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VERBATIM needs your support!

VERBATIM needs your support!

Last year our partner organisation JustSpeak embarked on a collaboration with a local theatre company Last Tapes Theatre to produce two short New Zealand plays that offer audiences the opportunity to hear the words of offenders, victims and families affected by violent crime. Now the play is back.
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This is an email to ask for your support in one of JustSpeak's latest projects.

As many of you know, last year our partner organisation JustSpeak embarked on a collaboration with a local theatre company Last Tapes Theatre to produce two short New Zealand plays that offer audiences the opportunity to hear the words and understand the truths of offenders, victims and families affected by violent crime. The plays are a unique form of 'verbatim' theatre, written using the real words from interviews conducted with the subjects (more details below).

They had sell out public seasons in Auckland, Mangere and Wellington last year (that many of you attended - reviews can be found here and here), that sparked some great discussion about criminal justice with new audiences. Following on from the success of the 2013 season, as of next Monday they are taking the production on tour, performing it in schools, prisons and regional centres across the country.

The idea behind the project is, firstly to produce some quality local theatre and to take the themes to audiences that might not otherwise have an opportunity to see or engage with them; and secondly to use this quasi documentary-style theatre as a creative medium to open up discussion around some complex, criminal justice issues. We see this as a unique opportunity to encourage and hear young people's voices on these issues, to perform these stories about criminal offenders to the people to whom they most relate, and to engage with the New Zealand communities on criminal justice issues beyond our usual reach of Auckland-Wellington-Christchurch.

As usual, none of this can happen without a whole lot of work and support from a whole lot of people. We are lucky to have some really key supporters in making this tour happen, but the project still needs more help, and so we are emailing to ask for your support!

We would be really grateful if you would be willing to support this project in any of these ways:


There is a special one-off performance to raise some much-needed funds, at 6pm this Sunday night (27th) at Q Theatre in Auckland. This is your only chance to see it in Auckland so don't miss out on tickets!

Essentially it is some incredibly talented actors (Jodie Rimmer, Fraser Brown, Cherie Moore) performing two powerful, local plays that use the unadorned words of real people to tell difficult stories about violence and humanity.

Q have kindly donated the theatre, so all of the ticket dollars will be going straight towards getting us to schools and prisons across the country. Plus we have invited Jeff Szusterman (director) and Helen Bowen (Restorative Justice Trust) to join the cast in a post-show discussion with the audience, and we have called in favours from some super-talented musicians to provide other entertainment to round out the night (including fantastics local musos Jessie Cassin and Junelle, as well as Jacinda Ardern taking a break from election issue campaigning to demonstrate her DJ-ing prowess).

All in all it should be a great night – would really love you to join us. Get tickets from Q theatre here and join the Facebook event here.


One of the most helpful things you could to is to talk about the project (in person, in email, on social media) and to encourage everyone else you know to come along – both to the fundraiser, and to our public shows in various centres:

* Kerikeri, 29th July, Turner Centre, tickets here
* Havelock North, 5th, 6th August, Keirunga Homestead Theatre, tickets here
* Dunedin, 11th, 12th August, Fortune Theatre, tickets available soon here
* Balclutha, 14th August, South Otago Theatrical Society, tickets here
* Gore, 17th August, venue TBC
* Invercargill, 20, 21 August, Scottish hall, tickets here

Each public show will be followed by a post-show discussion with the cast and some local speakers talking from their experience of criminal justice in NZ.

To keep up with announcements, follow the Facebook event page here.


We have a crowd-funding site where you can make a donation if you can't come along but are keen to support the tour. Donate here.


We truly appreciate your support – without it, this project would not be able to happen.

Best regards,

Rethinking Crime and Punishment and the JustSpeak team


Two powerful and confronting plays reaching to the heart of murder.

VERBATIM is an evening of two short plays that allow some of New Zealand’s most marginalised voices to tell their own stories, in their own words. 'Verbatim' (by William Brandt, devised by William Brandt and Miranda Harcourt) and 'Portraits' (Stuart McKenzie and Miranda Harcourt) were developed through interviews with violent offenders, their families, and their victim’s families. The plays are a form of docu-drama, where the truth cannot be hidden because the words are not embellished.

Hear New Zealand’s prisoners, their families at home, their victims’ parents in pain. See the damage, hurt, forgiveness and hatred. Learn their truths.

Hot off the heels of a national tour of her stunning stage show Nick: An Accidental Hero, Renee Lyons brings her chameleonic talents to 'Verbatim', while screen favourites Jodie Rimmer (In My Father’s Den, Nothing Trivial) and Fraser Brown (Field Punishment Number One, Erebus: Operation Overdue) bring powerful, intimate performances to the stage in Portraits. For the Auckland fundraiser we’re proud to introduce up-and-comer Cherie Moore (The Last Five Years, Camino Real), taking Renée’s place for this one-night-only gala evening.

Directed by Jeff Szusterman.

Presented in association with Playmarket New Zealand, and with the generous support of Q Theatre, Creative New Zealand, The Tindall Foundation, and iTICKET.


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