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Kiwi Theatre Luminaries on The Pumphouse Stage

Local theatre company Tadpole Productions launched at The PumpHouse less than a year ago and, after two well-reviewed shows in 2012, is already bringing in the big names.
The company’s first production of 2013 teams veteran stage and screen actors Annie Whittle and George Henare in Driving Miss Daisy the Pulitzer-prize winning play by Alfred Uhry.
Director Louise Wallace said: “Driving Miss Daisy will resonate hugely with our audience and it’s an absolute delight to be working with three of New Zealand’s finest actors. There is no better cast for this play. It’s a beautifully written piece – funny, but also intensely moving. The issues it covers are universal and still present today.”
She adds. “For me, the play is especially poignant as my elderly mother had a similar relationship with a caregiver/driver gentleman with whom she developed a wonderful friendship.”
Despite being a period American drama, the script has stood the test of time, maintaining relevance to audiences worldwide and is performed regularly on international stages starring such well-known talents as James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Vanessa Redgrave and, of course, Morgan Freeman who performed in the original off-Broadway production in 1987, before reprising his role in the 1989 Academy award winning film adaptation that also starred Jessica Tandy and Dan Ackroyd.
Driving Miss Daisy is the first play in what is known as Alfred Uhry’s Atlanta Trilogy and earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, making Uhry one of the few playwrights to have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Tony Award and the Academy Award for the same piece of work.
The story plays out against a backdrop of post-war social upheaval in twentieth century America. It is an intensely dramatic slice of history with the cold war, racial segregation and civil rights movement, moon landings, the assassinations of two Kennedys and Martin Luther King, the sexual revolution and Vietnam War all providing memorable headlines to anyone who lived through the era. Yet despite the weight of history, this platonic love story of two opposites rises above the complexity of the social revolution that begat it and provides an enduring theatrical motif - the reason why it still has relevance in the 21st century.
Annie Whittle’s comedy credentials are well-honed and this seasoned character actress is enjoying delving into Miss Daisy’s personality. She said: “This play is glorious – full of warmth, pathos and comic relief. There are so many challenges for me as an actor, not least of which is Miss Daisy’s southern drawl. I’m loving every minute and I can’t wait to get it into the theatre.” Her co-star George Henare, playing her driver Hoke Colburn, is equally charmed by the script. He said: “It’s such a pleasure to work on a marvellous, rich classic. It’s a piece that I know audiences will find funny, moving and most importantly, entertaining!” Phil Peleton rounds out the cast of this three-hand play in the role of Miss Daisy’s son, Boolie, the role played by Dan Ackroyd in the film.

The North Shore Performing Arts Competitions
There can’t be many local groups that can boast six decades of dedication to the development of the arts on the North Shore, but The North Shore Performing Arts Competitions Society can proudly make that boast. Heading into its 60th year the society is still going strong and attracting the best new and emerging talent Auckland has to offer.
This year’s 59th Annual Competitions has been taking place throughout April and continues during May, with in excess of 1500 items being performed by students from all genres of performance, ranging from Highland Dance to Grand Opera Arias.

The PumpHouse has had a long and successful relationship with the Society, hosting competition performances and heats for more than 30 years. In the early years, most of the Society’s events were held in The PumpHouse but as the event calendar has grown, other venues have been enlisted to share the load.
The Senior Vocal Competition will be held at The PumpHouse over Queen’s Birthday weekend. Over 250 items will be performed throughout the weekend, with singing performances ranging from lighter performance in costume to musical theatre and duets.  The weekend’s event schedule concludes on Monday evening with the Becroft Grand Opera Aria Final. The winner’s prize package gives a talented local singer the chance to enter the McDonald’s Aria in Sydney.
Discounts are available for those who book for the entire weekend. Come and see the ‘next big things’ before the international opera scene whisks them away forever.

What's On in May...

May 8 – 19
Tadpole Productions presents

Driving Miss Daisy
The Pulitzer prize-winning play by Alfred Uhry
Tues –Sat 7.30pm
Matinees Sat and Sun
Group discounts available

May 13th 7.30pm
Dark Mondays play reading.

The Trial of Lady Chatterley
by Anna St.Clair
Directed by Jesse Hilford
Bar opens at 6.30pm
Entry by Koha, all welcome

May 31 – June 3
Queen’s Birthday Weekend North Shore Performing Arts Competitions Society presents
Senior Vocals competitions concluding with The Becroft Grand Opera Aria Final

by Channel Editorial