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2003 Year Of The New Zealand Play

2003 Year Of The New Zealand Play

New plays by Briar Grace Smith, Carl Nixon, Albert Wendt and Ken Duncum are among the anticipated theatrical highlights of 2003 predict Playmarket, New Zealand's playwrights agency and script development service. 2003 has been christened the 'Year of the New Zealand Play' by the Playwrights Association of New Zealand (PANZ), with an endorsement from the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage and Associate Minister Judith Tizard.

In a year which also sees Playmarket celebrate 30 years of promotion, representation and development of the play, our professional theatres and theatre companies have already confirmed that they will premiere 30 full-length new New Zealand plays, as well as reviving at least 15 others.

Briar Grace Smith's new work Potiki's Memory of Stone premieres at Christchurch's Court Theatre in July before touring to Wellington's Downstage. Meanwhile Ken Duncum's new play Cherish, which deals with adoption by gay parents, will premiere at Wellington's Circa Theatre in October.

2003 also sees the adaptation for the stage of two highly acclaimed recent novels. Carl Nixon's brilliant adaptation of Lloyd Jones' account of the 1905 All Black tour of Britain, The Book of Fame, will premiere at Downstage in May before touring to Christchurch and Palmerston North. Tony McCaffrey's adaptation of Charlotte Randall's celebrated novel The Curative, will premiere with George Henare in the lead role at Christchurch's Court in June.

Long awaited has been writer Albert Wendt's first play The Songmaker's Chair, to be premiered by Auckland Theatre Company in September. ATC will also present new plays by Kathyrn Van Beek, Michael Galvin, Mike Chunn and Stephen Sinclair as part of their 'Final Draft' programme.

Other premieres include Jean Bett's expose of Brecht The Collective (BATS Theatre, March), Craig Thaine's recount of the meeting of Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf Telling Stories (Circa, August), Allen O'Leary's take on the Furlough incident Fond Love and Kisses (Downstage, October) and Albert Belz's blistering Awhi Tapu (Taki Rua Productions, May). Also to premiere are Jeffrey Thomas' Gunsmoke (Circa, June), Rua McCallum's Where Two Roads Meet (Globe Theatre, Dunedin, March), Kathyrn Van Beek's For Georgie (BATS, Silo Theatre), a new play for Palmerston's North's Centrepoint Theatre by Bevin Linkhorn, Diana Fuemana's Licka (BATS), a full-length version of Mike Hudson's Beautiful Losers (BATS/Silo), BATS's Young and Hungry season of new NZ plays (June), and a festival of plays by young NZ playwrights at Circa (October). Then there's the host of new work premiering at Wellington's Fringe Festival in February.

Revivals in 2003 include Roger Hall's Middle Age Spread (ATC and Court), Anthony McCarten and Stephen Sinclair's Ladies' Night (ATC), Hone Kouka's Mauri Tu (Kilimojo Productions, Dunedin), Robert Lord's China Wars (Wow Productions, Dunedin), Ken Duncum's Horseplay and Stuart Hoar's The Facemaker (both, Tall Poppy Theatre, Auckland).

Meanwhile continuing to tour nationally are Mike Riddell's Jerusalem, Jerusalem - which goes to this year's Edinburgh Fringe - Woman Far Walking, The Daylight Atheist, Netballers, Indian Ink's The Pickle King and The Candlestickmaker, and Massive Company's The Sons of Charlie Paora.

Playmarket, who have contributed to the development of most of these playwrights, will be celebrating their 30th birthday with events throughout New Zealand. As well as a large programme of play workshops, presentations and readings, Playmarket will also be holding the 2003 National Playwrights Forum in Auckland in September, the New Zealand Young Playwrights Competition (with workshops in Dunedin in June), 'Exploding The Page with Playmarket' at Ignite in Auckland in April, and the Adam Playreading Series at Downstage, Wellington in August. Playmarket receives major funding from Creative New Zealand.

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