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My Name Is Rachel Corrie – NZ Premiere at The Forge

21 May 2009

This content is tagged as Theatre .

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On May 29 2009, The Forge at The Court Theatre presents the powerful and provocative story of a peace activist killed in the Gaza Strip in the New Zealand première of My Name Is Rachel Corrie.

On May 29 2009, The Forge at The Court Theatre presents the powerful and provocative story of a peace activist killed in the Gaza Strip in the New Zealand première of My Name Is Rachel Corrie.

Rachel Corrie was born on April 10th 1979 in Olympia, Washington and joined the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in early 2003, travelling to the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Less than three months later she was killed by an Israeli military bulldozer while protecting a Palestinian family’s home from demolition. Her death drew world-wide media attention and caused international controversy.

British actor Alan Rickman and Guardian journalist Katharine Viner edited the diaries and e-mails of the young American activist to create the production, whichpremiered at the Royal Court in London, 2005, to sell-out houses. The production was set to transfer to New York in March 2006, when producers in America indefinitely postponed the U.S debut. Outraged political groups made allegations of censorship, drawing pro-Israeli accusations of bias. The Royal Court withdrew the rights. Eventually the production made its Off-Broadway debut at the Minetta Lane Theatre in October 2006.

Director Lara Macgregor feels “honoured to be a part of such a socially and politically relevant play” and bringing the piece to Christchurch audiences. Macgregor states that “politics aside, this is a play about Rachel – writer, artist, poet. Rachel – the daughter, girlfriend, student, co-worker and friend,” adds Macgregor. “My Name Is Rachel Corrie is Rachel’s story, told in her own words. Regardless of whether audiences agree or disagree with her views, her life and commitment to her ideals is inspirational.”

Actress Kate Prior embraces the challenge of playing Rachel Corrie: “This is a thrilling and terrifying experience all rolled into one. When push comes to shove it’s just me up there trying to do justice to the memory of this vibrant young woman. Whenever the task at hand becomes overwhelming Rachel’s words are right there to remind, inspire and encourage me.”

In addition to its four-week season in The Forge, My Name Is Rachel Corrie will tour local high schools where the performance will be followed by discussions with students about the political aspects of the play. Macgregor believes that Rachel’s passionate idealism is particularly relevant to young people and that “her story should spark debate, challenge opinions and encourage people to learn more about global issues.

Australian designer Rita Carmody makes her Christchurch debut with My Name is Rachel Corrie, where the audience are taken from the domestic safety of Olympia, Washington into the war-torn desolation of the Gaza Strip. Her stunning set is supported by another innovative soundtrack by Geoff Nunn, lighting by Josh Major and video elements by Andrew Todd