Theatre of the Impossible Charitable Trust (TOTI)

Creative Projects Adding Value to Our Future

Theatre of the Impossible Charitable Trust (TOTI) works on creative projects involving collaboration, multi-media communication, and community engagement adding value to our future. Trust objects include education related to the arts & culture, business & industry, and ecology.

The trust was set up in 2009 in Hamilton (New Zealand) by industrialist and academic Dr Bill McArthur taking the name from French writer Antonin Artaud’s theme:

“The theatre of the future must be based on a metaphysics combining speech, gesture and physical expression, and will use physical objects to create new forms of expression. Abandoning the conventions of the proscenium theatre, the actors and musicians will circulate amongst the audience so as to break all barriers between them. The text is much less important than the production.”

Also a scientific term, TOTI relates to cell potency of unlimited capability – ‘toti-potent’.

In our brand, TOTI is alliterated and translated into English and Maori concepts uniting human spirit with creativity and art – Tō tī, tō tā, tō toi. This comes from Waikato-Tainui leaders and academics Tom Roa and Dr Ngapare Hopa.

TOTI is registered with the NZ Charities Commission – No CC43673

Opportunities & Challenges

From a low key opening period supporting a range of community projects, Bill led the trust into a more active and prominent community role. Focused on the opportunities presented through a significant set of anniversaries important in the crafting of contemporary New Zealand:

  • 2013 – 150th anniversary of the Waikato War (1863-64) & our current era plus Centennial of Horahora Station & 1st hydro electric power generation from the Waikato River (1913)
  • 2014 – 150th anniversary of Hamilton’s military settlement in Waikato War (1864) plus Centennial of WWI (1914-18) Bicentennial of arrival of cows and horses (Samuel Marsden 1814)
  • 2015 – Centennial of Gallipoli (1915), our ‘nationhood’s birth’, & Anzac Day.

Expert Team

Bill and former Hamilton mayor Margaret Evans teamed up late in 2011 to refine the concept and recruited Mavora Hamilton the chair of Opportunity Hamilton the city’s business enterprise board and former Chamber of Commerce CEO and city councillor who directed Hamilton’s 125th borough anniversary celebrations in 2003, plus Penny Pollard social historian and researcher with a PhD from Belfast’s Queen’s University and a former community development advisor.

Who We Are

Community Opinion

They sought out community opinion, talking with local arts people and history buffs such as Peter Gibbons (Astride the River), Tom O’Connor (Waikato Times history columnist), and Richard Stowers (Bloody Gallipoli), and ArtsWaikato, Community Arts Council, and Waikato Society of Arts members, plus national arts expert and veteran Hamish Keith. And they sat down with Mana Whenua leaders. Ongoing. Everyone seemed interested.

What We Do

Previous Projects