NTS | Production - Flowing Water - The Story of a NZ River

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Flowing Water - The Story of a NZ River (Production rights can be obtained now, New Zealand)


4 Sep 2018 - 31 Dec 2022

Short Synopsis

Singing, acting, kapa haka, taonga puoro, film and dance come together in a ground-breaking and dazzling musical drama, from acclaimed New Zealand writer Witi Ihimaera, historian Tom Roa (Waikato-Tainui), and composer Janet Jennings.

 Flowing Water tells the epic story of the Waikato River and all the peoples nurtured by the river – Māori, Pakeha and later migrants in a landmark production. Witi Ihimaera says he was inspired to write Flowing Water as the story is a thrilling one and ideal for development as a musical drama. “This work reflects, through one regional history, the history of New Zealand settlement itself.”

Minimum casting requirements (singer/actors) are as follows: 4 Maori male principals; 2 Maori female principals; 2 Pakeha (European) male principals; 2 Pakeha female principals; 2 Pakeha children; Maori Chorus (minimum of 12 including bit parts; most of the text is chanted; original production used a kapa haka performance group); Pakeha Chorus (minimum of 14 including bit parts; can use non-singing actors if choral backing track is used); 2 Maori dancers; 2 Pakeha dancers.

Two packages can be hired (separately or together) to support productions: 1. A high-quality audio track of the orchestral score either with or without choral score;  2. A visual backdrop of compelling imagery (including subtitles) which can replace elaborate set requirements. 

Flowing Water rights can be purchased for a production company or festival to produce the work themselves, with the packages available for hire to make this fabulous production accessible and easy to stage for a range of professional and community producers.

Reviews Feature

"This opera production is a spectacular and impressive triumph; a massive undertaking and a massive success.  Opera is a particularly demanding art form, uniting words, music, acting, singing and dancing in an often extravagant theatrical event. Flowing Water combines all these forces with new music by composer Janet Jennings, to create a unique creation – one that arises out of the Waikato region – to unite the music, dance and traditions of Māori and Pākehā performing arts. Jennings' sumptuous and rippling score marries with Ihimaera's lively text, with fine performances by many accomplished soloists and choristers."

- Gail Pittaway, Theatreview

Written By
Witi Ihimaera with additional libretto by Tom Roa
Composed By
Janet Jennings
Directed By
John Drummond
Availability Status
Available at short notice

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