Handstand Productions is a theatre company that tours plays written and produced by Jan Bolwell. To date five of her plays have toured extensively throughout New Zealand.Her latest play Welcome to the Death Cafe opens at BATS theatre, Wellington in November 2019.

What you gonna do when death walks in the room?

It is the opening line of a Mavis Staples song, sung by the cast in Welcome to the Death Cafe which looks at the contentious subject of euthanasia. With the Euthanasia Bill currently making its way through the New Zealand parliament it is timely to examine this issue.

Bolwell says: “I feel passionate about the subject of euthanasia because of personal family expe- rience. It is when we are confronted with the death of a loved one that we are compelled to exam- ine closely our own feelings.

I have tried not to write a polemical play that pushes a particular point of view. Euthanasia is a very complex issue and their are strong arguments to be made on both sides of the debate.”

This is not a play full of doom and gloom. There is a lot of humour, and even song and dance. Sometimes in the most tragic of circumstances, there is laughter.

Jan Bolwell sets her play in a Death Cafe meeting. Death Cafes, a worldwide phenomenon, are where people come together to have coffee and cake and to discuss aspects of death and dying.

There are five people who turn up at the Death Cafe meeting in Masterton, each with their own personal reasons for being there. These are revealed as the play unfolds and euthanasia becomes the focal point of their discussions.

“I am blessed to have a wonderful cast to help me bring this play to the stage. Annie Ruth, Julie Edwards and Vivien Bell are three talented and highly experienced actors, and it is great to have younger actors, Bea Lee Smith and James Forster on board too,” says Bolwell.

Premiere: Bats Theatre, November 19th-23rd, 2019



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3 years ago
Taking the High Ground

Lydia Bradey arrived in Wellington yesterday and some of the production team - Annie Ruth, Sacha Copland, Emily Regtien and Jan Bolwell had a wonderful session with her. Lydia shared photos, stories ... See more

3 years ago
Bill Massey's Tourists

Technician Neal Barber's first purchase on tour, just in case we are in unheated theatres. Then we have the after show garb. Don't be fooled by the glass of milk. He has already had a few wines!

3 years ago

Did a performance yesterday for friends and family before hitting the road with Arts on Tour New Zealand. It was marvellous to have eminent military historian Chris Pugsley in the audience. Had a ... See more

3 years ago
Handstand Productions

Jan Bolwell will be interviewed about Bill Massey's Tourists this Friday at 1.40pm by Eva Radich on Radio New Zealand's Concert programme.

3 years ago

Jan Bolwell will be interviewed about Bill Massey's Tourists this Friday at 1.40pm by Eva Radich on Radio New Zealand's Concert programme.

3 years ago

In two weeks time I will be on the road with Bill Massey's Tourists as part of the Arts on Tour New Zealand programme.
First stop Whanganui!

4 years ago

Bill Massey's Tourists is playing throughout the country in September this year as part of the 2017 Arts on Tour New Zealand programme. Centres to be visited include: Paraparaumu, Whanganui, New ... See more

5 years ago
Photos from Handstand Productions's post

Bill Massey's Tourists comes to Napier for 2 shows only on June 25 at 2pm & 6pm at The CAN - Creative Arts Napier. Bookings: 06 835 9448 or bookings@thecan.co.nz