Feminist Live Art in Aotearoa New Zealand: Bound and Unbound Tensions in the Work of Julia Croft, Virginia Frankovich, and Nisha Madhan

Hannah Joyce Banks


This article explores three performance works by Julia Croft, Nisha Madhan, and Virginia Frankovich. They are leading examples of feminist live art in Aotearoa New Zealand and one of the aims of this article is to record and discuss some of their ephemeral performance work—this is a feminist act within itself. The works discussed are If There’s Not Dancing at the Revolution, I’m Not Coming, performed by Croft and directed by Frankovich; Power Ballad, again performed by Croft but directed by Madhan; and Medusa, created and performed by all three artists. These works have many similarities, namely that they all contain powerful imagery and often communicate visually rather than through text. However, the subject matter of each work addresses different themes: the unpacking and dissecting of the mediatised image of women; struggling against the systemic hold of language; and viscerally demonstrating a monstrous yet beautiful rage against the power structures that are all around us. The work of Croft, Frankovich and Madhan is fluid, constantly evolving, and perhaps could be looked to as an example of Southern feminist performance.


devised theatre; feminist; live art; Aotearoa New Zealand

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