Messy, Feminist, Subversive, Uncertain: Three Snapshots of Collaborative Practice

Nisha Madhan, Julia Croft


In 2019, performance makers Nisha Madhan and Julia Croft created a dialogue about their work over email for a performance course at the University of Auckland. Using three photographs from three different works, the two artists reflected on their politics and aspirations as creators, and their longstanding creative partnership. Performance Paradigm publishes the conversation in this special issue, where it functions as a companion of sorts to Hannah Banks’ article on their work.

There is both an ease and a richness to dialogue—and perhaps the kind of freedom that arises when a more formal interviewer is taken out of the equation. Their conversation is a welcome addition to the historical record of contemporary performance practices in Aotearoa, particularly those ephemeral unscripted practices that, in a local context, receive less critical attention. Moreover, their conversation highlights the significance of friendship in the creative process—an investment not just in the work, but in the personhood of the co-collaborator. In this sense, the pair’s work exists not just in the performances that they create, but in the great care that they take in the cultivation of their relationship. As Croft remarks: “Collaborating with the right people gives me purpose. And it takes so much time to find those people—don’t be in a hurry to find them.”


devised theatre; feminist; live art; Aotearoa New Zealand

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