Newsletter Archive

All the most recent Newsletters are stored here and available for all to download as Adobe Acrobat (pdf) files. These will be limited to only the current and previous years although other dates are available from the web editor.


Newsletters 2016

Newsletters for 2015



Newsletters for 2014

Newsletters for 2013

Annual Woody Awards 2014 - 2015

Congratulations and a big thank you to all those who helped with our successful year, you are all winners!

Elmwood Strike It Big At 2015 District Theatre Festival

Festival 2015


Some of the Actors/Directors from this years Theatre NZ’s District Theatre Fest.

Elmwood Players once again had a memorable time at Theatre NZ’s District Theatre Fest.  All three Elmwood plays performed with success.


Excellence In Acting: Noam Wegner ("The Death Of Katie Myers"), Geoff Kendall ("Carol & Nev") and Anna Willows ("Instinct")
Best Production Design And Technical: "Instinct"
Best NZ Play: "Instinct"
Best Drama: "Instinct"
Best Overall Production: “Instinct”


All three Elmwood plays will progress on to the Regional Finals in Blenheim later in August.


22 August: Regional Play Festival (Blenheim)

The following awards were presented

Excellence In Acting: Anna Willows (“Instinct”)
Excellence In Acting: Noam Wegner (“The Death Of Katie Myers”)


Elmwood Does Well At Theatre Fest 2014 Regionals


NZ Fest Awards


Awesome Elmwood results from NZTF Regionals...

Excellence in Acting Awards:

Rebecca Sandys ("Child's Play") and Josh Penfold ("Verbatim")

Technical Excellence Award:

"The 73rd Day"

Best Adult Production:

"Verbatim" (Dir: Susan Cameron)

Big congrats to all involved, and also to other award recipients - Karyn Gibson, Fyfe Fergusson, Isabel Petrache-Briels, and also to Avonside Girls' High for Best Youth and Best Overall Production, "Cracked".


Now On To The NZTF National Finals


Following on from the recent Upper South Island Regional finals, Elmwood Players’ production of the intense NZ drama “Verbatim” has been selected to go forward to the National finals in Wellington on 12 and 13 September.  “Verbatim” will be performed on the Saturday, 13th. 


This follows on from previous successes with “A Galway Girl” (2012 National finalist) and “The New Quixote” (2013 National finalist).  Elmwood Players will be joined by two other productions from Christchurch (Riccarton Players and Avonside Girls High) and several others from through-out New Zealand.






Elmwood Workshops

Elmwood Players


June 13 and 14, 2015
Elmwood Auditorium, Aickman Road, Merivale


Elmwood Players are pleased to announce a series of workshops for actors and directors.


The workshops will be facilitated Bryan Aitken (former Associate director and original company member of The Court Theatre) and Dan Pengelly (Associate Director at Court Theatre).

The two workshops are:

Acting Workshop with Bryan Aitken, Former Associate Director of The Court Theatre

Restricted to 12 participants to ensure maximum engagement.
Saturday and Sunday, 13 – 14 June 10.00am – 4.00pm
Total cost $60 per person

Course details: Taking the next step. This workshop is for those people who have appeared on stage and who are wanting to take their acting to the next level. Learn to explore the possibilities of your own theatrical craft. Part of this workshop will cover Musical Theatre and how to further enhance your skills while singing and dancing. On Day two you will get a chance to work with the participants of the Directors workshop.


Directors Workshop with Daniel Pengelly, Associate Director of The Court Theatre

Restricted to 12 participants to ensure maximum engagement.
Saturday and Sunday, 13 - 14 June, 10.00am – 4.00pm
Total cost $95 per person

Course Details: A two day workshop for aspiring directors or those who wish to enhance their skills. You will work as a group, going through some of the following areas:

Day 1

Script analysis: How to approach a play to understand it.
Set & Blocking: What does the play need from the set, how to explore and develop a set design.
Lighting & Sound: Exploring ways to approach lighting and & sound design, tech week.

Day 2

Working with actors on the floor with personal coaching from the tutor.

Full details and Registration of Interest are available on the Elmwood Players website, Numbers are strictly limited. 


For more information and registration of interest click Workshop Interest Form,


Note: Workshop attendee numbers are strictly limited.





Confirmed Winners Of 2013- 2014 Woodies:


.... and sincere thanks and acknowledgement to all who were involved with Elmwood Players throughout our 2013-14 year.




NZ Playfest Final Best Actor


Our Successful Team at NZTF Finals


Our Best Comedy: "The New Quixote" (Dir Sarah Coursey) from the local Theatre NZ’s Short Play Season went onto the NZTF Playfest in Wellington and Sam Primrose won the award highlighted below.







Olga E Harding new New Zealand Playwriting Award

Fish Pie, - Colin Beardon, Waiheke Island, Playwrights Assn, NZ

Jannat Aitchison Memorial Award - Distinctive Emerging Talent

Elliot Maddox as Oedipus

Oedipus the King (extracts)

Sophocles (adapted by Karla Crofts)

Karla Crofts

FAHS Feilding High School

Eve Fuller as Cecily


Gillian Plowman

Anne Corney

Napier Repertory Players

The Team

Precious and Precarious

Denise Walsh

Denise Walsh

Dunedin Repertory Youth

Selecon Design/Technical Award

Theatre Hawkes Bay

One for the Road

Charles Harter

Charles Harter

Theatre Hawke's Bay

David Brockett Award for Backstage Achievement

Peter Hurley, Napier Repertory Theatre

Drama Development Trust Award for Best New Director - First time Directing

Sam Collier, Napier Boys High School

Theatre New Zealand Award for Best Actor Female

Nerys Udy as Mind


Abby Jameson/Sydney Lehman

Heather Jameson

Marlborough Girls' College

Lee Stuart as Girl


Abby Jameson/Sydney Lehman

Heather Jameson

Marlborough Girls' College

Theatre New Zealand Award for Best Actor Male

Sam Primrose as Kenneth

The New Quixote

Michael Frayn

Sarah Coursey

Elmwood Players

Denise Walsh Award for Best Production of a New Zealand Play

Marlborough Girls College


Abby Jameson/Sydney Lehman

Heather Jameson

Marlborough Girls' College

Bryan Aitken Award for Best Youth Production

FAHS Feilding High School

Oedipus the King (extracts)

Sophocles (adapted by Karla Crofts)

Karla Crofts

FAHS Feilding High School

Ewen Coleman Award for Best Adult Production

Napier Repertory Theatre


Gillian Plowman

Anne Corney

Napier Repertory Players

NZTF Book of Honour - Overall Winner

FAHS Feilding High School

Oedipus the King (extracts)

Sophocles (adapted by Karla Crofts)

Karla Crofts

FAHS Feilding High School




Theatre NZ’s Short Play Season at Aranui Performing Arts Centre saw Elmwood Players come away with a number of awards for the two productions it entered:

Best Comedy: "The New Quixote" (Dir Sarah Coursey)

Best Drama: "One Season's King" (Dir Doug Clarke QSM)

Excellence in Acting, Male: Sam Primrose as Kenneth, "The New Quixote"

Excellence in Acting, Female: Kat Bailey as Gina, "The New Quixote"

Best Over-all Production: “The New Quixote”

Both productions were the only two selected to go forward to the Regional Finals in Blenheim later in August.


CONGRATS!! To all the teams for each production don't forget you can see them in Shorts (Details here)


Theatre NZ Awards


Cast & Crew "The New Quixote"



NZ Theatre Award


Cast "One Season's King"



Woodie Awards Results 2010

Congratulations to you all for your contributions for our enjoyment.

Congratulations for Love Bites


Congratulatons to the Elmwood Players for the three excellent plays called Love Bites. I especially liked the last one, Desperate and Dateless. Well written, well cast, well acted. I don't think we've ever had a dud from them.


Audience Member

NZ Theatre Federation Local Results


Our production "Fault" won best performance of a NZ play (Jubilee Trophy), Best production of a drama (Radford Cup) and was awarded Runner-up production (Dorothy Crumpton Memorial Trophy). This production is going through to Dunedin to the South Island Regional Festival on June 5 and 6.



Other awards - Steve Millar (Swiss Cider) was awarded a 'Magic Moments' certificate for his significant pause after an ironic line, and Braydon Priest (Swiss Cider) was awarded an 'Excellence in Acting' certificate. Sarah Hollander (Swiss Cider) also won an Excellence Award.


Congratulations to Marilyn and her cast for qualifying for regionals to Gary and his cast for their awards and to both for their excellent productions.




Also travelling to Dunedin are:




At the Operate Forum recently THIRST was born! Invite everyone you can think of who's connected with making performance in Chch....


Monthly networking get together for Performing Arts practitioners upstairs at the Dux 3rd Thursday of the month, 8 - 10 pm. Starting this Thursday! Hopefully you can come.

See you Thursday!

THIRST rationale:

An informal monthly gathering - opportunity for open honest social networking to reinforce and sustain the performing arts community in Christchurch!


Dead funny black comedy entertains Fred.

Directed by Anita Hallewas. Presented by Elmwood Players. March 26 to April 5, 7.30pm. Reviewed by Alan Scott. - The Press | Thursday, 27 March 2008.

The audience had a good time with this one, judging by the laughs that rang out around the auditorium. Fred is a black comedy from Australia which centres on a group of friends who keep finding dead bodies: one by the clothesline, one in the laundry and one in the garage. It seems to start off as a whodunit, but ends up as a who cares whodunit, because whodunit is not the point.


Truth to tell, it is hard to figure out what is the point of the play, despite the playwright slipping in references to chaos theory as if to give it some philosophical import. The whole thing fizzles out at the end without any real resolution and, to some degree, leaves you with a feeling of dissatisfaction.

On the other hand, it is dead funny, if you will forgive the obvious pun. It is a fairly bizarre comedy that keeps you laughing till the end and I am fairly sure the audience went home happy.

It is rude and crude and not afraid to take a whack at sacred cows. People always seem to laugh when characters talk dirty on stage.

The characters are fairly stereotypical, from the gay surgeon to the used car salesman with his brains in his underpants.

The production itself was very well done and I commend all the actors for convincingly conveying the piece. They expertly brought out the humour and kept up the pace really well. The scenic nature of the play meant they had to work extra hard to keep it flowing.

The director was on top of the whole thing and, along with the cast, did the play real justice.


Written by Joseph Musaphia
Presented by Riccarton Players
Tickets $15 / $11
Running time 1 hour 22 (including a short interval)

“Don’t miss this hilarious comedy that is sure to remind you of what good customer service is actually about” entices the press release from Riccarton Players.  A New Zealand comedy, Ugly Customers represents the poor service provided by so many staff in retail and service positions. When two long-standing customers of the fictitious local bank can no longer accept poor customer service, they decide to rob the bank at gun point and teach the staff a thing or two about customers.


The central characters, Harold (John Boyce) and Laura (Cathy Jaeger), are aged in their mid seventies/eighties, complete with walker.  A number of compliments for Jaeger were overhead from audience members at interval and after the curtain, however Boyce, with his portrayal of the gun-toting elderly Harold, particularly impressed.


Also of note is customer Barry played with a hint of Frank Spencer by rather burly, six foot six Graeme Randle.  Barry, who turns out to be something of a coward, has a wonderful exchange with Janice (Pene Maddock), one of the bank tellers and from this point the play picks up the pace.


Both the pace and the humor increase in the second act with the audience settling in to this light comedy that every audience member could associate with.  Who hasn’t waited in a bank line waiting for a teller to come free, only to be greeted with a “next teller please” sign?


Curiously, for a writer with a book and a number of journalist articles to his name, the play missed a number of comedic opportunities that another writer such as Roger Hall would have picked up on.  There were glimpses of Musaphia’s life experiences as a motivational speaker and sales coach but thankfully these were small digressions.


The six cast member completed a fine performance and gave the audience a good night’s entertainment.  No ugly customers this side of the curtain.

Dai Eveleigh
15 March 2007

Mary Robertson

It is with sad regret all at Elmwood Players note the passing of Mary Robertson who always had a very active interest in the Theatre as well as cats and her garden. Doug Clarke of Riccarton Players supplied the brief notes about Mary and Stewart.


Mary & Stewart Robertson were both members of Elmwood Players in the good old "Garage Days" at 69 St Albans Street.


They progressed and assisted with the creation of the Elmwood Playhouse, that was.

Latterly Mary worked tirelessly for Canterbury Repertory Theatre, organising FOH, as well as maintaining a high profile with the Cats Protection League, maintaining her rambling garden which was full of surprises, and spending time with her grandchildren.

She is survived by daughters, Lee, Ruth and Lynne, and of course son, Grant, who is co-owner of The Light Site.


Another dedicated theatre person has passed on - now Mary can join her beloved Stewart creating a new theatre in the hereafter

AGM and 4th Annual Woodies 2009


Congratulations to all the Woodie recipients. Here is the list of winners for this year:

Best Actor (Full Length Play):

Chris Domigan (Macbeth).

Best Actress (Full Length Play):

Nikki Conyers (Lady Macbeth).

Best Supporting Actor:

(Pozzo - Waiting for Godot).

Best Supporting Actress:

Aimee Perry (Rosie - My Mother Said I Never Should).


Best Director:

Sam Fisher (Macbeth).

Best Technical:

Sam Scully (LED/Tech Wiz, Macbeth).

Best First-timer: (new to Elmwood or the stage)

Aimee Perry (Rosie - My Mother Said I Never Should).


Best Blooper:

Steve Millar having to exit the auditorium via the window in the ladies' loos (he was trying to lock up without keys).

Best Prop/Costume:

The spooky LED lights in MacBeth.


Congratulations to you all for your contributions for our enjoyment.


New Committee and Officers 2009

The following are the members of executive for this year:

President - Kris Vavasour

Vice President - Jo Cherry

Treasurer - Marilyn Ollet

Secretary - Sam Fisher

PC Editor- Chanel Hughes

Web Editor - Brian Sullivan