ATC Updates

1 JAN - 11 JUN 2020 — Latest News



Auckland Theatre Company


ASB Waterfront Theatre




Auckland Theatre Company Updates

Now we have entered level 2 our staff are back in our Balmoral office and rehearsals are underway.  We are observing social distancing and increased cleaning procedures. Hand sanitiser is readily available and contact tracing is in place through the Simple Trace app. 

ASB Waterfront Theatre is now open for scheduled events and performances.  Keep checking in on this event for our updates, entertainment and industry support.

Kia kaha,

The ATC whānau

Please check the Ministry of Health website for advice on how to stay healthy and safe. If you are seeking information on COVID-19 please visit


Contact Us

Theatre and Offices are OPEN

In level 1, ASB Waterfront Theatre is open for scheduled events and performances. Our Balmoral office is also open for staff, rehearsals and visitors. Deliveries are accepted on Monday – Thursday, 9am – 5pm.

Hand sanitiser is readily available and contact tracing is in place through the Ministry of Health NZ COVID-19 app. Visitors are required to sign in. If you are unwell, please stay at home. 

Auckland Theatre Company Administration and Rehearsals

Phone. 09 309 0390



Box office and Show Enquiries

Phone. 0800 ATC TIX (282 849) 9am – 4pm


ASB Waterfront Theatre Event Enquiries



A message from Colin McColl

Thursday 7 May, 2020

Amongst my favourite online theatrical treats this week were Take Me to the World – the Stephen Sondheim 90th Birthday celebration, Hampstead Theatre’s The Arrest of Ai Weiwei and Tamsin Greig’s hilarious turn as Malvolio in the National Theatre Live funky version of Twelfth Night.

I love the way classic plays like this can be reinterpreted time and time again for new generations and new audiences. I guess that’s what makes them classics. This week we have a classic treat for you with Chekhov’s funny and moving story of unrequited love, The Seagull, reimagined for the digital age. Misplaced love is at the heart of Anton Chekhov’s gentle and elusive comedy The Seagull. Chekhov's professional life as a doctor made him a wry, quiet, yet scrupulous observer of humanity – in all its little triumphs, its foibles and failings. His first works for the stage were one act farcical character studies – but with The Seagull he was attempting something more nuanced and textured. In this play, set at a time of great social upheaval, everyone it seems is in love with the wrong person – and the way it is played out hovers in a territory between comedy and tragedy that is unique to Chekhov. In fact the style was so new – that actors and audiences couldn’t relate to it – and the premiere in 1896 failed miserably. However, the theatre going public soon caught up with Chekhov and the play has resonated with audiences around the world since then.

Luckily, audiences here (and around the world) have very quickly learned to incorporate Zoom into their lives – so this clever and funny reworking of the play for the digital age will make perfect sense to you. For the next four weeks on Friday evenings, you’ll be able to see each act of The Seagull being performed by the cast from their own bubbles. All power to Eli Kent and Eleanor Bishop for coming up with the idea, to our stellar cast and the ATC team who are behind making the project happen.

We also have insights from the virtual rehearsal room as actor Amelia Reynolds shares her discoveries about Helen Keller’s remarkable teacher, Annie Sullivan - lead character of The Miracle Worker directed by Margaret-Mary Hollins. Like most of the country, everyone at ATC is hoping that life under Alert Level Three progresses well – and we can move on down to Level Two very soon when we’ll be able to get actors – the heart and soul of our business – back together in the rehearsal room.

Colin McColl ONZM
Artistic Director
Auckland Theatre Company

Return to the theatre survey

As you can imagine, planning how we return to the stage with this continual fog of COVID-19 uncertainty is challenging. We really need to understand from you how and when you would feel safe to return to the theatre, what you would like to see when you get there and whether you are interested in watching online content while we wait out this moment in time. We value your opinion so please help us plan for a successful future by completing this short survey.

Complete survey

Chekhov's The Seagull

Friday 1 May, 2020

Chekhov’s The Seagull, a new online version by Eli Kent and Eleanor Bishop, directed by Eleanor Bishop brings a landmark piece of theatre to the 21st century.
Delivered in 30 minute installments over four weeks from Friday 8 May, this production will be rehearsed, performed and broadcast all in the online space. The actors will have just one week per episode to read the script, learn their lines and rehearse, ready to broadcast on Friday of that week.
Chekhov's famous characters are reimagined with a Kiwi twist and congregate over Zoom. In a direct commentary of our world in lockdown, the characters are still searching for meaning in their lives while battling love, jealousy, dissatisfaction, dreams, hopes and plans - not to mention malfunctioning video calls! This drama all plays out in self-isolation and over virtual interactions with each other.

This retelling of Chekhov’s classic The Seagull is created by a brilliant artistic team and stellar cast, all from their own bubbles.

Chekhov's The Seagull will be presented in four 30 minute episodes ar 7pm Friday's from May 8. Free via Facebook and YouTube.

Click here for more information on Chekhov's The Seagull.

Chekhov's The Seagull launches our new online initiative ATC ONStage/ONScreen. This new Auckland Theatre Company brand will deliver bespoke projects created especially for online platforms.

COVID-19 update

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

The spread of Covid-19 and the rapid impact has taken the whole world by surprise. There’s nobody that Covid-19 has not touched in some way, whether it is financial hardship, the loss or illness of loved ones here or overseas, or stress in uncertain times. Covid-19 has changed our lives so rapidly it’s hard to believe that it was just six weeks ago we made the decision to cancel our Mainstage winter season productions and close our theatre doors. It was an emotional moment for us and one we are still reeling from.

Despite the challenges theatre and numerous other industries face, moving down to Alert Level 3 was an encouraging sign for all of us. To have flattened the curve as quickly as New Zealand has over the last few weeks is an enviable position for our country to have reached. This fills us with hope moving forward. While we are optimistic that we will again return to the stage to perform shows, the immediate future remains uncertain. With Government restrictions on mass gatherings it is still not known when we will be able to reopen our theatre doors.

The lead up to a show takes many months as contracts are signed, designs are rolled out and sets are built. Due to these commitments the decision about whether we can continue with our September show must be made now. Regrettably, at this point we do not have sufficient confidence we can proceed as planned in September and so we have made the decision to cancel the Dentons Kensington Swan season of By The Way, Meet Vera Stark.

The Haka Party Incident which was previously advised as postponed will now be staged in our 2021 programme.

Our focus continues to be to keep our people safe, to be a supportive employer and to preserve a strong company so that when the time is right we will be ready to perform for audiences again.

During this challenging and unpredictable time, your support of Auckland Theatre Company and the work of the artists of the theatre community continues to be especially meaningful. If you can make a financial contribution to help sustain ATC and our work we would be grateful. Donations to ATC can be made here.

Performing on the stage continues to be the very essence of who we are so we look forward to returning to the stage as soon as conditions permit; our team and the theatre community cannot wait to again perform for our audiences. Until then, we’ll see you online.

Ngā mihi nui,

Jonathan Bielski                                   Colin McColl ONZM
Chief Executive Officer                         Artistic Director

A message from Colin McColl

Friday 24 April, 2020

One of the advantages of lockdown life is the chance to catch up on reading books that have been lying around for ages. Usually most of my reading time is taken up with playscripts – plays we are looking at developing, or plays we’re considering for future seasons. So it was a joy to finally pick up Man with a Blue Scarf, Martin Gayford’s diary of sitting for the painter Lucian Freud. If you’re interested in art or the process of creating a portrait painting this book is gold!

I found in Man with a Blue Scarf so much that is applicable to our business of theatre-making as well as the even trickier business of suddenly having to create online content. Working in this space is quite a gear change after my fifty years of working with actors and creatives in a rehearsal room making live theatre. When Lucian Freud started a portrait painting he didn’t rush. He’d maybe begin with the sitter’s cheekbone, then slowly and methodically (though always with great energy and concentration) he’d build up the painting, until it was ready to be viewed. Now, I’m not suggesting we take months to bring you online projects - but there’s something to be said for not rushing it. We want to deliver quality online experiences. We know many of your inboxes are already bulging, so we’ve reset our thinking about what we deliver to you in this moment in time.
We have a few online projects brewing and we’ll tell you more about these as they come to fruition. It would be fair to say we’ve encountered a few contractual barriers which prevents us from screening some of our back catalogue and on second viewing we’ve considered some of it not of good enough broadcast quality. However, we will still stay connected with you every couple of weeks to let you know what we have been up to in our virtual rehearsal room for The Miracle Worker, we’ll share any great online performances from around the world we think you might be interested in and we’ll be taking you behind the scenes at Auckland Theatre Company to meet some of the many staff who all contribute to getting a play on stage. 

As we move into Level 3 next week we are looking to the future, working on ways we can once again produce and present live theatre for you, our audience.  We are determined we'll be ready to throw open our theatre doors again when the time is right. 

Colin McColl ONZM
Artistic Director
Auckland Theatre Company

Virtual rehearsals

Even though they can't be together in the rehearsal room physically, the cast and creative team of the ASB season of The Miracle Worker are coming together via Zoom to rehearse and explore ways they could share meaningful highlights of this emotionally uplifting theatre classic online. 

Director of the ASB season of The Miracle Worker Margaret-Mary Hollins with Mustaq Missouri, Aidan O'Malley, Batanai Mashingaidze, Amelia Reynolds, Edwin Wright, Tanya Corpuz, Laurel Devenie, Colin McColl, Beth Kayes, Talia Pua, Dan Williams, Elizabeth Whiting, Emma Kemp and Jason Smith.

Friday 20 March, 2020

Kia ora,

The effects of COVID-19 and the restrictions on the size of public gatherings mean Auckland Theatre Company cannot perform as normal. Our plans have had to change dramatically.

The ASB season of The Miracle Worker and the MiNDFOOD season of The Master Builder are cancelled. The Haka Party Incident as well as the annual HERE & NOW Festival are postponed. We have decided to take the Company online for the next few months and create work with our artists for you to see in the digital space rather than the theatre. 

This follows previously advised cancellations of our Winding Up tour, that was due to play New Plymouth on 20 and 21 March and Tauranga 25 and 26 March, and our Q Theatre season of Black Lover, which was scheduled to play until 4 April.  

Although for the foreseeable future we cannot stage our work in the theatre for an audience, we are fully committed to the works, our artists, our audiences and the act of creating theatre.

The artists engaged for the ASB season of The Miracle Worker and the MiNDFOOD season of The Master Builder will be invited to create digital work that will keep our artists employed, our audiences engaged and the Company making theatre. We are excited by the tantalising prospect of what may be created for the web. More on exactly what form that will take soon.

The Haka Party Incident, to which we remain completely committed, will be rescheduled to another time, either in 2020 or next year. We will also postpone our annual HERE & NOW Festival, which will either be rescheduled to a later date or take place in an online format in collaboration with our young theatre-makers.

Performing on the stage is the very essence of who we are, so you will appreciate this has been a heart-wrenching decision to make. But there is no question what is required right now is to act in a way that limits the spread of COVID-19, and so in that sense it has been a straightforward call.

In responding to this moment of challenge our focus has been to keep our people safe, to be a supportive employer and to preserve a strong company that remains a place where artists create theatre.

We are very conscious of the consequences for our employees. For people under contract, those contracts will be honoured and people will be paid. We are actively engaging with our workers, offering support services and doing what is possible to provide paid work.

You will appreciate the financial impact on ATC is unprecedented.  If you’re able, we hope you’ll consider making a donation.

During this challenging and unpredictable time, your support of Auckland Theatre Company and the work of the artists of the theatre community is especially meaningful.  

When the restrictions on public gatherings ease, we will be ready to return with gusto. In the meantime, see you online very soon.

Ngā mihi nui,

Jonathan Bielski                                   Colin McColl ONZM

Chief Executive Officer                          Artistic Director

Wellbeing help available


Kiwi music industry charity MusicHelps have extended their services to the broader arts community, in response to industry-wide need for support due to the unprecedented impact that COVID-19 has had on the performing arts.

 The MusicHelps Wellbeing Service is a FREE 24/7 online, on the phone (tollfree 0508MUSICHELP), and in-person counselling service. This service is being extended to the wider arts community with immediate effect, thanks to the kind generosity of MusicHelps along with NZ Comedy Trust, Auckland Live, and Auckland Theatre Company. People who work in the Arts Community, including comedians, actors, technicians, festival staff and crew, venue staff, and more people in the arts industry who have had their livelihoods affected, can now access the MusicHelps Wellbeing Service.

“Access to trained counsellors who understand the creative arts is so greatly needed in the wider arts community right now, so we are happy to open up our service which is already established and ready to help in this climate.” said Campbell Smith, Chairperson of MusicHelps.

The impact of the Coronavirus COVID-19 on the wider arts and music environment has been rapid and its effects widespread. In addition to the counselling services available, much of the information currently available on the MusicHelps website is also applicable to people in the arts community. MusicHelps recognises that safeguarding finances as well as physical, mental, and emotional health will be key to navigating the current situation successfully. Information regarding COVID-19 related cancellations, postponements, and other changes can be found in a specific section on the MusicHelps website, which includes resources about financial aid and touring advice:

More generally, trained counsellors at MusicHelps can talk callers through issues they are facing, and connect callers with face to face counselling and advice from their specialist local teams. All MusicHelps counsellors have a proven track record in the creative industries, and can provide access to other services for specific needs if necessary. MusicHelps provides information on some of the warning signs to look for in yourself and others, how to start the conversation with someone you’re worried about, information on mental health, links to online tools you might find useful, tips on how to maintain positive wellbeing and the numbers of other organisations that can help.



Auckland Theatre Company

Black Lover, the ASB season of The Miracle Worker, the MiNDFOOD season of The Master Builder and the Dentons Kensington Swan season of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark are cancelled. 

We will be in contact with all ticket holders as soon as we can to arrange a transfer or refund. As you can imagine, our Box Office is fielding a tremendous volume of requests and we greatly appreciate your patience, support and understanding.



The Haka Party Incident and HERE & NOW Festival are postponed.


The safety of our audiences continues to be our greatest priority and for this reason, we feel we can no longer continue with these seasons at this time.

We will be in contact with all ticket holders as soon as we can with the new date for The Haka Party Incident. As you can imagine, our Box Office is fielding a tremendous volume of requests and we greatly appreciate your patience, support and understanding.


Winding Up tour

ATC’s Winding Up Tour performances in Tauranga and New Plymouth are cancelled.

For information on refunds for these performances please contact Ticketek on 0800 842 538 or 


Auckland Arts Festival


Watt and Dimanche are cancelled

We ask that you please consider donating to support Auckland Arts Festival.  Cancelling Dimanche and Watt along with other shows has been a major blow for the Festival and artists. Those who wish to donate can email

If you purchased your tickets through ASB Waterfront Theatre we will be in contact within the next few days to arrange for a donation or refund. As you can imagine, our box office is fielding a tremendous volume of requests and we greatly appreciate your patience, support and understanding.