02 December 2013

2014 Circa Theatre Programme

Mother Goose - THE PANTOMIME
By Michele Amas
Songs by Paul Jenden and Gareth Farr
Directed by Susan Wilson
2-11 January
Circa One


There’s nothing paltry about Mother Goose’s chicken farm. Come and join Glenda our fabulous dame, Lucy Goose and a host of other characters as the Circa team bring you this much-loved classic tale in which Mother Goose discovers that real happiness doesn’t come from riches or beauty.

Mother Goose – an unmissable pantomime treat full of jokes, japes and “eggstraordinary” mayhem for all the family.
“Highly entertaining. Fun for all the family” — Ewen Coleman, The Dominion Post

“A rattling good family show” — Theatreview

Kings of the Gym
By Dave Armstrong
Directed by Danny Mulheron
18 January – 15 February
Circa One
By Demand Return Season!

It's PC vs. PE ... a great start to theatre-going in 2014!

From the team who brought you the smash hit The Motor Camp, playwright Dave Armstrong and director Danny Mulheron once again combine talents to present another delightfully romantic and wickedly entertaining season of their 2013 hit,Kings of the Gym!

Politically correct principal Viv Cleaver is transforming low-decile Hautapu High School. The only thorn in her side is the Phys-Ed department. Unfit Laurie Connor spends his days in the gym watching TV and gambling with his talented yet unambitious sidekick Pat Kennedy. But then student-teacher Annie Tupua arrives. Could this star netballer and born-again Christian prove to be the game-changer that Viv needs? As sparks fly and different players joust for position, the only winner on the day will be the audience.

Starring the original cast: Ginette McDonald, Paul McLaughlin, Richard Dey and Acushla-Tara Sutton.

A comedy in two halves, Kings of the Gym looks at the really important things in life: competition, compassion, Creation … and PE teaching.

A Play About Fear
By My Accomplice
Directed By Uther Dean
7-16 February
Circa Two
NZ Fringe Festival

Every scary movie you love as you’ve never seen them before!

The acclaimed theatre company that brought you the sell-out sensations Joseph K and A Play About Space – Best Theatre (Dunedin Fringe), Best Design (Wellington Fringe) –  is bringing the Fringe to Circa in this thrilling roller-coaster ride through fear.

In the spirit of Scream and Evil Dead 2, My Accomplice will take all your favourite bits from the thriller and horror genres, and look at them through the lens of their trademark lo-fi, high-energy, extremely theatrical style.

Starring Hannah Banks, Sam Hallahan, Kate Clarkin, and Chapman Tripp winners Paul Waggott and Alex Greig.

Critics have raved about their previous work:
“Comic genius” — Theatreview
“A lively theatrical imagination” — The Dominion Post
“Thought-provoking, must-see theatre” — Wordonthestreet.co.nz

Miss Bronte
Created and performed by Mel Dodge
Directed by Lyndee-Jane Rutherford
21 February – 15 March
Circa Two

In 1848 Charlotte Bronte, under a male pseudonym, was a published author; the celebrated writer of Jane Eyre. She lived and wrote with her sisters, Emily and Anne. By 1849 her world had fallen apart … Left alone after the death of her siblings, Bronte is filled with hope that her sister Emily may have left a draft for a new novel somewhere amongst her precious papers. She dreams of seeing her sister’s words one last time. In her search for this manuscript she takes the audience through the story of her and her sister’s remarkable careers; their secret loves, tenacity and personal tragedies.

Created using Bronte’s letters, diaries and the many biographical works discussing Charlotte’s life, Miss Bronte shows us the inner workings of one of the first feminist thinkers, a dedicated sister, a passionate lover and one of the most praised writers in the world.

‘It's fascinating to hear about the true characters that inspired the fiction.’ Advertiser Adelaide

‘Mel Dodge brings the literary world of the Bronte family to life with a riveting performance. Dodge transported us back to a time when words were written in pen, on paper; when one could crave a response to a letter that might be weeks or months in the coming; and you sensed, perhaps felt, the value of words. Superb.’ Rip it Up Adelaide

By Stuart Hoar
Directed by Susan Wilson
22 February – 29 March, 2014
Circa One
World Premiere
Starring George Henare

Part of the 2014 NZ Festival

Parisian sensibilities and South Pacific culture collide in this dazzling re-imagining of French artist Charles Meryon's life in 1860s Paris.

Haunted by time spent in Polynesia and the NZ French colony of Akaroa, Meryon's startling visions compel him to depict whales and waka over the skies of Paris in his remarkable etchings. He must also juggle his relationships with his friend, the decadent poet Baudelaire, and two very striking women, Jeanne Duval and Louise Niveau.

This will be the World Premiere production of this Adam NZ Play Award winner by renowned playwright, Stuart Hoar (Rutherford, The Face Maker, Quartet).

“A fascinating and funny world …intelligent and entertaining …this is my sort of history” - Adam Award panel

Gloria’s Handbag
By Helen Moulder and Sue Rider
Directed by Sue Rider
Starring Helen Moulder
22 March – 19 April
Circa Two

A modern magical mystery, with music from The Magic Flute.

Helen Moulder premieres her long-awaited new play.

It is 2021 in Nelson and Gloria, aged 97, hasn’t long to live. Her son Craig is pushing her to move to a “retireville” but she wants to die in her own home.
On a whim, Gloria buys an extraordinary designer handbag. This purchase sets off a series of unusual events which transform Gloria’s remaining days and enable her to send a message to the future.

“Funny, poignant, thought-provoking” – Sunny Amey

“Moulder is a consummate performer” – Capital Times

“[Helen Moulder] demonstrates what the art of acting is all about” – The Press

Armstrong Creative presents
Rita and Douglas
Based on the letters of Rita Angus
Adapted for stage by Dave Armstrong
Directed by Conrad Newport
2-12 April
Circa One

A poignant love story and a stunning collaboration of theatre, music and art.

After sell-out seasons around the country, Rita and Douglas comes to Wellington. Two of New Zealand’s leading performers, Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Michael Houstoun, join forces to present the words, music and images of two of our greatest cultural icons – artist Rita Angus and composer Douglas Lilburn.

Recently divorced painter Rita Angus and young composer Douglas Lilburn met in the early 1940s and had a brief but passionate affair. Living in virtual poverty and struggling with health issues, Angus went on to produce, with Lilburn’s support, an outstanding body of work.

“It is difficult to imagine a better way to appreciate the art of Rita Angus and Douglas Lilburn than this celebratory tribute in which a sharp dramatisation of their quarrelsome relationship is counterpoised with Michael Houstoun’s exquisite renditions of Lilburn’s piano works while a luminous display of Angus’ paintings appears as an enormous projection” – NZ Herald

Supported by The Estate of Rita Angus, The Lilburn Trust, Creative New Zealand and Te Papa Picture Library

Other Desert Cities
By Jon Robin Baitz
Directed by Ross Jolly
19 April – 17 May
Circa One

Welcoming their family back home for Christmas, for the first time in six years, in the sun-drenched comfort of Palm Springs, California, Lyman Wyeth and his wife Polly have it all: wealth, fame and a political legacy of real muscle. But the warm desert air turns chilly when their daughter Brooke announces she’s written a tell-all memoir about the most painful chapter of the family’s history.  Old wounds are re-opened, childhood memories are tested, and the Wyeth clan learns that some secrets cannot stay buried forever.

Pulitzer Prize-finalist Jon Robin Baitz’s smart new play of high drama, serious laughter and repartee that dazzles and decimates was one of the hottest tickets on Broadway last season. A sure-fire crowd pleaser.

"The Best New Play on Broadway!"-  Ben Brantley, The New York Times
“Funny, fierce and immensely entertaining.” -  New York Daily News

The Pianist
Direction & planning: Thomas Monckton & Sanna Silvennoinen
Presented by Show Pony Productions
22 April – 3 May
Circa Two

At the peak of high society entertainment sits The Pianist’s pianist. He is, in a word: perfection. Or at least… that’s what he thinks.

The Pianist is a solo comic contemporary circus piece by Thomas Monckton. The show is centred on, in, under, and around one of the most magnificent of all musical instruments, the grand piano. Accompanying this elegant apparatus is the poised pianist himself. Only he is so focused on impressing everyone that before he realizes it, his show has transformed from the highbrow concert he hoped for into the spectacularly amusing catastrophe that is The Pianist. To salvage his somewhat unsalvageable dignity the pianist draws on his imagination and comes up with some rib-tickling and absurd results.

The Pianist mixes classical clowning with contemporary circus to produce a charming piece of comedy about the lure of luxury.

The Improvisors
27 April – 15 June

Part of NZ International Comedy Festival

Take two teams of Improvisors, throw them at the mercy of the audience and see what magic unfolds!
The world-wide comedy sensation that is Theatresports has found a happy home at Circa Theatre and, like thousands of folk before, this is your chance to be part of the action.
Watch from the side-lines, make some suggestions, even find yourself onstage – the choice is yours. Whilst the whole night is unpredictable with the performers making it all up on the spot the one thing you can be sure of is laughs – and lots of them.

Youth Theatre Double Bill - plays by Sarah Delahunty
Circa Two
17 May – 1 June

2b or nt 2b

Six classic characters from Shakespeare, Ibsen. Chekhov and Sophocles meet as teenagers today on whatsthepont.com.

Hedda, Hamlet, Helena, Irena, Masha and Antigone vie with each other for the position of Most Tragic Life Story, meet with the intention of ending it all  but find together the ways to change their scripts and write themselves a future.

Pick of the Fringe 2008  Chapman Tripp nominee Best New Play 2008. Never since performed professionally.

"2b or nt 2b … should be everywhere" - Theatreview

"A comic gem” - Dompost

 4 Billion Likes (working title only)

A comedy with songs

A one person show starring Neenah Dekkers-Reihana (TIgers of Wrath, After Juliet).

Sixteen year old Chloe Anderson from Hamilton starts a blog of her thoughts, and dreams of winning X factor. But events and other people open her eyes to the need to see more in life than how to lose 2kg and become a star!

By Bill Cain
Directed by Peter Hambleton
Effects created by Weta Workshop
24 May – 21 June
Circa One

London, 1603 - William Shagspeare (yes, it’s him) receives a Royal Commission to write a play promoting the government’s version of Guy Fawkes’ treasonous Gunpowder Plot. As Shag navigates the dangerous course between writing a lie and losing his soul, or writing the truth and losing his head, his devoted theatre troupe helps him negotiate each step along the way.

At once an explosive comedy of ideas and a high-stakes political thriller, Bill Cain’s award-winning Equivocation deftly reveals the cat-and-mouse games in politics and art, and the craft of learning how to speak the truth in dangerous times.

Featuring effects created by WETA WORKSHOP, and costumes created by Toi Whakaari School of Costume Construction

Circa luminary Peter Hambleton (THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS and SHIPWRECKED) returns from 3 years working on THE HOBBIT, to direct EQUIVOCATION: “This extraordinary play is one of the most exciting I have ever encountered. It is thrillingly theatrical, high-octane entertainment - funny, but deeply moving, while also being brave, intelligent, and even provocative.  It fearlessly examines issues like faith and fanaticism, spying and security, truth and trust, media manipulation and misuse of power. With Will Shakespeare writing your government’s propaganda, you can’t go wrong, can you?”

“breathtaking boldness!’”  L.A. TIMES       “sizzling theatricality”  VARIETY


Matariki Development Festival 2014
23 June – 5 July
Circa Two

Featuring new work taking flight, the MATARIKI DEVELOPMENT FESTIVAL 2014 returns with new writing by Maori and Pasifika playwrights.  

Tawata Productions presents the MDF 2014, an international indigenous playwrights’ festival held in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, featuring a development season, new writing, panel discussions and international indigenous artists.

Playwrights featured in the MDF 2014 include HONE KOUKA, AROHA WHITE, MOANA ETE

 25 – 28 JUNE
Development Season of 2080 by Aroha White

4 – 5 JULY
Rehearsed Readings of new writing by Moana Ete and Hone Kouka

Stay tuned for the late night programme 4th & 5th of July!  Encore Bar will be open and serving drinks and counter food, so come along for a great evening!

The MDF has presented Hikoi by Nancy Brunning, Manawa by Jamie McCaskill, I, George Nepia by Hone Kouka, and Hui by Mitch Tawhi Thomas. 

The MDF partners include Toi Maori Aotearoa & the Wellington City Council.

Hapai Productions presents
Te Kakano Season: Matariki 2014
Written & directed by Nancy Brunning
28 June – 12 July
Circa One

A journey of love

“The great thing with our policy is that we are going to have a world full of people speaking fluent Maori who have got nothing M¯aori to talk about” – John Rangihau

Nancy Brunning’s debut play is inspired by her experiences growing up Maori in New Zealand during the 70s and 80s. 

Nellie and Charlie find love and build a life together in the thriving new town of Te Moananui.  When Nellie discovers her inner power and true voice it threatens to destroy their relationship, their family and Charlie’s dream of life without ties to the past. 

With only  a suitcase, a bottle of Coruba and a packet of cigarettes, 16-year-old twins Janey-Girl and May set off with their siblings Pearl, Joe and Bubba on a road trip through the rural back roads of central North Island.

Hikoi follows the lives of two generations dealing with a radically changing world and their way of saying something about it.

The Road That Wasn’t There
By Ralph McCubbin Howell
Directed By Hannah Smith
Presented by trick of the light theatre
8-19 July
Circa Two

This is a story about a girl who followed a map off the edge of the world…

In New Zealand there are some 56,000 kilometres of paper roads – streets and towns that exist only on surveyors’ maps. Or do they? A young woman strays from the beaten track and finds herself in a paper world. It seems a land of possibility but she soon discovers that things that happen in the fictional world can have frighteningly real consequences.

From an award-winning company comes an original fairytale drawn from the twitchy edges of children’s literature – a dark world reminiscent of Coraline, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Margaret Mahy. Combining puppetry, shadow play, and live music, this is a curious tale for intrepid children and adventurous adults…

“Thoroughly enchanting and totally engrossing, The Road That Wasn’t There is a must see show for all ages.” – The Dominion Post

“Probably the most beautiful kids’ show I’ve ever seen.” – Edinburghia2012

A View from the Bridge
By Arthur Miller
Directed by Susan Wilson
19 July – 23 August
Circa One

Arthur Miller’s most passionate work, A View from the Bridge is an enthralling and gripping drama about love, belonging, prejudice and betrayal.

Eddie Carbone, an Italian American longshoreman who lives in Brooklyn with his wife Beatrice and his orphaned 17 year old niece Catherine, welcomes his Sicilian cousins to the land of freedom. But when one of them falls for his beautiful niece, they discover that freedom comes at a price. Eddie’s jealous mistrust exposes a deep, unspeakable secret – one that drives him to commit the ultimate betrayal as he erupts in a rage that consumes him, his family and his world.

An excellent modern classic from the author of Death of a Salesman, All My Sons and The Price.

“A compelling drama that captures the sense of a community pulling together under pressure.” - Jewish Chronicle

“Eddie Carbone is one of those great tragic figures who we will remember long after we leave the theatre” – Examiner

By Nick Payne
Directed by Rachel Lenart
26 July – 23 August
Circa Two
New Zealand premiere

One relationship. Infinite possibilities.

“... every choice, every decision you’ve ever made and never made exists in an unimaginably vast ensemble of parallel universes”

In a multiverse, anything and everything is not only possible, but inevitable. The ground-breaking Constellations delves into the worlds in which Roland met Marianne. Love, honey and quantum physics take centre stage in this witty, playful and profoundly moving exploration of choice, control and

Constellations is an explosive new work by the winner of the 2012 Harold Pinter award, Nick Payne. Hot off the international circuit, the New Zealand premiere of this astounding two-hander features award-winning Wellington actors Erin Banks (The Great Gatsby) and Richard Dey (All My Sons).
In an innovative exploration of form and storytelling, Constellations blends the everyday with the extraordinary. Intimate and evocative, this play cuts right to the heart of now, in a world where we have all the answers, but not the solutions. It humanises the theoretical, blasts existentialism into the 21st
Century and is taking the theatrical world by storm.

“This exceptional new romantic drama packs more into an hour or so than most manage in three” — The Telegraph

The Improvisors
The Improvisors Go to the Movies
10 August – 28 September

Hollywood, Bollywood, horror, Noir, action – all live.

Take a cast of the most talented comedians, some movies consigned to the vaults of time, your suggestions and watch the final cut!
In 4D and surround sound.

A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay about the Death of Walt Disney
By Lucas Hnath
Directed by Danny Mulheron
30 August – 27 September
Circa One


Tonight Walt is going to read you a screenplay he wrote. It's about his last days on earth. It's about a city he's going to build that's going to change the world. And it's about his brother. It's about everyone who loves him so much, and it's about how sad they're going to be when he's gone. Right? I mean, how can they live without him? How can anyone live without him? Director Danny Mulheron directs Lucas Hnath's adrenaline-charged odyssey, a supersonic portrait of a man who tried to abolish reality.

Danny saw this play in New York and was blown away by it. He can’t wait to bring this season’s hottest show to Circa audiences.

Destination Beehive
A political comedy
By Pinky Agnew & Lorae Parry 
Directed & choreographed by Jan Bolwell
Musical direction by Michael Nicholas Williams
6 September – 4 October
Circa Two


Join the sharp-witted duo who brought you The Truth About Love, The Candidates and Sex Drive, for a rollercoaster ride towards Election 2014.

Meet a batch of fresh faces – the newest candidates on the political platform, as they dash to their destination – The Beehive.

Who will be the powerbroker? Who will be the jobless joker?
Meet the flip-floppers and the name droppers. The backsliders and the backstabbers. The naggers, the knockers, the pleasers and the sleazes, as they hurtle towards… Destination Beehive!

Starring: Lorae Parry, Pinky Agnew & Kate Harcourt

The Improvisors
Improvisors for Kids
29 September – 11 October
School Holiday Show

Kids love theatre that's interactive. So do The Improvisors. A match made in heaven!

For the last holidays of the year come along to Circa for a show that lets the kids get involved in live theatre in a way that only an Improvisors show can.

Their suggestions, sound effects, even props and costumes – their show.

The Pitmen Painters
By Lee Hall
Inspired by a book by William Feaver
Directed by Ross Jolly
1 October – 8 November
Circa One

From Tony award-winning writer Lee Hall, best known for Billy Elliot, comes this amazing true story of the Ashington group of British miners who in 1934 hired a professor to teach an art appreciation evening class. Rapidly abandoning theory in favour of practice, the pitmen began to paint – prolifically, and unexpectedly became art-world sensations!

A funny, deeply moving and highly entertaining salute to the lives of a group of ordinary men who do extraordinary things, The Pitmen Painters takes you on an unforgettable journey from the depths of the mine to the heights of fame.

Hot on the heels of his Billy Elliot success Lee Hall’s Pitmen Painters has wowed huge audiences overseas and will be extremely popular.

“A wonderful piece of theatre: comic, sad and stirring in the same breath” - Financial Times

Isaac’s Eye
By Louis Hnath
Directed by Paul McLaughlin
Art Direction by Tom Scott
With music by Rhian Sheehan
18 October – 15 November
Circa Two
New Zealand Premiere

Isaac Newton’s childlike, kaleidoscope mind is the platform for a quirky, contemporary and distinctly original theatrical experience.

Isaac’s Eye re-imagines the contentious, plague-ravaged world in which the young Isaac Newton and established scientist Robert Hooke are a Mozart and Salieri of science wrangling over the physics of light. Over the course of their dispute, Newton risks blinding himself by conducting optical experiments on his own eye to prove to Hooke that his theory is right and that he is worthy of admission to The Royal Society.

Far from a costume drama, Isaac's Eye is original in its presentation and contemporary in its tone. With a stunning set imagined and created by cartoonist Tom Scott, Isaac’s Eye occupies its own time and space as it explores the dreams and longings that drove the rural farm boy Isaac Newton to become one of the greatest thinkers in modern science.

"A quirky sendup of fusty historical dramas... funky, stylized, but distinctly contemporary. Isaac's Eye wins a whole mess of points for originality." - The New York Times

Red Riding Hood – The Pantomime
By Roger Hall
Songs by Paul Jenden and Michael Nicholas Williams
Directed by Susan Wilson
15 November – 21 December
Circa One

What a big smile you’ll have …

Circa’s fabulous Christmas panto telling one of the great stories – about an innocent Red Riding Hood, her poor, short sighted grandmother, the handsome woodcutter and that villain of all villains, the Wolf!

There’s lots of laughter, hilarious jokes and musical goodies in Red’s basket as she sets off on her journey to entertain young and old with this marvellous magical treat.

Festive fun for everyone!

“Pantos are about fun … full of magic and music … Go laugh, and sing the Pantomime Whirl – you know you want to!”  - Lynn Freeman, Capital Times

Dead Tragic
By Michael Nicholas Williams
22 November – 21 December
Circa Two

Songs to die for.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the theatre…Dead Tragic, the cult musical of the 90s returns with the original cast.

Who shot who at the Copacabana? What did they do to Maria? (When they did what they did to Maria!) Why did Billy Joe MacAllister jump off the Tallahatchie Bridge?

These, and many other mysteries of pop music, may be answered byDead Tragic. Featuring more than 20 hits (and misses) from the50s, 60s and 70s.

Starring: Emma Kinane, Katherine Mitchell, Jon Pheloung, Michael Nicholas Williams and Darren Young

“A brilliant show and a must-see” – Palmerston North Tribune

“Gloriously gratuitous and giddy” – Palmerston North Guardian

“Manic, black-comic zest” – Theatreview

A great Christmas gift idea for the theatre enthusiast on your list: Circa Six Pack - a voucher pack of 6 tickets (for the price of 5) that can be redeemed in a number of ways! For more info or to purchase, contact the box office on 801-7992 or stop by at 1 Taranaki Street.

Pick up your copy of the 2014 brochure at Circa or download from www.circa.co.nz.

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