Tour ends with three shows at BATS

Young & Hungry’s tour of A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES comes to an end in Wellington with three public performances at BATS Theatre.

July 5th, 6th and 7th  | 6.30PM

BATS Theatre | 1 Kent Terrace

Tickets are $15 

Visit  or call (04)802 4175to book 

A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES cast (from left) Laura Thompson, Ariadne Baltazar, Patrick Tafa and Liam Hughes after their performance at Gisborne Girls’ High School.

Ambassador Review – The Atom Room

Circa Theatre; June 27, 2018
Review by Ben Shea, Wellington College

It is often the case with our cool little capital of Wellington we are so spoiled for choice by the abundance of culture that we miss the little gems which don’t come from an ‘Award winning Broadway season’ or ‘Straight off the West End’.  Philip Braithwaite’s new play The Atom Room is one such production which should by no means be missed. From the promotional material it seems like a Kiwi attempt to jump on the long departed dystopian train, but it’s more than a dystopian tale, or in fact a science-fiction one. For the most part it is in fact a love story, telling the story of a couple’s struggle to stay together while separated by 54.6 million kilometres of space and connected only by the wonders of the Atom Room. As Clare Waldron (Margret) touched on in the post show Q&A the story could take place anywhere, anytime, in any kind of long distance relationship. The Martian setting is merely another way of exploring a universally applicable idea.

The small cast all deliver, the dynamic between Sarah (Harriet Prebble) and Danny (Taylor Hall) is strange and almost distorted which adds to the audience belief in the separation of the two lovers. We feel Danny’s longing to be with his wife again, this helps to add to the believability of Danny’s actions at his lowest point in the play. Prebble truly captures the feeling of being torn between career progression and wanting to be with her loving husband. Sarah’s boss, Margret helps to drive the show forward, she is the catalyst which drives the story forward, she also provides some of the funnier moments in the story. Overall it is a very well-acted production with the small cast all feeling important and contributing only what is necessary to the story without overstuffing the show.    

The play deals with a variety of themes, from the haunting future of Wellington as climate change begins to take effect, to whether our technology driven lives are destroying the power of true love. It even briefly discusses the death of so called “soft skills”, or non-technological/scientific talents. It is the kind of play which makes you think but is not dependent on this to be successful. It is a love story which raises questions about humanity and where we (particularly in NZ) are going.

I think it was the fusion of the show with the music of New Zealand electronic band Minuit, which gave the show it’s unique feel. In the small space of Circa Two, the music soars and lifts the show to an almost cinematic level of engagement. Using three large LED screens, the simplistic set is transformed from apocalyptic Wellington, to a rare hill where the air is breathable, to the titular atom room and to various other locations in between. I was sceptical as I came into the theatre, having had bad experiences with AV in the past but the tech more than delivered. It was a welcome addition to a show which lifted the standards that our stage technologies should reach.

My only criticism of The Atom Room is the pre-show VR experience which feels slightly tacky and really doesn’t contribute anything to the show itself. Otherwise this production was a delight from start to finish and I would fully recommend anybody to do experience a wonderful and thought provoking night at the theatre.


Mid-tour catch up with the ACOTH cast

The cast of Young and Hungry’s A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES have been touring around schools across New Zealand, from Dunedin in the south all the way up to Kaitaia, before heading back down to Wellington for public performances at BATS Theatre. Along the way they have performed to thousands of students, who each take away something different from the show.

We caught up with the cast and asked them about the tour so far:  

  1.  What has been the best feedback you’ve had from students?

Pat: For me it’s their big laughter. I can tell they’re enjoying the show. Also students who are just keen on advice and open to it as well.

Laura: We overheard some students in Nelson saying that the show had completely changed their idea of what theatre is, which is so exciting!

Liam:  Probably the best feedback is a hi-five from one of the “cool kids” who at first don’t seem interested but by the end are fully engaged.

  1. Favourite moment/ highlight of the tour so far? 

Pat: Seeing the beautiful South Island! 

Laura: I’ve been blown away by how engaged the students have been with the show. I didn’t know how they’d respond to live theatre – I wondered if they’d lose interest or find it a bit strange because it’s different from a lot of the entertainment they usually consume. But all of the students have been so invested, which has been so rewarding and which I am very grateful for!

Liam: The highlight of the tour for me has been seeing parts of the country that I have never seen before. I’m moving overseas in September so it’s a nice send off to tour around our backyard. 

  1. Low point of the tour?

Pat: Schools cancelling shows. Booo!

Laura: We’ve had a few schools that have had to cancel, which has been disappointing. The show is definitely strongest when we’re performing consistently and working with students almost every day, so too many days off can actually be a bit disorienting!

Liam:  The low point for me is when a bunch of schools cancelled for whatever reason (mainly due to mock exams I imagine) and we were left with a lot of free time in a place where there wasn’t much to do. 

  1. What message from A Country of Two Halves resonates with the students?

Pat: I think we give them an insight into different lifestyles and perspectives through the characters and their stories.

Laura: I think the students really take away from our show that theatre should and can be for everyone. Our show doesn’t have lavish props or sets, and we’re working in school halls, so I think there’s a real element of, hey, I could do this! We’re also sharing New Zealand stories from a diverse range of voices, which again encourages the students to dream about their own stories being told. I think it’s helped them to see theatre as something that is accessible and relevant.

Liam:  A message that resonates the most seems to be that everyone has demons and that no one is perfect. The show really highlights different perspectives throughout New Zealand and allows the kids to empathise with a whole range of people and cultures without a sense of being “taught” or spoken down to. It’s up to them what they take from the show, and I think that’s the most important thing. 

Auckland public performance of A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES

Tickets are on sale now for the Auckland public performance of our touring show A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES. 

Sunday, June 17th | 4PM

TAPAC (The Auckland Performing Arts Centre) | 100 Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland

Tickets are $12 for students and $15 for adults. 

Visit to book 

Don’t miss the chance to see our fabulous cast of Ariadne Baltazar, Laura Thompson, Liam Hughes and Patrick Tafa in action. 

Directed by Patrick Davies, A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES consists of extracts from New Zealand plays that help us understand how the ‘other half’ live: whether it be the haves and the have nots, rural and city, or privileged and un-empowered.

This 45-minute bare bones programme of New Zealand theatre (followed by a five-minute Q&A) can open discussion about the misunderstandings that keep us divided and what brings us together.

The show includes extracts from Wednesday to Come (Renée), Ka Shue (Letters Home) (Lynda Chanwai-Earle), Urban Hymns (Mīria George), Broken River (Ralph McCubbin Howell), The Debate (Riwia Brown), Revenge of the Amazons (Jean Betts), Sham (Jess Sayer), and The Tutor (Dave Armstrong).



Cast of A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES, from left, Ariadne Baltazar, Laura Thompson, Liam Hughes, and Patrick Tafa.

Four talented actors will be touring to schools across New Zealand with the Young and Hungry National Schools Tour.

Ariadne Baltazar, Laura Thompson, Patrick Tafa, and Liam Hughes make up the cast for A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES, and started rehearsals this week in Wellington.

Director Patrick Davies said each actor brought something unique to the table and an openness with their acting style which suited all of the eight play extracts.

“I’m thrilled to be directing the Y&H Tour. It’s an exciting opportunity to rake through the rich history of New Zealand playwrights in presenting polarised aspects of our culture.”

The tour runs in the second term from May 15 to July 7, 2018. If you would like to have these actors perform at your school, check out the tour details here.


Laura Thompson grew up in Titirangi, West Auckland, and is of Ngāi Tahu descent. Laura completed a Bachelor of Performing Arts at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, and upon graduating spent 16 months on Shortland Street playing the villainous Dr Victoria Anderton. Since then she has continued to work in television and on a number of short films. Laura is also an educator for Rape Prevention Education, teaching high school students about consent and promoting healthy relationships. In her spare time, Laura loves writing, kickboxing and getting outdoors.

Liam Hughes is a recent graduate of Unitec’s Performing and Screen Arts Bachelor Course and an actor at Auckland Actors. He has always been into acting since he was little, but it wasn’t until he went to Northcote College and joined the Drama Class that he knew he was obsessed. Liam took part in the 2013 Young and Hungry Festival at The Basement Theatre, has acted in a number of web series and is currently on your screens in an ad for a ‘finger-lick’in-good’ product.

Ariadne Baltazar began seriously pursuing acting as a career in Yr 11 at Sacred Heart College, Lower Hutt. She participated in the O’Shea Shield, school productions and community productions such as Jim Moriarty’s The Battalion in collaboration with Te Rakau during her final year. At the end of Yr 13, she was awarded the Juliet Howard Cup for Drama and went on to study at Toi Whakaari: NZ School of Drama in Wellington, and graduated with a Bachelor for Performing Arts: Acting. Named after the Greek princess who became a goddess, Ariadne (pronounced Aryadeen – like Aria and Dean together), or Ari as she goes by these days, has been learning Korean for 2 years which led her to become an ‘Army’: an avid fan of the trending South Korean boy-band BTS.

Patrick Tafa first gave acting a go in high school. After gaining lots of laughs and positive reactions from the audience during his first performance, he knew that’s what he wanted to do. Hailing from Onehunga in Auckland, Pat joined Massive Theatre Company at 16-years-old when his mum enrolled him for an acting workshop, he absolutely loved it and has been with the company ever since. Last year, he got a taste of touring life when he went on the road with the company’s devised work The Wholehearted. You may recognise Pat as Falani from Westside, the prequel series to Outrageous Fortune, which he has just finished filming the fourth season.

AUDITIONS: EnsembleImpact National Schools Tour


Young and Hungry is looking for four up-and-coming professional actors for the 2018 EnsembleImpact National Schools Tour, A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES.

Directed by Patrick Davies, A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES features features scenes exploring the wide range of conflicting and opposing opinions, ethnicities, politics, social levels and ages of the wonderful characters who populate NZ playwrights’ plays.  A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES can open discussion about the misunderstandings that keep us divided and what brings us together.

We are looking for four actors with just as wide a range of diversities to bring this to life. You will be open, talented (whether from training or experience), able to hold a tune (if not sing brilliantly), able to bring your own style of physical exuberance to the production. Be strong in your own opinion but also able to create a safe and supportive team spirit.

See The Big Idea for details and how to apply. 

Young and Hungry announces 2018 EnsembleImpact Schools Tour


A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES will present extracts from NZ plays that help us understand how the ‘other half’ live: whether haves and have nots, rural and city, privileged and un-empowered, mainland and Northland. A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES can open discussion about the misunderstandings that keep us divided and what brings us together.

The EnsembleImpact Schools Tour presents a 50 minute bare bones programme of quality NZ theatre that comes direct to your drama room or auditorium. The extracts will include at least two playwrights on the NZQA prescribed list and the performance will be supported by extensive educational resources and a video for later study.

Touring 14 May – 6 July 2018. Tour information and bookings

Young and Hungry is pleased to announce that Patrick Davies will direct A COUNTRY OF TWO HALVES.

I’m thrilled to be directing for EnsembleImpact! It’s an exciting opportunity to rake through the rich history of New Zealand playwrights in presenting polarised aspects of our culture.


“EnsembleImpact allows students and teachers to cross reference themes across differing plays, creating contrasts that are springboards for discussion, not only in drama, but also in social studies, history and culture. These excerpts also provide students with examples of the theatre world in relation to the world they live in.”

With an international background in improvisation, acting, and teaching, Patrick came to Wellington in 2006 to begin his Masters in Theatre Arts (Directing) at Toi Whakaari/Victoria University of Wellington. He has worked with Auckland, Northland and Otago Youth Theatres and has taught Directing and Shakespeare Performance at the National Youth Drama School. Most recently he directed Atilla the Hun for Young & Hungry and he currently works for the New Zealand Festival as the Education and Community Coordinator.

Fun fun videos!

The 2017 Young and Hungry Festival of New Theatre publicity mentees, supported by mentor Brianne Kerr, have been super busy creating three awesome new videos to promote the festival shows.   The shows are on 14-29 July at BATS Theatre, Wellington

(Thanks to Capital E for filming these in their amazing MediaLab for kids).


One Night Only by Finnius Teppett. Info and Tickets 

You’re in for one hell of a night!

The world’s most famous boy band, FourEver, is nearly ready to take the stage for their only New Zealand show. All that stands in their way is each other, their fans, the media, and the ghosts of their dodgy past…


Fallen Angels by Emily Duncan. Info and Tickets

Max Angelis has made his fame and fortune with his reality TV show Max’s Angels. But when two fallen angels arrive to take revenge? It’s the most heated episode of Max’s show ever!

Attila the Hun by Abby Howells. Info and Tickets

War, peace and a side of grease! A comedy set in a late night fast food restaurant, featuring terrible customers, disgusting food, Tom Cruise, a new duty manager… Oh, and also ATTILA THE HUN, he’s there too.

Festival of New Theatre: Book Now!

Young & Hungry Festival of New Theatre 2017!

14-29 July 2017
BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington  
Tickets: / [email protected] / 04 802 4175

Young and Hungry is your chance to celebrate and support young talented theatre practitioners in three amazing new kiwi plays! Our 24th year sees a pop-tacular descent to hell, real reality TV, and an epic comedy about a Mongolian warlord flipping burgers!

6.30pm on Propeller StageOne Night Only
8.00pm on Heyday DomeFallen Angels
9.30pm on Propeller StageAttila the Hun

Written by Finnius Teppett / Directed by Stella Reid

You’re in for one hell of a night!

The world’s most famous boy band, FourEver, is nearly ready to take the stage for their only New Zealand show. All that stands in their way is each other, their fans, the media, and the ghosts of their dodgy past. Making it out of the green room alive would be a miracle, let alone lasting the rest of the tour…

Written by Emily Duncan / Directed by Rose Kirkup

When the cameras stop rolling who will stick to script?

Max Angelis has made his fame and fortune with his reality TV show Max’s Angels. However, beasts and demons are released in his celebrity perfect home when two fallen angels arrive to take revenge and reveal explosive truths about his family. It will be the most heated episode of Max’s show ever. 

Written by Abby Howells / Directed by Patrick Davies

War, peace and a side of grease!

A comedy set in a late night fast food restaurant, featuring terrible customers, disgusting food, Tom Cruise, a new duty manager. Oh, and also ATTILA THE HUN, he’s there too. 

Y&H SEASON PASS: see all three plays – any night/s that suit you – for just $51 full price or $36 student/concession!


$20 Full Price or $51 Season Pass (to see all 3 plays)
$15 Concession or $39 Season Pass (to see all 3 plays)
$15 Group 6+ (per person)
$10 School  or $25 Season Pass (to see all 3 plays)

For 24 years Young & Hungry and BATS Theatre have been providing talented young people with a platform to perform, produce and create great theatre. With the Y&H Playwright Initiative producing three new kiwi plays a year and the annual Festival of New Theatre at BATS Theatre, Y&H feeds the theatrical hunger and quenches the creative thirst of younguns’ under 25.

Twitter / Instagram / Snapchat: @YANDHWGTN

OUTLIERS – public shows!

 The tour is under way and we’re already getting great feedback!

“They were amazing!!! My students buzzing!!!’ – St Margaret’s, Christchurch

‘Loved the monologue from Queen, my kids just adored the whole collection of scenes. … every single student had one particular excerpt that resonated with them – definitely a something for everyone show.” – Heretaunga College, Wellington.

‘Physical performance is one of the strengths of this show with dance routines, intimacy, aggression and physical metaphor.’ – Zoe Joblin Theatreview

We’re going to almost 40 schools in 7 weeks from Queenstown to Kataia! There are spare performance slots in just a few North Island locations. See if we can fit you in:  Tour Calendar

How to catch a public show:

Just have a small number of drama students? Need an inspiring night out immersed in contemporary NZ Theatre? Want to check us out to see how it works?

If you’re in Wellington, Whangarei or Auckland then you can catch one of our public evening performances.

 – Wellington – 6:30pm, Thursday 25 & Friday 26 May at BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Tce  Get Tickets.

 – Whangarei – 7pm, Friday 2 June at OneOneSix, 116a Bank St, $10/ $5 on the door

 – Auckland – 7pm, Friday 9th & Saturday 10th June at TAPAC (The Auckland Performing Arts Centre), 100 Motions Road, Western Springs. Get Tickets