn’t my strong point. The experience of putting together something like this has been uplifting and rewarding. “The relief of being able to share my lockdown poems has transformed my humdrum existence to excitement and looking forward to what each day brings. The virus has called me to action and poetry writing is my fight back. Really proud to be part of the team of five million.”


Participating artists record their performances in their bubble, and then send them through to local sound engineer and music producer, Dave Rhodes, who edits the segments into one episode. There has been a great response from performing artists so far. This Thursday’s episode will feature Te Kouma singer/songwriter, 18-year-old Gemma Louden, a selection of compositions from poet Pete Delete, and Jazz musician, Andy Santos, who will perform an original instrumental piece called Jazz Jams.


“The Coromandel Peninsula is overflowing with performing arts talent,” says Jan. “This is a unique chance to actively support our creative sector and shine the spotlight on local talent, both well-known and yet to be discovered”. A pilot series of three Bubble Bites episodes will be screened, with a further seven episodes to be produced once funding has been received. Performing artists interested in participating in the Bubble Bites series should email CMB administrator, Kerryn Wakelin, at admin@creativemercurybay.co.nz. Creative Mercury Bay would like to thank their sponsors and funders for making this project possible. Read more about the upcoming episode here.

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