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24 Sep 2009
Print Version

THE POHUTUKAWA TREE  [for reviews, click here

Auckland Theatre Company's production of Bruce Mason's THE POHUTUKAWA TREE starring Rena Owen as Aroha Mataira has set a new company box office record for a classic play. Over 9500 people will have attended the production by end the company's three week run of the show at Auckland's Maidment Theatre playing to 90% of seating capacity.

The season has proven more popular than Auckland Theatre Company's international classics of recent years, outstripping Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT, Miller's THE CRUCIBLE and William's CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF.

"I knew there would be interest in a new staging of THE POHUTUKAWA TREE but I had no idea just how spectacularly popular it would be," says Colin McColl, Auckland Theatre Company's Artistic Director.

Adding, "its popularity is an acknowledgement that the play is classic New Zealand literature but also that the politics of the story still resonate for us today."

Developing and presenting New Zealand plays is a core strand of Auckland Theatre Company's programming.

"Bruce Mason was a pioneer in writing and performing our stories and as the only theatre company in New Zealand with a dedicated literary unit - developing and promoting New Zealand stories for the stage remains a high priority for Auckland Theatre Company as well," says McColl.

Auckland Theatre Company's premier season included two plays, both New Zealand works, David Geary's LOVELOCK'S DREAM RUN was quickly followed by Michelanne Forster's DAUGHTERS OF HEAVEN. The dream run has continued through landmark productions of plays by the country's finest established and emerging writers.

Today ATC Literary Unit actively nurtures New Zealand playwrights and their work, seeking out the best and brightest new scripts and testing their mettle in rehearsed readings and semi-staged workshop productions.

THE NEXT STAGE (for full details click here)

ATC Literary Unit's upcoming festival of new plays in development THE NEXT STAGE, takes place at the Musgrove Studio at the Maidment Theatre from October 13 to 17. After each performance comments and feedback from the audience are welcomed in a discussion with the author and director.

The first play LEN by Brian Hannam is a vibrant portrait of one of New Zealand's most internationally acclaimed artists Len Lye.

Fiona Samuel's new work GHOST TRAIN is a controversial and moving work inspired by events surrounding the Louise Nicholas rape story which shocked New Zealand.

The final work in the festival is a play with songs, DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH by Lisa Chappell. It's a light-hearted look at the entertainment industry and sibling rivalry.

Tickets to THE NEXT STAGE can be purchased from The Maidment Theatre on 308 2383.