Fringe Shows

Nelson Centre of Musical Arts - 48 Nile Street

Programmes available now at NCMA

Friday, August 14th


Waste Not Want Not: Bethany’s Guide to the Thrift Life (SOLD OUT)

Bethany Miller | 7:30pm | Adopted by Bay Landscapes & Garden

Bethany is the Queen of Resourcefulness. In her quirky (and musical!) storytelling solo show, Bethany opens up about her tips, tricks and the frightful lengths she's gone to save food, money... well anything and everything really.  It’s a hot handy hack guide for all, a celebration of weird uniqueness, and a microscope into hoarding.


“More than enjoyable, and well worth a watch” - Art Murmurs

“Easily one of the best Fringe shows this year” - Audience Feedback (NZ Fringe 2019)

“Such a wholesome and infectiously good time” - Audience Feedback

“Her singing enlivens the narrative” - Theatreview


After an award-nominated debut at NZ Fringe, followed by Dunedin Fringe and Christchurch’s Little Andromeda, we are so excited to at last bring Thrift Life to Nelson, where the story all began…

The Cool Mum (SOLD OUT)

Jo Ghastly | 9:00pm | Adopted by Coffee 101

This show is a parody of a celebrity parenting seminar. Warning- Laughter. Do not try this at home. Jo Ghastly’s expertise comes from being a self- proclaimed “Cool Mum.”

Jo has created a life coaching/ personal development empire on every social media platform, including TikTok, and has books, a YouTube channel and merch. Her empire is much less successful than she thinks it is. Move over Nigel Latta, Jo Ghastly is bringing her world-class parenting seminar to Nelson to help you become the coolest of cool parents (seriously, she’s on TikTok so you know she’s got the credentials!).

Don’t have any kids of your own? Don’t worry, Jo will be teaching you how to unlock the inner cool potential of your own parents (and maybe validate your choice to never have children...). The show is recommended R13. Mild adult themes.

Social Distancing

Ben 'Tito' Caldwell | 10:30pm | Adopted by The Playhouse

Comedian Ben 'Tito' Caldwell spent five weeks of lockdown with his wife and six children and amazingly he lived to tell the tale! In fact, he became one of these annoying, positive, productive people during the enforced stay at home that people liked to bitch about on social media. But the experience wasn't without some stressful moments. Things like toilet training, puberty and death don't pause just because you're in the middle of a pandemic. But finding the funny side of things is what helped Tito make it through. It's what he has done throughout his whole life when the world around him is falling to pieces. And it's not just a COVID-19 that Aotearoa has just had to contend with over the past decade. The country has experienced more than its fair share of disasters, from the earthquakes, tornados, floods, explosions, mass murders and John Key as Prime Minister. Tito examines some of these awful experiences, the light he was able to find in them and why gallows humour can be therapeutic and necessary.  

Saturday, August 15th


City Life of Cats (G) (SOLD OUT)

Cre8 Theatre Co. | 10:00am |Adopted by Hair in the City

Nelson based youth improvisers act out a story which is completely made up by kids for kids!  The story begins with Alice who lives in the city with her cat, Pebbles.  Each day her cat goes out wandering until tea time.  Alice wonders what Pebbles actually does all day. Finally letting her curiosity get the better of her she decides to go with her and they go on an adventure around the city. Throughout the show we will ask for your ideas to help us come up with where they go and who they encounter.  The choice is yours.  The wonderful joy in being a part of the ideas stage and seeing it through to a creation is how the audience and performer create something quite magical that is literally never seen again!  


Come with your creative ideas and your experiences of being in a city to take Alice and Pebbles somewhere they have never been before!

The Magic in Me (G) (SOLD OUT)

Kath Bee & Ms. Fizzberry | 11:30am | Adopted by Crackerjack Toys

How do you find the magic that's inside of YOU? Kath Bee and Ms Fizzberry weave magic and music together in this fun-filled family show, teaching children how to take care of themselves and others.  Dance, sing and do the actions to Kath Bee's new and well-loved songs.  Laugh hilariously at Ms Fizzberry's magical antics as she discovers that mistakes can be magical!  Sure to put a smile on your faces and leave you singing, this show is a delight for young and old.  A 50 min show suitable for 3-8 year olds.


Zir Productions | 6:00pm | Adopted by RED

Preferring provincial life in rural Northland, transgender couple Willow (SHE) and Ren (THEY) are "small-town famous.” Already a long-term couple, their relationship takes an exciting new direction when both simultaneously begin their journeys into gender-affirming hormone therapy. 


While welcoming physical changes, unexpected shifts in their internal geography have a seismic impact on the way they each relate to cis men and women, themselves, and each other.


In this talk-show meets reality television meets sketch comedy appearance, the couple interview one another LIVE, digressing into devised and improvised storytelling to answer audience questions from their unique perspectives.


With grit, honesty, and tenderness, Willow and Ren share the surprising joys and heartbreaks of re-mapping the way to love when nurture mediates nature.


Reviews for Ren: 

“As talented an actor as you will see currently on any stage in the country.” – Theatreview


Various | 7:30pm | Adopted by The Framing Rooms

Let's take a trip down memory lane. Do you remember when...? Where were you when you heard about...?  In Nostalgia, clever improvisers will use your memories and suggestions to bring back moments from the past. From old advertisement jingles to moments in history or the feeling of a first kiss, Nostalgia will take us back in time with a bespoke performance never to be seen again. The word ‘nostalgia’ comes from Greek words meaning ‘homecoming’ and ‘pain’ but we intend to add a heapful of silliness and joy as well. You'll leave this show with the warm fuzzies. 


Professional improvisers from around the country, and who grew up in different corners of the world, unite to bring your memories and theirs to life. Bringing stories from their pasts and exploring what it is to feel at home, we hope you will join us to reminisce about the ‘good ole days.'


Glenn Cousins & Erin Parry | 9:00pm | Adopted by Summit

A small handful of overly confident, moderately talented comedians, make a desperate attempt to put together a real comedy show! Can they do it? Featuring the best of Nelson's comedy elite, Glenn Cousins and Erin Parry, two North Americans desperately seeking attention and external validation.

Sunday, August 16th


Ironing Man (SOLD OUT)

Mark Darbyshire | 6:00pm | Adopted by Robyn Reynolds

One man’s hopes and dreams, channeled through an iron. This comedy weaves together satire, song, and copious amounts of brightly coloured linen.


Rising star of the Christchurch theatre scene Mark Darbyshire returns to the Bay Landscapes Nelson Fringe with his first solo show, after appearing in the sold-out improvised show Strangers (Impulse Theatre) last Festival.


Blasting through the steamy void between musical theatre and stand-up comedy, Ironing Man is sidesplitting, heartwarming, and unashamedly queer.

If you've never paid to watch someone iron, now is your chance. Come prepared to laugh, cry, and share in the universal wonder of ironing.

Level Heads: A Flat Earth Podcast, Live!

Gerald Allen Yelson-Samuels | 7:30pm | Adopted by Longbrook Landscapes

The popular Flat Earth podcast, Level Heads, is coming to Nelson. Join Gerald Allen Yelson-Samuels for this live recording where we'll discuss things like Flat Earth, alternative medicine, ancient aliens and other hot topics the mainstream media doesn't want you to hear! Note: This is a satirical comedy show. The creators of this show do not actually think the Earth is flat. That would be absurd.

Diary of a Showman

Michael Armstrong | 9:00pm | Adopted by InsideOut Circus & Physical Theatre

Come behind the curtain in this circus theatre show which explores the performers fundamental question- who is harder to satisfy, the audience or the performer?


Join this showman on a rollercoaster ride through the decades as they perform circus acts to bangers from throughout the last century.


Dealing with the serious side of clowning around, it shows the only thing worse than a clown failing is when they fail to clown. Featuring big balloon stunts, extravagant juggling and more bad dancing than a boy band reunion concert, this show will take you on a journey into the performers internal juggle.

Monday, August 17th


Fireflight! (G) (SOLD OUT)

Wakefield School | 6:00pm | Adopted by Wakefield School

In February 2019 Wakefield village was at the heart of a massive forest fire that burnt 2300ha across Pigeon Valley and the surrounding forests of Tasman District. The entire Wakefield community, 3000 people, was evacuated for several days and the village locked down by police and army - the first time in New Zealand history that a whole community has been relocated. Some families were unable to return to their homes for up to a fortnight. For the children of Wakefield School this was a massive and, for some, traumatic event; abandoning homes, belongings, animals and security. 

Fireflight! retells the story of the fire and evacuation through an original theatre work written, produced and performed by students of Wakefield School under the direction of theatre professionals, Lisa and Dan Allan. Recalling the smoke-filled skies and constant noise of helicopters and fire engines, our talented young company combines their real experiences with their imaginations. As disaster strikes and it's time to abandon homes, the unseen realm of dragons, fairies and talking pets come to the fore. 


Fireflight! has been enabled with funding from the Ministry of Education's Creatives in Schools programme.

A One Man's Stand

Maurice Vernon Davies | 7:30pm | Adopted by Nelson Venues & Events

As a dad of two little kids I try and read to them every night. When I looked at the material I was reading to them I realized that some of it was questionable and some of it was absolute rubbish. So I decided to rewrite some of the stories and tell them the truth and how life actually is! My show, although short, tries to capture some of life's issues going on around us while adding in aspects of my personal life and how we got to this point. One man standing up for a laugh! I try and capture aspects of Maoridom, Kiwi culture, being a male as the culture changes around us, taking the piss out of everything but actually trying to highlight some of the issues going on in life and wrapping it all up in a good old fashioned story! 


I'm an amateur comedian trying to show his kids that you can get up in front of people, highlight some serious issues, get a good point across but make it funny, and actually still get ahead in life.

Tuesday, August 18th



Cat House Films | 6:00pm | Adopted by Living Light Candles

Sarah finds out her father is still alive after 40 years of believing him dead. She goes to visit him to find he's in a rest home and is struggling with dementia. She is desperate to find out what happened to him, her mother, and her brother all those years ago and attempts to navigate the tangled web of his memories that may or may not lead her to the truth.

Peanut Butter and JAM (SOLD OUT)

All In | 7:30pm | Adopted by Nelson Organic Cooperative

Welcome to our Peanut Butter and JAM night! Fringe artists from across the Festival converge on one show to bring you a variety night! Poetry, music, comedy, drama, improv... we have no idea! Artists can bring something they have rehearsed long and hard OR something completely brand new, never tried before. Perhaps they'll hop up onstage with someone they've never performed with before and create something magical before our eyes. Whatever happens, we're sure it'll be lots of fun and very tasty. So come out to our Bay Landscapes Nelson Fringe Jam Night! (Peanut butter optional.)

Time Warp (SOLD OUT)

Voice Collective | 9:00pm | Adopted by Godzilla Clothing

So there you are, sat at NCMA during the Bay Landscapes Nelson Fringe Festival when a strangely dressed person comes up to you and you are thinking “but it’s not Halloween”. Remember we are in the Southern Hemisphere and it is a time of less daylight and more darkness and now’s your chance to do the TIME WARP AGAIN with the Nelson Voice Collective.

We are a pop-up based choir.  In the space of one hour you will make new wacky Fringy friends and learn three parts of the famous Rocky Horror Picture Show song. The movie helped America see those who were once considered to be on the fringe of society.

Let’s make it a  celebration of fluidity in sexuality and gender. Dress up in drag, as a bride, a nerd, a space woman, in tight gold hot pants (Rocky), as a maid or find your own character and WE PROMISE YOU – you will not be judged. Manaakitanga is our Kaupapa. people are accepted as they are: fabulous, regardless of gender or sexuality or race or body type. We strive to create a safe positive space for all.

We finish with taking a video so we can smile as we watch and remember forever. The audience becomes the performer and then the video watchers become the audience. If you are nervous about the video then come so dressed up, no-one will recognise those pelvic thrusts.

We do not ticket the event because it’s important to us that people come and have fun without money being an obstacle.  We trust the community will support each other but we want to honour the work we put in as artists so we suggest a donation between $5 – 20.

Wednesday, August 19th


Triple Feature - Venetian Obscura | Attenborough's Question & St. Brigid's Eve (SOLD OUT)

Get Frocked | Monica Pausina | 6:00pm | Adopted by Louise Douglas

Venetian Obscura

Venetian Obscura plays out through an array of blinds, costumes and props to create filmic clips unfolding over the course of 25 minutes. Three vignettes reveal intriguing tales of local importance. The story steps from the page through three characters who play before a special black and white 2D roomscape. 

Attenborough's Question

David Attenborough, at 90, vividly recalls a mysterious event many years earlier on the remote Fijian island of Koro, unaware that on the other side of the world a young islander has the answer to the question he has always longed to know.

St. Brigid's Eve

1792. In the midst of a scarlet fever outbreak a boy wakes from a fever-dream deeply agitated by a chilling vision. Years later the nurse who attended him, alone in a remote farmhouse and tending to her desperately ill baby, tries in vain to keep the memory of his vision at bay.

Venetian Obscura

Attenborough's Question & St. Brigid's Eve, photo by Stephanie McLeod

The Museum of This Morning

Jim Fishwick | 7:30pm | Adopted by Nelson Provincial Museum

Welcome to the world's first, best, and only museum of everything that happened slightly earlier on today! We'll be working together to turn artefacts, anecdotes and memorabilia into a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, curated by Jim Fishwick.


Jim is an award-winning theatre maker, former Australian National Improvisation Champion, and real-life museum curator. In his spare time he enjoys writing in the third person.


"Jim Fishwick brings an exciting visceral dimension to the intellectual work, with an avant-garde spirit that injects a sense of adventure and daring to the oft too polite Australian stage." - Suzy Goes See


Directed by Jason Geary.


Please note: this show contains voluntary audience participation.

Please also note: this is an in-progress showing of the work.

Double Feature - A Pair of Poets | What's the Purpose of this Project?

Roger Lusby & Rebecca Myers | Potentially Playing Problems | 9:00pm | Adopted by Beggs Music

A Pair of Poets

Two wonderful wordsmiths pair up for your pleasure, performing original poems. Musician and bush balladeer Roger Lusby joins poet and playwright Rebecca Myers to regale you with some rousing verse. While they can’t promise reason there’s sure to be rhyme, come along for a listen and have a good time.

What's the Purpose of this Project?

What's the Purpose of this Project? is a show about the universality of self-doubt. Part audio-essay, part-soundscape, the show creates a listening space, allowing people to feel comfortable to open up to themselves, hold their self-doubt in front of them, and explore the diverse roles it plays in their lives. Note: we ask that you bring your own smart device capable of connecting to the internet, and headphones to experience the work.

What's the Purpose of this Project?

A Pair of Poets

Thursday, August 20th


The Boy with Wings (G) (SOLD OUT)

Birdlife Productions | 6:00pm | Adopted by Little Beehive

As autumn closes in, the Kuaka/Bar-tailed Godwits take flight beginning their long migration from New Zealand to Alaska, striving to live out their life cycle to its fullest. The success of this mission relies on gritty determination and their trust in some kind of ‘inner map’ that guides them to their ‘treasure’ – the northern breeding grounds that assure them of continued life. This process is nothing short of a miracle and watching them take to the sky in awe is Jack-the-Everyman! As he sets out on a journey of his own to seek his ‘treasure’, he looks up to the sky and makes a quiet wish that he will be able to find his own wings.

Two parallel stories are told; a present-day lecture on the miracle of Godwit migration, and a fable that follows Jack’s adventure to save his ancestral orchard.


Fresh from the John Bolton theatre school, Birdlife Productions presents this ‘work in progress’ showing in its developmental stage. Experimenting with puppetry, original songs and projection, they combine traditional storytelling with contemporary theatre forms. This story asks the question - how do we live our fullest, most connected lives amongst the chaos and uncertainty of the world we have created for ourselves? How do we find our own wings?


Suitable for ages 5 to 95! Thanks to Creative NZ for funding to create this show.


pURApURAaWa | 7:30pm | Adopted by The Coffee Company

After 100 years of remembrances, it is time to look closer at the lingering connection we have to "The Great War/ World War One". A debate, with each side saying how 'great' the war was. On one side; a conscientious objector (Archibald Baxter), an antiwar general (General Smedley Butler) & a child of a soldier. On the other side, the royal cousins; a kaizar, a czar & a king. Telling these stories with masks and music, a gREAT rAW dances through the fabric of time to bring us a series of monologues to see how we can reconstruct our relationships with those who have gone before and awaken our perceptions of the past. How/why was the war so "great"? Whose stories do we listen to? Have you got an opinion? As the masked characters return from a century ago to come to life again, they share their memories as an encouraging prompt to you to reflect on your own histories.

Sliding Doors

People's Republic of Improv | 9:00pm | Adopted by Nikau Holistic Massage

Have you ever thought... if only you had not missed the bus that day or taken that job offer that your life would be different depending on which path you had taken?  Sliding Doors is an improv show that explores this theory.  Sliding Doors is a concept developed from the 1990’s movie, Sliding Doors, where a woman's life is played out along two different pathways depending on whether she missed the train or not. 


Our Sliding Doors will play out a story for a character chosen by you (the audience). The sliding doors moment is also decided by the audience and the story will continue to follow your suggestions along two different pathways played out one scene after the other for each life path.  Where will we go? Nobody knows until the night as it’s completely made up! Be a part of the revelation and come along!


Friday, August 21st


The History Boy (SOLD OUT)

Matt Powell | 6:00pm | Adopted by Fairfield House

All of history is just stories we tell each other to understand the world, and every story is at least in part about the person doing the telling.


THE HISTORY BOY is the first full-length solo improvised work from award-winning Wellington improvisor Matt Powell and director Jennifer O'Sullivan (Awkward Threesome, Soap Factory). Inspired by a childhood fascination with interesting facts and stories from history, THE HISTORY BOY examines historical narratives through playful storytelling, weaving together themes and ideas that span continents and millennia.


Fresh from a season in the New Zealand Fringe Festival, Matt and Jennifer are delighted to bring THE HISTORY BOY to Nelson for one show only.


“Powell brings forth intricate details and quick-witted responses that reward an intelligent audience’s attention.” — The Plus Ones (Melbourne)


“Intoxicating stage presence… a genuine star with a quicksilver brain” — Uther Dean

BLUE Experience (SOLD OUT)

Sophie Ricketts | 7:30pm | Adopted by Family Jewels Records

What's your favourite album? You know: the one you play on repeat, know all the words to, and never get tired of? For Sophie Ricketts, that album is Joni Mitchell's 1971 masterpiece: BLUE. 


BLUE burst forth in 1971 and still remains one of the most celebrated records of all time. For Sophie, first introduced to the album as a teenager, it took on new significance as she left adolescence and entered her adulthood. Eventually becoming her most favourite album, just as it first mapped out Joni's elation and heartbreak during her formative years it also felt like a blueprint of navigating adult decisions and independence for Sophie. The poetic lyrics and intricate melodies were beautiful and tragic all at once, making an impression deep and lasting. Even more than forty years after its initial release, BLUE is still hailed as one of the best albums by music critics and fans the world over. Sophie's performance of Joni's songs aims to delight old fans and introduce the album to a whole new audience, while also serving as a vocal love letter to Joni herself. Join Sophie as she takes you on a journey through the album's ten songs and explains just what is so special about each one. For a show which is one part musical tribute, two parts vulnerability, and 100% sincere, be a part of the BLUE experience.


Tara McEntee & Matt Powell | 9:00pm | Adopted by Alex Bradley

Love. Ambition. Passion. Betrayal. Revenge. You’ve seen every single episode of global telenovela phenomenon “Preguntas del Corazón”, and tonight is your chance to meet the show’s stars, fiery temptress Carla Fuentes and tragic heartthrob Ramón de la Cruz, as they film the season finale in front of a live studio audience. Which fan theories will play out? Which long-held secrets will finally be revealed? You’ll only know if you’re there...


Wellington improvisors Tara McEntee and Matt Powell (Scared Scriptless, PlayShop, Soap Factory) return with their winning format that headlined Late Night Knife Fight in February. Whatever twists and turns the story takes, you’re in for a wild ride.

Saturday, August 22nd


Kaguya-Hime: The Princess of the Moon (G) (SOLD OUT)

Koru Sakura | 10:00am | Adopted by Volume

Kaguya-Hime is a fusion of Kiwi and traditional Japanese puppet performance with acting, live music, narration and puppetry. It showcases a different, unique and inspiring form of theatre to Nelson's families and it embraces the diversity of our region by acknowledging and including our Asian community.


This performance shows an adaption of the traditional story, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter or Kaguya-Hime. The story of Kaguya-Hime is 1000 years old, dating back to the 10th century. It tells about a mysterious tiny girl called Kaguya, who is discovered inside a glowing bamboo plant and is the tragic tale of her exile from the moon. She finds loving parents on Earth and discovers the joys and sorrows of being human. However life on Earth is temporary and she has to face the reality of returning to her original home.

The Bamboo Cutter and his wife look after the bamboo forest for the Emperor. They believe that the full moon bestows magic on the water collected overnight in the bamboo and that this water brings good health and a long life. Every night they talk, sing and play music to the moon.

The Moon? "The Moon is always looking out for you."

The Saboteur (SOLD OUT)

Various | 6:00pm | Adopted by Mediaworks/The Edge

Six performers are all working hard to put on a good improv show. Well, almost all of them. One of them is trying to sabotage the show without getting caught. Will The Saboteur be unmasked before the evening is ruined?


Fresh from a sold-out, award-winning debut last year, join us for a high-stakes evening of subterfuge, treachery, backstabbing, and laughs!


With Laura Irish, Daniel Allan, Tara McEntee, Matt Powell, Wiremu Tuhiwai and Kirsty McGuire.

Directed by Jim Fishwick.


“Ingeniously destructive” - Theatreview

Winner: Outstanding Show, New Zealand Improv Festival 2019


Please note: this show contains low-level voluntary audience participation.

Magnus Steele

Austin Harrison | 7:30pm | Adopted by Kismet

Magnus Steele is an improvised, interactive crime–thriller created by ‘Golden Boy of Wellington Improv’, Austin Harrison. Infamous private eye Magnus Steele investigates the crime of the century through interrogations, jazz, and beat poetry, but here’s the catch: all the victims, suspects, and witnesses are played by YOU! Come prepared for hilarity, bad accents, and to be a part of the show!

Magnus Steele has been delighting audiences for the last 18 months, debuting as a 10-minute character piece at NZ Fringe 2019 and going on to win and headline the monthly improv contest Late Night Knife Fight. After a sell-out opening season at NZ Fringe 2020 (nominated- Most Promising Emerging Artist), the final, 50-minute version is coming to Nelson for a single showing you don't want to miss!

"The show is reminiscent of Brooklyn Nine Nine, if they let me join in from my sofa. In other words it’s witty, unpredictable and wonderfully endearing and the jokes are pretty cool. Cool, cool, cool." - Sara Hirsch, Art Murmurs


Various | 9:00pm | Adopted by F45

Hellos, goodbyes, joy, comfort... we all join into the human experience which is hugging on a daily basis. But what are the etiquettes? What are the faux pas? What types of hugs are there? A group of world class improvisers take the stage to present HugProv! An entirely improvised comedy show based on wrapping our arms around each other with love. Each scene starts and ends with a hug and the improvisers will seamlessly change into a multitude of characters with unique stories right before your eyes. 


This show was born out of a recent time when people were told to stop hugging each other and one avid hugging enthusiast was forced to think about what hugging means. Now that we can hug again... we decided to make a comedy show all about it. Guaranteed to make you feel good. The show itself will have you leaving as if you just had a big warm hug yourself.

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