Raglan provides nurturing to get sellout show back on road

Raglan has been nurturing up-and-coming artist Cian Gardner as she rehearses her one-woman show Sorry For Your Loss at the Old School Arts Centre.

She was so taken with the aroha she felt in Raglan that she is performing a ‘pay what you can’ show at the Raglan Town Hall on Saturday, March 7 at 7.30pm before embarking on a Wellington tour later in the month.

“I’ve really enjoyed rehearsing in Raglan. The Old School is such a nice space and it’s been great to take a break and go for a walk on the beach. This show is an offering to Raglan for taking us under their wing.”

Written and performed by Cian, Sorry For Your Loss debuted at Hamilton’s Toi Wāhine Festival to sellout audiences last year.

In a true coming-of-age story, Cian explores the effects of having a sometimes-there-mostly-not Dad and ultimately the story becomes the gift of strength from one woman to another.

The dialogue is gritty, humorous and very relatable, and Cian uses physicality rather than props to recreate her characters, which include her mother, father and herself at various ages.

A raw and real performance, Sorry For Your Loss sees Cian open up to the audience and expose something she never thought she needed to revisit.

Born out of Cian’s involvement in Waikato New Works Incubator Programme, Sorry For Your Loss was a creative accident.

She thought she had put her journey to find her father behind her, but it was here she came face-to-face with a cousin who features in the show. The meeting of the cousins was awkward at first, so awkward a fellow actor questioned the pair about what was happening.

Upon hearing the story, Cian’s colleague was adamant that this was her show.

“After that I really started to own the story,’ she says.

With the blessing from her father’s family, Cian embarked on telling the story of her search for father and her identity as a part Māori girl growing up with a Pakeha mother.

The Creative New Zealand Ngā Manu Pīrere Award recipient in 2019 which recognises artistic achievement for those at an early stage of their career, Cian has been a rising star in Waikato theatre.

Since graduating from the University of Waikato, she founded her own theatre company, Cove Theatre, which focuses on getting local stories on stage and placing people who are not always given the spotlight, centre stage.

“As a performer I could not find the type of theatre with stories that reflected people from my community. I felt as though there was not a base for Māori storytelling in the Waikato, so I decided to start my own”.

In Sorry For Your Loss, Cian has teamed up with a couple of Raglan creatives – theatre director and dramaturg Laura Haughey, who brings her unique physical approach to the storytelling in this original, and the live music is performed by local maestro Andy Duggan.

Check out Sorry For Your Loss at the Raglan Town Hall on Saturday, March 7 at 7.30pm

  Janine Jackson