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A new stage musical!

Posted by MAB

A new stage musical!  

We’re returning to our musical roots - Mt Albert Baptist (MAB) has a long history of producing and performing musicals dating back to the 1970s. 

MAB has held auditions for a new stage musical telling the incredible true story of the grace extended to soldiers during the 1881 invasion of the pacifist village Parihaka, nestled in the foothills of Mt Taranaki. 

Our church was the launching pad for Source Theatre, a production company which produced more than 20 musicals over three decades and toured overseas. The Way of the Raukura is written by our lead pastor Steve Worsley, a former concert pianist who was inspired to put the story of Parihaka to music in a way that reflects the cross-cultural challenges of today.

“The story of Parihaka has gained international significance and is one of the country’s greatest stories of grace - yet surprisingly few New Zealanders know it,” says Steve who is the Music Director for the production. 

“I grew up in Taranaki, but no one told me the Parihaka story until after I left home as a young adult. The Way of the Raukura is the story I wish I had heard.”

We’re looking to recruit a cast of about 40 actors for the non-profit musical, which are all on a pro-bono basis. Steve says this musical will be an opportunity for experienced and aspiring actors and musicians to help tell the story of Parihaka. Steve’s experience as a concert pianist and his role as a church minister all coincide with this musical project. 

The Way of the Raukura combines his passion for music and interest in justice and stories of grace. He studied and performed music until his mid-20s, then trained as a church minister.

Brought up in Taranaki, he learned the true story of the invasion of the pacifist village Parihaka, and was recently inspired to put it to music. 

“My upbringing in Taranaki, my training as a musician and my interest in justice and stories of grace as a church minister, all coincide with this Parihaka Musical project. It feels like the project of a lifetime.”

The musical features a song, written by Sarah Tahere, that tells of how war meets peace, guns meet grace and love meets greed. Sarah’s been involved in the musical since the start. 

Steve travelled to Parihaka a number of times to meet and talk with kaumatua in Taranaki, and The Way of the Raukura is being brought to the stage mid-2020 with permission from Parihaka’s Papakainga Trust.

The musical’s Production Manager, Mike Hookey, worked with the late renown playwright Wayne Wright throughout his career – both at MAB and Source Theatre. 

“The opportunity to use music and drama to tell this beautiful story of grace, hope and unconditional love demonstrated by the people of Parihaka is unmissable. I had to be part of it,” says Mike.

The New Zealand playwright agency Playmarket has reviewed the script.

Auditions have been held but we are keen to hear from anyone who is still interested in being a part of this production- click the banner on our homepage to find out more.