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International Success For NZ Play

Please find attached information (and text below) about the upcoming London production of STiFF by New Zealand playwright April Phillips.




International Success For NZ Play

STiFF by New Zealand playwright April Phillips is being produced by The Questors Theatre in London 30 May – 6 June 2009.

The Questors Theatre in Ealing, West London, is the largest community theatre in Europe.

“The London production is very exciting because it is uncommon for a Kiwi play to be produced by a British theatre company.” says Mark Amery, director of Playmarket, New Zealand’s playwright and script development agency.  “It’s usually Kiwi actors and directors based overseas who put on Kiwi plays for ex-pat Kiwi audiences.  Questors is a London theatre producing a British premiere for an English audience which is a great testament to the broad appeal of Phillips’ writing”.

New Zealand playwright April Phillips is well known throughout the country, with most amateur companies having produced sell-out seasons of her play STiFF.  The successful comedy has revitalised theatre in some provinces where live theatre has struggled to attract audiences.  

The play’s international success is growing with multiple productions in Australia and even Norfolk Island.  The UK debut has the potential to open the play up to a vast theatre market.

STiFF is a fast-paced situation comedy about a prostitute who inherits a funeral parlour.

Angel Delight and her team of 'girls’ (including an obsessive compulsive transvestite named Delilah) run an undercover massage parlour in the funeral home keeping up appearances despite the prying of a disgruntled former employee who feels he should have inherited the business.

Suspenders, death by misadventure and unorthodox embalming techniques feature in this hilarious, quickfire comedy.  Rude not crude, cheeky not vulgar – it’s a modern farce with lots of great characters.

Phillips, who is also an accomplished actress and singer, says that her comedy writing is sharply influenced by all those wacky British TV comedies she grew up with such as Fawlty Towers, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, Dad’s Army, Are You Being Served and The Goodies.  Her aim is to “keep them laughing from go to whoa and have them leave the theatre with a smile on their faces”.

Phillips will travel to London to attend the UK premiere.

In total, this bawdy farce has had 25 productions in the past 5 years, 23 of them since 2007, 6 international. To put these figures into perspective, Roger Hall’s Taking Off has  been produced 23 times over the same period.


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