RAW! ASMR – Auckland Fringe

RAW! ASMR Hero Image with Auckland Fringe and Basement Theatre logos in the corner.

Tēnā koutou,

Haere mai to our RAW! ASMR – World Premiere Season. This is actually my first time performing in Tāmaki Makaurau – thank you so, so much for being a part of my first-ever audiences in Auckland.

I love ASMR! I experience it, too. And, I delight in introducing people to ASMR trigger videos on YouTube. With this show, I hope to share with you all the beauty, relaxing nature, and comforting intimacy of ASMR videos.

Did you know there are very few Kiwi’s making ASMR trigger content on YouTube!? Shiver Me Tingles and Nānā Fox are two Aotearoa ASMR creators I know of. And no one is performing theatre about ASMR in this country – I know of only three international shows on the topic – which means RAW! ASMR is Aotearoa’s first Live ASMR show! Director Sara Hirsh and I are so proud to have created something so fresh, so new.

Amy Atkins (she/her)
Creator, Performer

Director’s note

When Amy approached me and asked if I was interested in directing a solo clown show about ASMR and raw vegetables my honest response was 1. Where has this question been all my life? 2. Obviously yes and 3. What exactly is ASMR?

Amy is a meticulous theatre maker. Doubling as performer and producer she has left no banana unpeeled. Together we have waded through the weirdest ASMR YouTube, tested every idea on the table, and crunched through more fruit and veg than is comfortable to find the clowniest content for your consumption.

Considering we are closing in on the apocalypse it has been refreshing to allow ourselves to bask in the whispers and tingles of ASMR. My hope for this show is that we can dish up some depth while also revelling in the simplicity of satisfying sound, and the pure naivety of the clown – a welcome break from all the loud out there. 

This show is what happens when everyone keeps saying “yes”. It is a celebration of sound and produce and has been a true collaboration. The show reflects the process. Joyous, thoughtful, messy, hilarious, unpredictable, and thoroughly feminist. It was my 10 month old son James’ first taste of the rehearsal room. Thanks so much Amy for giving me an opportunity to share laughter and creativity with him, with the team, and with the audience.

– Sara Hirsch (she/they)
Learn more about Sara here.

How Was ‘RAW! ASMR’ Created?

Back in February, a team of Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington creatives I bought together (The Creative Crew) devised the first iteration of RAW! ASMR over six weeks – just 14 rehearsals in total! Rehearsals were joyous, tasty, and very silly. We experienced belly laughs and also cringe. We delighted in discovering what a #FeministSpace looks like in the theatre. For us, it meant checking in with each other, making space for Sara’s baby James to join us, making space for many cloth nappies to be changed, and taking breaks for a cup of tea no matter what.

RAW! ASMR – Development Season #1 was performed at BATS Theatre, in Wellington, 8-9 March 2022 as part of the New Zealand Fringe Festival. Audience members gave us feedback on this version of the show through an online survey.

In May, over five weeks – 8 rehearsals – Sara and I devised even more material. Audience feedback from the first showing let us know everyone wanted MORE ASMR! We 100% agreed! So, we did a deep dive into ASMR trigger videos on YouTube and made notes on all our favourites. Then we improvised lots of ASMR live for each other, making more notes on all our favourite bits. At the end of this process, we had loads of new material and we weaved lots of it into the second iteration of the show.

RAW! ASMR – Development Season #2 was performed at The Red Door Theatre, in Nelson, 30 June – 2 July as part of the Nelson Fringe Festival. Audience members gave us feedback on this version of the show by filling in a paper survey.

Just last week – 22, 25, and 26 August – Sara and I revised the show for what we expect to be the last time! We reviewed all the constructive criticism from Nelson audience members and Nelson reviewers and discussed our own thoughts on the show to work out what needed to change. On Thursday, we diligently worked through a list of questions we had about the show. To answer these we devised new moments, tweaked the structure, and reworked existing sections of the show. On Friday, we had two dress rehearsals with the new structure and I even got to perform for a small test audience.

This iteration of the show is a distillation of seven months of thoughtful mahi and two development seasons. We all hope you delight in the journey Letitia Lickkit takes you on tonight.

THE Creative crew

Amy Atkins (she/her)
Creator, Performer, Producer & Publicist

Amy is a creative artist, theatre-maker, and event manager based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. Amy has a passion for puppetry, live art, and theatre.

Amy is an alumna of John Bolton Theatre School, holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Theatre Studies, and holds an Advanced Associate Diploma in the Teaching of Speech and Drama.

RAW! ASMR is Amy Atkins’ second solo work – period. a comedy about menstruation was her first solo and it premiered at the 2019 New Zealand Fringe Festival at BATS Theatre downstairs on The Stage.

Sara Hirsch (she/they)

Sara is a London grown creative practitioner now based in Pōneke. An acting graduate of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Sara has a background in collaborative and devised theatre.

More recently Sara has been heavily involved in the international spoken word scene and is co-founder of the Aotearoa New Zealand charity Motif Poetry. Sara is an award winning writer and has performed and taught poetry around the world. Their TEDx talk Louder Than Words speaks to their work with young people and the importance of creativity in the curriculum. Their work has been published in two full collections as well as a host of journals and anthologies.

Bethany Miller (she/her)

Bethany is a maker, performer, and producer in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. Since co-launching Toi Ngākau Productions (art with heart) in 2019, Bethany has created/performed five seasons of Waste Not Want Not: Bethany’s Guide to the Thrift Life, and co-produced and produced sold-out seasons of Running Late, Celestial Nobodies, and the award-winning DEEP and MEANINGFUL.

Bethany is an improviser and won “Spirit of the Festival” at NZ Improv Fest 2020. She specialises in improvised musicals.

Bethany gets a buzz out of theatre and sound/music genre mixing, especially with an eco focus, such as in her MFA research production 100% Pure Tour, an audio-immersive satirical tour of the Wellington waterfront.

Booth (they/them)

Amy Booth aka Booth the Clown graduated Te Auaha’s circus course in 2019 with a major in clowning and a minor in aerial hoop. Booth is known for their distinct comedic physical storytelling style that has graced stand-up gigs all across Wellington – often using everyday objects as props. As a producer Booth is the proud creator and star of The Little Clown that Fell to Earth and was nominated for “Most Potential” for their 2020 Fringe premiere. It is Booth’s mission to share messages of compassion within their work, uniting audiences through the catharsis of laughter.

Liz Bulter (she/they)

Liz Butler trained as an opera singer before falling in love with devised theatre, improvisation, and clowning. Liz holds a Theatre degree from the University of Denver and has over 15 years of improv and theatre experience. Liz co-founded the Yellow Cat Collective a company dedicated to performance work with feminist themes. They teach a Character course focused on physicality and voice for Improv Connection. Liz has taught, performed, and directed at the NZ Improv Festival three years in a row. Liz is a dedicated clown and has played with the Feminist Clown Posse in Wellington for a year.

Pája Neuhöferov (she/her)

Since 2017, Pája has worked as a performance artist, clown, comedian, improvisor, musician, puppeteer, tutor for kids, and a hula hooper. Pája has a Bachelor of Arts, from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, in Non-Verbal and Physical Theatre.

Pája is part of a comedy duo with Liz Butler called Jester Gestures and won Late Night Knife Fight in 2021. In the 2021 New Zealand Fringe she also premiered The Wild Card. Pája has completed a 16 week clown course with Fraser Hooper.

Auckland Fringe Season Lighting Designer & Operator – Māhia Te Kore

A note of food waste!

What about food waste? Not a problem! Amy is big on #ZeroWaste. After rehearsals, Amy collected up all the part eaten and uneaten produce and took it home. Anything that was used but not eaten was washed and dried and used in the week’s cooking. For anything that had a bite taken out of it Amy cut out the bite marks, wash and dried the produce, then used the leftovers in the week’s cooking. Any unusable scraps were taken to Epuni St Community Compost to be broken down into excellent compost for Aro Valley!

The Creative crew would love to thank:

The 54 patrons who donated a total of $5,022 towards our successful Boosted campaign back in February 2022, our fifth Devisor James who is only a year old, Motif Poetry for lending us a speaker, Bethany for lending us a condenser mic, Tessa Waters and Anya Tate-Manning for bringing the clowns together, Auckland Fringe Festival, Basement Theatre and especially Nisha Madhan for taking a punt on this silly wee show, and Wellington South Baptist Church for being a welcoming and warm rehearsal venue.

Originally developed with the kind support of the New Zealand Fringe Festival & Creative New Zealand through the Kākano Fund.