BATS Theatre, The Random Stage, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

10/04/2019 - 20/04/2019

Production Details


Shakespeare’s women have had it rough. It’s time for a change.  

One of the largest ensemble works at BATS in its 30 year history is set to tear apart some of Shakespeare’s best-known works and set the record straight about what their heroines could achieve.

Thought to be dead, A Winter’s Tale’s Hermione (Erina Daniels) has escaped from jail and is searching for her lost daughter. On the road she meets fierce wāhine toa dealing with their sh*t narratives.  

It’s time to start rewriting these women’s stories from a new perspective.

A fierce and provocative new work from one of New Zealand’s most influential theatremakers and mentors, co-directed by one of our strongest young voices. 

Sarah Delahunty and Neenah Dekkers-Reihana have been working together for over 10 years. At 14, Neenah stepped in last minute to play a role for Sarah – only for Delahunty to discover she could “really bloody act!”. Dekkers-Reihana has now established herself a phenomenal and acclaimed career in theatre, crediting Delahunty for nurturing her success. Together, the pair are unstoppable.

Sarah Delahunty has mentored young performers and theatremakers for 30-odd years, including prolific, award-winning designer Michael Trigg. Trigg returns from his position as Technical Manager of Auckland’s Basement Theatre especially to production design for This Long Winter. 

A premiere season of Sarah Delahunty’s latest script from no less than 28 NZ theatremakers.

This Long Winter at BATS Theatre 
Wednesday 10th  – Saturday 20th April 2019
(no show on Good Friday)
Tickets $22 full / $18 concession / $16 Group 6+
Bookings from  

  • Best Theatre WINNER (NZ Fringe Festival, 2014) – Sarah Delahunty for Affinity
  • Playmarket’s Plays for the Young WINNER (2012) – Sarah Delahunty for The Beanstalkers
  • Pick of the Fringe WINNER (NZ Fringe, 2012) – Sarah Delahunty for 2b or not 2b
  • Best New Play (Wellington Theatre Awards, 2012) – Sarah Delahunty for 2b or not 2b
  • Playmarket’s Plays for Young WINNER & RUNNER-UP (2009) – Sarah Delaunty for 2b or not 2b and Eating The Wolf.
  • Bruce Mason Playwriting Award (1987) – Sarah Delahunty
  • The Dorothy McKegg Actress of the Year WINNER (Wellington Thetare Awards, 2017) – Neenah Dekkers-Reihana for Anahera & The Mooncake and the Kūmara 
  • Emerging Artist Trust/Whitireia Most Promising Female Newcomer WINNER (2014) – Neenah Dekkers-Reihana for 4 Billion Likes
  • Best Directed Chaos WINNER (NZ Fringe, 2017) – Neenah Dekkers-Riehana & Michael Trigg for Jacob’s After Party
  • Spriit of the Fringe WINNER (NZ Fringe, 2016) – Michael Trigg
  • Most Promising Emerging Artist WINNER (NZ Fringe, 2018) – Eleanor Strathern (A Mulled Whine)
  • The George Webby Most Promising Newcomer Award WINNER (Wellington Theatre Awards, 2018) – Eleanor Strathern (A Mulled Whine)

Erina Daniels, Alice May Connolly & Jean Sergent. Featuring Hannah Kelly, Aimee Smith, Maggie Leigh White, Julia Mattocks, Eleanor Strathern, Huia Haupapa, Sepelini Mua’au, Matthew Dussler, Felix Faisandier, Daniel Walker-Bowell, Barnaby Olson, Alex Ker, Sam Irwin, Andrew Ford, Alex Greig, Andrew Paterson.

Music composed by Holly Ewens (Rosy Tin Teacaddy)
performed by Carrie Green, Isaac Thomas & Charlotte Forrester 

Theatre ,

Break the Cycle

Review by James Wenley 18th Apr 2019

James Wenley reviews Sarah Delahunty’s latest play This Long Winter, which issues a renewed challenge for how we do Shakespeare in this country, and whether we should be doing some of his plays at all.

Here’s one version of the tale: a pregnant woman is falsely accused by her husband of being unfaithful. She remains dignified, even when her newborn daughter is taken away from her or when she is put on trial by her husband. When she learns that her firstborn son has passed away, she apparently dies of grief. Ashamed, her husband spends the rest of his days mourning for her and atoning for his sins. But sixteen years later – a miracle. The lost daughter returns, and when the husband visits a statue of his dead wife, she comes to back to life. She recognises her husband’s genuine grief, and forgives him.

Here’s another version of the tale: a man refuses to believe his wife. The shitty man does shitty things – orders that his new born daughter be abandoned, puts his wife on trial, and the stress of all this contributes to the death of his firstborn son. For her own safety, his wife fakes her death and goes into hiding for 16 years. Despite all this, she forgives the shitty man, and they renew their marriage.

What we are talking about is Shakespeare’s play The Winter’s Tale (c. 1610). [More


Reviews by three theatre students taking Victoria University of Wellington theatre programme’s new course THEA 206/306: Dramaturgies of the World: Gender and Sexualities in Performance 

Brooke Soulsby: An Exploration on the Case of Womanhood in Shakespeare and the World.

Samantha Sinclair: A Journey of Gender

Emily Griffiths: Hermione’s Search for Justice


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An unapologetically feminist condemnation of the patriarchy in all its guises

Review by Maryanne Cathro 11th Apr 2019

Shakespeare’s plays famously feature grand actions offstage, often reported by a messenger or servant in glorious detail. This off stage action has been explored by other playwrights but I think it is an endlessly fascinating source of material.  

This Long Winter, written by Sarah Delahunty who co-directs with Neenah Dekkers-Reihana, gives Hermione, Queen of Sicily from A Winter’s Tale, her own story. It starts when she is thrown into prison and ends when she is transformed from a statue 16 years later – a period in the play covered by a short speech by the character Time after an interval. What Shakespeare considered irrelevant to the story these writers have built into an epic quest for a lost child, and so much more. 

Along the way Hermione loses her companion Emelia to the lures of a cute boy with a smooth tongue and meets many characters who, by their names and their situations, are soon revealed to be from the other side of a Shakespeare story. The lads from Romeo and Juliet, Diana and Helena from All’s Well that Ends Well, Katherina and Petruchio from Taming of the Shrew, and Juliet and Isabella from Measure for Measure are among them. I list them as while the play stands alone without knowing all of these stories, a quick refresh of their synopses would deliver extra layers.

The encounter that I wish to single out is with Katherina and Petruchio. I have to restrain myself from whooping when Barnaby Olson’s smarmy Petruchio’s attempts to justify his behaviour as some kind of game of genuine courtship is met with Hermione’s condemnation as still torture. I’ve long felt that this more modern interpretation of his plan to break Katherina is flawed. In this day and age it’s hard to condone the means justifying the end. Hannah Kelly portrays Katherina with humour that slowly devolves into horror. 

So many men – gaslighting, humiliating, blackmailing, abusing and controlling women. To achieve their own ends, or to get their end away. And the costuming that places each encounter in a different era right up into the 1970s is a poignant reminder that little changes. The ending I find particularly apt.

This is an amazing ensemble piece with everyone delivering a top notch performance. Erina Daniels’ hurting and hopeful and courageous Hermione carries the show with grace. She is partnered in this by Carrie Green’s vocals, present throughout on the balcony over the stage, evoking the Chorus and the Bard together. The whole team, including the stage manager and technical operators, delivers. 

This production is an unapologetically feminist expression condemning the patriarchy in all its guises. I love it. (Even the relentless throbbing of fingers burned making dinner does not distract me – if Hermione can wander the world for 16 years looking for Perdita then I can handle some sore fingers.)

The line that sticks with me is from Leontes at the end: “I thought I had the right to be angry.” That anger justifies a series of appalling acts on his part that ruin so many lives. Herein lies the rub – all is not well that ends well. I will not spoil the ending by revealing it; suffice to say there is plenty of food for thought dished up for us to take away.


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