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Hero image for Free Theatre - The 37 Year Experiment

Free Theatre - The 37 Year Experiment

Film (Full Length) – 2017

The Free Theatre was, and obviously continues to be, really great at putting on a fantastic spectacle on very little money — the smell of an oily rag.
– Director, playwright and ex Free Theatre member Stuart McKenzie
He’s a master manipulator if you like, and I mean that in a positive sense. He has a strong ability to look at the core emotions that are affecting people, and he has been observed to go for the weak point if you like … it’s confronting…
– Free Theatre founding member Nick Frost, on Free Theatre creator Peter Falkenberg
I think Free Theatre is a hidden treasure, and people outside Christchurch will be amazed to discover what this unique group of creative people have been doing for nearly four decades.
– Director Shirley Horrocks in an interview with Flicks, 12 July 2017
Free Theatre has often courted controversy and the film is studded with remembered provocations: audiences at a production of 1984 were separated from their friends and even forcibly evicted by costumed security guards ... Free Theatre has proven as definitive and resilient a Christchurch institution as the one it set out to oppose — and richly deserving of this salute from New Zealand’s most dedicated and attentive documentarian of art and artists.
– John Daly-Peoples reviewing the documentary in the National Business Review, 4 July 2017
Free Theatre has survived censure, court cases, money problems and an earthquake that wrecked their venue. Such pressures have only made them more imaginative and more determined to realise their vision. They show that working outside the mainstream can be hugely satisfying.
– Director Shirley Horrocks on website The Spinoff, July 2017