John Dunmore

John has written over 20 plays, in addition to sketches and pantomime scripts. Most of his plays were written for radio, but his stage plays have been performed in NZ and Australia. He has also penned the official History of the Playwrights Association of New Zealand book, available in libraries.


Beyond the Hills

Tragedy, approx. 20-30 m.

Characters: 2 f. (one elderly, one younger), 1 m. (elderly), plus chorus of 3 (3 f. or 2f, 1m.)

Based on a true story.

Annie Chaffey, who left her husband for Henry Chaffey, lived with him in a lonely hut in the hills of the South Island, and eventually married him, is now widowed. Her niece has brought her to Timaru, as she could not survive in the lonely hills, but she hates it. Town life is too noisy, too full of arguments. She reminisces on her life, talking to Henry’s ghost, but criticised at times by a chorus of locals. She has saved a stock of sleeping pills, and as the play comes to an end, slowly takes them one by one. Then her ghost walks off with Henry’s ghost to spend eternity together.

First presented by Oamaru Rep. November 2009. Published in “Wild Cards” in 2006.


Hinemoa’s Leap

Comedy, approx running time 20 – 30 mins.

Characters : 2 f (one young, one middle-aged), 3 m (one young, two middle-aged).

A hill top (N.Z. bush area would do nicely), fence wire, fairly bedraggled runs along the back, with a nice, skewy “Danger. Steep Drop”. Some rising ground towards the right.  A teenage couple, say 17-18s, are in love, suffering from a touch of romantic and poetic hysteria. They will never be happier than now and have decided to die together in what they believe is the greatest time of their life. They are interrupted by the arrival of a squabbling middle-aged couple; the husband, living a dull and dreary life, is threatening to jump if his wife doesn’t stop her endless nagging. His brother puffs up the hill behind him to stop him. They discover the young lovers and squabble. In a theatrical gesture, the husband drops over the side, but is rescued. The trio walk off, but the romantic mood has been spoilt, and the lovers also walk away.

Prize-winner in Australian competition. Published in “Australian One-Act plays, Book 2, 1962; several performances in Australia.


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