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Once There Was A Woman N.Z. Fringe show at Te Auaha

‘Once There Was A Woman’ is a journey that traverses the psychological terrain of grief. A much loved Mother and Grandmother is treated badly in care, family take over and look after her until her death. Our protagonist attempts to soften the crushing blow of grief through fantasy and imagination. Plagued with insomnia, night-time is lit with memories of her non-conformist Mother’s life and of her own childhood in the politically dynamic 1970’s and 80’s. To their horror the family discover that even the bravest people can be silenced by bullying in their vulnerable, elderly years. Full of feeling, humour, and imagination, this solo work Once There Was a Woman premiered at Q Theatre Loft for Auckland Fringe 2017 and won ‘Judges Special Commendation for Performance’.

A Co Theatre Physical Production created and performed by Beth Kayes with dramaturge Murray Edmond (Indian Ink Theatre), directorial consultant Ruth Dudding (Director of Lisa Brickell’s Mockingbird), sound design by Wellington’s Emi Pogoni (Footnote Balancing Point Show, Silo’s Burn Her) music from Claire Cowan (Blackbird Ensemble) and violinist composer Hope Csutoros (My Friend The Chocolate Cake, DeFLOCKeD, David Chesworth Ensemble), Lighting Design by Russ King (Auckland University Theatre Studies, Whoa studios).

In the search for her lost Mother memories are traded for access to destinations, imagination is the fuel and a true telling is the final exit point from grief. Once There Was a Woman uses story-telling and physical theatre to reveal how extraordinary the ordinary is-it is a tale of kindness and letting go.

A theatre veteran, Beth trained at Auckland’s Theatre Corporate drama school in the 80’s, learnt circus and physical theatre on her O.E in London, returned to Auckland and worked with Christian Penny and Anna Marbrook’s anarchic theatre company Theatre AT Large (The Butcher’s Wife and Henry 8). In the 90’s she made her name touring nationally and internationally with acclaimed Australian aerial and physical theatre company Legs on the Wall (All of Me, Homelands). In 1995 she founded Co Theatre Physical whose productions A House Across Oceans and Oh Baby followed their premieres in Auckland with successful touring seasons to festivals nationwide (

A tender and eloquent work that has been meticulously crafted, Once There Was A Woman, has much to offer its audiences.” Dione Joseph, N.Z Herald, March 2017


Dates and Time: Friday March 1st, Saturday March 2nd, Sunday March 3rd at 6 pm.

Venue: Tapere Iti, Te Auaha, 65 Dixon St, Wellington

Tickets: Go to or the Fringe Box Office, corner Bond St and Willis St

Tickets from: $10-Child; $14- Fringe Addict; $15-Concession and Groups 6+; $20-General Admission

For media enquiries please contact Beth Kayes at

Mob: 0274625401

Presented as part of N.Z Fringe, Wellington from 1st to 23rd March 2019.

For the full programme visit:

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