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BLACK LOVER - a new play


The highly anticipated Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) season of Auckland-based Zimbabwean playwright, Stanley Makuwe’s Black Lover will have its world premiere at Q Theatre, as part of the 2020 Auckland Arts Festival.

Black Lover tells the little-known story of expat New Zealander Sir Garfield Todd, who was Prime Minister of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) from 1953 to 1958.

As a public advocate of racial equality, Todd was labelled a ‘black lover’ by his detractors and confined to house arrest by the white minority rule. Developed with the support of ATC, this gripping drama about war, politics and colonialism offers true insight into how a man from Invercargill stood up for equal rights in his adopted nation.

Director Roy Ward says, “Garfield Todd is a New Zealander we should all know about - but many New Zealanders don’t - and Black Lover is an exciting introduction to his story. The play is a dynamic, intense and often very funny exchange between two men caught up in tumultuous times. Both are in danger, neither is in control. It makes for great drama.”

Playing Sir Garfield Todd is highly regarded actor Cameron Rhodes (The Audience, Lysistrata, The Lord of the Rings), bringing his vast and seasoned experience to the role. Rhodes is also a theatre director, voice coach and founding artistic board member of The Actors’ Program drama school.

In the role of Todd’s servant, Steady, is actor Simbarashe Matshe (Filthy Business, Frontiersman, Mortal Engines). Originally from Zimbabwe, the play is particularly poignant to Matshe as Garfield Todd is a household name and widely regarded as a hero in his home country.

Playwright Stanley Makuwe immigrated to New Zealand in 2002 and combines writing with a career in psychiatry. He won Zimbabwe’s 2016 National Art Merits Award for his play Chimbwido, Girl of War, was shortlisted for the 2012 Adam New Zealand Playwriting awards for Footprints on Ika’s Heart, and the 2011 BBC International Playwriting competition for The Coup. His plays have been staged in New Zealand and Zimbabwe, featuring at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) in 2012 and 2017. Makuwe would like all New Zealanders to know the Sir Garfield Todd story.

Joining Director Roy Ward on the experienced Black Lover creative team are Set and Costume Designer Rachael Walker (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Joan/The Daylight Atheist, That Bloody Woman), Lighting Designer Rachel Marlow (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Red Speedo, Valerie) and Sound Designer Sean Lynch (Six Degrees of Separation, Joan/The Daylight Atheist, Rendered).

Black Lover will be performed at Q Theatre Loft as part of the 2020 Auckland Arts Festival.

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