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Waihoroi Shortland Joins The Cast Of Award-winning Play To Honour The Centenary Of Bruce Mason’s Birth

Stepping into the role played by George Henare and Rawiri Paratene, renowned actor, broadcaster, writer and cultural advisor Waihoroi Shortland (Ngāti Hine) takes the role of Werihe in the award-winning production of Te Pō. Celebrating the centenary of the birth of New Zealand playwright Bruce Mason, Te Pō plays at the Bruce Mason Theatre for a strictly limited season from 30 - 31st of July.

A policeman, a priest, and a blind man look for clues that will lead them to the missing playwright Bruce Mason. Where has he gone? What made him leave his desk and vanish into the night? And what is that seagull at the window trying to say? For Te Pō's odd characters, finding Bruce Mason has become a matter of life, death, and catching a big fish.

Shortland’s incredible career has encompassed time at the Māori Land Court and reporting for ground-breaking Māori language show Te Karere. His film career has seen him appear in acclaimed movies including Rain of the Children and Boy. He is most famous for his role as Shylock/Hairoka in The Māori Merchant of Venice - the first film ever made in te reo Māori - which earnt him the Best Actor at the NZ Film Awards. It was the first feature film made entirely in te reo. He was also a cultural consultant for Jane Campion’s The Piano.

When Nightsong producers approached Shortland to play the role of Werihe he was immediately struck by the beauty of Carl Bland’s writing. The clincher was the opportunity to sing love songs in a Māori showband style, live on stage.

Having premiered in the 2016 Auckland Arts Festival/NZ Festival and playing to rave reviews, Nightsong are delighted to celebrate the legacy of one of New Zealand's greatest playwrights by bringing Te Pō home to the North Shore for the centenary of Bruce Mason's birth. “There’s something very special about paying tribute to Bruce Mason at the Bruce Mason Centre, where he grew up,” says Director Ben Crowder.

Te Pō is a surprising comedy that boasts a fantastic cast including Waihoroi Shortland, Andrew Grainger, newcomer Anton Falstie-Jensen, and the writer himself – Carl Bland. Directed by Ben Crowder, the show won the Excellence Award at the 2016 Auckland Theatre Awards.

'That’s great theatre, right there. When the impossible works, right in front of you, and it clambers right into your heart.' - Simon Wilson, Metro

'Te Pō will have a great future. It is a truly New Zealand play. Like The End of the Golden Weather, it could be set nowhere else. The script by Carl Bland is inventive and intelligent with overlapping themes and narratives which make for an incredibly satisfying experience' - National Business Review

Nightsong are revered in the theatre industry for their ambitious, original, and highly imaginative productions. Their 2019 premiere and tour of Mr Red Light - set in one wild little pie shop - was a national success, and the script was shortlisted for the 2019 Adam New Zealand Play Awards.

Rev Sedgwick with giraffe. Photo credit: Gate Photography.

Te Pō:
Written by Carl Bland | Directed by Ben Crowder
Designed by Andrew Foster, John Gibson, Elizabeth Whiting, and Nik Janiurek
Supported by Auckland Live, Foundation North, Auckland Council and Creative New Zealand.

Performance Details
Bruce Mason Centre, The Promenade, Takapuna, Auckland
Friday 30 July at 10.30am and 8pm
Saturday 31 July at 6.30pm
Book at www.ticketmaster.co.nz

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