The whole world is watching...

In 1981 a racially selected South African rugby team toured New Zealand for the first time in fifteen years, and our country was plunged into chaos. Flash forward a few decades, and the 2008 election saw the conflict make headlines again, when National leader John Key told reporters he ‘couldn’t remember’ his position on the tour. So what was John doing during these fateful months? And where was Aunty Helen? The Engine Room imagines these political icons in a partly factual, mostly fictional account of two seminal moments in New Zealand’s history.

“An ingenious show… Simultaneously intoxicating and sobering.” 

"Entertaining and very funny…”
The Dominion Post


The Engine Room premiered at BATS Theatre, Wellington, during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.



John Key, Peter Davis, Phil Goff, Heather Simpson

Alex Greig

Joan Anderton, Gerry Brownlee, Ruth Key, Mark Sainsbury, Matt Lawrey, Bronagh Key, Don Brash, Protestor

Erin Banks

Jim Anderton, Kevin Taylor, George Clark

Paul Harrop

Helen Clark, Steve Joyce, Protestor

Harriette Cowan




Hannah Smith


Ralph McCubbin Howell

Sound & A.V.


Hannah Banks

Stage Manager
Ellen Walsh

Set Design
Nick Zwart

Dawa Devereux

Lighting Design
Uther Dean

Lighting Operator
William O'Neill

Ricky Dey

Graphic Design & Programme
Alex Rabina

Poster Design
A Mysterious Stranger

AV Research
Veronica Harwood-Stevenson

Ally Garrett
Hannah Banks
Freya Desmarais




Outstanding New Playwright of the Year
Supporting Actress of the Year - Erin Banks
Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards 2011



Most Promising New Director
Costume Designer of the Year
Supporting Actor of the Year
Sound Designer of the Year
Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards 2011