Jude and I talk Wet Hot Beauties with Upbeat

Jude and I got to talk to Eva yesterday about our very favourite subject.  The Wet Hot Beauties.  Check it out!

Water ballet company Wet Hot Beauties is bringing their third full length show to the 2017 Auckland Fringe Festival. Girl power is the theme of Sea Change which explores feelings, experiences and ideas associated with being a modern day woman. Group founders singer Judy Dale and playwright Pip Hall discuss how jumping into the deep end has turned into an art form.

Wet Hot Beauties




Roasting my Dad SOLD OUT

As part of the Festival I get to roast my Dad.  Weird.  Saying mean but funny things about him in front of a paying audience.  Like the time he turned me down for his playwriting course at uni…..

One of our best loved writers of popular comedy and social satire, Roger Hall is the focus of this year’s High Tea.

Dave Armstrong hosts a group of mischievous theatre practitioners who fondly roast New Zealand’s leading playwright as he celebrates 40 years of a stellar career. Expect to relish your tea and cakes alongside a blistering investigation of Hall’s accomplishments and achievements to date.


Hey look. I’m on a Writers Week Panel

Hey look!  I’m on a panel!

Reflections of Kiwis on stage both challenge and entrench our unique lifestyle. From Foreskin’s Lament to Waiora, Middle Age Spread to The Motor Camp, Wednesday to Come to Hikoi – are we representing our nation honestly on stage?

Chair Dave Armstrong discusses with fellow playwrights Carl Nixon, Hone Kouka and Pip Hall and actor/director Nancy Brunning.

Check out the full programme of Spotlight on Playwrights events.


Interview on Upbeat

Here’s a link to my interview with Eva Radich about the upcoming Spotlight on Playwrights during Writers Week.

Actor, playwright and self-confessed water ballerina Pip Hall is part of the Spotlight on Playwrights season happening at Circa during the 2016 New Zealand Festival Writers Week. She’s joining an array of other influential playwrights putting the spotlight on big issues facing the stage and society. Pip is chairing a discussion called Who The Hell Are We? which addresses whether New Zealand plays – including Waiora by Hone Kouka – truly reflects our society.


And we’re up for three Wellington theatre awards!


Nominees are listed alphabetically.

Most Promising MALE NEWCOMER
Jack Buchanan – Long Ago, Long Ago, Matthias Luafutu – The White Guitar, Andrew Paterson – The Angry Brigade

Carrie Green – Conversations With My Penis, Harriet Prebble – Gifted, Comfrey Sanders – Don Juan

Most Promising NEW DIRECTOR
Miriama McDowell – Nga Pou Wahine, Ania Upstill – Alone It Stands, Jane Yonge – The Quiet Room

Helen Vivienne Fletcher – How To Catch A Grim Reaper, Jess Sayer – Wings, Cassandra Tse – Long Ago, Long Ago

Laurie Dean – The Beautiful Ones, Jen Lal – All Our Sons, Lisa Maule – The Mystery Of Edwin Drood

SET DESIGNER of the Year
Ian Harman – Ache, Wai Mihinui – All Our Sons, Daniel Williams – Gifted

Gillie Coxill – The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Moana Davey – All Our Sons, Ian Harman – The Mystery Of Edwin Drood

Matt Eller – Don Juan, Maaka McGregor – All Our Sons, Chris Winter – The White Guitar

Phil Jones – The Kitchen At The End Of The World, Michael Stebbing – Long Ago, Long Ago, Tama Waipara, Hone Hurihanganui, and Sharn Te Pou – The Beautiful Ones Most

All Ears – Barbarian Productions and SPIN All Our Sons – Taki Rua Productions Don Juan – A Slightly Isolated Dog Outstanding

Ache – Pip Hall, Gifted – Patrick Evans, Long Ago, Long Ago – Cassandra Tse, Not in Our Neighbourhood – Jamie McCaskill

Jack Buchanan – A Servant To Two Masters, Jamie McCaskill – SEED, Simon O’Connor – Gifted

Susie Berry – 2080, Brianne Kerr – Richard III, Harriet Prebble – Gifted

ACTOR of the Year/ ACTRESS of the Year/ OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE of the Year
Christopher Brougham – The Ugly One, Kathleen Burns – A Servant To Two Masters, Kali Kopae – Not In Our Neighbourhood, Andrew Laing – Gifted, Simon Leary – A Servant To Two Masters, Renee Lyons – Ache, Rob Mokoraka – All Our Sons

DIRECTOR of the Year
Nathaniel Lees – All Our Sons, Nina Nawalowalo, Jim Moriarty – The White Guitar, Lyndee Jane Rutherford – Ache

PRODUCTION of the Year
All Our Sons – Taki Rua Productions, Not In Our Neighbourhood – Tikapa Productions, The White Guitar – The Conch

CRITICS’ WILDCARD & MAYOR’S AWARD for Significant Contribution to Theatre are announced on the night.


Under the Mountain part of The Next Stage

This is a very awesome thing to be part of .  Thanks  ATC.

Print Version


From 13-15 November, Auckland Theatre Company (ATC) will present its 10th Next Stage event – the company’s annual festival of new work.

The festival is the culmination of one of New Zealand’s most well-resourced professional script development processes. The play may be the thing, but a script only comes alive when actors and a director join in and explore the playwrights’ imagination. At Auckland Theatre Company, Next Stage plays are given a vigorous two week workout. Each is then presented as a semi-staged performance, which this year takes place from Friday 13 – Sunday 15 November.

Emily Perkins’ acclaimed playwriting debut, a contemporary adaptation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, was taken through the Next Stage process with director Colin McColl, as was recent ATC production Paniora! by Briar Grace-Smith. Two recent plays by Arthur Meek were also developed through this process – Trees Beneath the Lake and On the Upside Down of the World, which has toured throughout New Zealand as well as Edinburgh and New York.

Eli Kent, the inaugural ATC Patrons’ Playwright Fellow, is one of the strongest young writing voices in the country. His new play Peer Gynt Recycled, a wildy original response to Ibsen’s Peer Gynt will be presented this year. For family audiences, an adaptation of Maurice Gee’s beloved children’s fantasy adventure, Under the Mountain, by Pip Hall is also a feature of the festival.  IIML graduate Emma Kinane completes the bill with Anahera, an exploration of the pressure a young Maori social worker comes under when she suspects a middle class Pakeha family of child abuse.

“On the heels of Roger Hall receiving a Prime Minister’s Award for Literature, it’s great to be shining a spotlight on new work that has the potential to make strong connections with audiences,” says ATC’s Artistic Director, Colin McColl.

“Playwriting is the life blood of the theatre, and the creative work out of the Next Stage is all about supporting writers to dig deep into their material and take us on an exciting adventure. Big stages need big ideas, which is something we’re very mindful of as we move towards taking up our new home in the ASB Waterfront Theatre in 2016.”

Please see below or for more information.

Auckland Theatre Company, 487 Dominion Rd, Auckland
13 – 15 November, 2015 (see times below).
Tickets available at & 09 3090395

A response to Peer Gynt by Henrik Ibsen
Directed by Colin McColl

Cast includes: Victoria Abbott, Adam Gardiner, Alison Bruce, Peter Hayden and Reuben Taylor

Pt. 1 – 3.30pm Saturday 14 November
Pt. 2 – 7.00pm Saturday 14 November

Ibsen wrote Peer Gynt with deliberate disregard for the limitations of conventional 19th century stagecraft.  Its scenes move in time and space and between consciousness and the unconscious, blending folkloric fantasy and unsentimental realism.

The recipient of inaugural Auckland Theatre Company Patrons Playwright Fellowship, Kent’s plays Black Confetti, The Intricate Art of Actually Caring, and, more recently, collaborative works Like There’s No Tomorrow and All Your Wants and Needs Fulfilled Forever are fine springboards for one of our most original young playwrights to take on Ibsen – the most influential dramatist since Shakespeare.

adapted from Maurice Gee’s classic story for children.
Directed by Sara Brodie

Cast includes: Carl Bland, Tessa Mitchell, Taylor Barrett, Bruce Phillips and Georgie Goater

1.00pm Saturday 14 November and
3.30pm Sunday 15 November

Beneath the extinct volcanoes that surround Auckland, giant creatures are waking from a sleep that has lasted thousands of years – their goal is the destruction of the world. Twins Rachel and Theo are visiting the city to have the holiday of a lifetime with their favourite cousin and his mum.  They are horrified to discover that they have a strange and awesome destiny – to save the world from the terror that lies…under the mountain.

Pip Hall’s talents are vast – she’s a stage, screen and radio script writer and actor, a water ballerina and co-founder of the contemporary water ballet Wet Hot Beauties, and the current president of the New Zealand Writers Guild.

ANAHERA by Emma Kinane
Directed by Katie Wolfe

Cast includes: Amanda Billing, Aroha White, Paul Glover

7.30pm Friday 13 November and
1.00pm Sunday 15 November

When a young Maori social worker suspects a middle class Pakeha family of child abuse she takes a stand to support the children.

A graduate of the International Institute of Modern Letters and Toi Whakaari, Kinane has also written for television and radio and is co-writer of Turbine, Paua and The December Brother with the SEEyD Collective.

Ache review – Dom Post

So the Dom Post liked the show.   Plus here’s an awesome picture of Renee!

Theatre Review: Ache

Actor Renee Lyons impresses with her perfectly timed and paced delivery in Ache.

Jim Chipp

Actor Renee Lyons impresses with her perfectly timed and paced delivery in Ache.


Ache by Pip Hall, directed by Lyndee-Jane Rutherford

Circa Studio, Wellington

An ache can be described in various ways, such as discomfort, throb, suffering, grief, misery, torment, sorrow and longing, all of which and more flash across the stage in the opening moments of Circa’s latest Studio production, Ache by Pip Hall.

And they are all borne out to some degree or other by the two principle characters in the play.

Only known as Woman (Renee Lyons) and Man (Richard Dey), they meet outside on the balcony of the Boatshed at a wedding reception. Woman is a bridesmaid at the wedding, having just arrived back from London especially for the occasion, while Man is suffering a “modern-day malaise” and not very communicative.

From here, by chance and/or by fate, although later Woman says she doesn’t believe in fate, they meet another five times at different locations, until they catch up for the last time at another wedding, where this time Man is the Best man.

During each encounter, different and often subtle twists occur, creating tensions which dissipate until they meet again. Although appearing as a simple and on-the-surface slight play, it is in fact a very clever and perceptive script with many hidden layers that effectively pinpoints the characters’ inner thoughts and emotions.  It is also very funny at times, counter-balanced with heartfelt moments of poignancy.

And in this Circa production, director Lyndee-Jane Rutherford and her strong cast have effectively brought out all the nuances, along with the humour, making the characters real and believable.

In the role of Woman, Lyons is brilliant, perfectly timing and pacing her lines with deceptive ease,  while Dey’s Man is a great foil to all her taunting and cutting remarks.

They embark on a rollercoaster ride that sees both working exceptionally well as a team to create moments of genuine tension between each of the characters

They are both ably supported by Amy Usherwood and Jack Buchanan, who play multiple roles, all to great effect.

And creatively complimenting the action is Ian Harman’s multi-functional wooden set that morphs from balcony to restaurant to art gallery with ease, making this insightful play 80 minutes of enjoyable entertainment.


The reviews are coming in…

This in from Theatreview.


Print Version
Photo by Paul McLaughlin
Photo by Paul McLaughlin

By Pip Hall
Directed by Lyndee-Jane Rutherford

at Circa Two, Wellington
From 24 Oct 2015 to 21 Nov 2015

Reviewed by Lena Fransham, 25 Oct 2015

In this Circa season of Pip Hall’s Ache* directed by Lyndee-Jane Rutherford, we follow the protagonists ‘Woman’ (Renee Lyons) and ‘Man’ (Richard Dey) through a series of accidental meetings in recognisable Wellington locations.

We first meet them at a wedding reception in the Boatshed and their story unfolds from there in a series of comic vignettes – in a restaurant, a police station, a hospital, the city gallery – through which an odd attachment develops.

She’s a bridesmaid at the wedding. She clomps gingerly, on ridiculously high heels, to the railing where he’s leaning and smoking. She bludges a cigarette, and laments not having had time to wear in the shoes, which are tormenting her feet. “Take them off,” he suggests. She struggles with this. What a simple idea to relieve one’s pain. Why suffer unnecessarily? Why make things more complicated than they need to be?

Conversations in each scene reflect on following your heart, on living-by-accident versus being deliberate in going for what you want, and repeatedly turn to the topic of nostalgia and what it tells us about what we really long for.

Their easy bond becomes evident in each brief meeting. There’s a wistfulness that grows with the unfortunate misses in timing, the opportunities that slip by. Just as they’re getting along when they first meet, his young blonde girlfriend (Amy Usherwood) turns up trying to get him to go for some lines in the bathroom.

Next time they meet, he is with a young brunette girlfriend (also Usherwood), and she is humiliatingly stood up by her date. While the girlfriend is outside smoking a joint, the two acquaintances catch up; their talk is brief but reveals an affinity that contrasts starkly with the obvious mismatch between him and his selfie-obsessed young girlfriend.

Their respective situations show their longing for deeper connection. You want the affinity to get the opportunity to grow, but there are always complications and obstructions, frequently in the form of inappropriate girlfriends, all comically portrayed by Amy Usherwood.

Life is about timing, Woman says. Lyon’s comic timing is certainly intrinsic to the success of this play.  Her goofy vulnerability hijacks your sympathy, especially in her drunken sequence with Man and the police officer (Jack Buchanan, who also proves versatile as a waiter, a chef, an artist, a doctor and a bridegroom).

Dey is solidly believable, with a quiet dry wit to complement Lyon’s effervescence. With the embarrassingly inappropriate exchange at the police station, the odd, accidental nature of their acquaintance gains an intimacy and significance. Each little scene seems to reveal some life change for one of them, and a development between them, but there is so much connection that doesn’t happen, and you’re dying for one of them to get proactive.

Music (sound design by Lyndee-Jane Rutherford and Deb McGuire) and lighting (Marcus McShane) are decisively applied to lovely effect, but the most stunning feature is the all-wooden set (Ian Harman). It’s beautiful watching Buchanan moving its parts between scenes: the slide of the slatted screen from this side to that, the lattice it makes against the horizontal lines of the backdrop, the harmonious minimalism of tone and material. It’s a visual pleasure, essential to the play’s character.

While it nods to the tongue-in-cheek uber-trendy aesthetic of the urban middle class setting, the minimalism is of a piece with the spareness of narrative structure, and both sharpen the piquancy of the human drama. The versatility of the props – shifting from seats to counter to gallery plinths – somehow underlines a sense of the fates at work, the changing of circumstances against a constancy of substance making up the relationship of the main characters.

The hero’s awful one-dimensional girlfriends have comic value and serve to highlight the rapport between the two main characters – these girlfriends come off as a minimalist device, like the set, only sketched in enough to offset the main characters’ relationship – but where the set is elegant and evocative, the cartoony characters of one or two of the girlfriends feel a bit cliché and clunky against the finer shades of the drama.

Even the main characters are not particularly deep or detailed, but they are well-delineated, just sketched enough, like the lines of the set, to illustrate the human point. Man and Woman’s hop-skip acquaintance, full of unfulfilled possibilities, steadily foregrounds the theme of human longing to which the title refers. There’s insight, a poignant and uplifting tenor to it, and plenty of laughs.

*Ache won the 2012 Pump Theatre Award for an Auckland playwright and premiered at The Court Theatre’s Pub Charity Studio (The Forge) in July 2014.