Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Circa Theatre 2009 Season Released

12 December 2008
For immediate release

Circa Theatre announces a fresh and enjoyable season of work for 2009

Circa’s New Zealand-wide reputation for excellence is built on over 30 years of professional experience. And what a history! Champions of quality playwriting and performance since 1976, home and host to New Zealand’s most influential theatre-makers, Circa continues to lead New Zealand theatre into the 21st Century with a fresh, new season of work.

Circa’s 2009 season combines passion and pepper, intellect and intrigue, with fast and furious fun and laugh-out-loud comedy! Highlights include: Circa’s third Sovereign Season in Circa Two, a new Roger Hall in Circa One, two touring shows from Auckland Theatre Company, a new play from up-coming Wellington playwright, Vanessa Rhodes, plus some of the most recent international hits from the West End and Broadway.

Circa Theatre’s purpose-built theatre is located on Wellington’s Waterfront – right next door to Te Papa. It has two complementary performance spaces, allowing the presentation an eclectic annual season of work, which includes a popular mix of comedies, dramas, musicals and pantomime. Patron’s can dine at Circa’s restaurant and bar – newly rebranded as Wharfside Restaurant – prior to the show, or enjoy a pre-show beverage.

With $20 tickets for under-25s, a bargain ‘Friend of Circa’ membership that gives members $28 tickets for the first two weeks of each show, plus a range of dinner and show packages to suit most budgets – Circa’s got your ticket for a great night out!

For show details, see the appended SHOW BRIEFS document.


Circa Theatre – 1 Taranaki St, Wellington Waterfront.
Bookings phone 04 801 7992 or email or look online at

The Sovereign Season of

Roger Hall’s
Directed by Susan Wilson
Songs by Paul Jenden and Michael Nicholas Williams
2 – 17 January
Circa One

A New Zealand Premiere

What a big smile you’ll have…

Circa’s fabulous 2008 Christmas panto is back for a limited, post-New Year season. The team that brought you Cinderella, Aladdin, and Jack & the Beanstalk return with one of the great stories about an innocent Red Riding Hood, her poor, short-sighted Grandmother, the handsome wood cutter and that villain of all villains, the Wolf!

There’s lots of laughter, hilarious jokes and musical goodies in Red’s basket as she sets off on her journey to entertain young and old with this marvellous magical treat.

Red Riding Hood – festive fun for everyone!

(Media tip: Red Riding Hood – The Pantomime is doing fantastic business prior to Christmas. This second season is a last chance for families to enjoy the fun of Circa’s festive pantomime. Show times change for the January season, with performances on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday 4.00pm and Thursday, Friday Saturday, 6.30pm. No show Monday.)

By Harold Pinter
Directed by Ross Jolly
24 January – 21 February
Circa One

A passionate affair. Told in reverse

An enduring dark comedy of love and deceit, Betrayal is one of Harold Pinter’s greatest plays.
Unravelling from its poignant end to its blissful first kiss, Betrayal traces a seven-year illicit affair played out in reverse.

Robert and Jerry were best friends.
Robert and Emma were married.
Jerry and Emma were lovers.
Welcome to the tangled emotional world of Betrayal.

Passionate, funny, sexy and bristling with treachery!

Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2005, Harold Pinter is one of the world’s great playwrights. His plays include The Birthday Party, The Caretaker, No Man’s Land, The Homecoming and Old Times.

Starring: Toby Leach, Danielle Mason and Jason Whyte.

(Media tip: Rehearsals have started for Betrayal and the cast includes Toby Leach, Danielle Mason and Jason Whyte.)

The Improvisors
Part of Fringe 2009
17 – 21 February
Circa Two

The Improvisors take on Disney with their own tribute to the phenomenon that is High School Musical as they create a full-length comedy musical that mixes teen angst, saccharine sweetness, and their own trademark version of improvised comedy irreverence. Whether you are a fan of the original, have been tortured by repeat viewings or really don’t care you’ll love this version! Improv – The Secondary School Musical is all class.

(Media tip: Part of Fringe 2009)

Proudly Sponsored by
Peter and Mary Biggs

By Tom Stoppard
Directed by Susan Wilson
New Zealand Premiere
28 February – 28 March
Circa One

Evening Standard Theatre Award
London Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best New Play

Czechs & Thugs & Rock ’N’ Roll

An extraordinary award-winning comedy from four-time Tony winner, Tom Stoppard (Arcadia, Shakespeare in Love)

It's August 1968, and Russian tanks are rolling in to Prague... Jan, the Czech student, lives for rock music, Max, the English professor, lives for Communism, and Esme, the flower child, is high. By 1990, the tanks are rolling out, the Stones are rolling in and idealism has hit the wall.

Stoppard's sweeping and passionate play spans two countries, three generations and 22 turbulent years, at the end of which, love remains — and so does rock ’n’ roll.

Epic in its conception, but focussed through the intimacy of private lives, Rock ‘n’ Roll’s lovingly drawn characters sparkle with all the wit and erudition of Tom Stoppard’s greatest creations.

“Tom Stoppard’s astounding new work is funny, wise and triumphant” – New York Magazine

(Media tip: Czech-born British playwright Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2006 with a cast that included Rufus Sewell and Sinead Cusack.)

Auckland Theatre Company
By Geoff Chapple
Starring Stuart Devenie
Directed by Colin McColl
Set and Lighting Design by Tony Rabbit
3 – 21 March
Circa Two

Bizarre but true!

Joseph Hatch, upstanding citizen, ex-Mayor of Invercargill, Member of Parliament and successful businessman has been thrust headfirst into an international controversy over his slaughter of more than three million penguins on Macquarie Island.

Hounded by the New Zealand Government, The Times of London, the Seamen’s Union, the mothers of Dunedin and even H.G. Wells, Hatch is determined to clear his name and justify his actions.

Hero or villain? You decide! Spend an outlandish evening in the company of this charismatic, wily, obsessive man.

“Joseph Hatch is magnificently brought to life by Stuart Devenie in a performance that is a theatrical tour-de-force” – NZ Herald

“Colin McColl’s production is terrific… a beautifully written piece… fascinating, funny and poignant. This is engrossing theatre” – The Listener

(Media tip: Hatch or Plight of the Penguins is playwright Geoff Chapple’s first play. Geoff is a journalist and the author of six books of non-fiction, radio drama and he co-wrote the screen play of Vincent Ward’s acclaimed film, The Navigator. )

Proud Sponsor
Chris Finlayson

By Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Ross Jolly
New Zealand Premiere
4 April – 2 May
Circa One

Boys will be boys. But adults are much worse.

A fizzy new satire on spoilt middle-class couples God of Carnage is the latest West End hit from the sharp pen of the award-winning author of ART, and Life x 3.

What happens when two sets of parents meet up to deal with the unruly behaviour of their children?
Little Ferdinand has whacked his playmate Bruno with a stick, breaking two teeth. Now it’s time for the adults to intervene. Michel and Veronique are genial hosts. Alain and Annette are gracious guests. But passions are seething beneath the benign exterior, and it’s not long before the thin veneer of civilised politeness starts to crack.

A hysterically funny night of name-calling, tantrums and tears before bedtime featuring Reza’s incisive observation, acerbic wit and deliciously shrewd humour.

“Reza is an expert analyst of social hypocrisy… rancidly funny ...full of delights” – The Guardian

(Media tip: God of Carnage is sponsored by NZ’s new Minister for the Arts, Chris Finlayson.)

The Improvisors
Part of NZ International Comedy Festival 2009
3 May – 5 July
Sundays 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 May, 7, 14, 21, 28 June and 5 July
Circa Two

The unstoppable comedy juggernaut that is Theatresports returns for 2009. New faces and old heads mix it up in a hilarious comedy battle to wrest the coveted Paragon Cup. The audience fuels the fun with suggestions and sits in judgement on the final product. Laugh your way through winter with a completely different show every Sunday culminating in the ultimate final showdown.

(Media tip: Part of NZ International Comedy Festival 2009)

The Sovereign Season of
By Roy Smiles
Directed by Jane Waddell
18 April – 16 May
Circa Two

Love unrequited. Guests uninvited.

1948: George Orwell struggles to complete Nineteen Eighty Four. Suffering from ill health, Orwell is holed up with a shotgun on the isolated Scottish island he has made his home. He’s attempting to finish his final novel.

With literary-circle bombshell Sonia Brownell for company, he’s desperately hoping for a last chance at happiness. But George is no womaniser and is sure to make a hash of things, particularly after his childhood friend and notorious lecher Cyril Connelly turns up…

Can he survive his friends, both real and imaginary, and finish Nineteen Eighty Four before death comes knocking?

Year of the Rat brims with dialogue and characters that take on a fully developed life of their own.” – The Independent

“Smiles …shows us why we should all share his passion for the man known as the conscience of his generation.” – The Listener

(Media tip: Year of the Rat brings back characters from Orwell’s Animal Farm within this impressive and humerous play.)

The Improvisors
Part of NZ International Comedy Festival 2009
19 – 23 May
Circa Two

Wellington’s favourite funny people – now with added puppets! A New Zealand first, The Improvisors combine their comic talents with puppetry to create a magical hybrid of The Muppets and Theatresports. It’s a puppet show where the audience pulls the strings.

(Media tip: Part of NZ International Comedy Festival 2009)

Kindly Supported by
Shoreline Partners

By Federico Garcia Lorca
In a translation by Ted Hughes
9 May – 6 June
Circa One

The unmissable love story of 2009.

In the searing heat of the Spanish summer and set against the turbulent background of the era of the Spanish Civil War, a Bride prepares for her wedding. A wedding to unite a village destroyed by bitter infighting and man's desire to settle arguments with the knife.

The return of her first love Leonardo forces the Bride to choose between her duty and the will of her heart. Their decision to escape on her wedding day sends shockwaves through the community and precipitates an inevitable and bloody act of vengeance.

Exposing strangled love, broken pride, boundless loss and reckless revenge, Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding is one of the theatrical masterpieces of the 20th century.

Directed by Willem Wassanar (Chapman Tripp Award for Angels in America)

(Media tip: Blood Wedding director Willem Wassenaar has cast a stellar line-up of NZ actors and actresses: Geraldine Brophy (Second Hand Wedding), Rachel Forman (Some Girls), Kip Chapman (The Little Dog Laughed), Peter Hambleton (The American Pilot), Jennifer Ludlam (Death of A Salesman), Carmel McGlone (Urinetown) and Sophie Roberts (Angels in America).)

The Sovereign Season of
By Ray Henwood
Directed by Peter Hambleton
New Zealand Premiere
Part of the Compleate Workes 2009 Shakespeare Festival
30 May – 27 June
Circa Two

Celebrated New Zealand actor Ray Henwood brings you his acclaimed one-man Shakespeare show – a Round-the-Bard trip in 90 minutes!

“Let me take you on a personal journey through the astonishing imagination of William Shakespeare – the undisputed ‘World Champion of Everything’: Comedy, Tragedy, Drama, Horror, History, Suspense, Romance, Tall Tales, Dirty Jokes, Outrageous Stories, Bizarre Plots, Famous Sayings and Epic Battles.

Inspired by Sir John Gielgud’s Ages of Man, I’ve selected extracts from the plays and poems which show Shakespeare’s genius for making us laugh, cry, and hold our breath with excitement.

Join me as we meet Romeo and Juliet, Shylock, Prospero, Mistress Quickly, Titania, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and a host of other enchanting characters who will surprise and thrill you.”

“Let us, on your imaginary forces, work....”

(Media tip: All The World’s a Stage will be part of the Compleate Workes Festival of Shakespeare happening nation-wide in 2009.)

By Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Susan Wilson
13 June – 11 July
Circa One

Love, dirt and the perfect joke.

An award-winning, sparkling comedy by an exciting new American playwright, Sarah Ruhl.

Worlds collide in a pristine living room as four men and one woman confront the mess and beauty of their own lives. Lane has got everything – a successful surgeon for a husband and her own busy career as a doctor – but all she wants is a clean house. Matilde, her young cleaner from Brazil, hates to clean, instead preferring to dream up the perfect joke. But Lane’s sister Virginia loves cleaning and comes to a secret arrangement with Matilde.

Meanwhile, Lane’s husband Charles becomes enchanted by one of his patients, the free-spirited Ana who casts a surreal spell over the clean house.

“One of the finest and funniest plays you’re likely to see.” – New York Times

“A seriously moving and seriously funny play.” – Sunday Times

(Media tip: New York playwright Sarah Ruhl (born 1974), won the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2004 for The Clean House. It was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005.)

The Sovereign Season of
By Joe Orton
Directed by Conrad Newport
4 July – 1 August
Circa Two

A no shame comedy of filthy goings-on in suburbia

Middle aged Kath and her brother Ed are more than happy to accommodate the young and extremely sexy Mr Sloane. They will let him get away with anything – perhaps even murder.

First produced in 1964 when The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were at the forefront of a swinging London and the impending sexual revolution, this play continues to be revived all around the world for a very good reason – it’s very sexy and it’s very funny.

Not only is it a good old fashioned sex romp for a cold winter’s night, it still has the power to upset the prudish amongst us. So make sure you leave your puritanical morals at the door and have your laughing glands ready to be stimulated.

“When you’re dead, you’ll regret not having fun with your genital organs” – Joe Orton

(Media tip: Entertaining Mr Sloane is directed by Wellington director Conrad Newport, who directed the hugely celebrated plays by NZ writer Dave Armstrong, King and Country and Niu Sila that have both toured New Zealand wide.)

The Dominion Post Season

By arrangement with Edward Snape for Fiery Angel Limited
John Buchan and Alfred Hitchcock’s
Adapted by Patrick Barlow
From an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon
8 July – 15 August
Circa One

Winner Best New Comedy – Laurence Olivier Awards 2007
Winner Best New Comedy – Whatsonstage Awards 2007

The World-wide Smash-Hit Comedy Classic!

A massive hit in London’s West End, New York and all over the world, this gripping comedy thriller is pure entertainment. Four fabulous actors play 139 roles in 100 minutes of fast-paced fun and hilarious action, in a classic adventure story about a man on the run.

A supremely funny spoof of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movie, The 39 Steps brings you laughs, suspense, old fashioned goodies and baddies, plus dizzying wit that will leave you laughing for days.

Don’t miss it!!

“Now that's what I call a triumph...”
The Herald & Post Northamptonshire

"Clever, witty, ingenious" * * * *
Sunday Times

"A wonderful triumph of theatre"
BBC Radio 4

"Rollicking fun"
The Times

"Just the ticket"
Evening Standard

"Hilarious" * * * *
Sunday Express

(Media tip: The 39 Steps’ four actors recreate an epic man-hunt, chase sequence, using only the props and set elements onstage, plus themselves in this comic, spoof of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, spy thriller.)

Auckland Theatre Company
Written and performed by Ian Hughes
With songs and music by Don McGlashan
Directed by Anna Marbrook
4 – 29 August
Circa Two

If you are lost, throw yourself at the mercy of the sea – it may just bring you home.

Inspired by the true story of how his parents met, acclaimed actor Ian Hughes (Bare, Shortland Street) weaves together three extraordinary sea-going adventures, that span five centuries and four continents.

Epic tales, roguish folklore, rousing sea shanties and soulful ballads, combine with extraordinary animation and delightful charm in this one man tour de force.

“Hughes is a fantastic performer who effortlessly shifts through centuries of action.” – NZ Herald

“Often hilarious, sometimes shocking… the yarns are truly gripping, the characterisations spot on and the technological wizardry never upstages the heart of the stories” – Theatreview

(Media Tip: Ship Songs features design from John Verryt and spectacular animation and visuals developed by Michael Hodgson (Pitch Black).)

By Roger Hall
Directed by Ross Jolly
In association with Playmarket
22 August – 3 October
Circa One

Fun-filled dream holiday… Yeah right!

Roger Hall’s latest Kiwi comedy sees retired couples Alison and Adrian, and Harry and new wife Judy taking an Italian trip of a lifetime.

Comical calamities befall the intrepid travellers as they valiantly negotiate the pitfalls of an Italian OE.
Also, Adrian and Alison have a dark secret that is causing them some strife. Will the trials and tribulations of their cherished Italian sojourn prove a make-or-break for our Kiwi quartet? Will the holiday be heaven or hell, or both?

Roger Hall, our most popular playwright, deftly satirises our manners, morals, loves and lusts with wry humour, astute observation and legendary one-liners.

Another sure-fire Hall hit.

(Media tip: Four Flat Whites in Italy is a brand new play from NZ’s most acclaimed playwright, Roger Hall. It will also be performed in 2009 by Auckland Theatre Company)

The Sovereign Season of
By Vanessa Rhodes
Directed by Rachel More
In association with Playmarket
New Zealand Premiere
5 September – 4 October
Circa Two

Can you really find love in a catalogue?

Bob is a lonely Waikato farmer whose wife has left him for another bloke. Yulia is a secretary from the heart of Moscow, with a mother who would try the patience of a saint. When Yulia joins a Russian ‘Mail Order Bride’ agency these two courageous souls meet.

Where Are You My Only One? explores love between strangers, the courage to love again despite past failings, and the endless pursuit of happiness.

A bittersweet comedy for anyone with a romantic streak.

(Media tip: Rhodes play Where Are You My Only One? was programmed after it featured in the Playmarket Write Out Loud playreading series in October 2008)

By David Hare
Directed by Jane Waddell
New Zealand Premiere
10 October – 7 November
Circa One

She’s falling for the father… sleeping with the son

Nadia Blye knows exactly what her stance is on Iraq. A former war reporter and Professor of International Relations at Yale, she has advised the President and seen action in Sarajevo and Baghdad. She is sure of her place in the world and her opinion of it. Until, that is, she meets an equally opinionated and lethally charming man - her boyfriend's father - over a weekend in Shropshire. His intervention has far-reaching consequences for them all.

David Hare is one of Britain's most celebrated playwrights and in over thirty years of writing, one of its most political. In The Vertical Hour he captures the flavour of our times and examines the interconnection between our secret motives and our public politics.

''If you want a definition of good drama, this is it a rich, intellectually gripping play.'' – Guardian

"A thrilling contest of wills between matched opponents...richly stimulating stuff" – Michael Billington

(Media tip: The Vertical Hour involves a political debate about the pros and cons of the Iraq War)

Roger Hall’s
Directed by Susan Wilson
Songs and music by Paul Jenden and Michael Nicholas Williams
In association with Playmarket
14 November – 23 December
Circa One

Look out behind you!

Get into the spirit of the season and join the fun at Circa’s annual Christmas pantomime!
In a bygone era, long before the days of public transport, brave young Dick (and his Cat!) make their way to Wellington. There he works for a rich merchant – and falls in love with the merchant’s daughter. But, just when the path of true love is running smoothly, Dick (and his Cat!) are sent away on a sailing ship to make the merchant’s fortune…

And no matter where he travels, Dick cannot shake off his pantomime Dame mother – a “poor lonely widow woman”. Ohhhhhhhhh!

The team that brought you Cinderella, Aladdin, Jack & the Beanstalk, and Red Riding Hood returns with another delightful treat for young and old.

(Media tip: Dick Whittington and his Cat is the fourth pantomime to emerge from this award-winning team and audiences can’t seem to get enough!)

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland