06 September 2010

Trouble on the Waterfront: Multi-Media Theatre Show

by Chris Prowse

The main inspiration for the songs in the show is the stories in David Grant’s book The Big Blue. This book is a fascinating collection of accounts, comments and insights into the 1951 waterfront dispute by a variety of people like – Rona Bailey, Ken Douglas, Sandra Lee, Dick Scott, and Jock Phillips.

Historically it was an interesting time. It was the beginning of the cold war. The world was divided by competing political ideologies. There was the “free world” and the “not-so-free world”. In fact, even the so-called free world wasn’t that free, for there was little tolerance of non-conformist views in either worlds.

When I released the album in October last year I thought I would follow the usual practice of doing gigs at music venues. But the content lent itself to something more. It has been a heap of fun for all us developing the content into a multi-media theatre show. It is as if the songs have taken on a new life. In fact a couple of new songs have been written specially for the show.

Chris Prowse

A nice thing about this project is that it involves musicians, broadcasters, sound designers, and visual artists. Between us we span several generations. A few of us were babes in arms in 1951. For the remainder of us these are stories that never made it into the school history books.

The Waterfront Collective

Trouble on the Waterfront happens at Circa for two nights only: September 12 and 13. Book your tickets by calling the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or visiting www.circa.co.nz.


  1. What multimedia elements are you using with the music performances please?

  2. We use pre-recorded audio to link the songs. This audio sounds like radio broadcasts. We were lucky enough get have Sharon Crosbie and Tom Frewen to record these links for us. We also use historical audio from the RNZ Sound Archive. In addition, the very talented Dnation/Rob Appierdo has the designed the AVs using historical photos. Perhaps all this adds up to be the first multi media folk concert?