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NZ Premiere of Heroes


Translated by TOM STOPPARD

BEST COMEDY – Olivier Awards 2006

HEROES is Tom Stoppard’s award-winning adaptation of Gerald Sibleyras’ enchanting and delightfully whimsical comedy Le Vent des Peupliers, that took Paris by storm.

HEROES which opened in the West End to ecstatic reviews and went on to win the Olivier Award for Best Comedy, has its NZ premiere in CIRCA TWO on Saturday 31st March at 7.30pm

It's 1959 and three First World War veterans are residents of a French Military Hospital.

Young and mischievous at heart, and still with an eye for the ladies, Gustave, Philippe and Henri meet every morning on their quiet terrace, spending their days looking over to the poplars on the horizon beyond and dreaming of escape. Will today be the day they finally make it to Indochina - or perhaps only as far as the top of the hill?


Starring a dream cast of three of New Zealand’s top senior actors, HEROES is directed by award-winning director Ross Jolly – ART, Waiting for Godot, An Inspector Calls, Master Class, The Underpants, The Shape of Things, Democracy.

For Ken, George and Ray, HEROES provides fantastic roles that are great fun to play, and a wonderful script by master wordsmith, Tom Stoppard.

It also gives them the chance to finally realise a dream of their own – to work together in the same play.

Although each of them has worked with the others in differing combinations over the years - on stage and in film and TV – this is the first time that all three will be working together at the same time!

Ken Blackburn is Philippe. Winner Best Actor for Vladimir in Waiting for Godot, Ken was last seen at Circa in Milos’ Wake, The Cherry Orchard, Democracy, and Death of a Salesman.

George Henare is Henri. Winner of Actor of the Year last year for his portrayal of Willy Loman in Circa multi-award-winning production of Death of a Salesman, George’s other stage appearances last year included Fagin in Oliver at The Court, Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night for ATC, and Count Dracula in Dracula at Downstage.

Ray Henwood is Gustave. One of the founding members of Circa Theatre, Ray’s recent roles have included Playing Burton (for which he won Best Actor), Willy Brandt in Democracy, Stalin in Master Class and Under Milk Wood at Downstage.





Opens SATURDAY 31st March at 7.30pm
and runs until 5th May 2007.

$20 PREVIEW - Friday 30th March - 7.30pm

$20 SUNDAY SPECIAL - Sunday 1st April – 4.30pm


Performance times: Tuesday - Saturday 7.30pm
Sunday 4.30pm

Prices: $35 Adults; $28 Students, Senior Citizens and Beneficiaries
$30 Groups 6+ $18 Student Standby - from 1 hour before the show
Circa Two special – SUB 25s only $20

BOOKINGS: CIRCA Theatre, 1 Taranaki Street, Wellington
Phone 801 7992

HEROES is proudly sponsored by Sovereign




Gerald Sibleyras was born in Paris in 1961.
Heroes or Le vent des Peupliers (The Wind in the Poplars) was originally commissioned by Theatre Montparnasse and received four Moliere nominations in 2003. His other plays include Le Beret de la Torture, which he co-wrote with Jean Dell, along with Un Petit Jeu sans Consequence, which received five Moliere awards in 2003. His most recent play Une Heure et Demie de Retard (again co-written with Dell) premiered at Theatre des Mathurins, and has also been translated into English (An Hour and a Half Late).


Tom Stoppard was born in Czechoslovakia in 1937. He wrote his first play Enter a Free Man while working as a journalist in Bristol. He continued as a freelance journalist, at the same time writing radio plays, a novel (Lord Malquist and Mr Moon), and the first of his plays to be staged, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Subsequent plays include: The Real Inspector Hound (1968), Jumpers (1972), Travesties (1974), Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1977), Night And Day (1978), On The Razzle (1981), The Real Thing (1982), Hapgood (1988), Arcadia (1993), Indian Ink (1995), The Invention Of Love (1997), an adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull (1998), the trilogy The Coast of Utopia (2002), and most recently the award-winning Rock ‘N’ Roll.
Stoppard has won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play six times, and Tony Awards four times.
While best known for his stage plays and screenplays, Stoppard has also written extensively for radio and television, including Professional Foul (Bafta award winner) and Squaring the Circle.
Screenplays include The Romantic Englishwoman (1975), Despair (1975), The Human Factor (1980), Brazil (1985), Empire Of The Sun (1987), The Russia House (1991), Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990) (winner Prix d’Or), Billy Bathgate (1991), Shakespeare In Love (1998) (winner of a Golden Globe, and an Oscar for Best Screenplay) ,and Enigma (1999).
Tom Stoppard is a CBE and was knighted in 1997. He was honoured by the French Government in 1997 when he was made an Officer de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.


Founding member of Circa Theatre, Circa councillor, actor and freelance theatre and television director, Ross has directed many productions for Circa over the past years including the original production of Master Class in 1986, and Moonlight, F.I.L.T.H., Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Travels with my Aunt, the record-breaking smash hit Social Climbers, the award-winning Taking Sides (Best Circa Production 1997), the acclaimed production of Heretic for the 1998 NZ International Festival of the Arts, and most recently, The Cripple of Inishmaan, How I Learned to Drive, Waiting for Godot, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, the sell-out success ART (and its return season), The Unexpected Man, The Memory of Water, The Weir, Madame Melville, the NZ Festival 2002 success Copenhagen, Life x 3, The Birthday Party, Conversations after a Burial, Ancient Lights, Humble Boy, the sell-out hit of the 2004 Festival of the Arts, Roger Hall’s Spreading Out, Stones in his Pockets, Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things which was nominated for Best Director and Best Production at the Chapman Tripp awards 2004, An Inspector Calls, The Mercy Seat and Democracy. Last year Ross directed the NZ premiere of Ross Gumbley’s Happy Coupling for the Court Theatre, and The Underpants, Wild East and a revival of Master Class for Circa. 2007 started with Ross re-directing Neil La Bute’s The Shape of Things for the Court Theatre, and after Heroes, Ross looks forward to directing La Bute’s Fat Pig in Circa One.
Ross won Director of the Year for his production of Waiting for Godot, at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards 1999.


Born in Bristol, England and educated both there and in New Zealand, Ken has been a freelance actor for over 40 years working extensively in film, television, radio and theatre in Australia, NZ and the UK. He has also written a book, “Blitz Kids”, which was selected by the BBC for publication to celebrate the 50th anniversary of VE Day in Britain in 1995.
Ken also has considerable experience as a theatre director and has been Associate Director of both Downstage and Mercury Theatres.
Ken returned to the Wellington stage, after a twelve-year absence, in Travels with my Aunt at Circa in 1987. Since then he has toured with the NZ Symphony Orchestra as narrator for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed in his self-devised show An Evening with Dickens (with Perry Piercy), and appeared at Circa in many shows including The Sisterhood, as Wilhelm Furtwängler in Taking Sides (Best Circa Production 1997 at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards), as Old Derek Freeman in Circa’s Festival hit show Heretic, Vladimir in Waiting for Godot, and Frank in Amy’s View (a role he repeated in the Auckland Theatre Co production), Life X 3, The Weir, The Lady in the Van, Noises Off, The Face Maker, Humble Boy, A Passionate Woman, The Love of Human Kind, Milo’s Wake, The Cherry Orchard, Bright Star, Democracy and, most recently, Death of a Salesman.
Ken has also directed She Stoops to Conquer, Wind in the Willows, The Country Wife and The Rivals for Circa.
Ken’s screen credits include White Fang, Sir Bruce Warner in Shortland St, Dr Kamins in The Frighteners, Bad Blood, Absent without Leave, Skin Deep, Gliding On plus a wide range of Australian television productions.
Ken won Best Actor at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards 1999 for his role as Vladimir in Waiting for Godot, and received the MNZM in the Queen’s Birthday honours in 2005.


A theatrical career spanning 40 years began in 1965 with the then NZ Opera Company’s Porgy & Bess. Along with other NZ Opera productions were performances with the original Downstage, the NZ Maori Theatre Trust and the NZ Quartet.
In 1971 George moved to Auckland’s Mercury Theatre as one of its lead actors for the next 20 years playing everything from King Lear, Sweeney Todd, Salieri, and Horner to Toad, Scarecrow and Cinderella’s ugly sister, to name but a smidgen. Interspersed with these were stints with Stetson Productions, Night & Day, Extremities, Pirates of Penzance etc, plus numerous radio plays and TV series.
The nineties saw a move to Australia, where George worked with the Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre and B.Company Belvoir in Sydney.
George’s TV productions have included Xena, Hercules, Ocean Girl IV, Street Legal, Shortland Street; and films – Once were Warriors, Rapanui, the Silent One, Johnny Lingo.
In 1980 George received an OBE for Services to Theatre, 2000 Best TV Actor, 2001 Narrator of the Year, for the second time, for Talking Books for the Blind, and last year he was names Actor of the Year at The Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for his role as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman at Circa.
George’s other Wellington productions include I’m Not Rappaport, Othello, Purupuruwhetu, Dracula (Downstage) This Train I’m On (Circa) Haruru Mai (Taki Rua), and Evita.
George has also starred in many productions with Christchurch’s Court Theatre including Professor Higgins, Christian Brothers, Frank’n’furter and Fagin in Oliver, and has a long list of stage credits in his home town of Auckland, where he was last seen as Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night at ATC.


A founding member of the Circa Council, Ray’s performances at Circa include Spreading Out, Conversations After a Burial, The Birthday Party, Copenhagen, Playing Burton, The Unexpected Man, A Delicate Balance, Rutherford, Travesties, Waiting for Godot, Honour, Simply Disconnected, Skylight, Market Forces, F.I.L.T.H., Moonlight, The Master Builder, Angels in America, I Hate Hamlet, No Man’s Land and Time of my Life. Other performances include Otherwise Engaged, Othello, Uncle Vanya, Hedda Gabler, Much Ado About Nothing (Downstage), Honour (ATC), NoGood Boyo (NZ & Australia) and Ken Hill’s Phantom of the Opera (Japan). Television includes Shortland Street, Market Forces, William Tell, Enid Blyton, Gliding On, Atlantis High and Film: Heavenly Creatures, The End of the Golden Weather, and Lord of the Rings.
Ray won Best Actor at the Chapman Tripp Awards 2001, for his role in Playing Burton, which has since toured to several NZ cities including Christchurch and Auckland and also to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
2005 again saw Ray touring NZ, this time in the one-man show The Carer.
Ray’s most recent performances in Wellington were as Willy Brandt in Democracy (Circa), Under Milk Wood (Downstage) and Stalin in Master Class (Circa). Ray also received an ONZM in the 2006 honour’s list.


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