Lock your whiskey cabinet and grab your guns, because your friends and ours The Bacchanals are bringing an all-new, all-improved, all-singing-all-milking production of Dean Parker’s Once We Built A Tower to the South Island!
We are so excited to be giving this play another outing, and so excited to be coming to some places that feature prominently in the story of how the 1935 Labour Government used the medical insurance scheme at the Waitaki Dam as their basis for creating a Welfare State that was once the envy of the world!
We are very, very committed to this idea that theatre should be accessible to all and that you shouldn’t miss out on live performance just because you don’t live in a major city. To that end, we are not charging admission. (You can give us koha or a donation!)
“There is something fundamentally wrong,” says a character in Once We Built a Tower, “in a land where wealth accumulates and men decay and no one raises a finger.”
It was to this end that The Bacchanals decided they wanted to tell the story of this time, because New Zealand in the late 1920s, where Once We Built a Tower begins, is not really all that different to New Zealand today: a country that should have enough natural resource and animal, vegetable and mineral wealth for all – and yet somehow some New Zealanders are incredibly rich while others are incredibly poor.
I know, I know, it sounds dreary and wordy and political and like it’ll be sad grey proletariats doing angry confronting expressionist theatre but we promise it’ll be fun. There are songs and laughs and we’ll make you a cup of tea and it’ll be like a big party in a church hall, except that it’ll sometimes be in a theatre and there won’t be a party.
You can see Bacchanals stalwarts Alex Greig as Dr Gervan McMillan, Kirsty Bruce as Ethel McMillan, Michael Ness as Michael Joseph Savage, Michael Trigg as Arnold Nordmeyer, Brianne Kerr as Frances Nordmeyer, plus Jean Sergent, Joe Dekkers-Reihana, Aidan Weekes, and Hilary Penwarden in an assortment of roles and with music played by Ellie Stewart and Walter Plinge.
Review from BATS season (March 2014):
"Once We Built a Tower is a thoroughly entertaining, good old-fashioned musical documentary in the tradition of Mervyn Thompson's Songs to Uncle Scrim and O Temperance! It is performed with the usual warmth, simplicity and gusto that David Lawrence's Bacchanals bring to their shows." - Laurie Atkinson, The Dominion Post
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