Detour Theatre

Who doesn’t love a fart joke?

Uproarious laughter from the audience during Detour Theatre’s latest show, The Old People Are Revolting, would suggest that no one is too old, or decorous, for the timelessness of flatulence humour. Good thing, too, as the show delivers this in spades.

A play on the word ‘revolting’, the production is about much more than undesirable bodily functions.

The residents at Sunshine Retirement Village are bored. Every day is the same. The repetitiveness only intensifies their loneliness. Old age has relegated them to the side-lines of society and they are fed up with being ignored.

When a smug young reporter reveals that the council plans on cutting the elderly’s rates discount, the residents resolve to prove to the world just what seniors are capable of. They revolt.

Led by former trade union rabble-rouser, Shirley, and encouraged by resident flirt and trumpeter, Howie, the residents hatch a plan to cede from New Zealand under the United Nations Charter and create their own kingdom. Counselled by former High Court Judge, Patricia, they figure that if they belong to their own independent state, the local council won’t be able to tax them.

However, things quickly escalate. Mysterious and reclusive resident, Doug, a reluctantly retired farmer, is recruited to build a home-made bomb to blow up a bothersome council-owned tree. Doug is thrilled. He’s been bored senseless ever since he retired.

The action culminates in the tree’s destruction, with footage of the explosion going viral, leading to law enforcement breathing down the senior revolutionaries’ necks.

Crazy shenanigans aside, the play provides some clever commentary on society’s treatment of the elderly and the human need for companionship.

According to Devon Williamson, Detour Theatre Trustee, the show has been a rollicking success.

“Our season of The Old People Are Revolting has been enthusiastically received by the Tauranga community. Almost every performance has been sold-out or within a few seats of doing so.

“We're very proud of our actors, and our director Kim Williamson was delighted to be able to cast the show with a majority of actors who were either new to our stage or had only been on stage with us once before.”

Detour Theatre has been operating since 2007. Their purpose is to create theatre art with the community, for the community, in the community. This is achieved through their community theatre productions and educational programmes, which include weekly classes for participants aged seven to seventy. They also run classes for adults who have special intellectual and physical needs.

Williamson values community theatre’s ability to foster meaningful connections and inclusivity.

“It plays a real role in developing a sense of community that is so important, especially with the isolation that has been experienced in recent years due to the pandemic.”

Detour Theatre recently received $10,000 in TECT funding to support their operating costs, funding which Williamson says is incredibly important in enabling Detour to deliver their programmes and productions.

“As a charitable trust, we work hard to be as self-funding as possible. Our shortfall is met by generous donors such as TECT who see the value in our programmes and, like us, want to ensure they stay affordable to the widest number of people in the community as possible.”

TECT Trustee, Tina Jennen, believes it is important for people to have a safe space to express themselves creatively and build confidence.

“Community theatre creates an environment for self-expression that often does not exist in other areas of our lives. Individuals benefit from building communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills, which enhance their ability to cope with challenges in their lives and are important for the health of a community.

“Detour Theatre’s shows provide more than just an entertaining night out; they build people up, showcase local talent, and bring our community together - all things that contribute to creating a thriving, caring and connected community here in the Western Bay of Plenty.”

To find out more about Detour’s drama programmes or upcoming shows, check out their website here: https://www.detour.co.nz/


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