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Breaking news: The Bacchanals are staging the NZ premiere of Jessica Swale’s Blue Stockings!

“A woman who expends her energy exercising the brain does so at the expense of her vital organs,” said Dr Henry Maudsley, world-renowned psychiatrist and advisor to the royal family in 1874.

Earlier in 2014 The Bacchanals brought you Once We Built A Tower, Dean Parker’s play about how New Zealand once had the most ahead-of-its-time welfare scheme in the world. In October 2014, The Bacchanals Are Back!TM with a play that again shows how fortunate we are to live in such a progressive country (don’t let the election result fool you!). “I know, I know,” says director David Lawrence, “everyone thought we’d be doing an adaptation of Dirty Politics instead of a Victorian period drama. Don’t worry, it’s still political!”

Two decades after Kate Edger became New Zealand’s first female university graduate in 1877, women in the rest of the British Empire were still fighting for the right to education despite matching their male peers grade for grade. Blue Stockings tells the tale of four women studying science at Girton College, Cambridge in 1896, the year that headmistress Elizabeth Welsh attempted to convince the University senate that women should be allowed to graduate with degrees.

Photo (c) Douglas Chubb

Photo (c) Douglas Chubb

Jessica Swale’s play premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe in August 2013, and The Bacchanals are thrilled to be presenting it in New Zealand for the first time. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the 17th century or the 21st – when you’re writing plays for the Globe stage, the ideas have to be huge and epic,” says David Lawrence. “Blue Stockings is at once comic and tragic, intimate -and epic, specific and timeless.” Said The Guardian’s Michael Billington: “Jessica Swale writes with palpable vigour and leaves you astonished at the prejudices these education pioneers had to overcome.”

Winners of the Critics’ Wildcard award for Guts, Determination, Kiwi Ingenuity and Inspired Profligacy With Zero Budget at the 2013 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards, the same team of Bacchanals who brought you Coriolanus, The Clouds, Gunplay, All’s Well That Ends Well and Once We Built A Tower are so happy to be back with their third show for 2014 and their 29th production as a company. Blue Stockings stars Kirsty Bruce, Alice May Connolly, Joe Dekkers-Reihana, Brianne Kerr, Salesi Le’ota, Michael Ness, Hilary Penwarden, Jean Sergent, Ellie Stewart, Michael Trigg and Aidan Weekes, and is directed by David Lawrence.

The Bacchanals present Blue Stockings by Jessica Swale ● The Long Hall, Point Jerningham (behind St Barnabus’ and Roseneath School) ● Tuesday 28 October – Saturday 8 November, 7pm (no show Sunday) ● All tickets $15 ● Bookings e-mail

Next time: a cut & paste of the media release for our January 2015 production of Richard III, no doubt!


Breaking news: The Bacchanals stop their terrible neglect of this ‘blog to tell you that they are touring a play!

That’s right, folks – if you haven’t already seen it on our main/proper website or via our Twitter feed, The Bacchanals are touring the South Island from August 25 – September 6 2014 with Dean Parker’s Once We Built A Tower.  You can catch us in the following places on the following dates:

Monday 25 August – Sinclair Centre, Ashburton

Tuesday 26 August – Caroline Bay Community Lounge, Timaru

Wednesday 27 August – Twizel Events Centre

Thursday 28 August – Tekapo Community Hall

Friday 29 August – Omarama Community Centre

Saturday 30 August – Kurow Memorial Hall

Monday 1 September – Oamaru Scottish Hall

Tuesday 2 September – Otago Pioneer Women’s Memorial Association Hall, Dunedin

Wednesday 3 September – James Cumming Wing Lecture Theatre, Gore

Thursday 4 September – South Otago Theatrical Society Hall, Balclutha

Friday 5 September – Millers Flat Hall, Roxburgh

Saturday 6 September – Clyde Memorial Hall

All shows are at 7pm and entry is by koha/donation! The show is two hours long and there’ll be a fifteen minute interval for a cup of tea. We’re exhausted with the effort of telling people how great this show is and what a good time this tour will be, so look to our website for more information on the show and the cast.  Come on down and see us, y’all! you won’t regret it.  Looking forward to seeing you all in the South Island!

Huge huge thanks to our funders & sponsors and in particular to Interislander, Coffee Supreme, Emerging Artists’ Trust Wellington, Pelorus Trust, Creative New Zealand plus Boosted, Playmarket, The Long Hall and everyone else who’s helped us out!  We love you so much it will surely kill us.  Or you.  You decide!

Next time: will The Bacchanals be able to squeeze one more show in before Richard III opens on 15 January 2015??

The VUWSA Victoria University Shakespeare Club
in association with The Bacchanals present

Henry the Sixth, Part One

Every saga has a beginning. Every journey has a first step.
Every great trilogy has a weird prequel.

7pm Monday 12–Wednesday 14 October 2009
Union Hall, Student Union Building
Mount Street, Victoria University of Wellington
Tickets: $10
Book at

The epic battle between good and evil begins again only this time without the racist aliens and camp robots. You thought they were beaten at Agincourt, but now the French empire looks ready to strike back! Ever wondered what would happen if Joan or Arc was given Sith powers and waged war against The valiant Johh Talbot, England’s greatest Jedi? Come along and find out…

This is the first installment of the action-packed trilogy The Wars of the Roses, set to be staged over the next two years, the prequel to Henry VI: Parts Two and Three and Richard III… coming soon!

Multi-award-winning winning company The Bacchanals have joined with the newly formed Victoria University of Wellington Shakespeare Club to produce this exciting production as part of NZ’s Compleate Workes year. The large cast includes Bacchanals stalwarts, Alex Greig and Salesi Le’ota, internationally trained fight-choreographer, Allan Henry and is directed by David Lawrence.

VUWSACompleate Works logo updated smallerHigher-res_logo

Henry the Sixth, Part One

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