War Talk - Writing drama about World War One
Two prominent NZ playwrights will talk about the challenges of writing about World War One at the Kerr St Artspace in
Devonport this weekend.
Philip Braithwaite’s latest play The War Play, opening at Fortune Theatre in Dunedin at the end of March, explores how
the tragedy and injustice of war can reverberate through the generations. It is based on the story of his great-uncle,
who was executed for desertion during the First World War. His great-uncle was later pardoned.
Geoff Allen’s play Sister Anzac looks at the experience of NZ nurses at Gallipoli on the hospital ship Maheno. It had a
successful season in Devonport and Auckland last year and will open for a second season at the Devonport Navy Museum
this month. Geoff describes it as a labour of love based on his grandfather’s experiences at Gallipoli.
The pair, who both have long experience in all aspects of theatre, will talk about their war stories, the pitfalls of
writing history and the challenges of bringing war to the stage. They also have some views on what’s happening in the
world, one hundred years on from the war to end all wars.
Philip Braithwaite is the current writer in residence at the Michael King Writers’ Centre. He holds the eight-week Summer Residency to
complete the final rewrite of The War Play.
Philip has won or been a finalist in many playwriting awards, including the Adam Play Award in 2013 for his play The
Mercy Clause. His plays have been produced at Centrepoint in Palmerston North, at Fortune Theatre, on Radio New Zealand
and the BBC World Service. He has also worked as a scriptwriting teacher at Massey University, Victoria University and
Whitireia Polytechnic. He was the William Evans Playwriting Fellow at Otago University 2013-2014.
Geoff Allen has worked as a drama teacher for 20 years in Taranaki, Wellington and Auckland. He runs Devonport Drama, where he works
with young actors. Trained as an artist, he started writing in 1994 and has had short stories and poems published. He
wrote the hit play Mrs Van Gogh. His plays have been workshopped by Circa, ATC and Playmarket NZ. Geoff and Gina
Timberlake set up Galatea Theatre in 2009 and have produced Allen’s work: Speeddaters, Secret Life of a Bellydancer,Sexy
Buddha, as well as Pygmalion, and Crimes of the Heart – and last summer, AUSS Pericles.
Both playwrights worked as actors/extras at Helm’s Deep on Lord Of The Rings.
When: Sunday March 8, 2015, 4pm
Where: Kerr St Artspace, 16 Kerr St, Devonport
Cost: All welcome, koha appreciated