News and opportunities for New Zealand Playwrights.

APRIL 2016

Maraea Rakuraku and Josephine Stewart-Tewhiu, winner and runner-up of the Adam NZ Play Award 2016. Image: Philip Merry

"What distinguishes the theatre from all other forms is that the theatre is the only art form that is always about social systems. Every play asks: Can we get along? Can we get along as a society? Can we get along in this room? How might we get along better?" Anne Bogart

Kia ora <<First Name>>

After previously warning us that revenue of the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board (NZLGB) has been falling in recent years, this week Creative New Zealand and the media reported that the latest NZLGB revenue projection has again been reduced. CNZ’s Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright said “Lotto have advised their profits will be $175.4 million this year versus the $200.2 million originally budgeted. This will have a significant impact on the many Lottery committees and also on organisations directly funded by the NZLGB. These ‘statutory bodies’ include Sport NZ, the NZ Film Commission, Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision, and the Arts Council of New Zealand, which all rely on Lotto money to do their work…The Council will be very concerned by the impact the lower NZLGB funding will have on our ability to support the growth and development of the arts. The increased reliance of the arts and Creative New Zealand on volatile annual resourcing from Lotto NZ is a systemic issue that we will also be discussing with the Minister. We think what we are currently navigating is at odds with the reasonable certainty that allows both Creative New Zealand and arts organisations to confidently plan.”
If you feel moved to write to the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage that would be helpful in getting the message across. A number of organisations are currently preparing written responses.

On a happier note Playmarket is currently negotiating with the NZ Writers Guild to expand our Brown Ink and Asian Ink programmes. We’ll have full details very soon.
Also happy was the lively and wonderfully organised Musical Theatre NZ conference I attended in Rotorua last month. This was the largest gathering they have ever had with 329 delegates. It is wonderful to connect with these societies annually, catch up on common issues with other rights holder organisations from Australia, and with our friends from Play Bureau. Playmarket’s table was full of lively discussion affording an excellent opportunity to promote our musicals and plays both new and old.
Speaking of older works what a joy it is to have a bona fide classic New Zealand play back on the boards. To coincide with Circa’s fortieth birthday, the production of Robert Lord’s Joyful and Triumphant reveals why this play is so loved and so widely studied. I recommend it to any of you who are able to see it. Robert was one of Playmarket's founders.

We have already received some applications for our biennial retreat at Strathean June 21-28. Ten playwrights will be selected to spend a week in the country being fed and looked after while they write. This is a wonderful opportunity wholeheartedly recommended by those who have participated in the past. Application details are in the sidebar.
We closed submissions for our Playwrights b4 25 competition a few days ago and the reading has begun. Now we are receiving submissions for the Plays for the Young competition so now it is time to send in those works that are by, for and about children and adolescents.

Nga mihi mahana
Murray Lynch - Director of Playmarket


Playmarket presented the winning plays and playwrights for 2016 at Circa Theatre on 13 March 2016. Congratulations to all!

Adam NZ Play Award: Maraea Rakuraku for Tan-Knee
Maraea also won the awards for Best Play by a Māori Writer and Best Play by a Woman Writer.

Runner Up: Josephine Stewart-Tewhiu for Sean Penn is in His Boat

Best Play by a Pasifika Writer: Suli Moa for 12th Round

Highly Commended: Steven Page for Fool to Cry and
Finnius Teppett for My Dad's Boy

Congratulations also to our shortlisted playwights; Carl Bland, Philip Braithwaite, Kip Chapman, Angie Farrow, Miria George, Ralph McCubbin Howell, Emma Kinane, Tom McCrory, Joseph Musaphia, Dean Parker, Lorae Parry, Vivienne Plumb, Elspeth Sandys and Cian Elyse White.

Thank you to the Adam Foundation for their generosity and Circa Theatre for their support. You can check out the photo gallery of the event on our Facebook page here.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Rore Hapipi (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) on 3 April 2016 at the age of 83. His short stories, poems and articles were first published in the 1950s and in the 1970s he formed the theatre company Te Ika a Māui Players which staged his groundbreaking work Death of the Land. Rore was also a screenwriter and the first Māori writer to write an original drama for television. You can read more about Rore here.


We are hosting our second Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon! Last year (pictured above) the focus was on increasing the presence of NZ women playwrights on Wikipedia, and we were so successful that this time we’re expanding to include all NZ playwrights.
This is a great chance to learn how to edit Wikipedia and make a positive change to the representation of New Zealand theatre online. Art curator and expert Wikipedia editor Bridget Reweti will be there to teach the basics of editing and help throughout the day. We will provide wifi, refreshments and great referencing resources.
Please bring your laptop and create a Wikipedia account here beforehand (do it now!). This is an important step as Wikipedia doesn’t allow multiple accounts to be created from one IP address in a single day.

When: Saturday 23 April, 11am – 4pm. We will start with a presentation on the basics of Wikipedia editing. If you are a first-time editor, or needing to refresh your skills, please come at 11am.  
Where: Playmarket Wellington, Level 1 35-38 Cambridge Terrace (above Domino's)
RSVP: Email Claire to register your attendance

Anthony McCarten was presented with the New Zealand Writers Guild Lifetime Membership Award for services to the New Zealand script writing community. The Lifetime Membership Award – in association with Circa and Playmarket – was presented to Anthony during NZ Festival Writers Week.

Award-winning Wellington writer and literary agent Barbara Else has been named the 2016 winner of the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal, New Zealand’s top award for children’s writers and illustrators.

Vivienne Plumb has been awarded the six-month University of Auckland Residency at the Michael King Writers Centre for a work of creative non-fiction.

Congratulations to Chris Summers who won the $30,000 Max Afford Playwrights' Award for his script Pedagogy. Chris attended the Playmarket Retreat in 2014 as part of our exchange with Playwriting Australia. You can read more about the award here.

Paolo Rotondo's new feature film Orphans & Kingdoms had its Gala Screening on April 5 at the Civic Theatre, Auckland ahead of its release in cinemas.

The 2015 Playmarket Annual
Email us here if you'd like a copy or view it online here.


We are searching for the best new plays to inspire and excite young audiences.
Let your imagination run riot! It could be an original story or an adaptation of a classic tale, hilarious or heartfelt. It could be a play for adults to perform to children or a play for young actors to perform themselves.
We’re also keen to read any work created specifically for the classroom, whether by teachers or students themselves.
There are three categories and a winner will be awarded in each category.
Plays written for:

  • 3 - 8 year-olds
  • 8 - 12 year-olds
  • teenagers

Submissions close 1 August  2016
See our website here for more details.

21 - 28 JUNE 2016

The Retreat is a chance to focus on your writing in a distraction free, comfortable and inspiring environment. There will be no cooking or cleaning to do, no television or internet to distract, nothing to organise or prepare and no deadlines to meet.
It is just a time to write.
We are again returning to the beautiful Strathean in Otaki (just north of Wellington) and meals and accommodation are provided at no charge to you. Also, if travel to the retreat is an issue for you please let us know as we may be able to help, both with costs or arranging lifts.
The meals will be healthy and made from local produce and you will have your own room.
We are now accepting submissions from playwrights.
Please email us with a brief bio and some details about what you hope to work on and/or achieve if accepted on to the retreat.
Submissions close 30 April 2016
Successful applicants will be notified by Monday 9 May 2016.

Robert Lord's worker's cottage in Dunedin is run as a rent-free residency for writers.
Applications are now being received for the remaining 2016 slot.
17 October to 9 December 2016
Send a summary of the project you'll be working on; your reasons for wanting to write in Dunedin and your curriculum vitae to Murray Lynch here

The Festival runs from 10 - 15 May 2016. Client appearances include Fiona Farrell, Greg McGee, Jacob Rajan, John Smythe, Ella West, Damien Wilkins, and Witi Ihimaera alongside legendary British playwright David Hare. David Hare will be in conversation with Simon Wilson on Saturday 5 May at 6pm and a reading of his play Skylight will follow on Sunday 15 May at 3:45pm.
See here for the full programme.

Submissions are now open for the PANZ 10 Minute Play Competition.
The First, Second and Third place winners will receive a cash prize and will be invited to a workshop later in 2016 organised by Playmarket where a professional script advisor, director and professional actors will help develop their winning play. This will be held in either Wellington or Auckland.
The winning four plays will be given a public performance late in 2016 by the Waihi Drama Society. Up to eight of the plays will be performed by Oamaru Repertory Society.
Submissions close 30 April 2016
See the website here for more details.


The residency allows writers to work full time in a compatible environment among colleagues who are concerned with the teaching of reading and literature to children.
The annual residency is for a six month period between February and August and includes an office within the College and remuneration of $28,000..
Applications close 1 June 2016
See the website here for more information.


Writing for Stage and Screen with Briar Grace-Smith will be held in Auckland on Saturday 2nd July.
Classes are limited to twenty students aged 15 and above. Students can register for a place by emailing here and writing Briar Grace-Smith Master Class in the subject line of the email. In the body of the email, write your mobile number, school, English teacher and year group.

15 July - Quick Response
2 September - Arts Grant
2 September - Todd New Writers Bursary
4 November - Quick Response

1 June - Brown Ink and Asian Ink submissions close
1 August - Plays for the Young submissions close
1 December  - Adam NZ Play Award submissions close for 2017


Australian Writers Guild
The National Voice 2016, survey of trends in Australian theatre programming, reveals a decline in both areas compared with 2015, the first year the survey was conducted by the Australian Writers’ Guild.
Read more here and The National Voice 2016 is available here

Elisabeth Easther for New Zealand Listener
Playwrights have a short shelf life, according to author Alan Bennett, so how has our best-loved writer for the stage held the spotlight for more than 40 years?
Read more here

Matthew Hemley for The Stage
Double Olivier Award-winning playwright David Hare has accused artistic directors of prioritising box office takings over cutting-edge work, claiming they are confusing “what is popular with what is good”.
Read more here

J. Kelly Nestruck for The Globe and Mail
Canada’s National Arts Centre will launch a new Indigenous Theatre – a department devoted to indigenous performing arts that is intended to be an equal to the arts centre’s long-established English and French Theatre companies. It’s being described as the most significant change to the NAC since the bilingual, multidisciplinary performing-arts centre opened in Ottawa in 1969.
Read more here

Chris Wiegand for The Guardian
London’s powerhouse of new writing is celebrating its 60th birthday. Explore some of the Sloane Square theatre’s key productions through extracts from the Guardian and Observer archive, alongside new recollections from Wole Soyinka, Ann Jellicoe, Amanda Redman, Sally Hawkins and others
Read more here

Jatinder Verma and Jonathan Kennedy for Arts Professional
Frustrated by a shortage of touring opportunities for black and Asian theatre, Jatinder Verma and Jonathan Kennedy made it their mission to change the hearts and minds of artistic directors and inspire audiences across the UK.
Read more here

The Latina/o Theatre Commons Steering Committee responds to a recent New York Times review containing a cultural microaggression.
Read more here

Richard Watts for ArtsHub
Sydney’s theatre venues are used for performance less than a third of the time, while producers struggle to find an affordable venue, an independent study has found.
Read more here
Charlie Gates for The Press
Christchurch's performing arts precinct could include artist studios, apartments, a public square, a parking building, restaurants and retail space alongside new theatres. An early draft of plans for the precinct next to the Isaac Theatre Royal reveals the likely layout of the city's newest cultural centre.
Read more here


by Anthony McCarten

Salzburger Landestheater, Salzburg, Austria 5 February – 24 April 2016
After a terrorist attack on the London underground, Azime, a shy twenty year-old from a Kurdish family realises that she must speak out. In her own way. She secretly signs up for a comedy acting course, slips on a burka and gets on stage…. as a world-first muslim female comic. Her appearance is dynamite.

The Ballad of Jimmy Costello
by Tim Balme

De Noorder Smederij, The Netherlands 12 February - 30 April 2016
In the 1960s New Zealanders began cheering on a car thief-prison-escaper and inadvertently promoted a small town kiwi boy from petty criminal to multi-prison escapee to National folk icon... A hero who ran rings around the police in his many bids for freedom. Inspired by a true story.

Miss Jean Batten
by Phil Ormsby

Flaxworks Theatre at The Basement 29 March – 9 April 2016
Jean Batten’s 1936 flight from England to New Zealand in a single engine plane made of wood and fabric navigating with just a compass and a watch is one of the extraordinary feats of the last century. Jean Batten – flying in the face of danger and convention. A new solo show from Flaxworks.

The Seven Sons of Suppararth
by Uther Dean and Paul Waggott

My Accomplice at BATS 29 March – 9 April 2016
The War of the Nine Veils is over! The seven sections of the state of Supparath must decide how best to punish the dastardly dark demonlord Krunk! A council is called, a fellowship is formed. Now the Seven Sons of Supparath must assemble the legendary Winch of Fate!  Wizards! Orcs! Trolls! Elves! Short people!

You Can Always Hand Them Back
by Roger Hall, music and lyrics by Peter Skellern

Auckland Theatre Company 31 March – 16 April 2016
Maurice and Kath's kids have left home; the nest is finally empty and a life of gin, golf and overseas jaunts awaits. That is, until the grandchildren arrive. With grace and good humour (and a little song and dance), old rhythms are given new life as they embrace the delights and demands of bath time, babysitting and bundles of joy. Roger Hall puts the grand into grandparenting.

Stag Weekend
by Dan Bain and Brendon Bennetts

Centrepoint 1 April – 14 May 2016
A stag party hunting trip to the Tararuas for four overconfident and under-qualified city boys becomes increasingly dangerous - and hilarious - as they fumble towards discovering what it means to be a Kiwi bloke in 2016. It's an unwise combination of boys, beer and bush. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong. The hangover from this stag weekend will stay with them forever.

Wine Lips
by Sam Brooks

Counterpoint at Allen Hall, Dunedin 6 – 8 April 2016
Half drunk in a messy green room with a show going on next door, Scotty and Brit reflect on their equally messy past. Eventually the wine is going to run out, but there’s plenty of quarter-life crises to go around.

Joyful and Triumphant
by Robert Lord

Circa Theatre 2 April – 7 May 2016
This outstanding award-winning New Zealand play returns to celebrate Circa’s 40th birthday Anniversary. Spanning forty years of Christmas Days from the 40s to the 80s in the lives of the small-town Bishop Family, as they struggle and cavil and cuddle.

Seven Deadly Monologues
by Benjamin Teh

A+ Productions at Te Pou Theatre 6 - 9 April 2016

What if lust is something that can be taught? What if outsiders feel pride for one who is not prideful? What if wrath is born out of a deep sadness, and sloth accepts fate in the worst of ways? What if gluttony is a way of life, and greed is a tool to relive euphoric joy, would it not just be the same as a drug habit?

by Miriama McDowell and Rob Mokaraka
T.O.A Productions at Te Oro 7 – 9 April 2016
A dark comedy set in a NZ prison where a few hard men are about to be confronted by their worst nightmare: Miss Lucy the Shakespeare teacher. Two actors play not only all the menacing and hilarious inmates but also a philosophical Indian Corrections Officer and an enterprising Shakespeare teacher. A play where laughter and danger share the same prison cell.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and Joanne
by Carl Nixon

The Court Theatre 9 April – 7 May 2016
It’s 9.55pm on a Tuesday and Matthew, a trendy advertising executive, has just had a revelation in the gluten free, organic and ethnic food aisle of the local supermarket. One that will change his life and the lives of those close to him. A sexy, sophisticated comedy full of twists and turns that takes a light-hearted look at relationships and moral dilemmas in 2016.

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch
by Ronda and David Armitage adapted by Tim Bray, songs by Christine White

Tim Bray Productions at The Pumphouse 11 – 30 April 2016
Children love Mr Grinling, the lighthouse keeper. Join in the fun with Mr and Mrs Grinling, Hamish the cat and the greedy seagulls, in a tale that cleverly blends three of the favourite Lighthouse Keeper stories into one entertaining and funny show.

Guji Guji
by Chih-Yuan Chen adapted for the stage by Peter Wilson

Little Dog Barking on tour 11 April – 13 May 2016
A simple and beautiful story about being different, bullying and family love. A strange egg rolls into a duck’s nest. Mother Duck, hatches the egg and the strangest looking duck you have ever seen emerges from the egg. His first words are Guji Guji and that becomes his name. Based on the popular children’s book of the same name.

Women with Swords
by Geoff Allen

Galatea Theatre at The Pumphouse 13 – 23 April 2016
French Italian border – 1642. One last hidden valley remains untouched by the thirty years war. All the men have been killed. Only women are left. An army is coming. Six desperate women will fight to find the buried treasure of Count Brunelleschi before that army reaches them. But only one woman will see the dawn. All are armed, all dangerous, all Women with Swords.

Duck, Death and the Tulip
by Wolf Erlbruch, adapted for the stage by Peter Wilson
Little Dog Barking at BATS 19 – 23 April 2016
A duck strikes up an unlikely friendship with death, and a strangely heart-warming story unfolds. Based on the internationally celebrated book by Wolf Erlbruch, Duck, Death and the Tulip will intrigue and enchant both children and adults.

Harold and the Witch
by Prue Langbein and Kate Ward

Academy of Dramatic Arts at Coasters Musical Theatre 19, 21, 26, 28 April 2016
Wilhemina the witch and her cat Harold are working on a spell for eternal youth and beauty when they are interrupted by Loud the ghost in search of a way to become pale and proper. For children aged between 3 and 10 years with music, spells and magic.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain adapted by Mike Hudson

Auckland Theatre Company at Selwyn Theatre 21 – 30 April 2016
Tom Sawyer is a force of nature with an unquenchable thirst for action and excitement. Mark Twain's immortal classic about growing up in a small town on the banks of the Mississippi is a joyous leap into the great river of time and memory. Conjuring all the mystery and magic of childhood, this famous coming-of-age story is full of adventures the whole family will treasure.

A Man Walks Into A Bar
by David Geary

Off the Avenue at The World Bar, Sydney, NSW, Australia 21 April – 7 May 2016
An aburdist comedy about the types of people you meet in a bar. Man and Woman stumble on an open mic night. They have a broken relationship in their past and battle it out onstage. Their weapons? Jokes based on the classic form, “A man walks into a bar…”. They duel and drink, breaking out to tell their stories and the stories of many others who have spent time in bars.

Blind Eye
by April Phillips

CAS’n’OVA at Heaton Performing Arts Centre, Christchurch 22 – 30 April 2016
Wally and Vera are a salt of the earth couple in their golden years. They have lived on the same street their entire lives. They have kept to themselves and led decent lives. Or have they? A malicious attack on the old man results in two strangers entering their lives. What the strangers discover will disorient their own moral compasses and muddy the clarity of right and wrong.

The Moa Show
by Jamie McCaskill and Craig Geenty

Tikapa Productions at BATS 26 – 30 April 2016
When you wake up with a headache and your bed is made of leaves – it's time to cut back on the drink. When a guitar-playing hermit offers you drugs – it might be time to reassess your life. When you fail your job interview with a racist spotted Kiwi - it's time to seek help from the Moa.

Skin Tight [Te Tenir Contre Moi]
by Gary Henderson

Théâtre L’instant at Théâtre Prospero, Montreal, Canada 26 April – 14 May 2016
One of New Zealand's most beloved plays, Skin Tight, is a sensual love story drawing from the classic Denis Glover poem 'The Magpies'. Translated into French by Xavier Mailleux.

Niu Sila
by Oscar Kightley and Dave Armstrong

The Fortune Theatre 30 April – 21 May 2016
In 1970s suburban New Zealand, six-year-old Ioane Tafioka, fresh off the boat from the Islands, moves in next door to Peter Burton. Instantly becoming best friends, they spend every day together. As the boys become teenagers they succumb to their stereotypical paths, drifting apart, until a chance reunion twenty years later forces them to confront their ghosts of years past.

Wheeler’s Luck
by Nigel Collins, Toby Leach and Damon Andrews

Southside Players at Theatre Royal, Hobart, TAS, Australia 4 – 14 May 2016
Cox Point, where Nora Cox lived her whole life, has been bequeathed to the residents of her beloved Bell End. But when mainlander Richard Lush speeds into town and announces his plan for a big development, the community is divided. After a big night at Andy’s Tavern, a passionate town meeting, and a brawl, mates are against mates and it all rides on a bareback horse race.

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