20 December 2010

2010: Another year of great theatre at Circa!

‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry, and reflect on the fantastic year of theatre that is rapidly coming to a close!

2010 started with the return of Dick Whittington and His Cat, a Roger Hall pantomime of epic proportions. Look out behind you!

Next, we saw another return season in Circa One, The 39 Steps. Back by popular demand, The 39 Steps took audiences on a hilarious and action-packed journey of spy-spoof fun!

Ninety kicked off the year in Circa Two, revealing that ninety minutes sometimes isn’t enough to heal a broken heart.

The Circa One season continued with the NZ International Arts Festival production of Mary Stuart, the thrilling story of the bloody feud between two of history’s greatest women.

The Letter Writer, Circa’s other NZ International Arts Festival submission, enjoyed a short season in Circa One and fascinated audiences with its story of suspense and transcendent love. Actor Peter Hambleton was recognized with a Chapman Tripp Award for his role in this production.

The Improvisors contributed a lot to Circa in 2010, the group’s 20th anniversary season. Gary Trotter and the Philosopher’s Whatchamacallit, Theatresports, Holmes Alone, Shakespeare – The Musical and three improv shows for kids: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Gnome on the Roam and Pirates. That is a whole lotta improv!

In April, we were introduced to the surreal world of Dead Man’s Cell Phone, where the adventure started with the ringing of a cell phone. Actor Christopher Brougham was awarded a Chapman Tripp Award for his role in this production.

Audiences couldn’t help tapping their toes and shaking their hips to the intoxicating music of The Nero Show, the show that brought ancient Rome to the 1960s, with all the style and flavour of America’s favourite political family.

We were treated to another melodic delight in June with the Circa Two hit He Reo Aroha, a beautiful story of love and music.

Who knew that stamp collecting could be so suspenseful? Audiences discovered just how much during Mauritius, in which the seemingly benign hobby showed its darker side.

Parlour Song took Circa Two audiences to the English countryside, and revealed that nothing is what it seems in suburbia.

The roaring 20s were brought to fabulous life in Circa One with the mid-winter hit, The Great Gatsby. In a flurry of sequins, glamour and gaiety, this tragic story of love and emptiness exploded the façade of the American Dream before our very eyes.

Did you hear the one about the man who was shipwrecked on a desert island where he discovered a treasure trove of pearls, learned to ride giant sea turtles and married a native princess, all the while accompanied by his trusty dog and sidekick, Bruno? If so, you likely saw the Circa Two hit Shipwrecked! An Entertainment, and were delighted by the tall tales of Victorian Fabulist Louis De Rougemont. Cast member Darlene Mohekey was awarded a Chapman Tripp Award for her role in Shipwrecked!

One thing that nearly everyone has in common is a First Time, and the Circa One extravaganza My First Time shared the first time stories of people from all over the world, revealing that we have more in common then we ever realized.

The BeatGirls returned to Circa in October after four years away, raising the temperature in Circa Two with BeatCamp as they dazzled their sold-out audiences with songs from The Andrews Sisters to Amy Winehouse.

Next up in Circa One was The Birthday Boy, a hilarious and poignant revelation of how life never turns out according to plan. This production was accented by birthday celebrations throughout the season, with the cast serenading lucky birthday boys and girls from the stage.

Me and Robert McKee revealed the inner workings of the writer and the writing process in this intriguing and exceedingly funny Circa Two sensation. Actor Christopher Brougham was recognized with his second Chapman Tripp Award of the year for his role in this production.

There he is! Oh no he isn’t. Oh yes he is! Roger Hall brings us another of his hilarious and thoroughly engaging pantomimes for the 2010 Christmas season: Robin Hood, the Pantomime. This show is currently delighting audiences of young and old alike, and will return in 2011 to continue the delight. Get your tickets by calling the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or go online at www.circa.co.nz.

Finally, the Circa Two season closes with The Second Test, the one-man exploration of courage and strength in the face of devastating loss. Depicting the true story of the 1953/54 NZ Cricket tour to South Africa, this show runs until 23 December and is not to be missed. Get your tickets by calling the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or going online at www.circa.co.nz.

We’d like to thank our patrons, sponsors and the Wellington theatre community for your support in 2010, and wish you all the best for 2011. We will close at 1 pm on 24 December, reopening at 10 am on 3 January.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Circa Theatre!

Cara Hill
Audience Development Director

13 December 2010

Wharfside Restaurant: And a Fantastic Year it's Been!

Well it’s that time of year again, Christmas is fast approaching and it is a busy time for all.  We wanted to finish up the year with an overview of our year at Wharfside Restaurant & Café. 


We wish to extend our thanks to our many loyal customers and corporate clients.  We have had a large number of successful functions this year for groups from Government Departments, schools and the education sector, professionals, banks, Returned Serviceman Clubs, Coach Services, Corporate sponsors and many more.  We also welcome those clients who were new to us this year and hope they found Wharfside and Circa a relaxed and well-organised environment for their functions. We hope to see you again next year!


We have had a variety of events we could really have some fun with this year including themed events tying into shows.  We had a 1920s theme for The Great Gatsby, during which the staff dressed in 1920s attire and with decorations and music to represent that era.  This was lots of fun for customers as well as staff, a real talking point.  We also had Mauritius – a suspense play about stamp collecting.  We organised a special wine in connection with the theme of the play after discovering a winery in Marlborough who do a wine label that depicts an adaptation of the 1989 Kiwi New Zealand stamp.  We also had a fundraising cabaret evening which was put on by some of our staff who attend Toi Whakaari (the NZ drama school).  This was an excellent evening and showed the talent of up and coming artists yet to come through to the main stage.  The Birthday Boy was another show that had a great theme.  We introduced birthday packages for this show, with many groups enjoying the bubby and birthday cake package especially.  We had quite a few stunned birthday boys and girls whose families had arranged a surprise birthday evening out with these packages and a happy birthday song sung by the cast at the end of the show. 


We had a new chef come on board at the beginning of this year and he outdid himself with two fantastic new menus.  The current menu has some old favourites as well as some new and exciting dishes.  With being located on the waterfront, we decided to have more of a seafood lean to our menu which customers seem to be really enjoying.  

Also just recently, as well as having our evening restaurant, we have opened as a daytime café with an a la carte menu together with savoury and sweet counterfood, scones , muffins, great coffee (of course!) and much more. 


We always celebrate Christmas with lots of vigour at Wharfside.  With two Christmas trees, plenty of decorations, classy Christmas music and, on request, themed Christmas tables for functions (and even Santa, if you’re lucky), it really feels like Christmas.  With so much going on at this time of year and not much down time, it is nice to come to Circa and Wharfside, especially with the kids, to enjoy a relaxed meal in a Christmassy environment and a wonderfully funny and engaging show – this year the Pantomime Robin Hood.  

All of us at Wharfside wish you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.

Dee Ryan & Martin Halliday
Owners Wharfside Restaurant & Café

Wharfside will be closed from 24 December to 3 January, reopening on 4 January at 10 am with the daytime cafe. Bookings are recommended for evening dining, please call 801-7996 to make your reservation.

06 December 2010

The Second Test

After a sold-out season at BATS Theatre earlier this year, Circa is delighted to welcome The Second Test into the final Circa Two slot of 2010. Writer/performer Jonny Brugh takes some time to tell drama on the waterfront about what inspired him to bring this iconic story to the stage.

Jonny Brugh.
DOTW: What drew you to the story of The Second Test?

JB: The drama and emotions surrounding the story. I wanted to bring the story to life for today's younger generations to help put their own sense of being a New Zealander into context.

DOTW: What changes (if any) have been made for this return season?

JB: I wanted to bring the Tangiwai tragedy into the foreground, as initially I had been reluctant to show much of the crash. It’s an incredibly sensitive thing to work with.

I’d also like to bring Bert Sutcliffe into the foreground more, but not as the obvious hero. To paint a clear picture of the continuation of the tour and how the Tangiwai events effected the following months for the players and Bob Blair.

DOTW: What effect did Bob Blair’s attendance have on you and the show?

JB: Having performed the show in Auckland I knew what I had made and how the public had received it. More so from the men who have played cricket with Bob Blair and know him. I had pats on the back from a few very respected men of cricket's past. I was proud of it. I was confident the show would tell the story well and with theatrical effect.

I didn't know to what extent Bob Blair would feel emotionally, which had always been a major concern, that the play would bring up old emotions for him. Opening night at BATS was the most special and important night for me as a storyteller. As I warmed up to “Reserved- Bob & Barbara Blair And Family” across the entire front row, three nights in a row, I felt more calm and ready than I would have a year earlier. In some ways I felt understanding and closeness with Bob having had correspondence through 2009. After that opening night at BATS, Bob told me what it was like to be there on opening night and to have it bring up old emotions. He has given his blessings for me to use creative license in bringing the tale to life after having read the script. During the season Bob and I spent some time talking about the events in person but neither of us needed to talk too much about the toughest of events in 1953/54. Had I been a younger man I may not have been about to understand.

Jonny Brugh and Mr. Bob Blair.
DOTW: What’s your favourite part of the show?

JB: Being the team turning up for role call at the Wellington parliament buildings at the start, full of humour, dry wit and drawl excitement.

DOTW: What can our Circa Theatre audiences expect?

JB: A truthful tale of young men on their first OE, testing their skills against the best in the world. The excitement of that experience ripped in two by one of New Zealand's most tragic events. A window into 1950's NZ at a time of great national pride but told on an intimate man-to-man level. An energetic portrayal of a bunch of men full of Kiwi-isms and humour, ending with a reminder of how we saw ourselves post WW2. A depiction of how sport can be both a silly past time, an obsession and a telling reminder of the split personality of the Gentleman's game. In the loosely quoted words of Dick Brittenden: “If men are to be how we are -we could do a lot worse than play cricket.” 

Tickets are now available for The Second Test, on in Circa Two from 7-23 December. To book, call the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or go online at www.circa.co.nz

Announcing the 2011 Circa Season!

Circa Theatre is pleased to announce the 2011 line-up, our 35th season of plays! The annual brochure is now available, please feel free to stop by Circa to pick up your copy.

Roger Hall’s Robin Hood, the Pantomime, 4-15 January, Songs by Paul Jenden and Michael Nicholas Williams, Directed by Susan Wilson, Circa One

The Motor Camp, 23 January – 19 February, A comedy by Dave Armstong, Based on a story by Danny Mulheron, Directed by Danny Mulheron, Circa One

Heat, 25 January – 19 February, Presented by Ice Floe Productions, A play by Lynda Chanwai-Earle, Directed by David O’Donnell, Circa Two

The Improvisors 21st Anniversary:
Improv Cage Match, 22-26 February, Circa Two
Theatresports, Sundays 8 May – 10 July, Circa Two
Snake Oil, 15-18 May, Circa Two
Politics – The Musical, 17-21 May, Circa Two
Improvised Comedy for Kids, 18-30 April, 18-30 July, 10-22 October, Circa Two

The Dominion Post Season of Our Man in Havana, 26 February – 26 March, By Graham Greene, Adapted by Clive Francis, Directed by Ross Jolly, Circa One

Fairy Stories, 11 March – 9 April, By Paul Jenden, Directed by Paul Jenden, Circa Two

August: Osage County, 2 April – 7 May, by Tracy Letts, Directed by Susan Wilson, Circa One, Season proudly supported by Peter and Mary Biggs

BeatCamp, 16 April – 14 May, Presented by Total Entertainment (NZ) Ltd, Circa Two

Boomers Behaving Badly, 24 May – 11 Jun, Jane Keller, Michael Nicholas Williams on piano, Directed by KC Kelly, Circa Two

Meet the Churchills, 18 June – 16 July, By Paul Baker, Directed by Ross Jolly, Circa One

An Oak Tree, 2-30 July, By Tim Crouch, Directed by Andrew Foster, Circa Two

When the Rain Stops Falling, 30 July – 27 August, By Andrew Bovell, Directed by Susan Wilson, Circa One

Eight, 6 August – 3 September, By Ella Hickson, Directed by Simon Vincent, Circa Two

Four Flat Whites in Italy, 3 September – 7 October, By Roger Hall, Directed by Ross Jolly, Circa One

I, George Nepia, 8-17 September, By Hone Kouka, Directed by Jason Te Kare, Circa Two

He Reo Aroha, 21 September – 1 October, By Miria George and Jamie McCaskill, Directed by Hone Kouka, Circa Two

Sex Drive, 15 October – 12 November, By Lorae Parry and Pinky Agnew, Directed by Jane Waddell, Circa One

Roger Hall’s Aladdin, the Pantomime, 19 November – 23 December, Songs by Paul Jenden and Michael Nicholas Williams, Directed by Susan Wilson, Circa One

To book tickets to Circa shows, please contact the Box Office at 801-7992 or go online at www.circa.co.nz.