All of Us

Suter Theatre, Nelson

27/05/2023 - 27/05/2023

Production Details

Playwright - Rebecca Abrams
Director - Sharon Lukitau-Ngaamo
Producer - Miranda Warner

This month Restorative Justice Nelson, along with generous funding from the Ministry of Justice, Borrin Foundation and Tasman Creative Communities, are touring a professional theatre production, entitled “All of Us”.

This British play, written by Rebecca Abrams, centres around a family fractured by violence and incarceration. As one member of the family comes to the end of his prison sentence, he starts to explore the possibility of a Restorative Justice conference with the rest of his family. The play follows each family members’ journey through this process.

The play will be followed by a Q and A with the actors and two Restorative Justice facilitators. This offers the audience an opportunity to raise questions about Restorative Justice as well as asking the cast about the creative process.

We are privileged to be staging this play’s world premiere, which is hopefully headed to London, UK, next.

Murchison Theatre -May 6th
Playhouse Theatre Mapua- May 12th
Playhouse Theatre Takaka- May 13th
Suter Theatre Nelson- May 27th
All shows 7:30pm

The Facebook page is here:

The link to tickets is here:

Tickets cost $15 in Tasman (Murchison, Mapua and Takaka) thanks to Tasman Creative Communities, and $20 in Nelson.

Actors - Penny Taylor, Dawn Marron, Sharon Lukitau-Ngaamo, Miranda Warner
Lighting - Michael Gibbs

Theatre ,

2 hours in total - 1 hour 20 plus Q and A session

A compelling story with plenty of humour and great dramatic writing

Review by Tami Mansfield 29th May 2023

A new play, All of Us by Rebecca Abrams, was performed at the Suter Theatre in Nelson on 27 May 2023 to a nearly full house. One of the sponsors, along with Ministry of Justice, is Restorative Justice Nelson; this is appropriate because the play deals with “a family fractured and torn apart by violence and incarceration,” the program quotes. “As one of the family members comes to the end of their prison sentence, each of them explores how to move on and heal.”

We learn while watching the play how this process of Restorative Justice works. The amount of compassion, empathy and understanding felt in the audience is palpable. This is due to a wonderful script that Abrams has created and effective performances by the four actors (women with busy careers too.)

All of Us is directed by teacher Sharon Lukitau-Ngaamo, who stepped convincingly into the role of Oliver, with only a week’s notice (and due to necessity.) Oliver is a son of Clare, played with humour and heart by Penny Taylor, and sister of Eliza, projected well by Miranda Warner – also a Restorative Justice facilitator in Nelson.

The plot follows Oliver getting out of prison after 12 years for the murder of his father. The play begins with a Restorative Justice facilitator named Cori, played like a pro by Dawn Marron. Cori is setting up a comfortable space for a Restorative Justice meeting. Through flashbacks and the convention of a split stage to show two things happening at once, the plot of the play unfolds in non-chronological order, thus making the experience for the audience more gripping and ultimately uplifting. 

The ruptured mother and daughter have not communicated or seen Oliver since his trial, and since that time sister Eliza searches to move on yet the past comes calling and the forgetting is not happening. Playwright Abrams uses a Brechtian technique of a chorus circling troubled mother Clare, while she’s in monologue. This enhances Clare’s deepest thoughts and feelings, and the effect is exciting theatre.

Furthermore, Oliver wishes to communicate with his sister and mother, 12 years after his crime. And true to life, Cori tells Oliver this can only work if they are honest with each other. She also explains that he can make no excuses such as,I did it because you did that.” We gradually learn the conditions and facts behind Oliver’s family life and it’s heinous.  

The 85-minute production is quickly followed by a Q and A with actors and facilitators. The discussion is important because it does what the director hoped – to put us all in conversation about how, for restorative justice to occur, an offender needs to take responsibility for their actions in a way that takes care of the victim’s wellbeing. The talk back is also inspiring because we hear from the actors as to what they hoped for an audience to feel: compassion, communication, understanding and taking shame out of facing the pain. I can truthfully say, I did feel those things. I also feel a forgiveness – to all of us – for being human.

All for Us is a compelling story with plenty of humour and great dramatic writing. Word is that there will be a film soon, produced by the Ministry. I’m one of the lucky ones who saw it live first. 


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