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Cast Named For New Kouka Play

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CAST NAMED FOR NEW KOUKA PLAY

The cast has been named for Hone Kouka's play The Prophet, a new work co-produced by the New Zealand International Arts Festival and Taki Rua Productions that will have its world premiere at the Festival in 2004.

The Prophet is the third play in Kouka's Waiora trilogy. The first, Waiora, was written for (and premiered) at the 1996 New Zealand International Festival of the Arts and the second, Home Fires, premiered at the 1998 Festival.

The Prophet is centred on five teenage cousins who come together at the headstone unveiling of a young cousin who took his own life. It is a story about how a 'people' became strangers in their own country, moving from their homelands to the cities. Hone Kouka asks "Was the move good for our people? Are we still lost? What is the future for Maori? The overall feeling is that we decide our future." Director Nina Nawalowalo adds, "This is a brown, hip piece of theatre with all the elements that youth are into. It's about where young Maori and Pacific Islanders are at right now."

Tanea Heke has been cast as Aunty Kay. Tanea has performed in Home and Hand Job at BATS Theatre, Haruru Mai directed by Simon Prast for Auckland Theatre Company, Mum's The Word at the Westpac St James Theatre and Julius Caesar at Circa Theatre. She has had roles in the film Guiding Light (2000) and television series Xena: Warrior Princess.

Mark Ruka will play Andrew Beautiful. Mark has a Bachelor of Performing Arts from Toi Whakaari, New Zealand School of Drama. In 2003 he has performed with Auckland Theatre Company in Play 2 and New Gold Dream and in Te Ao Marama in Wellington. He has also had roles in feature films Crime Story and Zenolith and in two short films.

Jarod Rawiri appears as Matt. Since graduating from Toi Whakaari, New Zealand School of Drama he has toured the North Island with Awhina, performed in Te Ao Marama and in two short films. He was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Chapmann Tripp Theatre Awards in 2002.

Miriama MacDowell is Maia. Miriama is a graduate of Toi Whakaari, New Zealand School of Drama. Her recent theatre work includes Potiki's Memory of Stone for the Court Theatre, The Young Baron, The Rover and Vula, directed by Nina Nawalowalo. She also has several radio, television and film credits including films Spring Flames (2002) and Party at Our Place (2001) and Revelations for television.

Maria Walker is Laura. Maria trained at the Te Wananga O Aotearoa in Porirua. She has been involved in performance education for Porirua City Council and has been in two short films including For the Far Now that combines mime movement with traditional Maori weaponry.

Jason Te Kare (Ngatia Maniapoto/Tainui) made his professional debut at the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts 1996 in Hone Kouka's Wairoa. He now returns in the third play of the Waiora trilogy as Ty. Also a graduate of Toi Whakaari, New Zealand School of Drama he acted in Auckland Theatre Company's Play 2 in 2002 and has spent most of 2003 touring the country for Books in Homes.

The Prophet features music by New Zealand Hip Hop artists and sound design is by Warryn Maxwell. Warren won the B.Net Best Musician Award for 2003. He is also a member of Wellington bands Fat Freddy's Drop and Trinity Roots, who won Best Roots Album at the 2003 NZ Music Awards. Warryn has recently returned from a tour of Europe with Fat Freddy's Drop and Trinity Roots.

Desgin for The Prophet is by Ross Gibbs. Ross is a graduate of Toi Whakaari, New Zealand School of Drama and received the Chapman Tripp Award for Best Set Design in 2002 for Gravity. Lighting Design is by Jennifer Lal who received the Chapman Tripp Lighting award in 1999 for Mapaki by Dianna Fuemana and again in 2001 for Have Car Will Travel by Mitch Tawhi Thomas. Her last design for the New Zealand International Arts Festival was Ranterstantrum by Victor Rodger in 2002.

The Prophet runs 12-21 March 2004 at Downstage Theatre. It is sponsored by Todd Corporation and supported by Smokefree and Creative New Zealand.

The New Zealand International Arts Festival runs from 27 February - 21 March. Bookings are available from Ticketek nationwide.

ENDS

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