The Santa Claus Show (2011)

The Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

05/12/2011 - 23/12/2011

Production Details

10th Anniversary Production

Delighting children at Christmas for many years, The Santa Claus Show continues to bring magic and meaning to this special time of the year. 

Kelly and Alana are best friends and decide to write to Santa Claus. But Kelly sends the longest list of things that a child wants for Christmas that Santa has ever seen. Santa flies Kelly to the North Pole where she learns for herself the true meaning of Christmas.  

Make The Santa Claus Show part of your family’s Christmas traditions.

Book your company’s staff function, school or early childhood centre in for a joyous end of year treat. You could even have your own exclusive performance and we offer generous group discounts. Have a picnic by Lake Pupuke after the show, or enjoy catering from the cafe next door.

“Too busy shopping to get into the Christmas spirit? Catching ‘The Santa Claus Show’, a magical story of how a little girl learns the pleasure of giving, could be the answer.” NZ Herald 

“Ho ho ho! It’s the eighth Christmas season of The Santa Claus Show! It’s my second time seeing it, and my son’s third. Far from getting stale in fact it’s as fresh, alive and joyful as ever, and a growing tradition for many – one family attended for the fourth time.” Nik Smythe, Theatreview, 2009 

“Bray’s modern day Kiwi Christmas pageant is resplendent with quirky characters, candid quips, quick changes, crazy costumes, as well as more serious social questions for consideration. All in all a merry little Christmas cracker.” Nik Smythe, Theatreview, 2007 

Term Times shows for Educational Groups from Monday 5 December, 2011
10.30am & 1pm daily
We offer:

  • Generous discounts for school and early childhood centre groups
  • Free Teachers’ Resource Guide packed with cross-curricula classroom activities
  • One free teacher’s ticket per 20 children

If you are a school or and early childhood centre click here for more information

Public welcome at these shows: 
Public season 5 – 23 December
10.30am & 1pm daily (except Sundays)

  New Zealand Sign Language interpreted show for deaf and hearing impaired children and/or family members – TBA, email us if you would like to be advised
  Bring a picnic to enjoy on the lakeside of Lake Pupuke
  Free carparking – see directions below
  Bring your coffee group friends for a shared outing and receive group discounts
Click Here to Book Tickets Now  

Notes: All children who are walking require their own ticket as part of the PumpHouse Theatre policy. Only babes in arms can be granted free entry. 

Length: The show is approximately one hour long with no interval. It is recommended for children aged 3 to 10 years of age.

There is a free carpark next to the PumpHouse Theatre which is accessed down the driveway off Manurere Ave. If this is full, there is another free car park accessed via a driveway into Killarney Park opposite Takapuna Primary School and Auburn Street. 


Santa Claus                          Himself

Santa Claus’ stunt double Tim Raby

Kelly                                      KuraForrester

Elfie                                        Lori Dungey

Alana                                     Courtney Chittenden

Kelly’s Dad                            Tim Raby

Girl  / Cool Glam Rockstar  Becky Kuek

Dad / Woody / Rudolph      Seamus Ford

Balloon Seller / Barbie        Laura Penswick

Teddy Bear / Girl                  Maya Lamb

Mum                                       Chantelle Gerrard

Twitty                                      Dominique Ansell

Twiddly                                  Dominique Lough

Shadow Puppets                 Lori Dungey, Seamus Ford

Musician                                Kristie Addison


NZ Sign Language

      Interpreters                      Kelly Hodgins



Director                                  Tim Bray

Set Design                            John Parker

Lighting Design                   Michael Craven

Costume Design & Construction  Chantelle Gerrard

Choreography                      Linda McFetridge

Stage Managers                   Alana Tisdall, Courtney Chittenden

Lighting / Sound Operator  Ambrose Hills-Simonsen

Set Construction                  Frank Checketts

Props                                      Alana Tisdall, Sarah Jansen, Kasia Marcisz

Star Cloth                              Sophie Ham, Alana Tisdall

Lighting Crew                       Michael Craven, Ambrose Simons, Stuart Phillips

Ushers                                   Chantelle Gerrard, James Kupa

Chaperone                            Jen Houltham

Teacher’s Resource Guide            Rosemary Tisdall, Getting Kids into Books

Publicist                                 Sally Woodfield, SWPR

School Mailout                     Ken and Margaret Bray

Photography                         David Rowland /

Illustration                             James Stewart

Website Design                    Office Logic

Print Design                          Stefania Sarnecki-Cappper, Red Design

Logo Design                         Insight Creative


Heart-warming haven away from hassle

Review by Lexie Matheson 16th Dec 2011

There’s a rumour doing the rounds that Santa Claus aka Father Christmas isn’t real. Well, here’s the truth of it: he is. If you want proof you need go no further than The Pumphouse Theatre on any day except Sunday between now and 23 December and you’ll find the jolly gentleman in residence sharing his version of the Christmas story.

His Body Mass Index (BMI) might suggest a touch of unfashionable obesity and his ruddy and somewhat vasodilated cheeks imply he likes nothing better after a hard day at the work bench than the odd dram but it’s him alright – and the programme itself gives the show away.  It says ‘Santa Claus – Himself’.

Mind you, the programme also says “Santa Claus’ stunt double – Tim Raby” but I never laid eyes on Raby at all. So there you have it: Tim Raby is a myth … and Santa’s real! 

Seriously though, Tim Raby is the perfect Santa. He’s jolly, funny, hard-working and looks and sounds just like everyone’s idea of the real thing. It’s great casting and Raby’s is a very satisfying performance.

I get ahead of myself, however, so let’s get something else straight: whilst Bray and Raby are anagramatically the same, the Tim’s are certainly not ‘smoke-and-mirrors, now-you-see-him, now-you-don’t’ versions of the same dude.  Oh, dear no!  They are as different as – well, Santa and Rudolph.  Tim Bray is tall and slim and Tim Raby is … well … Santa. 

The Santa Claus Show is something of an institution in Auckland and this is Tim Bray Productions 10th Anniversary presentation of the work – and Raby has chubbied-up for the title role in eight of them. That’s a labour of love to say the very least.  So, well done Tim … and Tim … if you know what I mean. 

Playwright Bray has cleverly woven the central story of Christmas into his far more complex Santa scenes by means of some clever business involving two children, a set of stairs and a rather unfortunate cat.  By involving kids in the telling of the story of ‘no room at the inn’ he cleverly avoids any of the potential brick bats that might hurtle his way were he to politicise the nativity or, heaven forbid, leave it out all together.  After all, who’d choose to be an inn keeper if it involved being vilified throughout history or a shepherd if it meant wearing a tea towel on your head in a school hall for eternity? 

John Parker’s clever set doubles as the interior of a modern house and a snowy grotto at the North Pole and any Santa would be thrilled to have such a crisp, pristine home.  Excellent use is made of plastic corrugations onto which is projected a gobo of stars, falling snow and a delightful array of moveable boxes and props. 

Bray’s plot orbits around Kelly (Kura Forrester), a superbly confident young woman with the longest list of Christmas wants anyone could ever imagine.  Her journey is a simple one as she moves from an unwitting and self-centred world view to one of gregarious generosity.

Excellent use is made of tab scenes and Elfie (Lori Dungey) drives the action with madcap abandon and a freedom from restraint that is most refreshing. She introduces us to a Santa for the 21st century, a Santa fully equipped with email, a Facebook page and, without doubt, an iPhone4. 

Through Elfie’s wiles Kelly becomes Santa’s annual helper and truly and effortlessly learns her lesson. 

Children’s theatre – and in particular theatre for the Christmas season – requires endless transportation scenes and Bray and his team manage to adroitly avoid historical repetition with a new assortment of means whereby unsuspecting bodies can be transported through time, space and credibility. Santa’s arrival at the North Pole to meet with his annual helper is a sublime bit of trickery. 

On arrival, as might be expected, Santa has a song and Himself is fortunate to have the song written especially for him by the wonderful Christine White. Who could ask for anything more? It’s simply charm personified! 

There’s some clever use of shadow puppets, a delightful and fresh display of verbal repetition and, out of the blue, we meet an impressive assemblage of Santa’s out-sized toys created especially for the 2011 Festive Season. We are introduced to Cool Glam Rockstar (Becky Kuek), Woody from Toy Story (Seamus Ford), a sensational Barbie anyone would want to take home (Laura Penswick) and a traditional, cuddly Teddy Bear (Maya Lamb). Each has a funky song (Christine White) and much mileage is gained from the delight kids have in screaming ‘he’s behind you’ at the top of their raucous voices. 

A Santa story wouldn’t be complete without Rudolph and this Rudolph (Shamus Ford) is a lollopy, flashing delight and the song ‘It’s a Magic Night for Giving’ contains all the great classical Christmas images. In fact the show answers most of the imponderable questions that children ask about Christmas, questions such as “if the toys are made by the elves at the North Pole why has this one got a price tag from Westfield, Newmarket on it?” and “what does Santa do if you don’t have a chimney?” 

Stumped for a comeback? Don’t be. See the show that has more nimble answers than Dr Oz!

There’s lots to marvel at – as there should be, it’s Christmas, after all – more than a few surprises, plenty of audience involvement and a deeply satisfying resolution. We learn that giving is better than getting, that Santa is real if you want him to be and that, ultimately, there is a gift for everyone.

There certainly is in Tim Bray Production’s The Santa Claus Show and I have no hesitation in recommending it to everyone. You’ll adore Santa Claus as himself (and be pretty satisfied with Tim Raby’s Santa stunt double as well … shhh!) It’s fun, heart-warming stuff, and a haven away from the lunacy that is the modern corporate Christmas in a sticky suburban mall.

Thanks Tim, you’ve had a big year. Kids all over the Auckland region benefit from your work and none more-so than the kids from the decile one schools that you bring in to see your shows for free.   

Time for you and your team to enjoy the summer and take a well earned break. You’ve more than earned it.  


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