Musician Tim Finn has found a new expression for his creative talents.
He has worked with playwright Ken Duncum to develop a piece for the theatre, and it will get its first airing in Wellington at Bats Theatre next week.
Finn met Duncum two years ago while the writer was in France on the Katherine Mansfield residency, and they agreed to try something together.
"We started hitting off against one another, exchanging ideas.
"It all came together quite quickly once we started reacting to each other.
"I had a whole bunch of songs and he had a whole bunch of text."
Rather than beginning with a plot, they first explored their common ground - both being North Island New Zealanders who were not of Maori or Polynesian extraction - and what that meant.
They were not trying to make a point or say what a New Zealander was, but wanted to express what being a New Zealander felt like.
As a young man he wanted to experience the world, he said.
"I couldn't wait to get out of Te Awamutu, I couldn't wait to get out of Auckland and see the world.
"It was always looking outwards."
He has become more introspective, looking back to where he came from, rummaging though old photographs and family records.
He found one old picture of his mother, which was taken two days into her honeymoon, with the faint image of Mount Taranaki showing in the background.
"That photo really inspired me," he said. "I've been able to write from it.
"It's like anything, when you stop and slow down, and really look at stuff, there is a lot that is inspiring."
The theatre work addresses the audience directly with songs, stories and images, presented by two actors and a five-piece live band.
"It feels like a family gathering," Finn said.
"You're toasting the ones that aren't there."
Finn said there were no other theatre projects on his agenda but that he would like to do more because he finds song- writing for theatre inspiring and liberating.
Simon Bennett directs White Cloud: Songs & Stories.
It features musicians Brett Adams, Ben King, Chris O'Connor, Lisa Crawley and Kingsley Melhuish and actors Stephen Lovatt and Dena Kennedy.
White Cloud: Songs & Stories will open at Bats Theatre, Kent Tce, on September 12 and runs until September 22.
To book or for more information visit www.bats.co.nz.
- The Wellingtonian