A new fictional play based on historic events challenges traditional theatre conventions and navigates bi-culturalism in early-settler New Zealand.
Director Julie Nolan says, "The play is called Kororāreka: The Ballad of Maggie Flynn, it's the story of an Irish woman who arrives in New Zealand in 1820. She leaves London a convict and she arrives the captain of a whaling ship and then we travel with her through the next 25 years of her life where she gets captured as a mōkai she falls in love with a chief she builds up this great life for herself and then she is "rescued" and all is taken from her and in her final moments she's the madam of the Duke of Malborough Hotel up in Kororāreka in Russell and yeah it's the story of her life."
A female cast of five, the actors play a total of 16 roles including male characters.
Julie Nolan says, "So I thought this brings a new dimension to the work it makes it fresh and different and it says something about a women's story is in our history because quite often they're buried or they're actually told by men so it's a chance for women to own the storytelling."
Actor Awhina Ashby (Ngā Puhi) says, "It's a play about a woman, a woman's perspective is slightly different to a male's so it's good to see five strong women acting out this play."
Director Julie Nolan is taking her play back to its roots. She says, "Often the big cities get all the shows and the big shows and the regions really miss out so I think often people are just really hungry to see art and to see different things so we're really excited to be heading up North."
Awhina Ashby says it's important, "So that people can hear the stories from home from my ancestors."
The production now heads North to Kororāreka (Russell), Kerikeri and Whāngarei.