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Event: The Woman in Black – June 2022

Auckland is in for a spine-tingling treat when The Woman in Black swoops onto The Pumphouse Theatre stage to spook and inspire. This new production of the gothic horror classic shows for a limited season from 11-19 June, with tickets now on sale.

During afternoon tea there’s a shift in the air,
a bone-trembling chill that tells you she’s there.
There are those who believe the whole town is cursed
but the house in the marsh is by far the worst.
What she wants is unknown, but she always comes back.
the spectre of darkness, The Woman in Black.

The Woman in Black follows Arthur Kipps (Michael Hurst), a retired lawyer beset by the ghosts of his past. After years of futile attempts to rid himself of these dark memories, he hires a dilapidated theatre space and engages a young actor (Zane Fleming) to tell his story and hopefully banish the pain and heartache that has haunted him for so long. Can he finally be free of this nightmare? Journey deep into the darkness and come face-to-face with the thing that goes bump in the night, the shadow in the corner of your eye, the breath on the back of your neck… The Woman in Black.
Originally a novel written by Dame Susan Hill in 1983, The Woman in Black was adapted for the stage in 1987 by Stephen Mallatratt and has been terrifying audiences in the three decades since. It first opened on London’s West End in 1989 and is still being performed, making this the second-longest running play in West End history after Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. Though many have tried to replicate the sheer terror The Woman in Black creates on stage, it is still considered the benchmark of live horror to this day.
Bringing The Woman in Black to the stage is director Matt Baker, an award-winning New Zealand actor, director, dramaturg and critic. A graduate of UNITEC, The University of Auckland and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, Baker’s previous directing credits Mo & Jess Kill Susie(Basement Theatre, 2014), An Unseasonable Fall of Snow (Basement Theatre, 2014) and The Lesson (Basement Theatre, 2015.) Baker directs Michael Hurst and Zane Fleming in the roles of Arthur and the Actor respectively. 
Michael Hurst ONZM is one of New Zealand’s most celebrated actors. Over four decades, Hurst has made countless contributions to the New Zealand Theatre scene. From his early work with The Court Theatre and Auckland’s Theatre Corporate, to his independent productions (including the hit show No Holds Bard), to recent collaborations with Auckland Theatre including Chicago (2013) and The Life of Galileo (2021.) Since he appeared as “Young Goldstein” in an ASB campaign in the early 2000’s, Zane Fleming has continued to regularly appear on our stages and screens. Notable musical theatre credits include performances in Les Misérables (2019), RENT (2015) and The Sound of Music (2015)
Upon reflecting on the genre-defining work that is The Woman in Black, Hurst comments that, 
I can’t wait to begin working on The Woman in Black. It’s been almost a year since any of us has been able to go to the theatre!  We are at our most human when we are sharing experiences with others, and it is a deep and often under-appreciated loss when we are prevented from doing so. There is nothing like a play or a concert to bring people together on a human level. The unique and risky nature of live performance in a room full of people can’t be replaced with streaming services. 

The Woman in Black is a clever, tightly written, intense, scary play. It’s a great challenge, but both Zane and I are totally up for it, chomping at the bit in fact, delighted to be treading the boards again. Theatre is back, and here we come!

Note – Copy for this article supplied by Elephant Publicity.

Masked Productions presents
The Woman in Black
By Stephen Mallatratt
Adapted from the novel by Dame Susan Hill
Directed by Matthew Baker
Starring Michael Hurst and Zane Fleming
11 – 25 June
The PumpHouse Theatre
2a Manurere Avenue, Takapuna
Tickets $35 – $40*
Book now via The PumpHouse


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