Play of the Month: King of Stains by David Geary

King of Stains was part of the 1996 Festival of New Theatre directed by Dale Corlett and Kirsty Hamilton. It premiered at BATS Theatre on the 18th July 1996 along with Stigma by Rebecca Rodden, Don’t Call Me Bro by Briar Grace-Smith and Camelot School by Bernard Pflug.  Among the original cast were Jackie Van Beek and Bevin Linkhorn. It was brought back to the stage in the Y&H 10 year celebration festival in 2004 directed by Damon Andrews. 

Reviewers attending the 1996 performance said; “King of Stains is one of the finest plays I have seen this year”, “A witty comedy of manners of the X generation, it is profoundly funny as it explores attitudes to death as well as to sex” & “David Geary’s skill is such that seemingly irrelevant details casually dropped into the dialogue at the beginning of the comedy become important and hilarious character traits by the end.”


Friday night. Wellington. Full moon. Six lonely people go crazy. The most dramatic stain removal since Lady Macbeth uttered ‘out damned spot.’

Cast:  6 | Female: 2 | Male: 4


David Geary (Nga Mahanga, Taranaki) grew up in Rangiwahia, a small village in the Manawatu hill country. He developed a love for stories from his school teacher Mum and his first experience 

of “theatre” was listening to shearers spin yarns in his father´s gang. A proud Palmerston North Boys´ High old boy, he pursued law at Victoria University where he discovered Bill Manhire´s creative writing course, theatre studies and the University Drama Club, for whom he wrote several experimental short plays.

David went on to study acting at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, graduating in 1987. Since then, he has continued to be an allrounder – writing, directing and acting for theatre, television and film. His first full-length play Kandy Cigarettes was workshopped at the 1988 Playmarket Conference. In 1991, his comedy about a women´s rugby team Pack of Girls premiered at Downstage, and became a national hit in both professional and amateur theatre. 1991 also saw David win the Bruce Mason Award for Most Promising Playwright.

In 1992, Lovelock´s Dream Run was workshopped at the Australian and NZ Playwright´s Conference in Canberra. It premiered at the Auckland Theatre Company to critical acclaim, with further productions throughout the country and in Australia. David then had further success with The Learner´s Stand and The Farm.

Branching out into NZ television, David co-wrote and co-directed the 1991 TV documentary The Smell of Money, which won a NZ Film Accolade. He also worked as a storyliner and scriptwriter for the popular television series – Shortland Street, Jackson´s Wharf, Mercy Peak and Hard Out.

In 2002, David moved to Canada, where he has written short plays – Menu Turistico and A Man Walks Into A Bar … and Oedipus Butchers the Classics for the Walking Fish Festival of Vancouver. These plays have also had successful seasons in New Zealand. He’s continued to maintain strong ties with New Zealand theatre, with A Shaggy Dog Story (2005) and The Underarm (2006) premiering at Centrepoint Theatre.

David published a short story collection A Man of the People with VUP.

News article about King of Stains in the 1996 Festival with picture of actors Jackie Van Beek and Gabriel Davidson

Ambassador review: Cock

By Mike Bartlett
Director: Shane Bosher
Circa Theatre 

Reviewed by Xanthe: 

A raw and jarringly intimate piece of theatre. Cock explores relationships and feelings in a high energy, tense performance that kept the audience at the edge of our seats. The empty set, surround seating, and lack of mime gave a blank canvas for true characters and emotions to be the forefront of the piece. The only thing for the audience to grip onto was the words and emotions, the way each was twisted and entangled into a both extreme and real situation of love and decisions. The show leaves you questioning, how can you know yourself if you don’t know what you want?

Reviewed by Phil: 

John wants out. And so he’s taking a break from his clingy boyfriend. Free from the shackles of a relationship, the last thing he wants is to finally meet the girl of his dreams, caught up in a three-way love triangle puts pressure on John. what’s more important? His boyfriend? Or his reputation?

When you first walk into the theatre showing, you notice the seats styled after a typical Greek Amphitheatre, shaped like a U. This is accompanied by a white stage and a white backdrop, both of which are bare. Due to this simple layout, the play can progress through different stages without fuss.

The style of this piece was definitely contemporary, but, much like what it’s named after, there are references to an asian style of “Cock fighting.” this is seen when the actors circle each other during violent floods of solid red, each sizing up their co-stars during the interactions. The way the actors behave also slightly mimics and humanizes this style of fighting, accommodating for the human anatomy.

 When the performance starts, we are introduced to John and his overly clingy boyfriend “M” as they struggle through their relationship for a solid few minutes. The effective performance from both actors really opens up the struggle of both of the characters. The raw, tense emotions from both characters and the way that lighting and no set or props were implemented really made for a very engaging performance. 

The real conflict begins with the introduction of “W”, The female love interest of John and the one who, single handedly, manages to disrupt the relationship the two men have. The actress did an amazing job at capturing the typical female love interest and the sustained character really gave the story substance. The conflict furthers when “F”, “M”’s father, comes into the picture, again this really added to the conflict and gave John something to fight for and opened up a host of questions pertaining to his real sexuality. 

Overall, I really enjoyed “Cock” and felt that it was a really well put together show. The way the actors portrayed the conflict and the underlying questions the show left me with afterwards were really interesting. The play is a raw, saucy look into sexualities, relationships and the feelings of love. I would give Cock a 9.5 out of 10 for it’s simple design, interesting plot and overall cool premise. Cock is a very unique play that I doubt others will try to emulate any time soon. I would recommend it to people who like short performances with interesting premises or for people who want to try something new with their theatre going experience.  The play runs until the 9th of November in Circa One.

Ambassador review: The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the Screw 
New Zealand Opera 
Written by: Benjamin Britten
Conductor: Holly Mathieson
Director: Thomas de Mallet Burgess

Reviewed by Xanthe: 

Chilling, haunting, and unforgettable. The NZ Opera production of The Turn of the Screw was the perfect balance of creepy and engaging, and played the story in a way that captured the audience’s attention and didn’t let go. The use of set was interesting and created such a place for the story to be told. The sheer talent of the cast, especially the two children, was incredible to listen to and really made the show into the spectacle it was. The Turn of the Screw plays on your perceptions of what is real and what is not and leaves you questioning and a little creeped out. After all, if you can’t tell who is real, then who can you trust?

Reviewed by Phil: 

The Turn of the screw is a classic British opera written by Myfanwy Piper and Composed by Benjamin Britten set to a gothic tone. The story tells of a young governess who is employed by the housekeeper, Mrs. Grose to instruct and care for two young children, Miles and Flora. However, visits from ghostly figures prove to be tough on all the inhabitants of the home and the governess herself.

From the moment that you take your seat in the venue, you notice the simple set design. This allows for the dramatic piece to jump from one location to the next with very little effort. This is very effective for the actors and lets them focus on what they need to in order to tell the story. The story was quite good and the music played over the dialogue was very appropriate. I did think that, in some parts, the Soprano actors were hard to hear, due to singing over top of each other and the music provided by the band.

All in all, I believe that “The Turn of The Screw” is a very good opera and one worth seeing at least once.

Reviewed by Gabbi:

A captivating performance in all respects. The set was particularly visually appealing and fabricated haunting illusions that blended seamlessly with the beautiful yet at times chilling performances of the singers. The eerie lighting paired with the frightening figures looming behind the curtain set the perfect atmosphere for such a chilling piece and truly made you question the divide between creations of the mind and reality. I was in awe of all the singers abilities to portray such raw, real emotion whilst reaching notes that seemed effortless, which accompanied by the exceptional music of the Orchestra was truly outstanding. I extend my gratitude to the cast and crew of ‘The Turn of the Screw’ for allowing me to come watch their performance, which has set the bar high for any future Operas I attend.

Play of the Month: Deadlines by Adam Goodall

photo: Stephen A’Court. Young & Hungry 2012 play Deadlines. Left to right. Jack Hallahan, Catriona Tipene, Mitchell Bernard and Gabby Anderson.

Deadlines was part of the 2012 Festival of New Theatre. It premiered at Bats Theatre on the 6th of July and was directed by Leo Gene Peters. It was met with positive reviews including this one from Ewen Coleman from The Dominion Post who wrote: “… In one of the most original concepts seen on stage in a while, eleven students pace around the stage throwing up lines of truncated dialogue, the whole scene becoming a three dimensional verbal posting on a wall of Facebook. Mixed in with this is a murder story being investigated by a new student who wants the school newspaper to publish his findings.  A very clever script excellently played out by the eleven young actors to make this a most fitting ending to a very successful Young and Hungry season.


Nothing out-of-the-ordinary ever happens at Wellington’s prestigious Arrowhead High School, and that’s just the way Tracey Aldridge, the ambitious head photographer for Arrowhead’s student newspaper, doesn’t like it. But when arrogant new student Daniel Ward barrels into Tracey’s life with wild claims of murders and cover-ups within Arrowhead’s student body, Tracey is thrust into an investigation where the money shot could come at a steep price…

Cast between 11 – 19 | Female: max 9 | Male: max 10

About the playwright:

Adam Goodall is a freelance writer and playwright with a background in justice sector analysis and legal research. He is the former Wellington Theatre Editor for The Pantograph Punch and is bad at video games in his spare time.

Adam begun his involvement in theatre at Palmerston North Boys’ High School, and, later, as part of the Centrepoint Theatre Basement Company. He has been involved in the Young & Hungry Festival of New Theatre in various capacities from 2008 – 2012.

Does this play sound like something you’d like to see on stage again? Check it out at Playmarket!

Check out photos of the first production here: 


Picture 1 of 36

2012 Deadlines

Shane Bosher to direct Y&H Tour ’20

We are thrilled to have Shane Bosher as the director and dramaturg of the Y&H Tour 2020; WHADDARYA?

WHADDARYA? will be touring schools around New Zealand from May 5th to July 3rd, 2020.  For more information about booking the tour; click here

Shane bosher

Shane has been a director, dramaturg, producer and strategic development consultant for the last twenty years. Following training at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, he has worked for all of New Zealand’s major theatre companies including Auckland Theatre Company, Downstage, Court Theatre, Circa Theatre, Bats, Fortune Theatre, the Auckland Festival, the NZ Festival of the Arts and the NZ Actors Company.

He has directed some of New Zealand’s most celebrated actors including Danielle Cormack, Rima Te Wiata, Michael Hurst, Catherine Wilkin, Peter Elliott, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Oliver Driver, Tandi Wright, Stephen Lovatt, Theresa Healey, Jennifer Ludlam, Matt Whelan, Ellie Smith, Chelsie Preston Crayford and Gareth Reeves.

From 2001 to 2014, Shane was the Artistic Director of Silo Theatre. During his tenure, he directed some of the company’s most lauded productions including Angels in America, Speaking in Tongues, Private Lives, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, Tribes, Top Girls, Tartuffe, The Only Child, The Brothers Size, When the Rain Stops Falling, That Face, Ruben Guthrie, Holding the Man, The Little Dog Laughed, The Real Thing, Three Days of Rain, Dying City, Take Me Out, Suddenly Last Summer and Bash.

He was named one of the Aucklanders of 2005 by Metro Magazine and in July 2007 was named one of the Most Influential People under 40. He is the recipient of three Auckland Theatre Awards and has been awarded Director of the Year by the NZ Listener four times. He has undertaken professional development at the Donmar Warehouse and Young Vic in London and Public Theater in New York.

In 2014, Shane was commissioned by Auckland Live to create Both Sides Now: Julia Deans Sings Joni Mitchell for the inaugural Auckland Cabaret Season. This production has since played to capacity attendance at festival engagements across New Zealand.

Shane spent 2015-17 based in Australia, directing The Kitchen Sink for Ensemble Theatre, The Pride for Darlinghurst Theatre, Straight for Kings Cross Theatre and sell out productions of Cock and The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant for Redline. His other recent work includes productions of Venus in Fur for Auckland Theatre Company, Jumpy for Fortune Theatre, A Streetcar Named Desire for Silo Theatre, Cock for Auckland Live, the world premiere of The Things Between Us for Christchurch Arts Festival. In 2018 he has directed the NZ premiere of Homos, or Everyone in America for Auckland Pride, Delicious Oblivion for Auckland Live and Cock for Circa Theatre.

As a playwright, his work includes produced works the award-winning A Star is Torn (Silo Theatre) and the Young & Hungry commissioned Homicidal Post-Pubescent Cheerleaders which was presented in 2001. From 2017-19, Auckland Arts Festival and Creative NZ supported the development of his latest work, Everything After, which won the Adam Best NZ Play Award for 2018.

He also works as a strategic development consultant, empowering companies to interrogate the line between art and business to enhance their infrastructural engines.

Ambassador Review – The Pink Hammer

The Pink Hammer
By Michele Amas
Director: Conrad Newport
At Circa Theatre until October 5th, 2019 

Reviewed by Gabbi:

Five people from all paths of life come together in the most unexpected place, a backyard tool shed.

In the midst of racy calendars, sawed through stools and Louise’s dreadful kale muffins, what begins as a lighthearted piece morphs into a touching exploration on the common threads between us all.

As the hardships they face are uncovered, I was moved by the love, acceptance and understanding between them as they became strengthened by the time spent together.

A resounding story and captivating performance, I left ‘The Pink Hammer’ reminded that we are far more alike than different.

Reviewed by Xanthe: 

Five very different people find their lives colliding at a carpentry workshop in a back garden shed. The Pink Hammer explores how completely different people can be brought together with a single goal, how small moments of connection lead to strong bonds that transcend circumstances. I fell in love with the gorgeous set the moment I stepped into the theatre, the attention to detail and realism created such a world for the story to play out in and was creative and engaging for the audience.

Reviewed by Jasmine: 

This performance was interesting. It was entertaining to watch but most of the characters were hard to like, and it is unclear as to whether that is intentional or not. At times it felt as though the actors were overplaying their characters and it felt like the message of the play, which was seemingly a good and important one, was lost in the hyperbolic performance of the actors. I actually really did enjoy this show, but I found that the extreme personalities on stage did ruin it a little. Additionally the end (whilst it was theatrically very effective) felt a little rushed while the first half seemed to drag on a bit. 

I particularly liked the acting of the Irish character. Her carefree selfish nature was refreshing to see, particularly amongst all the other fairly uptight characters, and she was the only character that felt somewhat realistic.

Ultimately, it was good, but I wouldn’t see it again. 

Play of the Month: The Many Faces of Kelly J Loko, by Stephen Bain

We plucked another play out of the hat to celebrate Y&H  plays, and drew The Many Faces of Kelly J Ioko by Stephen Bain.  Directed by Paul McLaughlin, the play premiered at our 2005 festival at Bats theatre.  The Wellingtonista wrote at the time that the play caught the eye, seeming to ‘strike a chord, deep down somewhere, for some reason’ (NoizyBoy, 2005). Themes about the virtual realm vs the physical and a search for genuine connections become increasingly relevant to us all in the digital age. 


Kelly J Loko expects more of life than what she is currently lumped with. She invents three chat room personalities who dare to do what she as a plain 14-year-old cannot. However, it is when she tries to turn her virtual world into reality that the trouble really begins. People are not always what they seem to be, and those closest to her turn out to be the biggest challenge to this realisation. Eventually, it is in the most unlikely places that Kelly J Loko learns what it is to trust someone and how to embody the person she really is inside. Everybody can claim to own a little bit of Kelly J Loko.

About the Playwright:

Stephen is a Toi Whakaari graduate who also studied in France and was an artist in residence twice at Massey University. In 2014 he completed a  sponsored Artist residency at Taipei Artist Village in Taiwan. 

He acts extensively for theatre and television and has written and directed many shows for both the Wellington and world stage. He is co-founder of Under Lili’s Balcony Theatre Company who created choreographic theatre pieces from 1996 to 2002, gaining a reputation for innovation and visually adventurous theatre. 

Stephen has worked in video, creating performance pieces under the guise of Digital Cabaret. He has also produced a music videos, a dance-theatre video, and a multimedia piece for the City Gallery Wellington Cinema (2004, Turbulent Flux). As a musician, he has written and recorded music for many theatrical productions.  

Recent installation work includes  This Means You  (Taipei Artists Village 2014), and They come from far away ( Finland and Te Uru, Auckland 2016). See more of his extensive, innovative work at

Feeling inspired to create your own work? Check out our devising theatre workshop on this weekend here.

Ambassador review: Burn Her

Burn Her
Written by Sam Brooks
Directed by Katherine McRae
Produced by A Mulled Wine
Presented at Circa Theatre

Reviewed by Maddie: 

‘Burn Her’ is a great political drama that reels you in with its story about how the media twists reality. The set is divided into two different worlds which is beautifully articulated through the use of warm and cozy timber next to cold and colourless concrete. The actors carried out stunning performances, fully emerging the audience into the story. Overall, this play and the message it delivers is one not to be missed and was an absolute delight to see.

Reviewed by Jasmine:

After watching this performance, I knew that I just had to write a review about it. In all honesty, when going into the theatre I didn’t think that this play would interest me at all, but as it turns out, I was incredibly mistaken. 

I found this piece amazing, and very moving. The overall theme was an interesting one, as it was so unlike anything I’d seen before, and yet a topic that I wish was more often addressed. The success of this show was in how unique and original it was. The acting was superb and the emotional range of each character was amazing to watch. Seeing this play made it feel as though I was reliving old memories and it truly made me feel things that no other show I’ve watched has made me feel. Again, that is a testament to the incredible emotional acting from the characters. 

A key moment in which this play really stood out to me was George’s monologue towards the end of the play. It was flawlessly executed and whilst the character was incredibly well written, the delivery of the lines were so powerful that I was just awestruck. This was another moment in the play where the importance of the theme really stood out, and I feel as though each member of the audience was aware of it. 

This play was truly powerful, and I am personally grateful to everybody who worked on it to share such a strong and moving piece of theatre.

Play of the month : Yolk, by Arthur Meek

We’ve picked our first play out of the hat for Play of the Month Our monthly feature will celebrate one of the 75 plays  we’ve commissioned since 1994. Today we picked ‘Yolk’ by Arthur Meek, which premiered at Bats Theatre for our 2008 season:


Ever pondered what choices you may have made differently had you been aware of their outcome?

Every person is bound to choice-making. Some choices are insignificant while others take on unexpected monumental importance. For some, making imperative judgments doesn’t start till we are adults, for others, making decisions begins early on. 

Flip Porter is a high-school girl, living a ‘normal’ life, until it is flipped upside down when her mother falls ill. Her embryo of a world is in jeopardy and as events culminate into a single night of choices, her life irrevocably takes on a different shape.

From the mind of Lonesome Buckwhips affiliate Arthur Meek (The Hollow Men, On the Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me as Her Young Lover) and directed by Celia Nicholson Yolk is a tender comedy about relationships, choices and…sex in a tent!

About the Playwright:

Arthur Meek is a graduate of Toi Whakaari: The New Zealand Drama School and The University of Otago. Since Arthur’s first play Mando The Goat Herd was read at the 2003 Playmarket New Zealand Playwright’s Conference, he has written a steady stream of work for stage, screen and radio.

His 2008 show On the Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me as Her Young Lover took the country by storm, playing to packed houses, garnering best production of the year nominations and picking up awards throughout the country. Arthur’s musical comedy band The Lonesome Buckwhips were Billy T Nominees and Arthur was chief writer on Live at the Gold Guitars, the four-part series they recorded for Radio New Zealand.

Other work includes the Young and Hungry commissioned work Yolk (2008), the short film Being John Campbell (2002), which won awards around the country, as did Laughtrack: The Benjamin Docker Story (2003). Return of the Lonesome Buckwhips (2007) was awarded Best Comedy at the NZ International Fringe Festival, while his play The Cottage (2006) saw him lauded as the Best Newcomer the previous year. His 2006 short film Rangimoana’s Magical Murder Mystery still plays on the Rialto channel. In 2008 he was commissioned to write Collapsing Creation. Following a successful premiere in Christchurch in February, it was staged at the Nelson Festival of the Arts in the lead-up to its four-week season at Downstage as part of the worldwide celebrations of the 150th Anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species.

Arthur’s plays featured in our first Y&H tour in 2016- Power Plays. 

Stay tuned for our next feature!