The Dark Room, Cnr Pitt and Church Street, Palmerston North

18/04/2015 - 18/04/2015

Production Details


The adventurous and magical journey of one songwriter and Victorian Kiwi women – the prostitute, the fraudster, the magician, the washerwoman, the gold miner, and the missionary wife. 

Rachel Dawick and The Dark Room proudly present THE JOURNEY OF THE BOUNDARY RIDERS for one night only! 

At the end of 2010, Rachel Dawick, songwriter, embarked on a four-year adventure to discover the stories of New Zealand women in the 1800s and turn them into songs. This new one-woman show – a world premiere – takes the audience on a musical journey, capturing the fascinating stories of our past through the songwriter’s own personal journey and into the magical world of these six, very different women. Experience these stories like you’ve never heard them before.

“Dawick isn’t a historian but her new album The Boundary Riders is an invaluable body of work that traverses genres and captures the untold stories of Kiwi pioneer women…” – NZ Herald

The Dark Room
Saturday 18 April, 8pm
$20 adult / $12 concession

To book, visit or call Centrepoint Theatre Box Office on 06 354 5740.

About The Dark Room

The Dark Room provides a platform for new and emerging artists to experiment, develop and showcase their work in theatre, music, comedy, or improv. The Dark Room is also home to The Basement Company, Centrepoint Theatre’s youth development programme, and SpontaneoUS, the theatre’s improv troupe. Contact Theatre Manager, Nathan Mudge at for more info.

Theatre , Musical ,

Interesting, rewarding, highly enjoyable

Review by Joy Green 19th Apr 2015

Rachel Dawick’s The Journey of the Boundary Riders, at Palmerston North’s Dark Room, bills itself as a world premier, and in this form – a one-woman show – that is certainly true, although the album which forms its foundation was released to considerable critical acclaim at the end of last year.

The culmination of Dawick’s own four-year voyage of discovery, Boundary Riders explores women’s place in the settling and history of Victorian New Zealand.  Originally she was searching for songs written by female early settlers but when she failed to find those, she found stories and made her own songs from those to tell the adventures of six representative women: a washerwoman, created by merging two actual characters; a tiny gold miner; a notorious prostitute; a travelling entertainer; a misused missionary wife; a famous fraudster. Some stories are quite well recorded, others untold until now. 

The songs vary in genre, depending on the nature of the narrative, and each is entertaining in and of itself. A couple – the story of entertainer Jane Whiteside (AKA Mademoiselle Estella, AKA Blanche Fane, AKA Jennie Anderson) and the tale of prostitute Barbara Welford – are outstanding: pure delight. 

Dawick’s musicality and vocals are excellent, even singing a capella, and she has an engaging presence that makes her personal reflections more confidences than lectures: a very good thing for the overall effect of the show. 

This incarnation of the work is clearly ‘in progress’ – it mixes Dawick’s own narrative of uncovering the histories of the woman with the stories she discovers, and dips into the book that accompanies the two CD album set.  At times this does make the whole feel a little muddled and shifts the focus, further than I personally would like, toward the research and away from the result. 

Given that the double album contains a ‘show CD’ complete with narration, I wonder a couple of times how the piece might work if that, with recorded narration, was placed at the centre of the staging, bracketed at either end with Dawick’s personal commentary.  This might allow for the presence of both elements in both halves of the show while placing the Boundary Riders themselvesin a complete uninterrupted narrative as the core of the evening.

That speculation aside, though, The Journey of the Boundary Riders is an interesting and rewarding evening’s entertainment, and Dawick’s accomplished musical performance in particular is highly enjoyable and well worth your time and attention (though I would strongly suggest not using the album as entry and interval music, since this takes some surprise away from hearing the songs in situ, as it were). 

The Journey of the Boundary Riders will perform at the Old Colonial Cottage in Nairn Street, Wellington on 22 and 23 April, before Dawick travels to the UK to tour the stories and find out more details about her characters at the end of next week.


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