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Always My Sister – reading and book launch

Always My Sister – reading and book launch

Always My Sister, a new play by Michelanne Forster, is based on a murder that took place in Devonport in the 1840s and explores domestic violence.

A rehearsed reading of the play will be held on Wednesday November 6 at 5:30 pm at The University of Auckland Drama Studio. The reading, which is free, features talented actors Lauren Gibson, Laura Daniels and Paul Barrett.

Michelanne Forster wrote the play while she held The University of Auckland residency at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in 2011. The centre is located in the old Signalman’s House on Takarunga Mt Victoria in Devonport. Forster became fascinated with a true story loosely associated with the Signalman’s House: the brutal murder of a naval officer, his wife and daughter in their Devonport home.

Maggie Reardon, the play’s central character, became the first and only woman in New Zealand to be transported to Tasmania to serve a seven year sentence for perjury after she lied to protect her ‘common-law’ husband, Joseph Burns, who committed the crime.

“New Zealand’s colonial history is filled with ordinary people grappling with love, violence, poverty and powerlessness. There’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to human nature,” Forster says, of this work.

The performance will be followed by the launch of a book of the play, published by the university’s Holloway Press. The book is a limited-edition collectors’ book, the second in The Signalman’s House Series, which celebrates the work of writers who hold The University of Auckland residency. Only 50 copies of the book have been printed. They cost $150, but will be available at a discounted price of $120 leading up to and at the launch.


Wednesday November 6, 2013, 5.30 pm
Followed by the book launch, 6.30 to 7.30 pm


Performance - The University of Auckland Drama Studio, Arts I (Building 206), Level 3 (ground floor) Entry from 14a Symonds Street, Auckland

Book launch - Pat Hanan Room (Room 501), Level 5, Arts 2 (Building 206), cnr Symonds St and Grafton Road


Free, but numbers will be limited


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