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Presentations Of Exciting New NZ Plays Announced

Presentations Of Exciting New New Zealand Plays Announced

A strong line-up of plays with work by some of New Zealand's most distinquished writers has been announced for the seventh annual Adam Playreading Series at Wellington's Downstage Theatre, Sundays at 3pm between June 15 and July 6.

In welcome returns to the stage, Vincent O'Sullivan and Stephanie Johnson present major works, while the series also introduces New Zealand audiences to playwright Tom McCrory and an exciting new collaborative work from the pens of Oscar Kightley and Dave Armstrong.

For only $6 a session, the series provides an opportunity to see rehearsed readings of these outstanding new New Zealand plays presented by top professional actors and directors, ahead of production on the Wellington stage. From the many scripts that are submitted to Playmarket each year, four plays have been chosen for the 2003 series. The series is organised by the Downstage Theatre Society, Playmarket and Downstage Theatre, with the generous support of The Adam Foundation.

First up on Sunday June 15 is a presentation of Oscar Kightley and Dave Armstrong's Niu Sila, directed by Conrad Newport. A funny and moving journey through two different cultures, the play begins in 1960s Wellington, where six-year-old Peter is befriended by six-year-old Iaone, a new immigrant from the island of Atua. With a cast including a bigoted infant mistress, left-wing university professors, alcoholic uncles, and a no-nonsense Atuan matriarch, this two-man show follows a bicultural friendship that attempts to survive against the odds. Oscar Kightley is a well-known New Zealand playwright and performer, while Dave Armstrong has written extensively for both television and theatre. His new play, The Tutor, will be performed at Circa next year.

Originally written in 1994 but as yet unproduced, Yellow Brides by Vincent O'Sullivan on Sunday June 22 is a welcome return to the stage for this outstanding and versatile writer whose previous plays include Shuriken, Billy and Casement. Yellow Brides is a powerful work giving the Medea story a contemporary setting. Businessman Jason's Asian bride Queenie has much from her own culture to offer relatives and friends in her new home of New Zealand. What have they got in return to offer Queenie? (Director to be confirmed)

On Sunday June 29 is Stephanie Johnson's Strange Children, directed by Susan Wilson. Character Madame Lotti Wilmott, was a psychic and ‘inspirational lecturess’ who, with her daughter and dog, arrived in New Zealand in 1880. The author of two books (Australian Beds and Beds I Have Slept In), Madame Wilmott's writing, lectures and work as a psychic gathered her a large following. Moving between Auckland in 1881 and the present day, Strange Children is about the place of children in adult lives. Stephanie Johnson is an award-winning writer of plays, poetry, short stories and novels.

And finally on Sunday July 6 we present Tom McCrory's Faith, another powerful and poetic work for the stage, directed by Christian Penny. At 15 Ruth arrives in Wellington a refugee from the Holocaust. Now 72, Ruth guides us on a journey of faith exploring what survives across the generations. Tom McCrory’s first full-length work for the professional stage in New Zealand, his previous plays include French Kiss (selected as one of the top ten plays of the Edinburgh Festival 1994) and Life on Mars, performed at the Riverside Studios London.

The Adam Playreading Series readings all start Sundays at 3pm, and are followed by a talkback session with the writer, director and actors. Each play has been matched with top professional actors and directors, who will spend two days rehearsing and presenting each reading of the play at Downstage.

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