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War Stories Production At Taranaki Festival

War Stories Production At Taranaki Festival

In a New Zealand first, seven festivals have combined to commission and produce a unique piece of national theatre about the experiences of ordinary New Zealanders in World War I.

King and Country is a powerful and evocative drama based on personal accounts gathered from letters, poems and newspaper articles of the era. The text is interwoven with treasured New Zealand war songs, sung to the accompaniment of a live brass band.

King and Country is performed in New Plymouth and Hawera in August as part of the Taranaki Festival of the Arts.

Written by Dave Armstrong, directed by Conrad Newport and produced by Caroline Armstrong, the work has emerged from the biennial development showcase Show and Tell, which was initiated by the New Zealand International Arts Festival in 1998.

“When travelling through New Zealand, the importance of World War I in our history is obvious – every small town in New Zealand has a war memorial, and the number of young New Zealanders attending ANZAC services grows each year. In King and Country we want to tell personal, New Zealand stories and explore the human pain, heartache, humour and horror of the times,” says Mr Armstrong.

Festival directors from Christchurch, Nelson, Taupo, Tauranga, Taranaki, Wanaka and Wellington (New Zealand International Festival) were unanimous in their support for the production, which stood out at the showcase for its moving simplicity and dramatic impact.

Taranaki Festival of the Arts director Roger King says the co-production is a fantastic step forward for New Zealand theatre and establishes a model for future performing arts development.

Dave Armstrong has extensive experience as a writer for stage and television. He co-wrote the stage play Niu Sila, which won the Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for Best New New Zealand play in 2004 and was a writer for TVNZ's Spin Doctors. Dave is also an accomplished trumpet player.

King and Country is at the Hawera Memorial Theatre on Thursday 11 August featuring Hawera Brass and at the TSB Theatre, TSB Showplace, New Plymouth for one night only on Saturday 13 August featuring the New Plymouth City Band.

The Taranaki Festival of the Arts follows the sell-out success of WOMAD New Zealand 2005. Both events are organised by the Taranaki Arts Festivals Trust.

Tickets for the Taranaki Festival of the Arts are available through Ticketek and the full programme is available online at

The Taranaki Festival of the Arts 2005 is funded and supported by the

following organisations;

CORE FUNDERS: New Plymouth District Council, Taranaki Electricity Trust

MAJOR FUNDING PARTNERS: TSB Community Trust, Creative NZ

GOLD SPONSORS: Hooker Pacific, Staples Rodway, The Zieltjes Family in

association with the Practical Education Institute

GOLD MEDIA: Classic Hits Taranaki, Taranaki Daily News, More FM Taranaki

SILVER SPONSORS: Reeves Middleton Young, Clelands Construction Ltd, Price

Waterhouse Coopers, Transfield Worley Services, Plymouth International Hotel

BRONZE SPONSORS: Billings, Fuji Xerox, Swift Energy NZ Ltd, The Most FM,

Newstalk ZB, Westgate Transport Ltd, TSB Bank

FESTIVAL GRANTS: South Taranaki District Council, New Zealand Community

Trust, Venture Taranaki, Lion Foundation


This project is supported by Creative New Zealand

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