‘Celebratory drum’ for Islanders

BILLED as New Zealand’s first Pacific musical, “The Factory” honours the Pacific Pacific islanders who worked the factory floors from the early going days of their migration to New Zealand in search of a “milk and honey” dream.

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This morning on the Canberra theatre mainstage, the energetic cast of the show that runs today and tomorrow gave us a taste of the original musical and its high-energy choreography by Amanaki Prescott Faletau as they danced and sang about the joys of working in a factory.

On stage, partly hidden behind a Perspex screen, was the live band performing music by Poulima Salina, a part of the success story of this smash hit.

The show, written by Vela Manusaute has been produced by the New Zealand group Kila Kokonut Krew, and as a kind of Pacific ‘Romeo and Juliet’ story, but with plenty of laughs too.

Manusaute says, “I remember growing up and watching my father go to work at the bed factory in Ponsonby he worked at for many years. I witnessed my parents’ struggle to pay the bills and bread was all we had.”

ON returning to his native Nieu, he was told by his elders to try and rediscover his spiritual connection with the land and set about paying tribute to the massive sacrifices of his forbears that he believes have been swept under the carpet.

“This celebratory drum is for them,” he says.

“The Factory”, at the Canberra Theatre, June 24 and 25. Bookings to 6275 2700 or canberratheatrecentre.com.au

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