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Award-Winning Dysfunctional Family Epic Hits Mainstage BATS Theatre This November

Homemade Takeaways, by Ben Wilson, shortlisted for the 2021 Adam NZ Playwriting Award and 2020 winner of the prestigious Playmarket Playwrights B4 25 competition, is set to have its world premiere on the mainstage of BATS Theatre this November. Running from 22 November until 3 December, the play is being presented by Wellington-based Red Scare Theatre Company and is the final show in their 2022 programme.

A comedy-drama set in small-town New Zealand; the story follows a dysfunctional ‘chosen family’ of four as they navigate the Christmas period together. It’s a brand-new take on the modern family drama, showcasing a not-at-all-nuclear family, yet written with complete familiarity.

Playwright, Ben Wilson, says - “I wrote Homemade Takeaways because I wanted to create a work that made people feel less alone - A work about family and home (well-trodden ground) but where empathy is at the forefront of the storytelling.”

Homemade Takeaways earned Wilson the top spot in the 2020 Playwrights B4 25 competition run by Playmarket. He had been shortlisted for the accolade three times before with other works. The play was also shortlisted for the 2021 Adam NZ Playwriting Award, a highly competitive accolade open to submissions of new plays from all New Zealand playwrights.

Wilson, continues - “New Zealand has such a rich history of putting on great works about family and home, Homemade Takeaways feels like an inevitable part of that history – pushing the envelope and all the boundaries of the family play.”

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In the three years since the play's conception, it has gone through numerous workshops and readings to become premier-ready, including a public play reading at Circa Theatre in 2021. Now, it has a complete, professional team working to bring it to life, spear-headed by producer and director Cassandra Tse of Red Scare Theatre Company. A previous B4 25 award winner herself, Tse boasts an extensive history of directing experience including Auckland Theatre Company’s Single Asian Female and the acclaimed production of Annie Baker's The Aliens.

Director, Cassandra Tse, says - “I fell in love with Homemade Takeaways when I first read it. I connected with the emotional complexity of the work and how character-led the piece is; the four lead roles are all fascinating and keenly observed. The play tackles a number of heavy themes without offering easy answers, managing the equal balance of comedy and drama that I tend to look for in my theatre.”

Stepping on to the stage to bring the show to life is a cast of talented, highly experienced actors. Dryw McArthur (Burn Her; Hir; The Aliens) is playing Dunedin drummer, Will; Kate Johnstone (It’s Soaking Out Here; the Big Ben and Amy ASB series campaign) steps into the role of self-help expert, Annie; Tabatha Pini-Hall (A View from the Bridge; The Great God Pan) returns from New York for her professional Aotearoa stage debut as primary school teacher, Carol; and James Cain (The Comedy of Errors; Yellow Face; The Good News) will embody the Emma Thompson-loving, Paul.

Marking the final production in Red Scare Theatre Company’s 2022 programme of works, Homemade Takeaways takes place at BATS Theatre from 22 November until 3 December 2022. More information and tickets can be found through the BATS website.

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