Regent Theatre Clarkson Studio, Dunedin

18/03/2023 - 18/03/2023

Production Details

Playwright: Sam Potter
Director: Jennifer Ward-Lealand

NZ Theatre Company, proudly in partnership with Arts on Tour NZ

– 31 March 2023

A national Arts on Tour NZ Tour

Jennifer Ward-Lealand directs Cassandra Woodhouse in the acclaimed one woman play, Hanna by Sam Potter.   Being a young mum is supposed to be hard – but for Hanna, the only thing she’s ever been brilliant at is raising her beloved daughter, Ellie. But then a DNA test reveals staggering news: Ellie is not Hanna’s child – and now her ‘real’ parents want to meet.

Is Hanna obliged to let these strangers into her daughter’s life? And how do you explain a mix-up in an overstretched maternity ward to a three-year old? Forced to question what being a parent really means, she makes a drastic decision that will change all their lives.

Sam Potter’s funny, heartfelt and compelling one-woman play, Hanna delicately weaves in questions of racial identity, economic privilege, and the lottery of birth – and asks: what does “family” actually mean in today’s society?

Premiering in London in 2018, and proudly presented by NZ Theatre Company in its Auckland premiere, Hanna will be the first for the company, whose aim is to bring professional productions into community theatre spaces.

‘Gripping… a memorable and moving look at nature and nurture and what family really means’ – The Times

ARTS ON TOUR NZ (AOTNZ) organises tours of outstanding New Zealand performers to rural and smaller centres in New Zealand. The trust receives funding from Creative New Zealand as well as support from Central Lakes Trust, Community Trust South, Interislander, Otago Community Trust, Aotearoa Gaming Trust, West Coast Community Trust, Pub Charity and Community Trust Mid and South Canterbury. AOTNZ liaises with local arts councils, repertory theatres and community groups to bring the best of musical and theatrical talent to country districts. The AOTNZ programme is environmentally sustainable – artists travel to their audiences rather than the reverse.



Wednesday 1 March 7:30pm Hamilton Arts Festival           

The Meteor Theatre

$30 GA; $27 Concession         


Thursday 2 March 7:30pm Coromandel       

Hauraki House Theatre           

$25 Tickets: Coromandel Information Centre Ph: 07 8668598

Friday 3 March 7:00pm Waihi           

The Theatre, Boyd Road

$22 https://www.waihidramasociety.co.nz/events/hanna/

Saturday 4 March 7:30pm Whangamata      

Whangamata Memorial Hall  

$30 Tickets: Pumice Patch or email: info@whangamatatheatresociety.co.nz

Sunday 5 March 4pm Tauranga

16th Avenue Theatre

$35 iTicket.co.nz

Monday 6 March 7:30pm Gisborne

Lawson Field Theatre  

$35 Adults; $30 Senior Citizens; $20 Students           


AOTNZ InCahoots with Lawson Field Theatre

Wednesday 8 March 7:30pm Upper Hutt     

Whirinaki Whare Taonga        

$20 www.whirinakiarts.org.nz

Friday 10 March 7:30pm Kaikōura    

The Mayfair Arts and Culture Centre

$30 www.themayfair.org.nz

Sunday 12 March 7:00pm Lake Hawea         

Lake Hawea Community Centre         

$30 Adult; $10 School Student           

www.lhcc.co.nz or QR code

Tuesday 14 March 8:00pm Alexandra          

Central Stories

$30 Tickets: Central Stories

Wednesday 15 March 7:30pm Arrowtown  

Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall  

$30 www.eventbrite.co.nz

Thursday 16 March 6:00pm Invercargill       

Scottish Hall    

$20 Ticketek

Saturday 18 March 7:30pm Dunedin

The Regent Theatre – Clarkson Studio            

Adult $30; Concession $25; Child $15            


Sunday 19 March 4:00pm Ashburton           

Ashburton Event Centre         

$25; Group 6+ $20 (service fees apply)          

www.asheventcentre.co.nz or venue box office

Tuesday 21 March 7:30pm Christchurch      

Great Hall, Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre        

$25 https://www.artscentre.org.nz/whats-on/

Saturday 25 March 7:30pm New Plymouth  

4th Wall Theatre         

$30 Adults; $25 Seniors; $15 Students www.4thwalltheatre.co.nz

Sunday 26 March 7:30pm Matamata           

Matamata Little Theatre, 5 Short Street        

$25 www.mds.org.nz

Wednesday 29 March 7:30pm Kerikeri        

Turner Centre

$30 Regular; $25 Earlybird     


Friday 31 March 7:00pm Whangarei

Forum North – Exhibition Hall

$25 Eventfinda

Performer: Cassandra Woodhouse

Theatre , Solo ,

Plenty of humour to leaven a fairly serious subject 

Review by Judith Laube 19th Mar 2023

This is my first visit to The Regent Theatre Clarkson Studio and I  am intrigued to be guided through a previously unnoticed door leading to a lift and stairs and a small intimate black box theatre, complete with a bar and about sixty seats. Once seated you can watch everyone else come in and it is clear that most people are fresh to this venue and are enjoying the surprise. The acting space contains six chairs of various shapes and colours. How will these be deployed in a one woman show?

Hanna is a play by Sam Potter and, as the title suggests, it introduces us to a single female character who tells her story. Sometimes she seems to address us directly while at other times her eyes dart about and she seems fully engaged in reliving her experiences.

Cassandra Woodhouse gives a strong performance. The actor engages our focus from the start with excellent projection and lively facial expressions. She has a lot of energy on stage and manages to maintain a high level of enthusiasm throughout the 1 hour 20 minutes of the play. 

Jennifer Ward-Lealand directs and there are times when I can almost see her in the role. The actor varies her tone and is sometimes naive and youthful; sometimes bitter or angry. Always she is in complete control of her body and voice.

She moves confidently around the chairs. These serve to break up the stage, become pieces of furniture or children’s accessories, a car and yes, are often sat on. This is when I long for tiered seating because people often have to crane to see the actor when she is on a lower level and obscured by others. 

Lighting was simple with occasional dimming. There was some sound spill from the restaurant next door in the Octagon but Woodhouse’s delivery is never affected by it. The script is written in authentic everyday language

 with several contemporary and local references. The biggest laugh comes for a dig at  the ACT party which is well received by a partisan Dunedin audience. Oranga Tamariki received a kindly mention towards the end.

There is plenty of humour to leaven a fairly serious subject as we are asked to consider what constitutes a family. The old question of nature versus nurture and the gradual building of a person through childhood to autonomous adulthood is explored through Hanna’s storytelling.

There is a fairytale ending which takes me by surprise but otherwise there is little suspense because we have been led through at a steady pace with the events signalled and then described in detail. 

Cassandra Woodhouse receives warm applause and a couple of curtain calls from a satisfied and engaged audience.


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