Janet Frame’s Iconic Novel Brought to the Stage

Press Release – Elephant Publicity

Janet Frame’s Iconic Novel Brought to the Stage in World First

Red Leap Theatre presents
Directed by Julie Nolan
Choreography by Malia Johnston

Beloved New Zealand author Janet Frame’s landmark novel will be brought to life on stage for the first time ever. Filled with fierce heart and visual splendour, Owls Do Cry is considered one of New Zealand’s landmark novels and is making its world premiere in Frame’s childhood hometown of Ōamaru (4 and 5 October), before heading to Auckland for a full season at Q Theatre (17 October – 2 November).

There’s a special delight that comes with opening a book for the first time. There’s a magic to the mystery that keeps the pages turning, although you’re not sure what happens next. Red Leap brings this sense of intrigue alive to the celebrated story about small town New Zealand, told through the Withers siblings and their lives following a family tragedy.

Red Leap’s adaption of Owls Do Cry uses multimedia such as live music, song, poetry, dynamic movement and AV to celebrate Frame’s work. Rather than creating a direct narrative staging of Owls Do Cry, Red Leap have taken inspiration from Frame’s rich imagery and poetry to create a multi-disciplinary dreamscape. This extraordinary tale is transformed into an exciting devised performance through their signature physical and visual styles, capturing and revealing her still pertinent insights into society.

Some of Aotearoa’s best creative minds have come together from a love of literature to explore the themes of her novel, of resilience through struggle and of living life with open hands and hearts. They bring with them the treasure of books and the pleasure of reading. A female-led creative team is bringing this extraordinary piece of New Zealand literature to the stage. Red Leap’s Julie Nolan will direct, alongside award-winning choreographer Malia Johnston(RUSHES, Movement of the Human). Toi Whakaari’s Director of Actor Training Heather Timmsas dramaturg and Penny Fitt leading design.

The cast is made up of an incredible host of performers: Ross McCormack (Triumphs and Other Alternatives, System), Margaret-Mary Hollins (Last Legs, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night), Hannah Lynch (RUSHES, The Visit), Red Leap Theatre’s Associate Director Ella Becroft (Dust Pilgrim, In Dark Places), Arlo Gibson (Step Dave, Mating in Captivity), and Comfrey Sanders (Jekyll and Hyde, Shortland Street – The Musical).

Gain an understanding of why Frame’s work is so thoroughly dear to our literary scene, the heart, warmth and acuity of her stories and how the arts recaptures our imaginations.

Ōamaru, 4th 7PM & 5th 4PM October as part of the Waitaki Arts Festival
Ōamaru Opera House

Auckland, 17th October – 2nd November, 7.30PM
Q Theatre


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