April 9, 2010


The startling imaginings of French artist Charles Meryon compelled him to depict whales and waka over the skies of Paris in his striking etchings*. A profound and dramatic mark was left on the artist by time spent in the very early years of the New Zealand colony of Akaroa, and this is the starting point for Stuart Hoar’s play Pasefika. 

Playmarket is pleased to announce the winner of the 2010 Adam New Zealand Play Award:

Stuart Hoar, for his new play PASEFIKA.

The play is a dazzlingly theatrical re-imagination of Meryon’s struggle to survive as an artist in Paris of the 1860s, an existence firmly interwoven with his experiences in Akaroa (1844-45), while juggling his relationships with his colleague and friend the poet Baudelaire, and two striking women – in both locations. Consequently – colonialism, racism, art, feminism, and of course, love – are tackled in a refreshingly original and provocative way.

Praise from the judges included
“…a fascinating and funny world”, “…intelligent and entertaining theatre”, “…this is my sort of history”.
Stuart Hoar is an experienced playwright, screenplay writer, radio dramatist and novelist.
His first stage play was Squatter (1987), and his most recent plays include Rutherford, The Face Maker and Bright Star which was commissioned and produced by Circa Theatre, Wellington.

Joint runners-up were THE LIAR’S BIBLE by Fiona Samuel who is also awarded the Special Prize for a Woman Playwright, selection for submission to the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize; and ME AND ROBERT MCKEE by Greg McGeewhich is being staged at Circa Theatre in November.

TE KAUPOI by Whiti Hereaka has been awarded Best Play by a Maori Playwright and THE CANARY by Thomas Sainsbury the PumpHouse Prize for an Auckland Playwright (a development season at The PumpHouse Theatre).

This is the third year of the annual award (formally known as the Playmarket New Play Award), open to any new unproduced New Zealand play. We are very grateful for the generosity of the Adam Foundation, which enables us to offer a cash prize of $5000 to the winner, and a professional public reading at Circa Theatre followed by a celebratory function. Four anonymous, experienced theatre practitioners and two Playmarket staff judged the competition.

*Auckland Art Gallery has an etching of his, Ministere de la Marine, depicting Parisian Government buildings with whales and waka in the sky.   

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