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Photo by Rebecca Kinaston
Photo by Rebecca Kinaston

Written by Ralph McCubbin Howell
Directed by Hannah Smith
presented by Trick of the Light Theatre


at BATS Theatre (Out Of Site), Cnr Cuba & Dixon, Wellington
From 12 Feb 2013 to 17 Feb 2013

The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
From 24 Feb 2013 to 27 Feb 2013

Wunderbar, 19 London Street, Lyttelton
From 6 Mar 2013 to 7 Mar 2013

The Playhouse, Dunedin
From 14 Mar 2013 to 16 Mar 2013

Circa Two, Wellington
From 8 Jul 2014 to 19 Jul 2014

Suter Theatre, Nelson
From 22 Oct 2014 to 23 Oct 2014

Reviewed by:  John SmytheEwen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] (The Dominion Post); Matt Baker (Theatre Scenes - Auckland Theatre Blog); Lexie MathesonErin HarringtonBarbara Frame (Otago Daily Times); Kimberley BuchanJohn Smythe (2)Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] (The Dominion Post); Adrienne Matthews;


Trick of the Light Theatre have crossed the globe to bring their twisted New Zealand fairytale back home to the Auckland Fringe. From award-winning Wellington playwright Ralph McCubbin Howell (The Engine Room, 2011), The Road That Wasn't There will play at BATS Out of Site (Wellington) from February 12th to 17th and the Basement Theatre (Auckland) from February 24th to 27th - then on to the Dunedin Fringe. It is a curious tale from the shadowy corners of our history and the spaces between the lines on the map…

In New Zealand there are some 56,000 kilometres of paper roads – streets and towns that exist only on surveyors' maps. Or do they? A young woman strays from the beaten track and finds herself in a paper town. It seems a land of possibility, but she soon discovers that actions taken in the fictional world can have frighteningly real consequences.

The play is rooted in New Zealand folklore; from lost moa roaming the foothills, to faeries who drink moonshine out the back of Pyne Gould Guinness. Playwright Ralph McCubbin Howell (Outstanding New Playwright, Chapman Tripp 2011) says 'It's a story from the twitchy edges of children's literature - a dark world reminiscent of Coraline, Pan's Labyrinth, and the works of the late (great) Margaret Mahy.”

After playing to full houses over their premiere season at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the company is looking forward to bringing the show back to home soil. Their Basement season will form the centerpiece of a nationwide tour that will take them from Auckland to Central Otago. Director Hannah Smith says “Our Edinburgh season was done on a shoestring, and now we've extended and improved the work at every level. It'll be great to take it out on the road and share it with a Kiwi audience.”

Wellington Fringe Festival regulars (March of the Meeklings - Best of the Fringe 2008, A Most Outrageous Humbug - Pick of the Fringe 2009, Who's Neat? You! - Best Theatre 2010), this show will take them to new territories, with a nationwide tour that will see them travel from Auckland to Central Otago.

The show combines puppetry and live music in a wickedly funny original fairytale.


BATS Out of Site
February 12th -17th, 6.30pm Tickets are available through BATS at or (04) 802 4175.

Riverlea Theatre 
83 Riverlea Road 
20-21 February, 7:00pm 
Book tickets through

24th – 27th February, 8:30pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Venue: The Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland CBD
Tickets: $20/$16/$12 
Bookings: iTicket - or 09 361 1000 

Dunstan Creek 150 
St Bathans Domain 
3 March 2:00pm 
Book tickets through

The ODT Inkbox (Oamaru Opera House)
94 Thames Street
5 March 7:30pm
Book tickets at

19 London Street
6-7 March 7:00pm
Book tickets at

Sam Mahon's ‘Old Mill'
6 Singleton Road, Waikari
9 March 7:00pm
Book tickets at

The Playhouse Theatre
31 Albany Street
14-16 March 7:00pm (+ 3:00pm Saturday)
Book tickets at

2014 at Circa

From Trick of the Light Theatre (The Bookbinder) comes the return season of the 2013 Chapman Tripp Production of the Year. Drawn from the twitchy edges of children's literature, it is an inventive and a dark world reminiscent of Coraline, Pan's Labyrinth, and the works of Margaret Mahy. Combining puppetry, shadow play, and live music, The Road That Wasn't There is a curious tale for intrepid children and adventurous adults…

Production of the Year - Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards 2013

Circa Theatre, Wellington
8-19 July 2014 11AM & 7PM
4:30PM show on 13 July
$25 Full | $20 Concession/Industry | $10 Children
Bookings (04) 801 7992 or 

View video trailer here:

VENUE: The Suter Theatre
DATE: Wed 22 Oct, 6pm; Thurs 23 Oct, 6pm
DURATION: 60 mins
PRICE: $25 | UNDER 18: $15
FAMILY: $66 (2 Adults, 2 Children)

Family, Theatre, Puppetry

Elle Wootton:  Maggie 
Oliver de Rohan:  Gabriel, Walter/Retlaw, Father 
Ralph McCubbin Howell:  Rosie Parker, Mr Panesh, Constable Good-One, Roland/Noland, Blanket Man, Mother

Composition and Sound Design:  Tane Upjohn-Beatson
(Incorporating themes from the Edinburgh season composed by Ralph McCubbin Howell)
Additional musicians:  Anna Edgington – Soprano; Charley Davenport – Cello; Oliver de Rohan – Clarinet
Dramaturgy:  Hannah August
Puppets:  Hannah Smith
Set:  Nick Zwart
Costumes:  Nicola Holter
Lighting:  Marcus McShane
Marketing Design:  Ed Watson
Programme Design:  Alex Rabina

Produced by:  Trick of the Light Theatre 

The Road That Wasn't There was first performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2012.