August 13, 2012

‘Mighty’ Kiwi production invited to top international arts festival  

Michael James Manaia by John Broughton premiered at Downstage in 1991 and was swiftly recognised as a landmark work in New Zealand theatre history and went on to tour internationally. 

Twenty-one years later Taki Rua revived the play with a brand-new production which drew rave reviews at this year’s New Zealand International Arts Festival.  History repeated itself still further when the production was invited to participate in the Melbourne International Arts Festival, recognised as one of the major multi-arts festivals in the world.

Taki Rua is presenting two tour fundraiser performances of Michael James Manaia 
on Saturday 1 September 
at Downstage (3pm & 7.30pm),
to raise money towards freight, airfares and accommodation.
Tickets are $30 ($25 concession) and are available from or 801-6946.

Michael James Manaia is a tour-de-force one man show with Te Kohe Tuhaka playing the title character in the current production. Telling the story of a Vietnam war veteran with both Maori and Pakeha ancestry the play was received well by critics with Tuhaka’s powerful and subtle performance drawing particular praise. Comments included:

Thrillingly addictive viewing. Tuhaka’s is a captivating, bold and fearless performance.’ – The New Zealand Herald (NZ)

A confident, dynamic and fully charged performance that is as physical and energetic as you’ll ever see.’ – The Dominion Post (NZ)

‘(Michael James Mania )packs a mighty wallop.’ – Theatreview

Tuhaka offers us a superb, gutsy, unforgettable experience.’ – Capital Times (NZ)

Mary Lou Jelbart Artistic Director, fortyfivedownstairs said:

“Michael James Manaia is one of the most truthfully written and powerfully performed theatre works I have seen in many years.  We are absolutely delighted to be presenting this outstanding production by Taki Rua at the prestigious Melbourne Festival”

About the opportunity, Taki Rua Tumuaki/Artistic Director James Ashcroft said:

“It is fantastic to have the quality of the production recognised internationally, and to have the opportunity to represent New Zealand at such a high-profile international festival. Touring a production – even a one-man show – is expensive. Our tour fundraiser performance will make a big difference to our company in terms of making the most of this exciting opportunity.”

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