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Aotearoa Bares Its Epic History in Kororāreka


Red Leap Theatre presents

Kororāreka: The Ballad of Maggie Flynn

Written by Paolo Rotondo

Directed by Julie Nolan

“There’s a tale in my bones, fighting to be told”

Delving into the lawless outpost of 1800s Russell, Kororāreka - The Ballad of Maggie Flynnintroduces a heroine created from the rich and vibrant true stories of New Zealand women. Red Leap Theatre premiere their brand-new work from 9 – 17 June at Q Theatre, Auckland before touring to three centres in Northland from 19-24 June, in a celebration of the resilient and hard-working characters buried in the kiwi whakapapa.

Maggie Flynn, a fiery and unforgettable Irish woman, leaves England a convict and arrives in New Zealand’s capital, Kororāreka, the captain of a whaling ship. Her fortune twists and turns, from trophy slave to the wife of a great chief, to Madam of the notorious King Edward Hotel. One day culture and history collide, when Maggie must challenge the very world she sought to escape.

Two years in the making, Kororāreka combines the storytelling skill of Paolo Rotondo and the theatrical flair of Red Leap (The Arrival, Dust Pilgrim), led with the astute eye of Artistic DirectorJulie Nolan. Best known to NZ audiences for his work on Shortland Street, Rotondo has had a successful career spanning across theatre, film and television, as an actor, writer, director and producer. He made his feature length directorial debut in 2014 with the poignant drama Orphans and Kingdoms, which scooped up several film festival awards. His writing successes include theatre works Little Che, and the highly-acclaimed Strange Resting Places (co-written with Rob Mokaraka).

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Starting with my mother, this story is a fictionalised homage to the strength, power, toughness, resilience and wit that exists in the character of the New Zealand woman. I do not believe that Kate Sheppard, Helen Clarke, Lorde or Eleonor Catton, are exceptions to the rule, in fact they are a product of a long line of powerful women.” – Paolo Rotondo, Playwright.

Red Leap co-founder and Director Julie Nolan leads a strong cast of five in this bewitching tale of Aotearoa past, which includes Miriama McDowell (Cellfish, The Dark Horse, Romeo and Juliet – Pop Up Globe, Mahana, and Wellington Theatre Awards Most Promising New Director of the Year 2015 for Nga Pou Wahine), Alison Bruce (Hilary, The Events, Top of the Lake 1 and 2), Victoria Abbott(Othello and Much Ado About Nothing – Pop Up Globe, All Your Wants and Need Fulfilled Forever),Awhina Ashby (Find me a Māori Bride, The Mooncake and the Kumara) and recent Toi Whakaari Graduate, Katrina George.

This story is unique to us as New Zealanders, unravelling the legacy of the women in our past and stirring the ones too wild to be captured by history books. It is a sea-shanty, a coarse and vulgar rhyme that will make you laugh and cry to smell the sea again after so long”, says Julie Nolan, Red Leap Artistic Director

Previous shows by Red Leap Theatre have been lauded by audiences and critics alike

"restlessly creative.... endlessly inventive." - Paul Bushnell, Radio NZ

“I love Red Leap, their work is inspirational, odd, moving, challenging" - Holly Shanahan, Theatreview

Kororāreka: The Ballad of Maggie Flynn

Auckland 9-17 June, Q Theatre

Russell 19 June, Town Hall

Kerikeri 21 June, The Turner Centre

Whangarei 23-24 June, Oneonesix

Get a taste of what’s to come… watch the trailer

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