Heritage theme in World War Two period play


Greymouth-Mawhera based theatre group, Kiwi-Possum Productions, will present its new play Ted, Poppy and World War Two at the Regent Theatre in Greymouth later this month.
This year’s production focuses on heritage.
“We discovered two interesting people,” the group’s playwright Paul Maunder said.
“Ted Kehoe, a teacher at Grey Tech, was an early conservationist, who gave a weekly radio talk on native birds, the bush and Maori culture. Transcripts of his talks were found in a box in the Grey District Library. And then we discovered that one of the Cobden-based Sisters of Mercy, during this same period, was the sister of famous Irish writer, James Joyce, who had nicknamed her, Poppy. Given that this was also the period of World War Two, it was possible to bring in some war stories, and tie it all together by creating a fictional relationship between Ted and Poppy.”
The theme of heritage, is a current topic of controversy. Each performance will be followed by a discussion on heritage — ‘what is it and how do we value it’ — facilitated by a local leader in the area.
The play involves returning to an earlier era technologically, a time when listening to the radio of an evening was an essential recreational activity. Audience members are encouraged to bring some knitting, crosswords etc, to help re-create that time.
The group’s previous productions
— Poison and Purity, Goodnight, Irene; The Cave Above the Pa/Te Ana i Runga i te Pa; Stepping Stones; Waihi Oratorio; and The Judgment of Ben Alder — have established a local, a regional and a national reputation for the community-based theatre group.
For example, Nelson reviewer Judith Paviell recently wrote: “Last Saturday night I spent an hour or so in the yurt at the Free House absorbed in a rare Nelson experience these days: riveting dramatic theatre ... West Coast based Kiwi-Possum Productions is not your big-brand, highly financed outfit, but they deliver.”
The production is supported by Creative Communities.
It will run from Thursday to Saturday, August 28, 29 ,30, at 7.30pm. Admission will be $10.