wpe6.jpg (12634 bytes)The New Zealand Lightweight Theatre Co-op, on tour 1977.



Monologue . . . . Harold Pinter

Pinter's plays are like Chinese puzzles. The questions raised here deal with the hairlines between love and hate, sanity and insanity.

The Zoo Story . . . . Edward Albee

A clash of opposites qualified by curiosity, compassion and fear. A sacrifice is required in resolving the conflict.

Eh Joe . . . . Samuel Beckett

Joe is tormented by voices. He has succeeded in exorcising all but one, the woman's voice in this play. The play is a struggle for supremacy between the two.

The Tour

The New Zealand Lightweight Theatre Co-op was founded in 1977 by three actors from Nelson and Christchurch. All three shared a strong commitment to drama as well as having professional experience in other fields - education, journalism, law and business.

The Lightweight Theatre presented challenging plays by internationally renowned contemporary dramatists to audiences wherever they could be found - in the Suter Theatre Gallery, schools, hospitals, prisons, mental institutions, church halls and established theatres. The selection of plays required a small cast and a minimum of scenery and effects, which suited our small mobile company.Amusingly, we also managed to get banned from the Nelson Ladies Academy for producing a play which had the temerity to mention the word "Homosexual" (The Zoo Story) - how times have moved on!

The plays were new to many audiences, which would not be so if we had chosen "Waiting for Godot", "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" or "The Caretaker" by the same authors. They also have striking theatrical and literary qualities, and the electricity and subtlety of great drama.

Between November and December 1977 we toured Nelson, Christchurch, and other South Island venues.

The Players

Robert McKay:

Age 23, born in Leeds, England.

Educated Sheffield University, BA (Hons)  English Literature. Occupations: teacher, musician,

Ever on the move, in 1978 Rob moved north to work for two months at the Mercury theatre in Aukland


Gill Samuel:

Age 25, Born in Wellington. Educated Nelson and Wellington, Dip. Journalism, Wellington Poly. Studied Journalism.

Favourite play: Long Day's Journey into Night Eugene O'Neill. Interests: Collecting turtles, Art deco.

Gill moved to Auckland in early 1978, working mainly in fashion design.


Lauren Mathieu:

Age 27. Born Dannevirke

Studied Law at Christchurch

Laurens subsequent movements are shrouded in mystery!


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The Nelson Provincial Arts Council


The Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council


The Nelson Community Education Centre


The Troupe Theatre - properties


Mike Collins - photography


Richard Coburn - graphics


Julie Tiplady - bookings and comfort to the troops


Bradley Smith - lighting


Snoods Hairdressing Salon


Donald the Truck


Nelson Post Office for inadvertent sponsorship

Slightly more up to date arts news from Nelson NZ:

Stuffed dog found for festival

Thursday, 14 September 2006, 10:48 am
Press Release: Nelson Arts Festival

Stuffed dog found for festival

The Nelson Arts Festival has found the stuffed dog needed as a prop in the Australian dance show Blue Love that stages at the Suter Theatre next month.

The call went out for a stuffed German Shepherd earlier this week - in an appeal that got legs - the story went nationwide, featured on TV and was widely read on the internet.

Arts Festival technical director Antony Hodgson says he heard about a stuffed police dog in a museum, came close to tracking one at the Blenheim dump and followed a lead from a taxidermist who had stuffed a dog 12 years ago - but found the owners had dumped it when it became fly blown.

"Then I got a call from Pauleen Wilkinson, a Nelsonian living in Rotorua, who had shown the story about the stuffed dog hunt to 89 year old Mrs Winifred Flood," he said. "Mrs Flood had a pet Alsatian called Norman that she brought out from England after he had died and been stuffed - she's very excited about Norman going on stage in the Nelson Arts Festival."

Norman will travel to Nelson by courier in time for the first performance of Blue Love in late October, and will be returned to Mrs Flood accompanied by flowers and a box of chocolates.

Cosmic late night footnote - Annabel Norman, the director of the Nelson Arts Festival claims not to be related to the stuffed dog, but in Nelson, this should not be ruled out of the range of possibilities.