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Auckland Theatre Company presents Doubt

Auckland Theatre Company presents Doubt by John Patrick Shanley Maidment Theatre 16 March – 8 April

"The best new play of the season. That rarity of rarities, an issue-driven play that is unpreachy, thought-provoking, and so full of high drama that the audience with which I saw it gasped out loud a half-dozen times at its startling twists and turns."

Doubt, the most honoured play of the 2005 US awards season, makes its New Zealand debut season with Auckland Theatre Company, at the Maidment Theatre from 16 March - 8 April.

Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Best Drama and the 2005 Tony Award for Best Play, John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt has been hailed as the most compelling and magnificently crafted piece of drama to hit the Broadway stage in years.

Set in the Bronx in 1964, Doubt tells the story of a Roman Catholic school principal Sister Aloysius - a woman with a reputation for tenacity and flinty resolve who inhabits a world of black-and-white, truth and lies. When she begins to have doubts about the nature of a relationship between parish priest Father Flynn and a young black student she sets out, with steely determination, to trap him.

Despite the protestations of the boy’s mother, the disbelief of a novice, the weight of the Church authorities and the denials of the priest himself, she will not be swayed from her convictions. Is she driven by the strength of her faith or unjustly persecuting him?

While writing Doubt, playwright Shanley (recipient of the 1998 Best Original Screenplay Oscar for Moonstruck) drew inspiration from his own childhood experiences.

"I went to a church in the Bronx in 1964. It was such a specific world that has now vanished, a world involving the Sisters of Charity, who dressed in black robes and black bonnets. More recently, the world around me started to remind me in certain key ways of this time — of people of conviction and people who weren't certain, at odds with each other and their power struggle."

In her 81st professional theatre production, Elizabeth Hawthorne stars in the pivotal role of Sister Aloysius. Father Flynn will be played by Latham Gaines, with Goretti Chadwick as Mrs. Muller and Kate Prior as Sister James.

Colin McColl, Auckland Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, will direct this hugely talented cast in the play, he believes, has infused new life into American theatre.

“Doubt is a hot new play that has won just about every award going on Broadway. It’s a grown-up play, an intelligent piece that presents huge moral dilemmas – the sort of play that would appeal to people who like to keep an eye on world headlines”.

This year alone Doubt is set to run in over 25 countries around the world including Taiwan, Japan, Chile, most of Europe and America - emphasising the remarkable international appeal of this production.

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