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The Whale Rider - On Stage

The Whale Rider - On Stage

A Journey between two Worlds

International Stage Show World Premiere

The Civic, Auckland from August 21, 2004

Auckland, New Zealand …(May 10, 2004).

The international launch and world premiere season of the stage production The Rider On Stage is scheduled to open in Auckland, New Zealand, at The Civic, Auckland on Saturday August 21.

Written by Witi Ihimaera and adapted for the stage by Director, Toby Gough, the production will star Rawiri Paratene as Koro and Vicky Haughton as Nanny Flowers. The Whale Rider – On Stage will feature songs written by Hinewehi Mohi, and original music that has been inspired by tracing the whales ancient migratory path through the oceans of the South Pacific with exotic sounds from Patagonia, the Cook Islands, Antartica and Whangara, on the East Cape of New Zealand.

The coveted role of Paikea, as magnificently portrayed by Keisha Castle-Hughes in the movie, is yet to be cast for the stage. The producers say they are very close to signing a special young girl to play Pai, a role that requires acting, singing, dancing, flying and the required endurance to keep up with the demands of the role.

The Whale Rider – on Stage, will follow closely the story of the novel taking the audience on a journey between two worlds - a duality between the human and whale worlds, land and sea, young and old highlighting the deep spiritual connection between ocean and nature.

The Hamilton-based Kapa Haka Group, Rangimarie, who have won the National Kapa Haka Championship will play an integral role in the performance.

Production Designer for The Whale Rider –On Stage is Robert Gillies, the visionary designer of Xena Warrior Princess. Gillies is finalising the creation of the magnificent costumes, puppetry, masks and other exciting visual elements of the production that will remain a surprise until the World Premiere on August 21.

The financing of the project is being executed by Asia Pacific Partners Limited, the Executive Producer, and includes the participation of both international and New Zealand investors. Following the success of the New Zealand production, the Executive Producers anticipate launching an international release. There has already been strong interest from international promoters and producers keen to secure the performance rights for several territories.

Actor, Rawiri Paratene said “making the movie was a dream role for an actor. I felt like I had been cast as King Lear. Now in another absolute dream role for the stage I feel like I have been cast as King Lear plus the Storm!” He said “This ambitious, visionary piece will be a different version – a different story – the oneness of man and nature, a story from the ancestor”, he said.

Vicky Haughton said “the scale of this production is inspiring, being able to extend and explore this universally loved story in a wonderful new theatrical arena is a very exciting venture.”

Producer, Logan Brewer, said “The Whale Rider will be a memorable theatrical event for all the family to enjoy. It is not a traditional musical. It will be more akin to the Lion King. The Whale Rider - On Stage will be dream like and transport you to the underwater world of the whales”.

Tickets will go on sale nationally through Ticketek on Monday May 31.

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