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Hit autobiographical comedy - My Best Dead Friend

My Best Dead Friend - Hit autobiographical comedy captures the highs and lows of teenage life in 90’s Dunedin
Created by Anya-Tate Manning and Isobel MacKinnon

“A joyful comedy from a heavy heart.”
A powerful, autobiographical cross between stand-up comedy and theatre, My Best Dead Friend written and performed by Wellingtonian Anya Tate-Manning, is having its Wellington premiere in the NZ Fringe Festival from 5 - 9 March at BATS Theatre. It’s a true story about heart-breaking grief and enduring friendship featuring a soundtrack from The Verlaines to the Backstreet Boys, and the words of Tuwhare, Baxter, and Bishop.

My Best Dead Friend dances between two moments in time; an attempted revolution on the streets of Dunedin in 1998 and a moment of great loss many years later. Growing up in Dunedin in the 90s Anya experienced first-hand the highs and lows of teenagers who lay outside the norm of the stoic, rugby-proud culture. Anya deftly captures the atmosphere of this unique, long-standing NZ city – resounding with Southerners and University alumni, misfits and poets.

The show was developed in Wellington with support from Creative New Zealand before storming Perth Fringe World in 2016, where it was nominated for the West Australian Arts Editor’s award.
Reviewers raved that they were transported by Anya’s creative but frank storytelling. In 2017, a one- off performance at the National Youth Drama School received a raucous standing ovation from 280
secondary school students.

Following this the show was presented in Auckland as part of Q Theatre’s Matchbox Season. Auckland reviewers raved, with the Pantograph Punch calling it an “unadorned tale of being young, restless and ready to change the world” which “illuminates the constant struggle for a complex, diverse and nuanced cultural identity.”

Anya Tate-Manning is a performer, director and writer based in Wellington, well-known in the NZ performing community for her knack for comedy. Anya joined Silo Theatre’s show Hudson and Halls Live! in 2016 (winner Best Supporting Actress, Wellington Theatre Awards) and spent 2017 touring with the wildly popular show throughout NZ.

Anya is the founder of the longest running Political Satire show currently on NZ’s stages; Public Service Announcements, which started in 2010 and is now a Wellington institution. In 2016 she gained a Masters in Script Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters, where she won the David Carson-Parker Embassy Prize. For My Best Dead Friend, she teamed up with razor-sharp Isobel MacKinnon - a multi award-winning director and performer who specializes in making original devised theatre works.

“Extraordinary joys and sorrows, extraordinary rebellions and submissions” – The West Australian “Hilarious and refreshing” – “Authentic and brilliant” - "Soaked in infectious humour and enigmatic personality...will touch your heart” - Theatrescenes "Frank-hearted, charmingly performed, thoroughly entertaining" - Theatreview "Keeps the theatre in a ripple of laughter" - The Pantograph Punch

My Dead Best Friend
Monday 5 – Friday 9 March, 9PM
BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Terrace
$20/$15/$14 Fringe addict card
Book online at or call (04) 802 4175

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