The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate

The Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

28/03/2010 - 17/04/2010

Production Details


TVNZ newsreader Simon Dallow makes a cameo appearance in the stage production of Margaret Mahy’s rollicking pirate adventure tale The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate in Takapuna for the April school holidays. 

The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate tells the story of Sam, an ordinary man who wears an ordinary suit and works in an ordinary office … but his mother is extraordinary – she’s a pirate and yearns to see the sea again.

The pair set off on a madcap adventure as they travel to the sea, including a detour through TVNZ’s newsroom while Simon Dallow is reading the 6pm news!

The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate has been adapted for the stage by Tim Bray and is directed by Amanda Rees with songs by Christine White. Denise Snoad stars as the Pirate Mother with Sam Berkley as her son, Sam with a supporting cast of Julian Wilson and Courtney Chittenden.

Children are encouraged to dress up and arrive early to join the pirate parade before the show.

The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate
The PumpHouse, Killarney Park, Takapuna, Auckland
6-17 April at 10.30am and 1pm daily
Gala Opening on Sunday 28 March at 4.00pm.
No shows on Sundays.
Schools season from 29 March to 1 April.
To book, phone (09) 489-8360 or online at  
For more information on Tim Bray Productions shows visit

Pirate Mother:  Denise Snoad
Sam:  Sam Berkley
Captain Crook / Mr Fat / Cow / Wilson:  Julian Wilson
First Mate Petunia / Farmer / Philosophy Teacher:  Courtney Chittenden

New Zealand Sign Language Interpreters:  Kelly Hodgins, Lynnley Pitcher (selected shows)

Director:  Amanda Rees

Set Design:  John Parker

Lighting Design:  Jo Kilgour

Musical Director:  Deb Frame

Costume Design & Construction:  Chantelle Gerrard

Slideshow Photos and Design:  Amanda Rees

Stage Manager:  Alana Tisdall

Lighting & Sound Operator:  Michael Craven

Sound Effects:  Ana Hassel

Lighting Crew:  Michael Craven, Nick Rowland, Stuart Phillips

Set Builder:  Frank Checketts

Ushers:  Victoria Hollings, Maxine Wooldridge

Props:  Amanda Rees, Alana Tisdall, Helen Williamson, Lilli Sutherland, Soph Breier

Teachers’ Resource Guide:  Rosemary Tisdall, Getting Kids Into Books

Publicist:  Sally Woodfield

Photography:  Nick Clarke Photography Ltd

Illustration:  James Stewart

Website Design:  Office Logic

Print Design:  Stefania Sarnecki-Capper

Logo Design:  Insight Creative


For The Operating Theatre Trust

Artistic Director:  Tim Bray

Marketing & Funding Manager:  Christine Young

Production Manager:  Alana Tisdall

Trust Accountant:  Rachel Humphrey, Kiwi Connect
Treasurer / Bookkeeper:  Lynn  Holland

Comic excellence – aarrr

Review by Nik Smythe 30th Mar 2010

The 52nd and counting production from Tim Bray Children’s Theatre, a wholly original adaptation of the Margaret Mahy classic (previously produced by TBCT in 2006), is a highly enjoyable hour of hilarious antics and outstanding characterisations.

Sterotypical snarling pirate Cap’n Crook (Julian Wilson) and his scarrulous 1st mate ‘Peculiar’ (‘Petunia!’) (Courtney Chittenden) open the proceedings with the house rules, e.g. no morse code = cellphones off; as well as giving the attendant children in costume a moment on stage to display their buccaneer’s attire.

The well appointed Sam Berkley as the long suffering square-head son, and Denise Snoad as the feisty rainbow-coloured ‘Cap’n Mum’, are a likeable pair who we are eager to see along their journey. Sam likes his simple life and his job in accounting, but his Mum is a retired pirate, with a hankering to get back there and feel the wind and salt in her face once more: “It storms ya, it calms ya, there’s a bit of everything in the sea!”

Sam doesn’t really understand what the fuss is about, having never seen the sea himself, but devoted lad that he is he gets his boss Mr Fat (a modestly uncredited bloated self-important twit borrowing much of his obese arrogance from the Pythons’ legendary Mr. Creosote) to approve him time of work to give his mother the holiday she craves for them both. 

Getting there certainly appears to be half the fun… since they don’t have a car, they make the journey by wheelbarrow and kite, encountering a number of eclectic and hilarious characters on the way: A haughtily anti-adventurous school teacher (Chittenden) and her attention-deficient pupil Wilson (Wilson), plus an impertinent cow and her blokey southern-man farmer (Wilson and Chittenden). 

Directed to comic excellence by Amanda Rees, including the amusing and extensive slide-shows depicting much of the gung-ho duo’s road-trip through numerous recognisable central Auckland landmark sites. The hour is seasoned liberally with all the sea-shanties e.g. ‘Haul Away Joe’ and ‘Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum’; indeed, what piratey tale would be complete without such classics?! 

There’s fun for all the family at this highly recommended multi-media show these school holidays, and I’m not just saying that because I won one of the opening gala raffles!
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