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Junior by Conor Maxwell

Graduate of UK’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) takes the Hamilton stage in locally created black comedy, as part of The Meteor’s creative development programme ‘Boil Up’.

Cambridge-based actor Julia Watkins is no stranger to the Waikato arts community, having appeared in numerous plays and musicals with BlackBox Creative, Bold Theatre, Carving in Ice, and Hamilton Playbox.

Though not to be defined by her love for recreational theatre, the Britain-born mother of two, now living in Cambridge, NZ graduated from the UK’s most prestigious drama school alongside actors like Ralph Fiennes, Kenneth Branagh, and Clive Owen.

From September 22-26 Watkins appears on stage as a long-suffering matriarch and widow in the play ‘Junior’, written and directed by Waikato-based playwright and secondary school teacher Conor Maxwell.

The result of ‘Boil Up’, “’Junior’ is a murder mystery, it’s a comedy, it’s a family drama, it’s a look into the life of a family who is every bit as abnormal as the next family,” says Maxwell.

Watkins takes a professionally relaxed approach to working on original pieces with younger artists.

“It’s so exciting and inspiring to engage with the younger performers in our community, we say they’re the next generation and I really love engaging in the theatre and conversations that are important to them” says Watkins.

Alongside Watkins ‘Junior’ features an ensemble of acclaimed Hamilton-based actors including musician Antony Aiono, Benny Marama (from The Meteor), and improv artist Stephanie Christian.

No stranger to the stage either, Maxwell is looking forward to the community experiencing a different flavour from his menu.

“With ‘Junior’ I’ve moved away from a rom com about twenty year olds, and have instead written a grittier black comedy about what a lifetime of hurt can do to a family. It’s spicy and irreverent, and I can’t wait for people to see it.”

A new Creative Development Projects ‘Boil Up’ exisits to develop and support original works made in the region like ‘Junior’ from conception to performance.

“This time all of the participants who saw their project through to Boil Up’s final workshop are getting showings of their full production at The Meteor, thanks to the encouragement and mentorship from the programme,” says Maxwell.

‘Junior’ is one of eight new original works created in the Waikato, and the first of four projects that will appear on stage at The Meteor between now and November.

Also showing this year are: ‘Elsie’ by Lily Empson, ‘Atāmira’ by Hinerangimarie Berryman, and ‘wish i was there’ by James Smith.

To book tickets to any of the ‘Boil Up’ productions, visit and for updates on ‘Junior’ follow ‘Junior by Conor Maxwell’ on Facebook.

© Scoop Media

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