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Elizabeth Hawthorne in International Hit Comedy

Auckland Theatre Company

Media Release

ATTN Culture Scoop

Elizabeth Hawthorne Stars in International Hit Comedy

Elizabeth Hawthorne stars in THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES, Joanna Murray-Smith’s monstrously up front comedy inspired by Germaine Greer’s infamous brush with a crazed and confused young female student, which opens at the Maidment Theatre on May 1.

“A riotous night out” Courier Mail (Brisbane)

Fashionably famous feminist author Margot Mason has always been deadlier and cleverer than any male she has ever encountered. But when she's held hostage in her country home Margot’s comfortable life spirals hilariously out of control.

Bristling with wit and intelligence Murray-Smith's new comedy explodes with ideas about gender, generational conflict and the power of the written word.

"this is a knock-'em-dead, reactionary rib-tickler" Variety

THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is Murray-Smith’s third play to enjoy success on the global stage having established its pedigree with sellout seasons in Melbourne and Brisbane, and with productions scheduled for Broadway, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth in 2008. Her previous international hits BOMBSHELLS and HONOUR which have played throughout the world and been translated into multiple languages confirmed Murray-Smith’s position as Australia’s most internationally successful playwright of recent years.

Murray-Smith will be in Auckland for the New Zealand premiere of THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES.

“THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES finds the funny-bone in feminism,” says Auckland Theatre Company Artistic Director Colin McColl, adding “it has all the satirical elegance of an Oscar Wilde farce.”

“Hawthorne is truly magnificent … an actress at the peak of her powers”

Listener (for DOUBT, ATC 2006)

THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES stars Elizabeth Hawthorne in her 82nd professional production. She has achieved particular renown for her unforgettable performances in Auckland Theatre Company productions of MASTER CLASS, VITA AND VIRGINIA, THE GRADUATE and DOUBT.

“Margot Mason is a monster of a role for an actress”says McColl, “Elizabeth is just devouring it.”

Brooke Williams, last seen on stage with Auckland Theatre Company in 2007’s THE CRUCIBLE and THE PILLOWMAN, plays the role of the crazed and confused young student Molly Rivers.

Hera Dunleavy, Adam Gardiner, Michael Keir-Morrissey and Brian Manthenga play a host of characters who enter the hostage situation one by one resulting in an increasingly improbable collection of people having increasingly absurd arguments, with all the classic farcical shifts of power and unexpected revelations.

THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES plays at The Maidment Theatre from May 1 until May 24. Bookings can be made at the Maidment Theatre 09 308 2383 or


Starring: Elizabeth Hawthorne With Hera Dunleavy, Adam Gardiner, Michael Keir-Morrissey, Brian Manthenga, Brooke Williams
Writer: Joanna Murray-Smith
Direction: Colin McColl
Designers: Tracy Grant-Lord, Brad Gledhill, Eden Mulholland

Maidment Theatre, May 1 – May 24
Tuesday - Wednesday 6.30pm, Thursday - Saturday 8.00pm
Matinee Saturday 17 May at 2.00pm
Sundays 4.00pm
Tickets: $25 - $54 (booking fees apply)


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