BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

08/04/2021 - 17/04/2021

Production Details

Written by Dominic Hoey
Directed by Jo Randerson

Co-produced with BATS Theatre

“In 2017, I put out a novel about the gentrified dog bowl I grew up in
a love story about artists dragging themselves
through gold paved streets with heavy skin.” – Dominic Hoey

After repeat sell-out seasons in 2018 of his autobiographical one-person show, Your Heart Looks Like a Vagina, rapper-performance poet turned novelist-playwright Dominic Hoey is back with a brand new work.

45 Cents an Hour premieres at BATS Theatre in April, in what is the theatre’s very first offering under a new Co-Production model.

Bringing together a dynamic and experienced team, including multi-award winning director Jo Randerson, 45 Cents an Hour tackles the gritty realities of being an artist in Aotearoa – contestable funding struggles, classism, institutional gatekeeping – told through the lens of Dominic’s journey from rapper and performance poet, to novelist and theatre maker.

45 Cents an Hour also features dogs, songs and crying.

BATS Theatre, The Dome, 1 Kent Terrace, Wellington
8th-17th April 2021
(no show Sunday/Monday)
The Difference $40
Full Price $25
Group 6+ $22
Concession Price $20

The Co-Pro
The team are thrilled to be partnering with BATS Theatre under the new Co-Production model introduced for 2021. With artist sustainability at its core, the fund provides an essential counter-narrative to the inequities within the arts world that 45 Cent an Hour plays on. BATS’ focus on greater artist wellbeing, a desire to bring big design back to the stages and by providing more time in the venue is assisting artists to push, shove and break what’s expected…and allows them to pay their crews more than 45 Cents an Hour.


Dominic Hoey is an author, playwright and poet based in Tāmaki Makaurau.

In 2017, his autobiographical play Your Heart Looks Like a Vagina, a dark comedy about living with autoimmune disease, had three sell out runs and Dominic was nominated for best new playwright at the 2018 Wellington Theatre Awards.

His debut novel, Iceland (2017) was a New Zealand bestseller and long-listed for the 2018 Ockham Book Award. He’s also published three poetry collections, including I Thought We’d Be Famous, released October last year.

In 2019 Dominic was an artist in residence at the Michael King Writers Centre where he worked on his new novel. He has also had residencies in Iceland (2012), Rarotonga (2017) and has been accepted into the Sointula Artist residency on Malcolm Island, off Vancouver.

Dominic is also an educator, working with marginalised youth through the award winning Atawhai program, and teaching adults on his Learn To Write Good, creative writing workshop.

Jo Randerson is the Artistic Director of performance art company Barbarian Productions, who are based in a re-purposed bowling club in the heart of Wellington. A multi-award-winning writer, director and theatre-maker, Jo has been a fixture on the literary and theatre scenes for three decades. She has received, amongst many other accolades, the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award, the Robert Burns Fellowship, Winston Churchill Fellowship and is also a New Generation Arts Laureate.

As a performer and director, Jo creates interdisciplinary work which brings people together to share perspectives where there is tension. Another favourite topic for Jo is how to improve the infrastructure for artists in our country so they can live sustainably, and most of all, how to use poetry – in the smallest and broadest sense – to create change.

H-J Kilkelly is an Ōtepoti-based producer, currently splitting her time between there and Wellington. Her experience is extensive, producing shows, festivals, practitioner development platforms and workshops, for companies such as Tawata Productions, Kia Mau Festival, Barbarian Productions, BATS Theatre, Playmarket, Toi Maori, and NZ Young Writers Festival. She is the co-director and producer for the multi-award-winning company Prospect Park Productions, and its development platforms Ōtepoti Theatre Lab and Ōtepoti Writers Lab.

Dominic Hoey
Rose Northey - stagehand/mime/various characters/usher

Producer: H-J Kelly
Production Designer: Sylvie McCreanor
Production Manager/Operator: Marshall Rankin
Production Assistance: Lucie Everett-Brown

Theatre , Performance Poetry ,

1 hr

Stand-up with props, Theatre as Stand-up, Rap with attitude and Poetry ...

Review by Waka Attewell 15th Apr 2021

It was the poster and the photo I saw somewhere that got me into the dark. What a treat! – warning – this is not a review but a gush.  

There was a time in Hollywood when all the block-buster movies were about Hollywood movies, this is the Kiwiana version of that inner gaze: an inside gaze at the dilemma of being alive and inside the dilemma of being alive and being an artist and staying alive inside the dilemma.

I could sit and listen (and watch) Dominic Hoey for hours, forever. He’s got a presence on stage that makes your heart glad. And Rose Northey (mime and other things) is a delight that makes you want to squeal like a Kardashian opening a FedEx package. She does a sub-text thing that is real and nice and silly and serious and beautiful and practical. Whatever Jo Randerson did with the movement and form is totally right and somehow correct.

It’s funding body hell out there. Squeezing those weasel words out for the application… dyslexic (I can relate) – forms that have no meaning, forms that require an outcome (what the fuck is that?)… Bureaucratic speak. He mutters the Film Commission (dysfunction) – I clap out loud, I laugh out loud.

It’s on at BATS till Saturday. Otherwise, when this thing hits the road get yourself along. Either way, take cash and buy the book – take cash and make sure two notes are stuck together for Dominic to find later. He deserves it!! 

Stand-up with props, Theatre as Stand-up, Rap with attitude and Poetry and… heck just about a bit of everything and add Rose Northey to the mix – she could do Greek Chorus all on her own, she is Greek Chorus all on her own! – she could be all 12 dudes…

They say with Theatre all tricks are better played if you can see the strings… perfect. 


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Tale of struggle, frustration and love relatable for all artists

Review by Sonya Stewart 09th Apr 2021

This show is exploring Dominic Hoey’s experience and thoughts on being an artist. Funding applications, corporate snobbery, the hierarchy of respectability within the arts and the struggles of working hard and making the titular 45 cents an hour.

It’s self-aware, bemoaning getting the funding to write the show, but not for putting it on. Hoey questions when it’s time to give it up and laments “every morning I’m a fraud, every night a genius”. [More]


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These conversations are needed now more than ever

Review by Arthur Hawkes 09th Apr 2021

45 Cents an Hour, Dominic Hoey’s spoken word show, tackles the intersection of capitalism and art with poetic depth and humour.  

Hoey spends the entirety of the show talking, rhyming and rapping to the audience as himself, with a number of other characters used to humorous effect. These include his acid-tongued pet pomeranian, and a pompous, moneyed douche that profits from the art-world through various buzzword-laden ‘ventures’ – in Hoey’s own words, “a rich man who doesn’t think ‘entrepreneur’ is an insult.”  

It’s very funny and the characters break up the pace of the show. It never feels boring, with each section quite different from the next. Admittedly it’s a little slow off the mark but I’ll put that down to the five minute ramp-up that afflicts most opening nights.

He’s joined onstage by the poet and illustrator Rose Northey, who performs as a kind of mime character, aiding the dialogue with props, gesticulation and facial expressions. It certainly adds something to Hoey’s flow. 

The dialogue itself courses through his history as a ‘creative’ in Aotearoa, and that’s a term he furnishes to include all the vicissitudes of life in 1980s Auckland, his rap career, his spending sprees and his writing output, all set against a familiar backdrop of unfairness, inequality and an enforced subservience to money.

It’s also nice to see someone still using the nomenclature of class struggle without the hesitancy of a writer twenty years younger. To some, this kind of anti-establishment position could come off as a little lame but you have to ask yourself why this push towards apathy in matters of the political economy exists in the arts (hint, look at who makes art feasible under capitalism).

Issues of identity have come majorly to the fore in our collective dialogue, and they are very necessary, but why can’t we also talk about how much of the current leftist discourse is populated by people with rich parents and second homes? Most people just don’t have time to fully understand why they’re part of a Deleuzian rhizome because they have to go and push trolleys at Pak n Save – and their library’s also probably been turned into an ‘affordable’ housing unit with offers starting at $800,000 for a 1-bedroom apartment. That’s sort of the idea Hoey is trying to grab and shove viscerally in your face in 45 Cents an Hour – and he does it well.

The show manages to straddle this political gulf between what, for the sake of convenience, I’ll call the working and middle classes, and how each of these interacts with, and consumes, art.

While, overall, the show is very good, there are some things I don’t like. I don’t like the way Northey’s mime character draws attention away from Hoey, not because it’s not well acted (it is), but purely because in the un-mic’d theatre I find myself needing to look directly at Hoey to hear him at times, especially when he is talking very fast. The wide stage and the way Northey often finds herself quite far from Hoey means the eye is drawn to and from both performers. This means you miss the actions of either on occasion.

That said, Northey’s character is well-realised and necessary to the performance, if not a little hampered by the direction. Watching the performer is integral to the art form and it takes away from this slightly.

I am also not a huge fan of the stage layout, which feels a little large and dark for the vibrancy of the content. I’d already seen an iteration of 45 Cents an Hour at Vogelmorn Bowling Club last year, also with Northey, which I think I preferred. Northey was more human, less mime, and physically much closer to Hoey, which gave it more of a double act feel, as opposed to a performer with a mime in the background. The layout was more like a warm living room, which lent itself to the colourful content.

Despite my minor criticisms, I thoroughly enjoy the show and recommend it. But I will say, as I write this review – without pay (other than the ticket), purely for ‘exposure’ (and a love of writing), still dirty from hauling boxes out of shipping containers all day to make rent – there’s something incredibly comforting about someone who says “I’ve been there too, and I’m struggling too, and I’m with you.” From another creative person, that’s a very important thing to hear. In fact, that’s a concept that can ring true for anyone.

Underneath all Hoey’s humour, his jabs at the elite class, his nonchalance, is raw empathy. And Hoey communicates this as simply as a fictional argument with his dog about being a washed-up poet, and as devastatingly beautifully as a piece of rhyme about childhood dreams and the pain inherent in creating things.

Go and see 45 Cents an Hour, especially if you’re young and into art. These conversations are needed now more than ever, and the one Hoey holds with his audience is excellent. 


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