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Play at Herald Theatre to Raise Funds for Niue

News Release –2 February 2004

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Play at Herald Theatre to Raise Funds for Niue

New Zealand-born Niuean playwright Dianna Fuemana lived through the terror of Cyclone Heta and now she’s using her talent to help the people of Niue.

THE EDGE®, together with booBALAR Productions and supported by Niu FM, presents the Auckland premiere of The Packer, at the Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE®, on February 28 and 29. All proceeds will go to the Cyclone Heta Niue Relief Fund to help rebuild Niue.

Dianna was in Niue on a Creative New Zealand writer residency when the cyclone hit four days into her month-long stay.

“We were about one kilometre away from the major devastation and in a relatively safe area. Seven of us all huddled together for the night during the cyclone. We couldn’t sleep and all we could do was imagine what it was like for others on the island who weren’t safe. It was very scary and very emotionally draining.”

The next day Dianna and her friends left the house to discover the devastation. A cliff-front house, which was being prepared for Dianna, had been completely swept away by the waves from 40 metres below. Dianna says the destruction was hard to comprehend.

Dianna returned to New Zealand and approached THE EDGE® about staging a fundraising performance of The Packer, her critically-acclaimed play which premiered in Wellington and Melbourne last year.

“Pacific performance has long been a major part of the Herald Theatre programme and we’re very pleased to present The Packer and help the people of Niue,” says THE EDGE® Director of Theatre Programming and Development Robbie Macrae.

Written and directed by Dianna, The Packer will star New Zealand actor Jay Bunyan, who currently appears in Australian television soap Neighbours and is volunteering his time.

The Packer is a comedy, told through the eyes of Shane, a west Aucklander who falls in love with a Niuean girl, Pina.

We first meet Shane at his job - packing boxes - but it's not long before we're introduced to his alcoholic mother, Joyce, cruising into town with his wigger mate Brad, dodging Indians and transvestites, then finding the object of his affections, Pina - the Niuean girl next door. When her father Tale pops his head in on the night it spins out of control. By Sunday morning Shane’s life is changed forever.

Tickets for The Packer at the Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, THE EDGE® on February 28 and 29 are available from Ticketek Ph: (09) 307-5000 or online at www.ticketek.com. All proceeds go to the Cyclone Heta Niue Relief Fund.

“Niue’s people have spirit and they will go on,” says Dianna. “They just need our support.”

ENDS

“An absolute knockout of a show… Sharp, frenetic and jaw achingly funny… A tightly conceived coming of age comedy…” David Crofts, The Melbourne Times

“Fuemana has written and directed a slick, action-packed comedy that needs only a bare stage, save for five large cardboard boxes, some excellent sound and lighting effects and a clever actor to tell her story.
Her play is performed with an easy style and a lot of talent by Jay Bunyan, an actor with a winning stage presence, who speedily switches from one well observed caricature to another in his smartly timed performance.” Laurie Atkinson, Dominion Post

ENDS

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