Brides to make song, dance

DRESS THE PART: Frock up and talk about marriage as part of an interactive theatre display opening today.
DRESS THE PART: Frock up and talk about marriage as part of an interactive theatre display opening today.

Metres of taffeta, buckets of faux pearls and masses of lace have been used to create a group of wedding dresses involved in an interactive display that opens at Bowen House today.

Brides - A Dress-up Conversation is an interactive theatre piece in which members of the public can try on wedding dresses, sing karaoke and discuss marriage.

The event has been organised by Anya Tate-Manning and Jo Randerson, and is part of the Urban Dream Brokerage programme that seeks to fill unused office spaces with art events.

Tate-Manning, who works in the theatre industry, received about 80 dresses from Astra Bridal after sending out a request for surplus dresses for an Auckland theatre show.

"They're older dresses, a lot of 90s styles . . . I didn't know what to do with them. They were piling up in my lounge and freaking out my boyfriend," she says.

The dresses provide a perfect outlet for a frank and open discussion about marriage. Those involved are encouraged to record their thoughts on film or paper, sing and dance, or even become a mannequin in the shop window if they wish, Tate-Manning says.

"[There are lots of] tight, long. straight skirts, really like the first season of Friends in the mid-90s. They're what Phoebe would have worn. A lot of beading on the bodices with faux pearls."

The fact the performance art installation opens the same day as the third and final reading of the Marriage Equality Bill in Parliament is coincidental, she says.


Brides – A Dress-up Conversation is on in the ground floor of Bowen House, 70/84 Lambton Quay, until April 28. It’s open Wednesdays till Saturdays, 10am till 2pm, with late-night Fridays, 5pm till 9pm, and private bookings available on Sundays from 11am till 2pm. For private bookings, email


Bars around Wellington will be screening the third reading of the Marriage Equality Bill live. Back Benchers is filming at the Backbencher in Molesworth St from 6.15pm before the reading. Head to S&M’s at 176 Cuba St, Ivy at 49 Cuba St or the San Francisco Bath House at 171 Cuba St to see the bill reading live. San Francisco Bath House is hosting the official after-party of the reading, with welcome haka and speeches from 10.30pm

Contact Sophie Speer
Culture and Capital Day reporter
Twitter: @sophie_speer

The Dominion Post