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Drama in the attic at Pompallier Mission

Drama in the attic at Pompallier Mission

Pompallier Mission in Russell will be transformed into a performance venue for two days during the Bay of Islands Arts Festival in late April.

The atmospheric attic of the historic printery – which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand – will serve as a backdrop for three performances of the play The Bookbinder by award-winning, Wellington-based Trick of the Light Theatre Company.

The play is a story of mystery, magic and mayhem inspired by the works of Chris Van Allsburg, Neil Gaiman and Joy Cowley, which weaves together shadowplay, paper art, puppetry and music into an inventive one-man performance for adventurous adults and curious children.

The tagline used to promote the play – ‘they say you can get lost in a good book, but it’s worse getting lost in a bad one…’ gives a hint at the imaginative roller-coaster ride audiences can look forward to.

“It would be hard to imagine a better performance venue than the attic of the Pompallier Mission Printery,” says the Manager of Pompallier Mission, Scott Eliffe.

“The attic has a real ambience which lends itself to live theatre. The fact that actual bookbinding took place in the building by Bishop Pompallier’s team of Marist brothers, who were producing religious literature in Maori there over 170 years ago, just makes the setting even more evocative.”

Described as an original dark fairy tale in the vein of Coraline and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, The Bookbinder has received rave reviews – including a four-and-a-half-star rating from the Melbourne Age who described it as being “tuned to perfection”.

“We’re really happy to be able to host these performances of The Bookbinder and look forward to seeing people enjoy the delightful setting of Pompallier Mission in a very different context,” he says.

Don’t miss The Bookbinder, Saturday April 25 - 6pm and 8pm; and Sunday April 26 – 6pm.

For admission and other details visit


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