Play of Horror Bringing the Thrills And the Chills

Press Release – Elephant Publicity

Te Rēhia Theatre presents
Written by Albert Belz
Directed by Tainui Tukiwaho

Brace yourself and come face-to-face with the horrors of the past and how they haunt the present in the world premiere of Albert Belz’s new award-winning work Cradle Song. Presented by Te Rēhia Theatre Company, Aucklanders have two chances to catch this theatre thriller; out west at Corban Estate Arts Centre (September 5-8) before a central city season at Q Theatre (September 18-22).

Set in the South West of Ireland 1999, at a nunnery near the fictitious village of Sibeal (County Kerry), two young women are on their big OE when they come face-to-face with the super-natural force of Briar Faith.

The gripping new play swept through the Adam Awards in 2018, picking up the award for ‘Best Play by a Māori Playwright’. Cradle Song follows the success of Belz’s iconic play Yours Truly,which has now established itself as a defining New Zealand thriller stage-play. The production is spearheaded by a Māori theatre company, director, and writer who are dedicated to embedding tikanga Māori into their collaborative arts practice, typified by the creation of this new work.

Breaking new ground in New Zealand’s collection of thriller and horror theatre, Cradle Songdetails Belz’s personal reaction to the tragic discovery of a mass children’s grave which was part of a Home for Unmarried Mothers in the remote township of Tuam in Ireland. The play elegantly walks the blurry line between thriller and horror, with terrifying filmic moments dotted throughout to up the stakes. Real world suspense prompts the audience to consider questions regarding blame and responsibility in this social commentary, keeping them perched on the edge of their seats as only a horror production can.
“Getting to explore the horror and thriller genres of this show on the stage is something I’m really looking forward to. I want to put up a damn good ghost story that is both intriguing in the real world setting and has real moments of fear and tension for our audiences.” – Albert Belz
Albert Belz (Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Pōkai) is a prolific Māori playwright, happy to grapple with an expansive range of topics. Cradle Song is a striking example of his bold writing style which reflects his fascination with the twists and turns of history, informed by his Catholic upbringing which has also been explored in many of his plays which feature themes of guilt and forgiveness. Aside from writing poignantly Māori work, Belz has navigated the murky waters of US-influenced mainstream media with Great American Scream and a gothic retelling of Jack The Ripper with Yours Truly which gathered a Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for ‘Best New New Zealand Play’ in 2006. His first play Te Maunga was staged to critical acclaim in 2001, and Raising the Titanics toured through New Zealand and won the New Zealand Listener’s ‘Best New New Zealand Play’ in 2010. Cradle Song is the first premiere of the year for Belz, who will also debut Astroman in 2018 with simultaneous productions by the Melbourne Theatre Company and The Court Theatre, featuring full indigenous casts on both sides of the Tasman.

“Albert Belz has always pushed the envelope of what Maori storytelling is.
Te Maunga, Awhi Tapu, The Titanics and the award winning Yours Truly all present inventive and salient works that express an intelligence and wit that is unrivalled.” – Theatreview
This haunting tale will be told by a brilliant line-up, led by Donogh Rees who is known for her work on Shortland Street, Find Me A Maori Bride, and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. She is joined on-stage by her real life sister, Amanda Rees, with the duo performing as siblings for the first time as a pair of Catholic nuns. Joining the Rees sisters to complete the cast of this compelling new work are Nicol Munro (The Catch, West of Eden), Briar Collard (The Chairs) and Anna-Maree Thomas (Vermilion, Hibiscus & Ruthless).

Established in 2012, Te Rēhia Theatre Company is driven by a passion for showcasing Māori stories and storytellers to the world. The fresh company boasts a collection of powerful works to its name, from the critically acclaimed solOTHELLO and Hoki Mai Tama Mā, to the recently staged The Chairs at Te Pou Theatre.

Forget ‘Netflix and Chill’ – the thrill and chill of this blood-pumping play is set to take audiences on a wild ride through history.

Cradle Song plays

The Church, Corban Estate Arts Centre, Henderson
Wednesday 5 – Saturday 8 September, 7.30pm
Tickets available from iTicket
As part of Kōanga Festival and Going West

Loft, Q Theatre, Auckland CBD
Thursday 18 – Saturday 22 September, 7.30pm
Tickets available from Q Theatre

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