What is Political Cutz?
Political Cutz uses a unique blend of theatre & visual arts to create a salon offering free haircuts in exchange for political conversations.
In 2013 Barbarian Productions launched the project 'Brides', which occupied a vacant retail space in Bowen Street. Members of the public were invited to join in the temporary boutique to try on a dress or two and share what marriage meant to them.
100 wedding dresses and an empty retail property created the space for this public conversation about the nature of marriage… the results were profoundly moving.
An idea was then formed between Barbarian Productions and local hairdresser Jason Muir to create a conversation hair salon in the lead up to the 2014 election. There was a feeling among the Political Cutz team, after the flag debate that had previously dominated, that NZer’s weren’t having meaningful conversations about what our country stands for or what we want it to be. Combined with the falling civic participation rates (especially amongst youth), 24 hour media saturation and fake news, it can feel that social divisions are consistently widening.
Interactions with a hairdresser can be uniquely personal and insightful. The act of a hairdresser being in people’s personal space, the effect of the physical connection of a haircut, allows people to relax and speak comfortably. Our use of the hairdresser conversations has allowed these unique insights to play a significant role in our projects. The social ambience of salons and barbershops also give the project a natural flow towards the dynamic of the conversations and allow for the theatre of these spaces to play out.
Our salons present the participating public with the opportunity to sit face to face, encouraging active discussion while also promoting the ideals of listening to and respecting each others opinions.
Political Cutz draws on the tradition of interactive theatre to create an open collaborative space where the skills of humour, listening and facilitation are promoted. Political Cutz is a project that grabs attention with its novelty and aims to stimulate political engagement in an era of declining participation in conventional democratic processes.
We look to use unused retail spaces, open street locations & picturesque settings to create our form of theatre. This blend of skills creates a unique environment that blurs the distinction between a commercial and theatrical space. It breaks down the barriers that traditional theatre and creative spaces have, as well as subverting the norms of a commercial experience that entering a salon or barbershop can incur.
Political Cutz is committed to being politically neutral.
Through the evolution of the project we have been successful at gaining insights as to audiences opinions and perspectives, as well as awareness around the lack of accessible resources that allows the population to be more engaged.
Most of all we love cutting political conversations..!
Copyright Maverick Creative 2019