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Wheeler's Luck Fundraising Gala

Wheeler’s Luck Fundraising Gala

Come along and support the boys as they take on The Edinburgh Festival!

For two nights only
July 25th and 26th
Bats Theater
Bookings 802 4175,

“Hugely entertaining and quirkily Kiwi ...two brilliantly talented comic actors create not only an entire community with over 400 locals, but also a dance routine, pub brawl, shipwreck and, dizzyingly, a bareback horse race... Energising, hilarious and perceptive, this beautifully honed show is pure theatrical magic”
New Zealand Listener, 2006

“The whole story is told in 80 extraordinary minutes through 55 characters and a pet rock, all created with minimalist wit, great ingenuity and monumental talent by Toby Leach and Nigel Collins.... there is no one you don't know, or know of, in this community.”
National Business Review, 2005

"...gloriously performed ...rivalling Ben Hur for excitement but much funnier ...a sure fire hit."
Dominion Post, 2005

Wheeler’s Luck is a New Zealand play with a universal theme - what happens to a small beachside town when a big city developer moves in. Will the community stand up and claim the piece of land that has been close to its heart for over a century? Or will they choose a new course for their town? It’s the town’s decision.

And the entire population of the town is played by just two actors with no costume changes a minimalist set (one ship’s bell) in what one reviewer described as “a dynamic explosion of dazzling physicality and vocal dexterity.”

Morphing from hard-case pub owner and frustrated town beauty, to nosy rural postie and townie developer, to the Queen of the slot machines and a self-important mayor, Nigel Collins and Toby Leach effortlessly shift from male to female, character to character to create a town meeting with over 400 locals, a dance-off in gumboots, a pub brawl, and a climactic bareback horse race down the town's prize beach.

Wheeler’s Luck is a first-time collaboration from New Zealand Drama School graduates, actors Toby Leach and Nigel Collins under the direction of Damon Andrews. The script was written collaboratively.

white knuckle presents
wheeler’s luck

The story

In 1882 Johnny Wheeler heroically saved the lives of dozens on board the Moa Hunter as it foundered on rocks, by making a mad moonlit dash on his horse Waverley along the beach and over beautiful Cox Point to raise the alarm in the nearby town of Bell End. Every year since, the town has celebrated the historic rescue with its Bareback Festival, culminating in a beach horse race finishing at the very same town bell rung by Johnny all those years ago.

Now the finest stretch of sand on the East Coast is under threat. The death of reclusive landowner and spinster Nora Cox, the only surviving member of the town’s founding pioneer family, has placed the future of Cox Point and its historic festival in doubt: as property developers from the big smoke roll into Bell End, who will win the bidding for ownership of the town’s landmark piece of real estate?

Will the community stand up and claim the piece of land that has been close to its heart for over a century? Or will they choose a new course for their town?

Will this year’s Bareback be the last?

Our vision

New Zealand is a small town that is changing.

Where urban drift was the phenomenon of the mid 20th century, in the 21st city people can’t wait to get their hands on a bit of the country. If its got a sea view, so much the better.

Wheeler’s Luck explores issues close to every New Zealanders heart: land ownership and development, the erosion of communities, preservation of history, and finding a place to stand.

When the moneymen come around with the chequebook, what price do we place on our values?

tour history


august premiere season at BATS Theatre, Wellington


february return season at Circa Theatre, Wellington

april Southern Lakes Festival of Colour: Hawea Flat, Wanaka, Luggate

september Wanaka Festival: Arrowtown, Wanaka

Centrepoint Theatre, Palmerston North

october Nelson Arts Festival: Nelson, Murchison, Greymouth, Takaka, Blenheim

Tauranga Arts Festival


february Taupo Arts Festival

Auckland Theatre Company (at the Maidment Theatre)

march Bay of Islands Arts Festival: Kerikeri

Whangarei Endless Summer Festival

august Edinburgh Fringe (at the Assembly Rooms)

103 performances to date


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