Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

27/07/2013 - 10/08/2013

Production Details

The world premiere of a new New Zealand work performed by 30 of the country’s brightest young stars opens at The Basement on 26 July. Auckland Theatre Company presents LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW by The PlayGround Collective, a unique theatrical experience in which audiences are so immersed, they’re practically propping up the bar.  

It’s the school after-ball. It’s cancelled. It’s illegal. And you’re invited.

Several weeks ago a student died at a party on the Shore. Drunk and daring, he dived off a roof into a swimming pool, but missed the pool. As a result of the tragedy, the after-ball has been banned. But, whatever – rules are made to be broken and Joseph’s friends are brewing up a night to remember. Some, though, just want to forget.

Based on an original concept by Auckland Theatre Company’s Associate Producer Lynne Cardy in partnership with The Playground Collective, and in the spirit of other highly popular, experiential theatre phenomena currently spanning the globe, including New York’s SLEEP NO MORE, multi-city theatre experience THE HOTEL PROJECT, Sydney’s LOVELY UGLY, and ATC’s recent SLEEPOVER, LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW is a fully-immersive experience. A provocative, roving encounter. The after-ball to end all after-balls. At the party, audiences are invited to move from room to room, from scene to scene, to get up close with the characters and unlock their every secret. The party is outlawed; there’s definitely no time to sit still.

The work, which has been a year in development in Auckland Theatre Company’s Creative Development Unit, explores the reckless abandon that drives young people, and the impact of intergenerational and binge drinking in this country.

According to Co-director, Eleanor Bishop, “We’ve made this show based on the stories of the actors who are aged 16 to 23. We’re aiming to add a different perspective on a highly divisive issue – as well as hearing from the alcohol industry, we should spend more time listening to the young people themselves, who all feel the effects when something goes wrong and tragedy happens.”

A point echoed by Co-Director Robin Kerr, “According to research, New Zealand is losing the equivalent of one young person a week in alcohol-related deaths. Binge drinking is an epidemic that as a nation we revel in, ignoring the risks and costs. Yet we all – myself included – keep on at it, participating in a drinking culture that’s killing us. Could we stop?”

The PlayGround Collective is a New Zealand theatre company that develops innovative and imaginative theatre based on good storytelling. Their previous work includes the acclaimed The Intricate Art of Actually Caring which played in Auckland in 2010 and has toured New Zealand. The Collective was formed in 2007 by Eli Kent (Arts Foundation New Generation Artist, Bruce Mason Award Winner), Eleanor Bishop (Chapman Tripp Award Most Promising New Director 2009) and Robin Kerr (Master of Theatre Arts graduate from Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School).

“We are really excited to be collaborating with the PlayGround Collective on this project. They bring a distinct aesthetic, a sense of theatrical adventure and great writing to the young cast. Like There’s No Tomorrow will take over The Basement entirety for its season – we’re hoping it’s going to be an unforgettable experience not just for the audiences, but for the performers and everyone involved,” says Lynne Cardy.

Auckland Theatre Company’s Creative Development Unit is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of theatre-makers and theatre-goers by supporting and maintaining the creation and development of new New Zealand work. The Creative Development Unit comprises ATC Literary, ATC Education and ATC Participate. For more information, please visit 

By The PlayGround Collective
Location: The Basement, Lower Greys Avenue, Auckland
Youth Preview – 25 July, 8pm
Preview – 26 July, 8pm
Opening Night (Reviewer’s Night) – 27 July, 8pm
Closing Night – 10 August, 8pm
Booking: 09 309 3395 or   

Please note:
Recommended for patrons aged 15 years and over.
Some content may offend.
LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW is a moving journey event. Some parts of the show require climbing stairs and are not suitable for flat floor access patrons.

Emily Campbell, Jessica Choy, James Collyer, Leilani Dave-Ekepati, Joanna Dibley, Giverny Forbes, Andrew Gunn, Lucas Haugh, Kengo Hosaka, Holly Hudson, Emily Johnson, Kynan Johnson Jones, Albertine Jonas, Lole Kata, Melody Knapp, Terry Morrison, Isaac Nonu, Erin O'Flaherty, Iana Pauga, Lajja Prajapati, Shavon Robson, Aman Singh, Matt Smith, Rebecca Smith, Samantha Tippet, Sarah Trass, Dylan Underwood, Ana Ung, Albert Walker and Caleb Wells

Creative team
Eli Kent - Playwright
Eleanor Bishop and Robin Kerr - Co-Directors
Lynne Cardy - Producer
Jessica Verryt - Set and Costume Designer
Gareth Hobbs - Sound Designer
Nik Janiurek - Lighting Designer
Whetu Silver - Project Manager
Andrew Malmo - Production Manager
Fiona Ryan - Production Assistant / Props Master
Jamie Johnstone - Stage Manager
Chelsea Adams - Stage Manager Mentor
Fern Christie - Company Manager
Paul Nicoll - Technical and Production Manager
Gayle Jackson - Wardrobe Supervisor

Up-close with teen nightlife

Review by Paul Simei-Barton 29th Jul 2013

The interactive theatre experience is given a thorough workout in a wildly energetic production that drops us right into the throbbing heart of an illicit high school after-ball. 

An intricately co-ordinated rotation has the audience split into small groups and corralled through the labyrinthine stairways of The Basement theatre for an up-close and personal introduction to the mayhem of teenage nightlife. [More]


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Unbridled excitement and crushing anxiety

Review by Frances Morton 29th Jul 2013

In the digital age, interactivity is hot. If we’re not reacting on Twitter or Facebook or hasty online comments, are we really feeling? Theatre has followed suit. There has been a shift to give audiences – especially theatre aimed at gaming-literate younger audiences – a more immersive experience. The local originator of the concept is rollicking space nailbiter Apollo 13, which recently returned from a successful tour of the States. And earlier in the year, zombies invaded a makeshift venue in Aotea Square for Apocalypse Z. This time around, it’s not about space or zombies but vomit. Well, youth binge drinking actually, but that inevitably involves a lot of vomit.

Like There’s No Tomorrow takes place at a teenage party shortly after the death of gregarious Joseph, who wants to be remembered for his jump (not missing the pool and smooshing his brains on its edge). The audience is invited into the Basement’s main theatre as if guests at an illicit bash where we meet Joseph, who promptly tells us he is not a ghost but a collection of memories projected by three of his dearest – his best mate, his girlfriend and his sister. This is a smart device from writer Eli Kent and forms the basis of the play as the audience is separated into three groups, following each key character and their gang of mates as they navigate the raucous party and grapple with their grief. [More]


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An extraordinary theatre experience

Review by Forrest Denize 28th Jul 2013

If you can convince your teenager to see one play this year, make it this one.

Leave your handbag at home, Like There’s No Tomorrow is what can only be described as ‘next level’ immersive theatre: we traipse up stairs, down corridors, over the dance floor, out to the car park and into hidden rooms, uncovering the secrets, fears, hopes and irreversible actions of a group of young people, united by a friend’s tragic, drunken death: Joseph, played by Andrew Gunn.  

Firstly, Eli Kent’s script is a stunner. Imaginative and innovative, he sets moments of deep, existential reflection amongst the chaos of an illegal school after ball. Although Joseph narrates much of the play from his (dead) perspective, he is not a ghost; this is not a play about his unfinished business. He is a memory, playing out according to how his friends, sister, girlfriend, remember him. Gunn’s acting is a little melodramatic at times, but he certainly commits to the party animal character.

The beginning of the show is a little awkward, as it is not immediately clear how much we are meant to play along. Once we relax into it though, the authenticity is impressive. Designers have set The Basement up to convey perfectly the cramped, messy, grungy scene that is teenage parties.

Set in over six different parts, both inside and outside of the theatre, cast and crew make what should be a logistical nightmare into a seamless, believable experience. Semi-improvised transitions between spaces are well-executed, despite the actors (who never break character) and various hidden stagehands having to organise groups of thirty or more people through narrow passageways.

The technical aspects of the show are slick, and exciting. Sound and lighting move effortlessly between natural and heightened, and innovation again shows. Taking a show outdoors can be difficult, but the use of a car stereo to play mood music, and the rolling down of a garage door to end a scene is just beautiful.

Emily Campbell, as Stacy (Joseph’s girlfriend), is heartbreakingly believable. At one point, all the female audience members are crowded into the girls’ bathroom, and Campbell calls Joey on her cellphone. To be able act at such a proximity to the audience is simply incredible; it is so moving we have to restrain ourselves from giving her a hug.

As a young woman, it is a tense, awkward scene upstairs where three couples lose (or try to lose) their virginity that I find the most powerful. A single, hand-held torchlight illuminates a lesbian in denial, a boy who can’t “get it up”, a young man who we realise, with horror, has forgotten “you know, that thing, you need, for sex.” This should be an uncomfortably voyeuristic scene (and it is), but set designer Jessika Verryt softens the blow by shrouding each couple in their own personal bubble of sheets of thin, billowing, semi-transparent plastic – nothing less than inspired.

In the aftermath of the deed, I am stunned at how deeply it has affected me. There is such relief that drunken fumbling in the dark with a stranger was not my first time experience, but such sadness that for many of my friends, and other young people in New Zealand, it was.

Luckily, to contrast these heavy topics, there are wonderful moments of comic relief.  Uce (Isaac Nonu) and Dox (Lole Kata) are the party DJs, who have some seriously epic freestyle rap skills and a laid back attitude that has the audience in stitches. Kengo Hosaka is nothing short of adorable as Japanese student Kenji, dressed as Godzilla and trying to find his homestay family.

Like There’s No Tomorrow is an extraordinary theatre experience. Never have I ever been able to feel so close, so connected to a set of characters. The emotions are raw, the drama is high and while the participation-optional dance floor and drinking games have me missing my more irresponsible days, by the end I am glad to be heading home safe.

New Zealand’s drinking culture is a tough nut to crack, but get your teenagers along to Like There’s No Tomorrow and it certainly makes a start.


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