The Court Theatre Announces 2016-17 Season of New Works and More

"The goal of The Court Theatre is to enrich the lives of our audience. We want to try and make a difference. We hope we can do this by producing work that challenges assumptions, by creating theatre experiences that reassure us that we are not alone or simply by offering dazzling escapism - giving a welcome break from the clatter of our rigorous contemporary lives.

Great theatre reminds us that we are not alone in this malaise we call the human condition. This fellowship through a shared experience is the aim of this company.

The selection of outstanding plays we have chosen for The Meridian Energy 2016/17 Season give The Court Theatre the opportunity to create some genuinely great theatre and to present our audiences with memories that will be kept alive for a lifetime."

- Ross Gumbley, Artistic Director

The Meridian Energy 2016/17 Season consists of:

23 Shows made up of:

- 8 x Tonkin & Taylor Main Stage shows

- 4 x Forge at The Court shows

- 3 x Mid Winter Readings

- 2 x Youth Company shows

- 5 x Kids' Shows

- 1 x Comedy Improv Show (Scared Scriptless)

- 17 New Zealand plays written by 19 New Zealand playwrights

- 12 new plays and 3 Court Theatre commissions

- 10 plays written by female playwrights and 10 plays with a female lead

- 2 plays by Maori playwrights and 1 bilingual play

The Tonkin & Taylor Main Stage:

That Bloody Woman

This is more than HER-story

By Luke Di Somma & Gregory Cooper. Directed by Kip Chapman
Featuring Esther Stephens, Geoffrey Dolan, Phoebe Hurst, Cameron Douglas, Amy Straker, Kyle Chuen & Andy Manning

In Association with Auckland Theatre Company A Christchurch Arts Festival Commission
Show sponsored by Toniq

2nd - 30th July 2016

Suffragist, activist and cyclist Kate Sheppard transforms from a face on the $10 note into a feminist firebrand raising hell in this red-hot new punk rock opera.

Leading the charge to win women the vote, Kate takes on the patriarchy, public opinion and even Prime Minister Richard "King Dick" Seddon. The smash hit of the 2015 Christchurch Arts Festival returns "bursting with wit, verve and righteously rocking tunes" (The Press) to take a fresh look at one of Christchurch's favourite daughters brought to life: loud, proud and in your face.

Contains mature language.

#thatbloodywoman #CourtTheatreNZ

Waiora: Te u kai po -- The Homeland

There is no place like home

Written and directed by Hone Kouka
With waiata composed by Hone Hurihanganui By arrangement with Playmarket

13th August - 3rd September 2016

Hone brought his family from the East Cape to the South Island to seek a better life, but leaving their whanau and ancestors has taken its toll.

As they prepare for a beachside birthday party in the late summer of 1965, what should be a celebration brings secrets and cultural clashes to the surface. Far away from their tipuna, can they find a place to stand together? Or will they be washed away?

A challenging, universally recognisable and triumphant piece of New Zealand theatre that explores family, culture, home and belonging.

#waiora #CourtTheatreNZ

The Streaker

Grin and bare it

By Gregory Cooper
Directed by Mark Hadlow Featuring Phil Vaughan
A Court Theatre Commission Show sponsored by PWC

17th September - 22nd October 2016

Ron Hewlett's lost his job, his mortgage is overdue and his family's on the brink of revolt. So when a Christchurch radio station offers a million dollars to anyone willing to streak naked at the Super Rugby final, Ron's got nothing left to lose - except his pants.

How far will Ron go for his family? And how far will he get?
Sprint to see this brand new un-bare-ably funny comedy from the writer of MAMIL.

Contains mature language and themes. May contain nudity.

#thestreaker #CourtTheatreNZ

Legally Blonde The Musical

Omigod you guys!

Music & lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe & Nell Benjamin, Book by Heather Hach
Based on a novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro Goldwyn Mayer motion picture Directed by Stephen Robertson. Musical Direction by Richard Marrett
Show sponsored by Golden Healthcare Group

26th November 2016 - 21st January 2017

The hit comedy film becomes a fresh, fun and upbeat musical that explodes on stage.

Perky, blonde college student Elle Woods has her life all planned out - but when her boyfriend dumps her for someone more "serious", Elle follows him to Harvard Law School to prove she's capable of much more than anyone thought...

Vivacious, energetic and full of catchy tunes, Legally Blonde is a musical comedy that smashes stereotypes and defies expectations. This much fun should be illegal!

West End's Best New Musical 2011 (Laurence Olivier Award and Theatregoers' Choice Award)

#legallyblonde #CourtTheatreNZ #omigod


Murder's knot funny

Based on Rope by Patrick Hamilton
By Ross Gumbley & Allison Horsley Featuring Lara Macgregor & Eilish Moran By arrangement with Playmarket
Show sponsored by NewstalkZB

11th February - 4th March 2017

Constance and Prudence have come to the Hitchcock-themed Macguffin Hotel for a weekend wedding - but quickly find themselves embroiled in a case of dangerous lies, suspicion and murder!

Check your rear window for psychos as this comedy takes you north by northwest to dial M for murder so fast you'll get vertigo!

Contains mature language.

#ropable #CourtTheatreNZ

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

An extraordinary mystery

Based on the novel by Mark Haddon. Adapted by Simon Stephens Directed by Lara Macgregor
Featuring Patrick Carroll
Show sponsored by The Court Supporters

18th March - 22nd April 2017

Fifteen-year old mathematical genius Christopher Boone sees the world differently to everyone else. He knows all the countries of the world and their capital cities, every prime number up to 7,507, he doesn't tell lies and his favourite colours are not yellow and brown.

When the neighbour's dog is murdered, Christopher takes the investigation into his own hands and uncovers secrets that lead him far from home and change his life forever.

Boldly reinterpreting the multiple award-winning bestselling novel, this record-breaking stage phenomenon is filled with heart, humour and wonder.

- Winner of a record seven Olivier Awards, including Best New Play 2013 • Winner 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play
Winner 2015 Tony Award for Best Play

#curiousincident #CourtTheatreNZ

Uncle Vanya

Home is where the heartache is

By Anton Chekhov
A new version by Annie Baker Directed by Melanie Luckman Featuring Mark Hadlow

13th May - 3rd June 2017

For years, Vanya and his niece Sonya have laboured on their family's country estate in relative harmony. But when Sonya's father returns from the big city with a glamorous new bride, unfulfilled desires and fierce family loyalties collide to destroy the status quo.

Chekhov's bittersweet exploration of love, hope and longing is laced with irony, heartbreakingly human and achingly poignant; a modern theatrical masterpiece.

#unclevanya #CourtTheatreNZ

Songs for Nobodies

Everybody has a story

By Joanna Murray-Smith
Directed by Ross Gumbley
Musical Direction by Richard Marrett Featuring Ali Harper

17th June - 15th July 2017

From the team behind Bombshells comes a one-woman tour de force starring Ali Harper.

Share in five life-changing encounters between legendary divas and the everyday women whose lives they touched, interspersed with the songs that made Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Edith Piaf, Billie Holliday and Maria Callas icons of our age.

Songs for Nobodies is a one-of-a-kind showcase that reminds us that everyone has a story - and a song - worth hearing.

#songsfornobodies #courttheatre

The Forge:

The Dunstan Creek Se?ance

Keep telling yourself it isn't real

Featuring Lizzie Tollemache & David Ladderman Directed by Daniel Pengelly
Supported by Pub Charity Limited

16th April - 7th May 2016

Notable occultists Suzanne and Arthur Bishop disappeared from the public eye following the events of the Dunstan Creek se?ance - an infamous experiment that lost them their jobs and put a young woman in hospital.

Now they have returned to explain what really happened at Dunstan Creek. But all is not what it seems and the presence they unleashed is not ready to rest.

Based on real life accounts of early New Zealand hauntings, this spine chilling production will make you question every shadow and sleep with the lights on.

WARNING: Show contains paranormal activity and is not suitable for those with a nervous disposition.

#dunstancreekseance #TheForge

The Early Early Late Show

Frantic family fun

11th - 23th July 2016

Christchurch's favourite Court Jesters return with the popular show that brings all the chaos and fun of the late-night improvised comedy show Scared Scriptless at the family-friendly time of 7:00pm.

The Boss is back with a new set of instructions... but no one's instructions are the same! It's new challenges, new craziness and new laughs as these capable comedians scramble to make things work.

Songs, scenes and games are all made up on-the-spot by the funniest folks in town. You give them a suggestion and they'll turn it into comedy!

Suitable for ages 8+.

#EarlyEarlyLateShow #TheForge #ScaredScriptless

The Events

How do we make sense of the senseless?

By David Greig
Directed by Daniel Pengelly

29th October - 12th November 2016

In the wake of unthinkable violence, community choir director Claire begins a search for answers. Her increasingly obsessive quest to find a reason for the tragedy leads her to a confrontation and a choice: forgiveness, or revenge?

A different local choir performs onstage in each performance of this bold new work; as unprepared for what will happen as the audience.

The Events is an emotional powerhouse that questions what it means to be human.

This is a deeply humanist work: its subject is the good and evil inside all of us; its purpose to discover how we can balance the reason and the rage. ...riveting from start to finish...

#TheEvent #TheForge

A Christmas Carol

What the Dickens?

Written & Directed by Dan Bain Featuring The Court Jesters
A Court Theatre Commission
By arrangement with Playmarket

30th November - 17th December 2016

The team behind Scared Scriptless love three things: Christmas, Xmas, and biting off more than they can chew. Join The Court Jesters as they scramble to recreate the entirety of Dickens' beloved story A Christmas Carol with only two performers, one pianist and a LOT of help from the audience.

Enjoy frantic fun and plenty of festive spirit in this fresh take on a yuletide classic, ideal for families and staff holiday parties alike.

#ChristmasCarol #TheForge

Mid Winter Readings:

Mid Winter Readings are The Court Theatre's annual series of brand-new theatrical works. All plays are presented as 'works-in-progress'. Following each performance we gladly invite your feedback to assist in the further development of these new plays.

The Magic Cookbook

By Will Robertson & Andy Manning

Sunday 12 June 2016

Once upon a time, an ordinary guy stumbled upon an extraordinary book. And then some crazy $#!+ started to go down. This musical saucily asks that age-old question, "if you had a talking, singing recipe book that granted your every wish, how would you use it?"

The Gift of Tongues

By Michelanne Forster
By arrangement with Playmarket Sunday 19 June 2016

Retired missionaries Dell and Daisy Woods sneak back to Japan to complete a final mission, despite failing health. Braegen and Bud, their adult children, journey abroad to try and rescue their zealous parents with the help of Kitosan, an elderly Japanese Christian, but Dell might be leading his family into a test of faith that cannot be passed.


By Anders Falstie-Jensen
By arrangement with Playmarket Sunday 26 June 2016

A fictional take on Auckland's infamous Centrepoint commune. In order to save their marriage, Kate and Neil sell everything they own and move their young family to Bert Potter's spiritual community Centrepoint.

They experience an euphoria of liberation but it doesn't last, and what unfolds is a slow disintegration of the family, their values, their innocence and ultimately, their sense of identity.

The Youth Company:


Directed by Daniel Pengelly Featuring The Court Youth Company

23rd - 25th June 2016

The Court Youth Company devise, develop and deliver a smorgasbord of bite-sized theatrical treats in this showcase performance. Duets features ten duos presenting pieces created during the term.

These bold new works could be anything: from dramatic to comedic, physical to silent (or even musical) - and all will be daring and different. Enjoy a delightfully diverse goodie bag served up by talented emerging performers.

Contains mature content.

#Duets2016 #CourtYouthCo


By Aristophanes
Directed by Holly Chappell Featuring The Court Youth Company

8th - 10th December 2016

In a country exhausted by constant warmongering, Lysistrata arranges the ultimate political protest - the women of Greece will withhold their "affection" until there's peace! As pressure mounts, who will end up on top - or can both sides come together?

Aristophanes' raunchy satire is just as relevant today as it was in Ancient Greece; the perfect work for The Court Youth Company to tackle in a new site-specific performance.

Contains mature content.

#Lysistrata #CourtYouthCo

Children's Shows:

Matariki -- The Little Eyes in the Sky

By Rutene Spooner and Holly Chappell

30th May - 24th June 2016

From the same creative team that brought you The Court Theatre's 2015 school tour Ma?ui and the
Sun comes: Matariki -- The Little Eyes in the Sky a new bi-lingual tale of wonder and delight. Whakami?harotia nga? whetu o Matariki. Wha?ia te iti Kahurangi.

The Court Theatre will bring mountains, oceans, sailing ships and stars to your school as young Kahurangi explores the skies above to discover the cultural, spiritual and personal meaning of Matariki.

Kahurangi embarks on a unique journey of discovery to visit the seven stars of Matariki, a star constellation representing a wha?nau (family) of six sisters and their mother, Matariki.

Matariki - the Little Eyes in the Sky tells the story of Kahurangi and her adventure to meet each of the sisters and their nurturing mother. Along the way she is given valuable life lessons in strength, sharing, kindness, encouragement and positive attitude, all under the watchful eye of Matariki.

Using live music and singing, large scale puppetry, storytelling, te reo (Ma?ori language), kapa haka (Ma?ori performance) and audience interaction, this magical story will encourage students on their own journey of discovery, giving them giving them a wonderful celebration of Matariki and the cultural diversity of their school.

The Little Mermaid

By Hans Christian Andersen
Adapted by Allison Horsley
Supported by The Mainland Foundation and Christchurch City Council

13th - 23rd July 2016

The Little Mermaid has always dreamed of visiting the world above the ocean's surface - and when she finally embarks on her big AE (above-seas experience), she promptly saves the life of a sailor and falls in love!

But there are a few things standing in the way: 1) she's a mermaid; 2) he's a human; and 3) he doesn't even remember who she is!

Venture under the sea and discover how much one brave mermaid will risk for the life and love she wants.

#LittleMermaid #CourtTheatreNZ

Puss in Boots

Adaptation and Lyrics by Georgia-Kate Heard Music by Matt Everingham

28th - 8th October 2016

Down-on-his-luck shoemaker Dave is head over heels for the fantastically feisty Princess Grace - but the greedy Queen Hippolotta wants her daughter to marry a fancy man.

When Dave meets a crafty, cheeky and charismatic cat wearing a pair of boots, Puss promises to make Dave's dreams come true!

This fun-filled and exciting new musical adventure is packed with toe-tapping tunes designed to have little ones dancing in the aisles and show anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

#PussinBoots #CourtTheatreNZ

Jack and the Beanstalk

Adapted by Brendon Bennetts
By arrangement with Playmarket

18th - 28th January 2017

This production of Jack and the Beanstalk brings to life all the beloved characters of the original tale: the daring and adventurous Jack, his best friend Daisy the Cow, and of course Blunderbore the hungry giant.

Enjoy a show that combines slapstick comedy, music, and puppetry to celebrate the power of play and imagination; as a little mistake leads to a giant adventure!

#JackandtheBeanstalk #CourtTheatreNZ

Cinderella in Space

By Kathleen Burns

19th - 29th April 2017

Your favourite fairy tale boldly goes into outer space!

Our interstellar Cinderella is forced to clean the space station - even though she would rather be building awesome robots. Her evil Captain Stepmother won't even let her go to the biggest party in the universe!

Will Cinderella get help from the planet Godmotheria? Can a pumpkin really turn into a spaceship? Will the space boot fit her foot?

Find out in the most imaginative and hilarious retelling of this classic tale yet!

#CinderellaInSpace #CourtTheatreNZ

For more information, visit The Court Theatre Website.

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