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1 Taranaki Street, Wellington | Box Office Ph: 04 801 7992
Duration: 08 July - 19 July 2014

Written by: Ralph McCubbin Howell
Directed by: Hannah Smith


Presented by trick of the light theatre

This is a story about a girl who followed a map off the edge of the world…

In New Zealand there are some 56,000 kilometres of paper roads – streets and towns that exist only on surveyors’ maps. Or do they? A young woman strays from the beaten track and finds herself in a paper world. It seems a land of possibility but she soon discovers that things that happen in the fictional world can have frighteningly real consequences.

From an award-winning company comes an original fairytale drawn from the twitchy edges of children’s literature – a dark world reminiscent of Coraline, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Margaret Mahy. Combining puppetry, shadow play, and live music, this is a curious tale for intrepid children and adventurous adults…


  • Elle Wootton, Oliver de Rohan, and Ralph McCubbin Howell

  • 08 July − 19 July

    Tuesday – Saturday 11am and 7pm

    Sunday 4.30pm

  • Adults $25 | Concession/Industry (need to be booked through the box office) $20 | Kids $10

    School/Holiday Programme group booking: $9 per student
    One adult free with every 10 students (min. 10 students) – can only be booked through Box Office either over the phone or in person.

    Concession: Seniors, Students, Friends of Circa.

  • The road to take is one that delights


    On display at Circa Two is a fine example of rich and splendid storytelling. It is a story that will enchant young and old and if it is the first visit to the theatre for the young, it will make sure there will be a demand for many more.

    The talented and multi-award winning Wellington-based Trick of the Light Theatre first presented The Road That Wasn’t There at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2012.

    It played in the New Zealand Fringe Festival held in Wellington last year, and then toured the country to great acclaim.

    The story is told by Gabriel who is rubber-stamping papers in a boring job in Australia when he gets a series of calls from his home in the Maniototo telling him that his elderly mother is causing problems with maps, placing numerous mouse traps on her front path, and keeping a washing machine full of apples. He returns home reluctantly to find she is being difficult, but no more difficult than usual. However, we discover Maggie is a spritely, idiosyncratic, and funny widow and when she gets round to telling Gabriel about his father, whom he never knew, and the road that wasn’t there, she not only has him spellbound but the audience too.

    What happens on the road is when young Maggie, who was meant to be sewing curtains for a rich land-owning family, ends up making costumes for a theatrical company (performing a melodrama about Captain Cook), falling in love and finding the road to nowhere a terrifying experience.

    It is very much a New Zealand story, set in the final days of the gold diggings with the strange Blanket Man, a guardian piwakawaka, a Kopuwai-like monster and a two-headed dog (shadow puppets) as well as a nosy neighbour, a funny local policeman, a dairy owner in a wacky hat and references to a home for near-sighted cats.

    The three actors – Elle Wootton, Oliver de Rohan, and Ralph McCubbin Howell – not only act and sing with exceptional skill and charm but they also manipulate the delightful rod- puppets designed and created by Hannah Smith.



    John Smythe, Theatreview, 09 July 2014


“Thoroughly enchanting and totally engrossing, The Road That Wasn’t There is a must see show for all ages.” – The Dominion Post

“Probably the most beautiful kids’ show I’ve ever seen.” – Edinburghia2012

Suitable for audiences of all ages.

Running time: 1 hour (no interval). LATECOMERS NOT ADMITTED.