Celebrating Proud Voices

In this blog, we delve into the kaleidoscopic world of Pride in Aotearoa, shining a spotlight on the stories and experiences of a handful of talented individuals within the Queer community who share a special connection to The PumpHouse Theatre. Let’s meet them!


Rebecca is a queer comedian, actor and theatre producer. They have lived in Tāmaki Makaurau almost their whole life and they whakapapa to Te Rarawa, Ngai Takoto, Ngati Awa and Norfolk Island. Their great performing love is improv because they just love being joyful and silly and chaotic. Rebecca has a close connection to The PumpHouse, regularly producing and performing here with their production companies Late Night Knife Fight, Improverished and Casual First Date.


Amrit, 27, was born and raised on the Hibiscus Coast. He is widely known as drag queen Lady Armilade and has a 15-year career in dance with notable roles in productions such as Papakura Theatre Company’s Mamma Mia & Dusty: The Original Pop Diva, Pukekohe Performing Arts’ Little Shop of Horrors, Dolphin Theatre’s Kiwifruits and Centrestage Theatre’s Priscilla Queen of the Desert. His passion for dance and choreography continues to see him working and creating in the Auckland theatre scenes. Amrit is producing and performing in The Biggest Drag Carnival Circus at The PumpHouse later this month!


Lauren (they/them) is an actor, director, producer, and designer based in Tāmaki Makaurau. They grew up on the North Shore and started performing at The PumpHouse at the age of 5 with their dance school. They went to Victoria University to study theatre and film and lived in the USA and UK working in theatre, film and media. They are currently producing a short film called Adventure’s End which is based on their and the director’s love of the TTRPG community. Lauren is so glad to be part of the film and theatre community, especially now that they are telling stories that are true to their identity.


Sophia is a Kiwi who was born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau on the North Shore. She is in her third and final year of a degree in Linguistics and Spanish, and outside of studying she spends most of her time around theatre – whether it’s acting or, more recently, stage managing. She’s currently Vice President of UoA’s Stray Theatre Company, and also works at The PumpHouse! In her free time (when she has it), you’ll usually find her doing jigsaw puzzles, making cosplays, and watching Critical Role.

We had a chat with these talented folks and threw some questions their way. Check out their answers, all in their own words!

What does NZ Pride Month mean to you personally, and how do you typically celebrate it?

REBECCA: I feel like a lot of content makes its way over to Aotearoa from overseas so I absolutely love that we get our own Pride month in Maramarua which is different from the Northern Hemisphere Pride in June. It’s so gorgeous to have our own local events and our own special celebrations in Aotearoa and then to get another dose of online content in June from all the overseas festivals. But in February it’s just for us cool folks in the Southern Hemisphere. I have never produced an event for Pride before so I’m usually just watching other people’s shows and googling to find queer films with happy endings.

AMRIT: I love the opportunity to bring everyone together to celebrate, knowing I have created something to unite people, particularly teenagers as there isn’t a lot for them to attend during pride events.

LAUREN: As a non-binary queer person, NZ pride month is a month where I feel like I belong. I get to celebrate and be open with myself and my community. As someone who came out later in life, I want to be in a space where I feel accepted and loved and Pride Month allows me to grow my community through pride. I celebrate it by celebrating myself and my other queer friends.

SOPHIA: Pride Month in NZ is always such an exciting time to get to see a huge range of events that seems to be increasing every year, and getting to celebrate our community in so many different ways and having spaces where you can be unequivocally yourself is really special. I usually always celebrate with friends by going to the Pride March, Big Gay Out, and drag shows. My other favourite thing though is the markets like Queers & Wares – it’s a great way to support local queer artists while also giving myself an excuse to buy cute arts and crafts!

Are there any specific events or activities during Pride Month that hold special significance for you?

LAUREN: I love going to Big Gay Out as it’s such a great day out for everyone. I also love attending any pride theatre events and supporting Queer artists, I can not wait for such events as Legacy 7 and Can I Get an Underground Location and A Mythical Creature? Also, I plan to attend the Rainbow Parade for the first time!

SOPHIA: The Big Gay Out – I’ve been going since I was 15 and have really special memories of the times I’ve been. One time I literally convinced my mum to pick me up early from school camp and drive me to the other side of Auckland to take me because I refused to miss out! (Thanks Mum, and sorry to the teachers who I told that I had an ‘important event’ to go to)

REBECCA: Not really I guess but I think it is important to remember that Pride is not just a celebration but it’s also a protest, and to reflect on how there is still a long way to go before we have equality for our Queer whānau globally, and within Aotearoa. I think still allowing yourself to be joyful, and to create space for joy even in the face of hardship can be a really powerful protest. Continuing to believe in yourself and your community against the odds is so powerful.

In what ways do you think Pride celebrations and support have evolved over the years, and what positive changes have you observed?

LAUREN: Pride has evolved hugely thanks to the influence of mainstream media and acceptance from other communities. It being celebrated in the mainstream means more and more people are comfortable to come out and explore their sexuality and gender and it is not seen as a negative. Especially as someone who is genderqueer, I feel more accepted at celebrations now as before I had to hide who I was.

REBECCA: This is a really hard question! Obviously, Pride originally started out as a protest movement by the minority against an oppressive majority, and now it’s a massive global celebration with financial support from the council and everything, which is a huge change over the years. I think there’s definitely an important ongoing discussion about what Pride today really means and the difference between actual tangible support of the queer community and performative support just to make money off Pride. Issues like police involvement and big corporations being involved in Pride events are topics of ongoing discussions in the community. I think that no matter what, the fact that Pride is now a big annual festival that everyone knows about and everyone can get involved in is so amazing. Just looking at how many people attend an event like Big Gay Out every year is so cool.

How can allies effectively support and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community during NZ Pride Month and beyond?

REBECCA: Allies are so important because they can use their voices in situations where members of the Queer community might not be able to safely. If you’re in a group situation and someone makes a homophobic joke or a transphobic joke, you can tell that person off without putting yourself at risk of a personal attack! That’s huge! Please do that! Call out your mates if they make jokes at queer people’s expense. And amplifying queer voices with your cash dollars is one of the most effective things you can do. Is there an awesome event happening with a queer team behind it or on stage? Go see it! Have you heard that maybe a company is rainbow-washing and pretending to be more supportive of the queer community than they actually are? Don’t give them your money!

SOPHIA: I think listening and learning is so important– Pride Month in particular is such a great time to learn about new identities, about local queer history, about legislations that affect the community and what to do about them. As well as that though, have fun and support events that uplift queer voices and creators!

AMRIT: Attend shows with an open mind and open heart.

LAUREN: Allies need to support the community by allowing the voices of the LGBTQIA+ community to be heard and not speaking over them. Give them the platform and listen, learn, and grow.

Are there any specific themes or issues within the queer community that you think should receive more attention and discussion during Pride Month?

LAUREN: We need to bring more awareness of the gender inequality of the community and discussion of how our Trans and Non-Binary communities are treated. There is still so much misinformation and judgment out there which makes it hard for people to come out and be their true selves.

REBECCA: During Pride Month (and always) it’s so huge for all of us in the community to just be here for each other. Transphobia being perpetuated by queer people? None of that, please! Bi erasure from within our own community? We don’t want that either! Forgetting about our smaller communities like our Intersex whanaunga and our Asexual pals? Nope, we’re not doing that! Remembering we’re all in a community together and really supporting and uplifting one another despite how different our experiences of being queer maybe is so huge. Just like every community ever, we’re stronger together.

SOPHIA: Intersectionality is always so important in activism and I think it’s crucial to focus on groups that are disproportionately discriminated against. Our trans friends & whānau are having their livelihoods put at risk every day around the world and in Aotearoa, so speaking out against transphobia is more important than ever. Pride wouldn’t exist without BIPOC trans people fighting for our community.

What show or event are you most looking forward to seeing this Pride month?!

AMRIT: My show at The PumpHouse! (Find out more here!)

SOPHIA: As a huge D&D nerd, for sure Improverished’s Pride edition of Can I Get an Underground Location and a Mythical Creature? which is their D&D-themed improv show!

LAUREN: Definitely Can I get an Underground Location and A Mythical Creature? and Legacy 7 and the Drag Carnival Circus. I am a huge DnD nerd and love the circus and Legacy 7 is featuring Queer and Non Binary stories.

REBECCA: Scrolling through the Auckland Pride website is a bit of a nightmare honestly there’s just so much great stuff happening to look forward to! I think this may be the year that Auckland Pride has had the most improv events so that’s pretty massive. In addition to our show (Can I get an Underground Location and A Mythical Creature?) there’s some other awesome stuff including Ungartered Territory at the Covert Theatre and Big Queer Improv Party at the Basement. Yay for queer improv!

Check out our Pride at The PumpHouse season here

Take me to the full list of Auckland Pride events

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