Finalist in the Women of Influence Awards. Stoked!

I am humbled and thrilled to be name a finalist in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards in the Arts and Culture Section!   Keeping company with lots and lots of amazing ladies.  I know it will be an inspirational evening.

Victoria Carter, Chair of Auckland Festival Trust
Jen Crawford, Chair of Arts Centre of Christchurch Trust
Parris Goebel, Owner of The Palace Dance Studio
Pip Hall, President of  New Zealand Writers Guild
Hinewirangi Kohu-Morgan, Director of  Te Whanau o te Rau Aroha
Naomi McCleary, Chair of McCahon House Trust
Sonja McGir-Garrett, Choreographer/Dance Teacher at Fraser High School
Sue Paterson, Executive Director of New Zealand Festival
Jeanette Richardson, Director of Great War Exhibition
Claire Robinson,  Pro Vice-Chancellor College of Creative Arts, Massey University
Victoria Spackman, Ex-Board Chair of  BATS Theatre



Yay! Ache is going to be at Circa later this year!

Duration: 1 hour 20 minutes, 24 October − 21 November

Written by: Pip Hall
Directed by: Lyndee-Jane Rutherford

Ache is a fateful comedy about two thirty-somethings trying to find their way through modern love, materialism and the Wellington dating-drought.

At a time when we are promised happiness with the swipe of a card or the swig of a bottle, true joy and connection seems almost impossible.

At crossroads and rooftop gardens, fate decides to surprise them. At last, connection, chemistry, charisma. He’s perfect, she’s gorgeous. Only timing’s not as kind – he’s taken. Is it just not meant to be or will she push timing aside and take fate into her own hands?

Achingly-funny and heart-breakingly sad, Ache is a modern story of love, timing and seizing the day.

Don’t miss this WELLINGTON PREMIERE, finally on our stage after its SOLD-OUT season at Christchurch’s Court Theatre.

“…generously endowed with humour, nimble wit and assured audience appeal” – Theatreview

“[A] modern-day romantic comedy made effortlessly unique by honesty.” – The Christchurch Press


SWANZ Finalists and Winners

So this was a great night for writers and lovers of writers.  Thrilled to be a finalist.


Max Currie – Everything We Loved
James Napier Robertson – The Dark Horse WINNER
Gerard Johnstone – Housebound
Sophie Henderson – Fantail


Aroha Awarau – Home
Hamish Bennett – Ross and Beth
Charlie Bleakley and Cohen Holloway – Coconut
Gregory King – UFO WINNER


Simon Ward – Thumper
Aroha Awarau  – Luncheon WINNER
Rochelle Bright – Daffodils
Pip Hall – Ache


Fiona Samuel  – Agent Anna: Series 2 Episode 10.
Fiona Samuel & Natalie Medlock – Agent Anna: Series 2 Episode 7
Roseanne Liang – Flat 3: Episode 11
Millen Baird – Auckland Daze: Episode 1 WINNER


Fiona Samuel  – Nothing Trivial: Season 3 Episode 2.
James Griffin – The Almighty Johnsons: Series 3 Episode 13
James Griffin – Step Dave: Episode 6 WINNER
Gaylene Preston and Dave Armstrong – Hope and Wire: Episode 5


Fiona Samuel – Consent: The Louise Nicholas Story WINNER
Donna Malane & Paula Boock – Field Punishment No.1
Donna Malane & Paula Boock – Pirates of the Airwaves


Gillian Ashurst – Gnats
Dianne Taylor – The Last Hippie Trail WINNER
Tania Wheeler – Umbrella Man
Richard Goodwin – Immortal Diamond
Jackie Owens – Three Gardens

NZWG Mentorship Award
Elizabeth O’Conner

NZWG Mentorship Award
Caterina De Nave

Best New Writer Award
Gerard Johnstone – Housebound

Three from Three!

Another great review of the Court production of Ache by Cityscape

Ache: Time After Time


There’s a touch of Groundhog Day to be found in the messy affairs of the heart in Ache, The Forge at The Court’s brilliant and ballsy new will they/won’t they rom-com with an edge.

We’ve all been there – instantly smitten, thinking we’ve met the one – only to have bad timing and circumstance throw a spanner in the works like a tortured Alanis Morissette track.

Boy, Jono (TV’s Step Dave) Kenyon, meets girl (Amy Straker) while nicking off for a cheeky puff at a roof top balcony during one of those endless strings of weddings you end up attending when you reach a certain age – the sparks fly, but he’s got a girlfriend, and she’s nursing itchy feet having recently returned from London.

But what would happen if you met up with that person a second, third or fourth time?

Pip Hall’s razor-sharp writing beautifully captures the push-pull of desire vs. ambition, mixed with the crossroads of charting your own course, during their rinse-and-repeat chance meetings.

Leads Kenyon and Straker are a delight, using subtle glances and restrained body language to convey their characters’ emotional plight, while Alice Canton’s boozy party girls and trophy dates and Owen Black’s surly sergeant and self-important architect roles are a hoot.

Throw in a funky, minimalist set and killer soundtrack and Ache will put spring in your step and leave a smirk on your face.

Ache by Pip Hall
The Forge at The Court
18 July – 9 August
Book tickets here.


The Press review of Ache

Another great review of Ache from Georgina Stylianou of The Christchuch Press

Comedy made unique by honesty

A trendy wedding. Summer. Night. The smoker’s balcony. Words are projected onto the stage’s simple, brilliant set. It’s all you need to know. The rest is every romantic movie you’ve ever seen smashed together with the pithy dialogue of real life.

Two twenty-somethings meet. He’s experiencing ‘‘modern-day malaise’’ and she has just returned from London.

Ache, by Kiwi playwright Pip Hall, is a freshly honest account of the quarter-life crisis, a troublesome phase being experienced by young, ambitious men and women all over the world.

The simple script, and its series of vignettes, navigates the lives of our unnamed twenty-somethings through serendipitous encounters and poor timing. Hall was in the audience for the opening night (and world premiere) and nodded and laughed approvingly throughout. It is clear the small cast of four and director Daniel Pengelly had a lot of fun with this show. The attention to detail is stunning and the whole performance screams ‘‘unique’’.

Amy Straker and Jono Kenyon (the guy from TV2’s Step Dave) have some seriously good chemistry on stage. They seem to know and trust each other as actors and the result is intimate and hilarious. Without wanting to give away too much of the plot, let me just say that Straker conveys an emotional drunk faultlessly and Kenyon is the quintessential good guy with a habit of correcting people’s grammar.

Straker’s character is dealing with some of life’s baggage, but she is strong and fun. Kenyon plays the good ‘‘private school’’ boy scared of creating his own path in life. They both deliver sterling performances, although Straker outshines Kenyon at times.

There’s a hospital scene where Kenyon’s character becomes angry and emotional. The buildup to this snapping point isn’t quite right and, as such, seems to come out of nowhere. However, Kenyon’s portrayal of his twenty-something includes some David Brent ( The Office) mannerisms and this ticks all the boxes for me.

Alice Canton, who plays the immature and carefree girlfriend, is a delight to watch. She has boundless energy in her role and provides enough comedy for all four actors. Owen Black bounces from one character to the next with ease, adding much-needed personalities to the script.

The music is perfectly handpicked throughout the show and the use of Top 40 songs helps to compound the sense of occasion.

I was thoroughly impressed with Ache. It’s a modern-day romantic comedy made effortlessly unique by honesty.

Go and see it.

Georgina Stylianou
The Press
22 July, 2014

First review is in for Ache!

Ache opened on Saturday.  Here’s what Lindsay Clarke of Theatreview had to say.


Print Version

By Pip Hall
Directed by Daniel Pengelly

at Court Theatre Pub Charity Studio, Christchurch
Until 9 Aug 2014

Reviewed by Lindsay Clark, 20 Jul 2014

It is no surprise to read that this neatly crafted romantic comedy won the 2012 Pumphouse Theatre Award for an Auckland playwright in its fledgling stage, before the workshopping and public reading processes which brought it to the current premier production. Its roots are in middle class contemporary urban culture, where bright young professionals can get away with indecision and ‘malaise’ before the realities of life put the nips in.

Romantic comedy infuses the whole but this is no mere soap stuff, in spite of the tantalising delays before the final clinch. It seems that the luxury of choice and liberty to toss back the bubbly are really not much help when it comes to actually managing life. Saved from a sense of indulgence by engaging characters and briskly evolving situations, the play is generously endowed with humour, nimble wit and assured audience appeal.

As The Court’s new Associate Director at The Forge (aka The Pub Cjarity Studio), Daniel Pengelly does a fine job. The flip side of single is subtly presented to expand the broadly comic treatment of love and marriage, and for all its sophistication and slickness the play does align with the human heart suggested by the title. It also has a shrewd dig at the passing fad. “So hot right now” is a recurring refrain in the dialogue.

The fun begins on the smoking balcony of a wedding reception where Man’s escape for a quiet puff is interrupted by Woman, teetering tipsily on her glorious high heels. Jono Kenyon and Amy Straker will meet again and again, through that fate/coincidence imperative which shapes the play. He is spoken for, she is on a fleeting visit, but that is not the way things stay.

Their generalised titles invite us to take them and the other two cast members (Alice Canton as Actor One and Owen Black as Actor Two) as typical players in the contemporary scene. Certainly many laughs come from recognisable situations rich in comic potential: the wedding where inhibitions are swept away with the Moet, the pretentious dining experience, the equally pretentious gallery event and the late night adventures with a desk sergeant at the police station.

The efficient transition from one location to another is smoothly enabled by the changing configuration of David Thornley’s clever set pieces and at one point earn delighted response from the audience – but that should not be spoiled. Suffice to say that it all works with clean precision in this minimalist world, supported by lighting from Giles Tanner and sound from Luke Di-Somma. Costume from Tina Hutchison-Thomas is similarly effective.

As the central couple, Jono Kenyon and Amy Straker are well in charge, each working on the fine line between attraction and commitment with well-judged skill.

Owen Black has much fun with a range of clearly defined roles, his versatility and experience meeting the challenges with ease. Alice Canton in the other supporting roles finds comic expression of her own, though with less material to work on .She is usually required to arrive in a dizzy flurry and provides a valuable counterpoint to the cooler assurance of Woman.

A clever treatment, then, of that relationship territory so often explored. In this case there is style and a dash of vinegar to relish.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
On opening night Artistic Director Ross Gumbley dedicated this premiere performance to Elizabeth O’Connor, who was The Court’s Literary Manager and died unexpectedly in Auckland on Friday night. In a Facebook message, Pip Hall wrote: “A very sad day. Glad I got to spend time with her last month. She was such a great friend of the writer.” – JS


ACHE premieres at the Court Theatre

Heartache is so hot right now.

Ache opened at the Court Theatre on Saturday to a full house and much acclaim!    It’s an stylish and excellent production directed by Dan Pengelly and staring Amy Straker, Jono Kenyon, Owen Black and Alice Canton.   We had the sad news that literary manager and friend and champion of the writer, Elizabeth O’Connor had unexpectedly passed away and the premier was dedicated to her memory. RIP Elizabeth you will be sorely missed.

Ache runs 19th July to 9th August.  You can book tickets here.  They’re selling fast ( no, really) so make sure you do.


Off to Edinburgh!

I’m excited to announce that I’m off to Edinburgh as a Momentum Arts delegate!   Thanks Creative NZ and British Council.  So excited.

New Zealand arts to benefit from Momentum programme

Pan-artform festivals  |14 Jul . 2014

Eight New Zealand arts professionals will be attending this year’s Edinburgh Festivals under the Momentum New Zealand programme supported by Creative New Zealand and the British Council.

Initiated in 2013, Momentum New Zealand supports greater artistic collaboration and exchange, between the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Several of the 2013 delegates are now returning to Edinburgh with shows this year.

Playwrights Pip Hall and Philip Braithwaite; practitioners Adrianne Roberts (Show Pony), Rochelle Bright (Bullet Heart Club) and Emma Giesen (Creative Capital Arts Trust); visual arts delegate Robyn Notman (Dunedin Public Art Gallery); and strategic partners Craig Cooper (Christchurch Arts Festival) and Stuart Grant (Capital E) have been selected for Momentum in 2014.

Momentum is an international delegate programme that provides a dynamic platform for key cultural players from across the world to engage and build relationships with the World’s leading festival city, the wider Scottish and UK cultural sectors, and the visiting international community.

Momentum NZ delegates will be introduced to Scottish, United Kingdom and international producers, festival directors and venue managers and supported by Creative Scotland and Festivals Edinburgh to develop their own professional networks via hosted events and individual meetings.

The Edinburgh Festivals are the largest and most acclaimed in the world and Creative New Zealand welcomes the opportunity to boost New Zealand’s involvement, says Creative New Zealand’s Senior Manager, Arts Policy, Capability and International, Cath Cardiff.

“Our arts professionals will experience first-hand how this huge multi-layered event is put together and plan how their work might fit within that. We look forward to working with the sector and the British Council on this initiative and exploring on-going relationships together,” she says.

The inaugural year of the Momentum partnership in 2013 has successfully contributed to a whole season of theatre, dance, Kapa Haka, literature, visual arts and music in Edinburgh this August – the NZ at Edinburgh 2014 season.

“With the Commonwealth Games being staged in Glasgow in 2014 at the same time as the Edinburgh Festival, the timing of this new initiative just couldn’t be better,” says Director of Arts, British Council, Graham Sheffield. “We look forward to the development of exciting new work and to greater artistic collaboration between our two countries.”

“Having the Games and the Festivals taking place at the same time is an opportunity for New Zealand to raise awareness of the diversity and richness of our culture and create a lasting impact in Scotland, the UK and internationally,” says Ms Cardiff.

The Edinburgh Festivals each year attract an estimated 25,000 artists, 2000 accredited media, 1000 international producers and an audience of four million. The main Festival season is August, when six of the main Festivals take place.

Momentum is an international delegates’ programme hosted by Edinburgh’s 12 major festivals, Creative Scotland and British Council Scotland. The programme runs from 2-30 August 2013, to coincide with the Edinburgh International Festival; Edinburgh Festival Fringe; Edinburgh International Book Festival; Edinburgh Art Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. It provides a platform for key arts professionals from around the world to engage and build relationships.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:

Sarah Pomeroy | Senior Communications Adviser

Ph 04 498 0725 | Mob 027 677 8070 |


MULE at Mid Winter Readings at the Court Theatre

If you’re in Christchurch on Sunday 15th June stop by the Court Theatre at 4pm and check out the public reading of MULE, the play that the Court have commissioned me to write.  Featuring Owen Black and Bianca Seinafo and directed by Elsie Edgerto-Till, MULE is part of the Mid Winter Reading series.


15 Jun15 Jun, 2014

Come in from the cold, purchase a mulled wine and take part in 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 the further development of these new plays.

All Tickets $10


By Pip Hall
Directed by Elsie Edgerton-Till
Sunday, 15 June 2014, 4pm

Mule explores the lives of Anna and Danny, who meet via an internet dating site. On opposite sides of the world, one is the hunter and one is the hunted. She is vulnerable, looking for distraction. He’s in trouble, looking for drug trafficers. Mule is a contemporary drama about technology, disconnection and finding love in the most unlikely of places. Mule is commissioned by The Court Theatre.

To Book Mule Click Here

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