We're delighted that we received so much support for our Boost Ōtautahi crowdfunding campaign to support our production of the Tom Waits musical Woyzeck. Thanks to the many of you how donated to the campaign and to the funding bodies who supported it - the Arts Foundation, Christchurch City Council, Creative New Zealand and Rātā Foundation - we reached 114% in our campaign goal, see here. Ngā mihi nui, thanks so much.
We are currently working hard to secure the additional funding we need to produce Woyzeck and will keep you updated on our progress.
Woyzeck will be the third in the acclaimed Waits trilogy performed by Free Theatre, which began with The Black Rider featuring Delaney Davidson in 2017, and Alice in 2018.
Here’s one audience member’s description of The Black Rider:
Astounding! Off-kilter beauty, beautifully ugly, movingly funny and strangely soothing. Churning around in the mind, as usual. That’s the Free Theatre magic bullet. Need another fix.
Woyzeck is described as a “fragmented, nightmare-like fable” and audiences will be entertained by carnivalesque sideshows and rousing surrealistic songs.
About the story Tom Waits says:
…it’s like a hammer or it’s a tool or it’s a vehicle. It deals with madness and children and obsession and murder - all the things that we care about and care about now as we did then. It’s wild and sexy and curious and catches your imagination and makes you wonder about the people in it and it makes you reflect on your own life.
We are adapting the musical to make it especially relevant by setting it in Aotearoa during the colonial period.
About the creatives
This work will be co-directed by Aaron Hāpuku (Ngāti Kahungunu, Tainui) and Peter Falkenberg.
Aaron will also play the title role of Woyzeck and Marie will be played by Hester Ullyart.
Musical Direction will be provided by Heather Webb, Design by Stuart Lloyd-Harris, Puppets by Greta Bond and Costume by Jenny Ritchie.
They will be joined by a cast of experienced local musicians and performers – Doug Brush, Nicole Reddington, Reuben Derrick, Hohepa Bowen (Ngāti Kahungunu, Tūwharetoa, Ngāi Tahu), Kahurangi Bronsson-George (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha, Ngāti Porou, Scotland), Danny Syme, Marian McCurdy and Shay Horay.
The Black Rider (2017) featuring Arts Foundation laureate Delaney Davidson
Aaron Hāpuku played the role of Wilhelm in The Black Rider (2017) contributing elements of traditional Māori performance practice to this production. He will play a central role in interpreting the script of Woyzeck.
Marian McCurdy and Aaron Hāpuku presented Woyzeck as part of the Boost Ōtautahi event at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū in June 2022.
Alice (2018) our second work in the trilogy featuring Emma Johnston as Alice.
Evocative, intelligent and effective.... It’s clear that these Waits / Wilson collaborations are an ideal fit for Free Theatre’s philosophy and aesthetic project.... I hope they will complete the trilogy
Woyzeck was the first production Free Theatre ever produced in 1980 (see original collaborators below) and we're excited to return to this story.
Woyzeck - John McClatchie
Marie - Stephanie Johnson
The captain - Mark di Somma
The doctor, The Jew - Nick Frost
The drum-major, The ape, The horse - Godfrey Sim
The barker - Karl Knaup
Lighting Operator - Roger Phillips
Stage Manager - Sue Donaldson
Poster - Geraldine Oliver
Directed by - Peter Falkenberg