The Lion Foundation Season of

Once On Chunuk Bair

By Maurice Shadbolt

12 JUN - 5 JUL 2014 — Drama



Auckland Theatre Company


Maidment Theatre






Date: 8 August 1915. Before dawn, the Wellington Regiment, part of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, commences an offensive to seize Chunuk Bair, a pivotal peak overlooking Gallipoli Bay. As inept British Generals look on from their battleships, the Regiment captures the high ground. However, their success is only fleeting as the Turks launch a massive counter-attack. With extraordinary courage, the stalwart young Wellingtonians battle to hold off the enemy, firing their rifles and those of their fallen companions until the wood of the stock is too hot to touch.

Maurice Shadbolt was one New Zealand's most celebrated novelists, playwrights, history-writers and storytellers and in this rarely-performed classic, he recreates a tragic episode of modern war: a battle that defined us as a nation. Of the 760 men who had reached the summit, 711 had become casualties. This is their story.

Vivid and visceral, upsetting and uplifting, Once on Chunuk Bair is a searing tribute to the sacrifice a generation made. It is a tale of tragedy, heroism and heartbreak and, a century after the outbreak of World War One, stands as a masterpiece of remembrance.

Lest we forget.

"A timely reminder of the pitfalls of fighting someone else's war, ONCE ON CHUNUK BAIR is a rarely performed New Zealand classic. It'll feature some of our finest young actors, directed by the inimitable Ian Mune."