Members’ News – August 2016


Richard C Harris has won both the Nimmo Prize for BEST PLAY and the Nancy Cato AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD at the International Noosa Arts Festival play writing competition in July.

The play was a comedy entitled Dead Loss, about a couple of hapless drug dealers and their attempts to avoid the police and drug gangs to bring their product to market. The competition attracted nearly 70 entries from around the world. It was performed for a week along with the second and third place to packed audiences at the festival itself. The shortlist of ten places was announced in February and contained two of Richard’s plays. In April the top three were decided and finally on the final night of the festival the order of merit was announced.

The prize money is A$5000, with an additional $300 for the Audience choice award. This is a generous windfall for Richard and his wife Carole, who are currently VSA volunteers in the remote island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea.

Richard was the President of PANZ for three years until 2014 when he vacated the position to go overseas.

He won the PANZ one act play writing award several years ago, and in 2014 his one act thriller A Darker Shade of Closure was a finalist in the British Theatre Challenge competition and performed in London.



 Angie Farrow, the adjudicator for this year’s PANZ playwriting competition, is a finalist in the Women of Influence awards in the Arts & Culture section. “Presented by Fairfax Media and Westpac, the New Zealand Women of Influence programme aims to identify, recognise and celebrate influential women shaping New Zealand.”

 St Patrick’s College, Silverstream performed Angie’s comedy and drama Last Breath at the Lower North Island Regional TheatreFest on August 26 and 27 at the Playhouse Theatre, Hastings. Directed by Susan Hayworth.



April Phillips’ comedy STiFF will be produced by New Plymouth Little Theatre from November 23 to December 17, 2016.

Death & Taxes The Bell Theatre Group, the Bell Memorial Public Hall, Western Downs, Queensland, from August 28 to September 3, 2016, directed by Ruth Storey



 Tim Hambleton’s full-length comedy Heaven Help Us! is to be performed by Kapiti Playhouse as their end of year production from 23 November – 3 December. It is to be directed by Mark Harris.



 Rex McGregor’s short play Almost Immortal was produced at the Queeroism Play Festival, The Vault, Collaboraction, Chicago, Illinois, July 8-9, 2016, directed by Leah Cassella.

This Particular Crevasse (audio play)  Onstage/Offstage, Ithaca, New York, August 6, 2016, produced by George Sapio

Ebook Meets Treebook (staged reading)  Original Play Festival, Aloha Peforming Arts Company, Aloha Theatre, Kainaliu, Hawaii, August 17, 2016, directed by Renee Monell

Upcoming productions:

Threatened Panda Fights Back  Play Time, Second Sons Theatre Company, Theatre N16, London, September 2, 2016, directed by Samson Hawkins

Love Those Cockroaches  Short+Sweet Theatre, TAPAC (The Auckland Performing Arts Centre), Auckland, New Zealand, September 10, 2016, directed by David Blakey



 June Allen has taken the opportunity to direct Alex Broun’s prize winning play, War/Kiss at Auckland’s Short+Sweet Festival on Saturday 10th September. (On the same bill as Love Those Cockroaches.)

 June has renamed her 2nd-prize winning play in the PANZ 2016 Playwriting Competition. Formerly A Much Bigger Story, this play is now called Behind the Bins.



 Nataliya Oryshchuk’s 10-minute plays Token of Friendship, The Lifecycle of Refrigerators and Cactus Instructor were produced by NO Productions Theatre Collective at Orange Studio, Christchurch on Saturday 20 August. The performance was sold out.

Token of Friendship has featured at various theatre festivals in Sydney, Queenstown, Wanaka and Arrowtown, and was recently published in a collection of New Zealand plays, Stage Journeys. The other two plays were world premieres, with The Lifecycle of Refrigerators to be performed in Oamaru later this year as a finalist of the PANZ Playwriting Competition 2016. Cactus Instructor is a brand-new script, just weeks old!

Upcoming production:

The Turn of the Screw  NO Productions Theatre Collective, Oamaru Opera House, November 18. 2016



 B E Turner’s play Knitting was awarded best adult play, best play overall and best female actor at the TheatreFest Regionals in Dargaville and has been selected for the TheatreFest Finals.

The adjudicators’ summaries:

“Both cast and director are familiar with this genre and with B E Turner’s work in particular. This familiarity showed splendidly in the imaginative and moving treatment you gave to the text.” Lindsay Nash, ANZDA

“I congratulate this team on selecting such a challenging play, in their depth of interpretation, and on a very high standard of achievement.” Claire Marsh    



 Jennie Turner was featured as a ”Good Sort” on TV1 News. Jennie writes and directs for the Tairua Troubadours. An annual musical spectacular draws the whole community of Tairua, on the Coromandel Peninsula, together.

The 15th show, A Clash of the Clans, was produced at the Tairua Hall in July.



Our Patron, John Dunmore, has just published a new book, Chasing A Dream : The Exploration of the Imaginary Pacific (Upstart Press, Auckland). It was launched at Unity Books, Wellington, and has been reviewed in several newspapers and journals, including the latest review in the Otago Daily Times. It covers myths and legends as well as the efforts of navigators to explore the world’s largest ocean, deals with story tellers, playwrights, pirates and the lengthy search for a rumoured sunken continent. John Dunmore doesn’t plan to write a play on it, although he did write Oh, Captain Cook, produced at Downstage Theatre, Wellington, some years back.



Members’ News June 2016


Following a season at Centrepoint in Palmerston North, Angie Farrow’s play The Politician’s Wife moved to BATS in Wellington with the same cast for two weeks at the end of June.



Richard C Harris’s comedy Dead Loss has been longlisted in the 2016 British Theatre Challenge.

His thriller A Darker Shade of Closure has been adapted for an American audience and is to be performed in a repertory theatre in Maryland, USA.



 April Phillips’ short films Utu Pihikete and Letter for Hope are now being screened on Air New Zealand flights. Both films were included in the four short films selected for the New Zealand Film Festival in China back in April.

Her new film, a sci fi fantasy called REM has just been completed and will have its cast and crew screening at The Roxy in Miramar next week.

April’s latest stage play Blind Eye had its premiere production in Christchurch in April, directed by Craig Hutchison of CAS’n’OVA Productions.

 Motel was performed at Harlequin Theatre, Masterton in May. Directed by Rita-Ann Penhale-Cashmore.



 Rex McGregor’s short comedy Threatened Panda Fights Back reached the semi-finals at the Take Ten Festival 2016 in New York, NY in April. The director Susane Lee was a Finalist for Best Director for her work on this production.

Becky and Huck Tom had a staged reading at First Stage Playwrights ExpressEclectic Company Theatre, Los Angeles, California in May. Directed by JC O’Connell.

President Charles Evans Hughes was included in Presidential Election Shorts at Hollywood Fringe, The Lounge Theatre, Los Angeles, California in June. Directed by John Fingal O’Donnell.

An audio version of This Particular Crevasse was produced by AIRPlay, OnAir Players, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in May. Producer: Rachel Love.



 Nataliya Oryshchuk’s Weird Tales of Midwinter was performed by NO Productions Theatre Collective at Ferrymead Heritage Park in Christchurch in June.

The show is inspired by classic stories of the supernatural, presenting the audience with two thrilling tales of the genre: Carmilla and The Sandman.



 Tim Hambleton’s comedy Holding Court was produced by Oamaru Repertory Society in May. Directed by Judith Bingham.



 Christine Beardon’s play Huia, was performed in Theatres of Resistance at Artworks, Waiheke Island on May Day.



For any members in the Manawatu region –

Bronwyn Elsmore’s play Celestial Pursuits will be on at Marton Players Theatre, Marton between 14 July and 23 July.

Weird Tales of Midwinter

Nataliya Oryshchuk‘s Weird Tales of Midwinter will be performed at Ferrymead Heritage Park, Christchurch from 16-19 June. The show offers a unique theatrical experience and an excellent opportunity to celebrate the season in style, dispelling the gloom of the Christchurch winter… and adding more Victorian mystery to it.Weird Tales are inspired by Victorian and Edwardian stories of the supernatural, presenting the audience with two of the most thrilling tales of the genre: Carmilla and The Sandman.