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Thu 7 Sep 2017, 7:30pm–8:45pm

Where: Central Hawke's Bay Municipal Theatre, 18 Kenilworth Street, Waipawa, Central Hawke's Bay

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Adult Admission: $28.62 ($25.00 + $3.62 fees)
  • Admission & Dinner Package: $44.00 ($40.00 + $4.00 fees)
  • Student/Child Admission: $23.00 ($20.00 + $3.00 fees)
  • Additional fees may apply

Bill Massey’s Tourists tells of the experiences of Jan Bolwell's grandfather on the Western Front in World War One.

Bollwell plays herself as an adolescent doing a school project on the war. At first, her grandfather is reluctant to talk about the war, but gradually he is coaxed to reveal what actually happened to him and his friends in the trenches of France and Flanders.

Bill Massey was the Prime Minister of New Zealand during WW1 so with typical Kiwi humour, the soldiers called themselves ‘Bill Massey’s Tourists.’

Bill Massey’s Tourists is peppered with movement sequences set to amusing and original WW1 soldiers’ ditties, songs and First World War poems. These songs & poems give an instant flavour of the time and sum up the feelings and attitudes of the soldiers. Projected images of Arthur and his war mates, as well as general scenes of war, are employed as an intrinsic part of the play. They deal with opposition to the war and propaganda that was used to get young men to fight for the Empire.
Bill Massey’s Tourists is a play designed for general audiences, both young and old.
The performance is one hour long and is usually followed by a brief after-show chat with the audience.

Reviewers' comments:
“Jan Bolwell tells her grandfather’s tales of World War One with a remarkable vision and perception. Her versatility is admirable. A terrific script. A great performance. A tale well told. Knocked me for six.” Raymond Hawthorne, New Zealand Theatre Director

“If you can survive Passchendaele, you can survive anything,’ says Jan Bolwell’s grandfather in her third and most poignant solo play about her family. Through part fiction and part family stories, it conveys with a compelling simplicity what it was like for a 20-year-old New Zealander to be thrown into the maelstrom of bloody war. At the heart of the play is a short dance that highlights the physical and mental agony of war with an emotional impact that is overpowering…. while slides of men in the trenches show us the reality.” Laurie Atkinson, theatre reviewer, DomPost

“In a world where wars continue to dominate our news, Arthur’s experiences as a soldier, Jan’s quest as his teenage granddaughter then her point of view as a university student protesting the Vietnam War, combine with our collective memories and differing perceptions to make Bill Massey’s Tourists a profoundly insightful and mutually personal shared experience.” John Smythe, Theatreview

Dinner: 6:30 pm
Show: 7:30 pm

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