Wāhine light up the stage for Matariki

Main image: Sorry For Your Loss, written and performed by Cian Parker. Photo by Kelsey Scott.

This Matariki, two inspiring and very different solo performances come together for a double bill that showcases wāhine Māori artists from opposite ends of Aotearoa. 

Playwright and senior Māori practitioner, Fran Kewene (Waikato/Tainui) and performer Julie Edwards (Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Whare) are traveling up from Ōtepoti Dunedin to present their acclaimed verbatim play Barrier Ninja. Verbatim theatre, or documentary theatre, is a style which has been embraced by Auckland audiences with the recent sell-out season of Auckland Theatre Company’s The Haka Party Incident.

For Barrier Ninja, Kewene conducted numerous interviews with health practitioners and patients to explore the challenges they experience with Hauora and the current health system. All these voices were distilled and seamlessly weaved into an extraordinary portrait, performed by Julie Edwards, of our health system as seen from a Māori perspective.

Barrier Ninja, written by Fran Kewene, performed by Julie Edwards

Written and performed by 2019 Creative New Zealand Ngā Manu Pīrere Award recipient, Cian Parker (Ngāpuhi), with live music by Andy Duggan, Sorry For Your Loss is the autobiographical story of a young woman who is unexpectedly introduced to a father and family she never knew she had. Suddenly forced to navigate the opinions of her mother, her elderly neighbour, and her classmates, she must eventually reclaim her whakapapa. 

Sorry For Your Loss is a show about growing up on the mean streets of Kirikiriroa Hamilton in the ‘90s, and is a heartfelt, hilarious, and utterly charming tribute to the power of wāhine toa. Director, dramaturg and Waikato University Theatre Studies and Dance professor, Dr. Laura Haughey, also brings her unique physical approach to the storytelling in this original, devised piece of work.

Both powerful female-led performances are a must-see for 2021.

Sorry For Your Loss, written and acted by Cian Gardner, directed by Laura Haughey, music by Andy Duggan

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