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A Thousand Hills – An African Story from New Zealand


Fri 28 Oct 2011, 7:30pm
Sat 29 Oct 2011, 2:00pm
Sat 29 Oct 2011, 7:30pm
Sun 30 Oct 2011, 4:00pm
Sun 30 Oct 2011, 7:30pm

Where: Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, 50 Mayoral Dr, CBD, Auckland

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Adult : $35.00
  • Consession 1: $28.00
  • Student: $28.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Listed by: Elephant Publicity

The premiere season of A Thousand Hills, an exploration of the beauty and terror of a life lived in exile.

A Thousand Hills is a deeply moving story based on the true life experiences of Francois Byamana, and his gripping account of survival during and after the Rwandan genocide in 1994. It is a story straight from the heart of Africa that has a New Zealand connection; it’s a story of love, identity, survival, hope, dignity and humanity.

Kilgali... Congo... drums... the darkness of the African night... Red Cross... saints... laughter... feast and famine... love... folk tales... drowning... beauty... waiting... guns... soccer balls made of plastic bags... machetes... friendship... multi-lingualism... death... United Nations... madness... genocide... freedom... music... medicine... preacher man... isolation... New Zealand...

1994 – A dark time in African history. Philippe is a Rwandan fleeing the genocide that is taking place in his homeland. Making his way to a refugee camp Philippe meets Nick; a New Zealand Red Cross volunteer who develops a friendship with Philippe. Quickly the two men become trusted companions in a tale which spans the darkest of Africa through to New Zealand, and a story fuelled by impossible circumstances, loss of identity, terrifying consequences, cultural collisions and ultimately two people who find that they only thing left to trust is each other.

The theatrical piece is almost a cathartic process of Francois Byamana; it’s unfair to say he simply plays “Philippe” in the production. Byamana is Philippe – the story based on his relationship with Bob Askew, the very same New Zealand Red Cross volunteer that “Nick” represents. His plight might be one we see everyday but don’t discover with the multi-cultural population in Auckland, and his mind is full of exploding stories that he yearns to share with everyone. It’s a tale that needs to be told. It’s a tale that writer Mike Hudson has helped translate from memories to theatre.

Under the careful direction of Margaret-Mary Hollins, with set design by John Verryt, Byamana’s tale comes to life; alongside a fine array of acting talent including Andrew Grainger (The Lovely Bones, That Face) and Michele Hine (Go Girls, The House of Bernarda Alba), Byamana and the production have also received the full backing of the New Zealand Red Cross in creating this theatrical piece.

This journey bursts with themes of love, identity, survival, hope, dignity and humanity in life and death, love and pain. The story is as vast as the landscape of Africa, drenched in music, memories, traditions and storytelling.

The work has been in development over the past three years as part of Auckland festival’s Watch This Space programme. Proudly supported by Auckland City Council and Creative New Zealand.

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