2018 line-up: A drama, a musical, and the NZ premiere of an international hit
We are delighted to announce our line-up of planned productions for 2018, the first two of which will have accomplished directors who are new to Wellington Repertory but well-known throughout the Wellington theatre community. Our third production of the year features a directing team of familiar faces, for what is a huge and exciting undertaking in partnership with Stagecraft Theatre…
4 – 14 April: Our Country’s Good, by British playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker (adapted from the Thomas Keneally novel, The Playmaker); directed by Joanne Lisik
BBC Play of the Year winner (1988) and Tony Award nominee (1991), Our Country’s Good is set in late 1700s Australia, inspired by actual events, and explores ideas of punishment and the contemporary judicial system. British Royal Marines travel with a shipload of convicts to New South Wales to set up the first penal colony. Over a period of six months, the convicts put on a production of George Farquhar’s The Recruiting Officer and discover the role theatre can play in their struggle to retain their humanity.
This production will be directed by Joanne Lisik who is senior Drama teacher at Chilton St. James School. Her directing credits include Blue Remembered Hills, 2B Or Not 2B, Eating the Wolf, Scattered Lives and The Crucible. She has also recently performed in 12 Angry Men at Porirua Little Theatre, and Evita at the Wellington Opera House. Originally from the UK, Joanne has a B.A. Honours Degree in Contemporary Dance and Visual Art and a Postgraduate Diploma in Musical Theatre. She has worked as a singer and was owner and manager of two Stagecoach Theatre Arts Schools for Children in Bristol, UK.
1 – 11 August: Breaking Up is Hard to Do, a musical featuring the songs of Neil Sedaka; directed by Sandy Brewer
Breaking Up is Hard to Do transports us to the Catskills in New York for a whirlwind romantic comedy jukebox musical that tells an original story backed by popular songs, which will make you leave with a smile on your face and the songs stuck in your head.
It’s summer 1960 at Esther’s Paradise resort on what should have been Marge’s honeymoon – instead she’s there with best friend Lois trying to forget the most humiliating day of her life. Lois hatches a plan to cheer her friend up, by convincing resident singer Del to take an interest in her and to let the pair of them join him as backing singers on their final evening. Immediately smitten with heartthrob Del, Marge doesn’t notice the attention of his clumsy but sweet-natured cousin Gabe. But with the looming presence of a TV talent scout, will the new-found happiness (and old family secrets) survive the pressure?
This production will be directed by Sandy Brewer, who is passionate about all aspects of theatre and has a list of credits to prove it. In 2009 Sandy directed the show I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, which was awarded Overall Production of the Year at the NZ Theatre Federation Awards. Sandy has also directed, Disco Inferno, All Shook Up, Motor Camp, 12 Angry Jurors, and the upcoming, Rock of Ages, as well as having devised and directed the Porirua Little Theatre’s 60th Anniversary Show Diamonds. I
In addition, Sandy has also co-directed Oliver, assistant directed the touring production of Tales of Hoffmann for Wellington Gilbert & Sullivan Society, and the 2015 Wellington season Evita, which was seen by an audience of over 9000 at the Wellington Opera House. In 2017, Sandy directed Voices from the Front at the Hannah Playhouse (formerly Downstage) which was universally regarded as poignant, moving, and entirely respectful, paying tribute to the ANZAC’s.
Sandy also creates the student show for the Jane Keller Singing Studio on a bi-annual basis and loves working with Jane and her studio singers, including beginners to professional performers. She also co-wrote Yep, Still Got It which debuted at Circa theatre in 2015.
November (dates TBD): Mike Poulton’s adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, directed by Ewen Coleman with Catherine McMechan and Andrew Goddard.
This double-bill production will be a joint initiative with Stagecraft Theatre to present the New Zealand premier of Wolf Hall & Bring Up The Bodies. More information to come as the production management and directing teams work through the logistics.