WEAVE - Yarns with New Zealanders

BATS Theatre, The Heyday Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

28/11/2017 - 02/12/2017

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

04/04/2017 - 15/04/2017

Rotorua Little Theatre, 8 Amohau Street, Rotorua

10/04/2019 - 11/04/2019

Rotorua Fringe Festival 2019

Production Details



Ever wanted to know what your neighbour’s story was, your boss’, the woman’s standing by the street late at night?


The premiere of Weave sees solo performer Kate McGill tackle verbatim theatre, lacing together 20 true stories from New Zealanders across the country. Weave channels the transcribed words of a diverse range of everyday Kiwis, from the bubbly Manawatu nurse to the stoic South Island farmer. Playing at the Basement Theatre from Tuesday 4th to Saturday 15th April, Weave promises an entertaining and thought-provoking investigation into what it means to be a New Zealander.
After completing a thesis on verbatim style, Kate McGill was offered a three month internship at the prestigious New York Company, Tectonic Theater Project in 2010. McGill co-created and directed Munted, a highly-acclaimed show based on real experiences of the Christchurch Earthquakes. Munted toured both New Zealand and the United States. McGill also directed The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, a follow up of the highly acclaimed The Laramie Project.
In 2013 McGill performed her original verbatim piece Job about New Zealanders’ vocations. McGill created and performed in the comedy Album Party, which successfully toured Wellington and Auckland last year.
McGill’s screen credits include performances in The Brokenwood Mysteries Season 2, Girl Vs Boy, and Gaylene Preston’s 2010 film Home By Christmas starring Martin Henderson.
Theatre practitioner and Toi Whakaari graduate Alice Canton directs Weave. Canton’s own full-length solo work, Orangutan, won the 2015 Auckland Theatre Awards Best Show by an Emerging Artist. Canton has performed and taught throughout New Zealand, Australia and Asia, working with theatre companies including Red Leap Theatre, Auckland Theatre Company and Barbarian Productions.

Reviews for verbatim work Munted:
“Dotted with humour and spirit… under the astute eye of director Katharine McGill” – The Dominion Post
“An immensely powerful work of theatre” – Theatreview
“Revealing, moving and funny” – Capital Times
Weave plays:
4 –15 April, Tuesdays – Saturdays, 6.30pm, 1 hour running time no interval
The Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave
Tickets $20 – $22
Buy online at www.basementtheatre.co.nz or call iTicket on 09 361 1000
For more information go to:

BATS Theatre, the Heyday Dome
28 November – 2 December 2017
Full Price $20
Concession Price $15
Group 6+ $14

Rotorua Fringe 2019
Rotorua Little Theatre, 2-8 Amohau Street, Rotorua
Wed 10 & Thur 11 April 2019

Solo performer Kate McGill

Verbatim , Theatre , Solo ,

1 hour

A rich tapestry of contemporary Kiwi culture and identity

Review by Mary-Beth Acres 11th Apr 2019

As we take our seats, on stage a list is being written up on a wall of brown paper. I am immediately trying to figure it out – to connect the words on each list and read it like a road map. Where is this going?

Weave is a solo show by Kate McGill telling real stories through verbatim theatre based on interviews she has had with people from all over Aotearoa and beyond.

I have expected to watch the show as a static part of the audience but as the performance starts we are all suddenly the listening half of a conversation.

Weave is not what I expect. Through the hour-long show McGill takes us on a journey, working contemplatively before the audience  as she moves interchangeably between a roll-call of characters.

This is my first experience of verbatim theatre and I was prepared for it to sound more scripted, to see the actor playing the role. Instead she shape-shifts before us, each person with their own presence and personality. Hemi is 10 years old and fills the room up with excitement and energy. Star breaks my heart. Koro makes me see things differently.

I want to hug some of the characters; with others I want to sit down and just have a long yarn. Some of them I recognise but others are new to me. Raw. Charming.

The stories and characters are central to what makes Weave so compelling. There is a nakedness to them that is astonishing. McGill doesn’t just retell these stories but takes you to the core of each person. She weaves together the fibres of family relationships, moments of joy and experiences of loss, and countless other raw human experiences to give us a bigger picture of contemporary Kiwi culture and identity.

Every time she shifts characters I hold my breath and wait, hopeful for whomever comes next. At the end of the show when the lights come on, the audience feels like one living thing – not a homogenous mass but more like a tapestry.

Weave is on for one more show during the Rotorua Fringe Festival, and worth every moment and many more.


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A highly polished and confident solo show

Review by Ewen Coleman 01st Dec 2017

Sometimes the subject matter of a play may seem an unlikely topic to put on the stage.  

Such is the case with Weave, currently playing at Bats Theatre, which is Kate McGill’s solo performance, weaving together true stories from New Zealanders about what it is like being a Kiwi.

However, such is the calibre of McGill, as both a creator and performer, that the piece is not only incredibly engaging and entertaining, but informative and enlightening and anything but a dry TV type of documentary-style show. [More


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A rich tapestry of insight and understanding

Review by John Smythe 29th Nov 2017

There is a particular pleasure to be gained from tuning into the experiences, opinions and world views of people we’ve never met before, especially those from beyond our bubble of routine relationships. This, of course, is a major value of the live theatre experience: the opportunity to empathise with others and thus extend our understanding of what it is to be human; to recognise what we share in common and celebrate what distinguishes us.

Created from hours of recorded interviews, Kate McGill’s WEAVE – Yarns with New Zealanders offers us the opportunity to tune in to people we’ve never met before, as we might at a social gathering, or sitting on a bus, train or plane alongside ‘strangers’ only to find they’re not so ‘strange’ after all; that the assumptions we made before we listened were flawed.

As with most theatre, we listen and respond inwardly as the show plays out. Three large rolls of brown paper, mounted on a high roller, form a backdrop and floor in the Heyday Dome’s thrust space. McGill is writing on the backdrop as we arrive: 21 names are listed, 20 of which have ‘C’ alongside them. Later I find that ‘C’ means Consented, so there’s one we don’t hear from this night.

Another column lists categories: People, Places, Value, Vocation, Culture, Events, History, Politics, Language … Later McGill will add Post-Colonial, Indigenous, Overseas Migrant and Who Are We Really? ‘We’ being New Zealanders: this is the quest that drives the project.

As a small country originally settled by migrant Māori, physically colonised by Britain then culturally colonised by Europe and the USA as well via literature, theatre, film and television, we have always felt the need to distinguish ourselves; to find our own voices and demand they be heard, not least by ourselves in the face of ‘cultural cringe’. Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the Māori and Pākehā distinctions define us as bicultural while the much wider range of immigrants who now call NZ home mean we are also multicultural, embracing (or not) diversity.

The 20 characters McGill embodies, brought into performance with Alice Canton as director, reflect this multicultural spread across a range of ages and genders. All the words she speaks were spoken by her interviewees. “Some characters are performed as close to the interviewee’s ‘performance’ as possible while for others,” the programme note tells us, “we have dilated a vocal or physical quality to translate to the stage. However it has been our guiding principle to return to the original interview, and to the person, to keep their spirit at the essence of what is being represented.”

Objectively her shape-shifting, voice-changing, chameleon performance is a pleasure to behold in itself. Subjectively the lives we briefly connect with and the empathy they engender create an enriching experience, be they child, young adult or older; fresh and innocent or relatively jaded; forward or backward-looking; cynical or optimistic; widely travelled or insular; self-defining by vocation, positive or negative experiences or relationships; well-off or just scraping by …

Along with what they have to say, the vocabulary, phrasing, rhythms and tone of each ‘voice’ speak volumes about each person we encounter, from: the rock ’n’ roller on The Highway to Hell who diverted into politics, to the at-home Mum whose own mum set the bar really high; the witness to the plane flying into the World Trade Centre, to the late discoverer of the joys of te reo; the ‘too pale’ Māori who wishes she was as dark as her siblings, to the Volunteer abroad in Zambia who was a curiosity and didn’t want to be aligned with the privileged minority; the Samoan presenter confronted by the demeaning demands of the media, to the Filipino with the American voice who learned to speak Kiwi by studying a media star; the former sex-worker turned activist who speaks especially for trans-women, to the dismayed observer of a unattended and clearly sick child … and more.

Every thread in WEAVE – Yarns with New Zealanders contributes to a rich tapestry of insight and understanding that is a gift to all who witness it. And following the performance – which earns a standing ovation on opening night – we are offered the opportunity to record, on the brown paper, our own responses and contributions to the “Who are we really?” question. 


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Kiwi As?

Review by Lauren Sanderson 12th Apr 2017

How well do really know your neighbours? Your work colleagues? The mum of two who you see at the local shop? The person sitting beside you on the bus?  Do you know their story?  

After interviewing a wide range of people throughout New Zealand, Kiwi theatre-maker Kate McGill shares with us the stories of twenty strangers in her solo show Weave – Yarns with New Zealanders.

The verbatim piece delves into the everyday stories of a South Island farmer, a sex worker, a Filipino immigrant and many more. [More


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Listen in Kiwis – hear us raw

Review by Janet McAllister 07th Apr 2017

For anybody frustrated by small talk, these interesting glimpses into other people’s lives could be your antidote of anecdotes.  

Weave‘s show constructor Kate McGill interviewed a wide variety of people and performs brief excerpts of their answers verbatim. It turns out that Kiwis can be wildly articulate.

“The highway to hell takes an even steeper dip into politics,” McGill intones as ‘Kev’. [More


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Amusing, poignant and thought-provoking

Review by Alistair Browning 05th Apr 2017

Kate McGill is a superb actor. She has created a one-person show of remarkable depth and downright skill which provokes thought and discussion and pride. She makes me proud to be a New Zealander and proud of theatre; of what it can achieve and what it can do to help change our world view.  

Solo performances, and especially verbatim pieces, can be an exercise in avoiding quicksand.  They can easily be mere showcases of funny voices, accents and walks; self-indulgence is an easy trap.  None of this applies to Weave.

To explain: Kate has interviewed and recorded discussions with a diverse range of people throughout Aotearoa and chosen excerpts from twenty of them to present a one hour kaleidoscope examining what it means to be a Kiwi. 

Twenty different characters woven into a seamless fabric: tangata whenua, recent immigrants, those whose grandparents or great-grandparents emigrated from Europe, Asia, all the places we come from. Farmers, nurses, your neighbours, sex-workers, office-workers, that lady you never quite talk to each day when you pass her on the street … and many others. Twenty of them, presented without comment or judgement in an excellently chosen long arc of impression. Yes, like an Impressionistic painting: minute details accumulating into a beautiful whole. 

Kate and her collaborators – notably her excellent director, Alice Canton, and dramaturg, Anya Tate Manning – have not only chosen some wonderful excerpts from what must have been a bewildering array of material, but sequenced them into an amusing, poignant and thought-provoking whole which leaves you wishing for more. Indeed, one of the first comments I hear from an audience member when the show ends, is a disappointed, “ Oh, I wanted to stay longer.”

Kate draws you into each person she portrays, inhabits them, so that you absolutely get each one and who they are without need for guidance.  Her skill with voice and physicality provokes laughter of instant recognition, and awed silence as we identify with them.  An incidental pleasure is the language some of these real people use to describe themselves or their experiences – casual poetry in everyday dialogue. A joy in itself; one among many.

Amber Molloy, as always, provides sympathetic lighting with Zack Howells, and Sam Clavis contributes the soundscape. 


Editor April 6th, 2017

Here is a link to Alistair Browning’s chat about WEAVE on RNZ National: Jesse Mulligan 1-4.  

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