Sir Peter Blake Trust - Blake Leader alumni Renee Liang’s new play "Dominion Rd The Musical", was inspired by the unique cultural diversity of Auckland.
Liang, who is also a paediatrician, wrote the play in order to promote the diversity of Auckland’s famous Dominion Road, a hub of multi-culture restaurants, shops, and businesses, and although a work of fiction, was inspired by true events, with Dominion Rd’s business owners and residents fighting local politicians attempting to rebrand it as a ‘Chinatown’.
“I remember feeling incensed, along with many others, when I first read that ethnographic researchers and Auckland Council were looking at 'upgrading' Dominion Rd's Balmoral precinct to become Auckland's ‘Chinatown’ ”.
“As a Dominion Rd resident, diner and shopper myself, I wondered ‘why would you break a good thing?’ For so long, Dominion Rd has harboured migrants and their stories from all cultures. Putting in fake signifiers, no matter how glossy or well meant, could change the organic growth of this area and drive all those original businesses away. What better way to argue this point than with a brand new musical?”
The production features a professional cast of 5 as well as over 10 community members, many of whom have either past and/or present ties to Dominion Rd, including Jackie Clarke, Marissa Holder, Mustaq, Brady Peeti and Benjamin Teh.
The director is Borni Te Rongopai Tukiwaho, who says “As a broker between community and the performing arts landscapes, it’s imperative to give people from all sectors of the community a voice to tell their unique stories.”
The community cast took part in a workshop in July 2016 where they shared their stories, languages and histories and created characters inspired by these elements.
The production team have also engaged with local businesses, and Liang listened to oral histories from Auckland Libraries’ collection to inspire her writing.
Visit "Dominion Rd The Musical" for a glimpse behind the scenes of the show, videos, and other updates