A Midsummer Night’s Dream – meet the people

Here are the cast involved in our Bard in the Yard production February / March 2022

Cast in order of appearance


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Theseus / Oberon – John Marwick

Kia ora whānau. I have been active with the Troupe as an actor, director, producer, set-builder, coordinator, committee member and bar-tender since the beginning – 34 years ago. I started our annual Shakespeare productions in my back-yard 26 years ago, have directed more than half of these shows, and played everything from Macbeth, Lear, Malvolio, and Prospero to Bottom and Sir Toby Belch. I was fortunate enough to win the Wellington District Theatre Best Actor award three times and plays I have directed have also been winners.  I particularly love these magical Bard in the Yard evenings – and have everything firmly crossed in the hope that Covid leaves our production firmly alone!

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Hippolyta / Titania – Lian Butcher

Lian has taken roles in numerous plays both at Hutt Repertory and Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe. She has had roles in several comedies. These include Forget me Knot, The Lovers, Little Hotel on the Side, Snap! and Alan Ayckbourn’s Taking Steps. However, she also loves the classic plays and has played Molly in Mousetrap, Jane in Pride and Prejudice, Molly in Animal Farm, Lady Macbeth in a small exert of Macbeth for Trials and Tribulations Bard in the Yard, Rosalind in As You Like It and Hermione in The Winter’s Tale. Lian’s debut director production was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie in 2019.

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Egeus / Snug the Joiner – Hayden Rogers

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Hermia – Jasmine Stock

Kia ora, I’m Jasmine, playing Hermia and this will be my third performance with the Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe, following As You Like It in 2021, in which I played Phebe, and The Winter’s Tale earlier this year, in which I played Perdita. I have been a part of multiple different theatre programmes and classes, both inside and outside of class throughout my time at school. Since finishing high school I have mostly stuck to doing productions here in Eastbourne. At the same time, I am now focusing the rest of my time on finishing university where I am a third-year sociology student, looking at sex and gender. This study adds to my interest in performances with themes such as the one examined in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I have been a huge fan of Shakespeare since a young age. I have always loved reading and being in his plays, regardless of the role. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was my absolute favourite when I was younger. I still consider it a classic and a wonderful piece of writing so I’m very excited to be a part of this production. I am thoroughly enjoying my role playing Hermia.

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Demetrius – Jonathan Knox

Kia ora, I’m Jonathan Knox, playing Demetrius in this year’s Bard in the Yard. Theatre holds a special place in my heart as it has helped shape who I am as an individual over the years.

I started acting in high school and continued acting during university. Throughout these years, I met some amazing people and established many great friendships. After an eight-year hiatus, I returned to the stage last year and was fortunate enough to land leading roles in Carl Nixon’s The Raft and Elizabeth Coleman’s It’s My Party (And I’ll Die If I Want To). Both productions rekindled my passion for the craft. 

But of course, no stint in theatre is complete without an attempt at Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream has so far been a truly enjoyable experience. This is attributable to the wonderful and talented cast and crew! Outside of Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe, I am also a proud member of both Khandallah Arts Theatre (KAT) and the Hutt Repertory Theatre.  

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Lysander – Alex Walker

Kia ora! My name’s Alex and I’m so excited to be playing the part of Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. My entry into theatre took a bit of a roundabout road. It was something I always wanted to do in high school but was just too shy at the time to take that first step. I can remember watching the school productions and wistfully imagining myself taking a place on the stage!

University was a time of confidence-building; I went from being a quiet person to someone who continually struggles to have an inside voice. In the last few years, I’ve tried improv theatre and loved it. This has given me confidence to give more classical forms of theatre a go.

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Petra Quince the carpenter / Peasblossom – Suzy Cain

I am thrilled to be in my first Butterfly Creek Theatre production – and in one of my favourite plays! I have worked in almost every aspect of the theatre– from doing pack in/out for regional shows, running a follow-spot for Tony Bennett, to making costumes for exotic dancers in South Florida and everything in between. I received a BFA in Costume Design from University of Florida, and later completed an MFA in Acting and Directing from Florida Atlantic Theatre. Since moving to New Zealand 16 years ago, I have not done too much acting, but was involved with Drama Christi over the years and also produced Talking With by Jane Martin as a fundraiser for the Foundation for Youth Development – where I got to do Rodeo, a role I Iove, in a play I love, and we were able to raise over $1500 for the charity. My husband and I enjoy living in Sorrento Bay (our two grown sons are in Wellington as well) and I am lucky to have a great day job with DCM (Downtown Community Ministries) where I am proud to work toward ending homelessness in the Wellington region. I am looking forward to opening night with the very talented and wonderful cast and crew (featuring incredible live music) – it promises to be a truly magical experience!

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Nick Bottom, the weaver – Mike McJorrow

Always been more of a Chekhov guy. I try not to to take myself too seriously. I’m a community theatre actor and I intend to act accordingly 

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Francis Flute the bellows mender / Mustardseed – Colin Orchiston

I play the mechanical, Francis Flute, who goes on to play Thisbe in the play within the play at the end of the play. I also double as fairy Mustardseed, a role which allows me to explore the art of walking like a Pukeko.

My pre-teen years included hanging around at my Mum’s rehearsals in Wellington Repertory, and as a stage hand in pantomimes in the Wellington Opera House. 

My falsetto was put to good use in college productions, but over the intervening 50+ years my dramatic abilities have been manifested in the business of architecture and dispute resolution. 

Only in the past four or five years has it broadened to include being a mad French architect, despotic king, Italian fop, village drunk, crusty old geezer and an upper-class Brit gentleman with an interesting past.  

Last year, I played Old Shepherd in John Marwick’s production of The Winter’s Tale.

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Tomasina Snout the tinker / Cobweb – Sage Pettus

I’m so excited to be playing Snout and Cobweb in this year’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I have loved theatre for quite a while now, as it is one of my main passions, and has made me a more confident and happy person.

Most of my previous experience has been in musical theatre, taking part in young performers shows through Musical Stars Performance Trust and other organisations. This had led to taking parts in shows like AnnieThe Lion KingJoseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and even pilot programmes such as 13 and Finding Nemo.

I discovered this Bard in the Yard production when one of my best friends, Grace (who plays Starveling and Mote), suggested I audition. I’m thrilled to be expanding my theatrical horizons to Shakespeare. I have already had such an amazing experience in the rehearsals for this show. I hope the audience will enjoy it as much as those of us lucky enough to be in it.

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Robin Starveling the tailor / Mote – Grace Hotop

I am thrilled to be playing the mechanical Starveling and the fairy called Mote in A Midsummer’s Night Dream. I am currently a year-11 student at Marsden Collegiate. Previously I went to Hutt Valley High School where I took drama in both year 9 and 10, performing a play with my drama class last year to family and friends.

When I was 10, I also took part in a kids’ holiday programme where, after a week’s preparation, we performed a junior version of Arabian Nights. Apart from these, however, my acting experience is limited. Performing music is where I have been more comfortable. As a kid, I have always been super shy. However, getting into drama has given me the confidence I needed and now I just can’t wait to perform.

Being part of A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been an amazing experience. I have loved working with the wonderful cast and crew and having the opportunity to increase my acting skills. I’m sure I’ll remember being in this production for years to come. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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First fairy – Florence McFarlane

I’m really enjoying this, my third Midsummer Night’s Dream. First was my production in 1994 in Muritai Park performed by my primary school drama students. Performing up in and amongst the trees was magical. The noise from the trees in a strong wind was a challenge for voice projection, however.

Then in the 2007 I directed MMD for the Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe in this great site in the schoolyard. This was a topsy turvy version with the lovers being residents in a retirement village. Oberon was a dodgy doctor and Puck a drug addict.

And now this magical “Dream”, where I get to play a very New Zealand fairy. Beautifully costumed and strongly directed, it is a privilege to be part of this BCTT production. Thanks Anne, for casting me.

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Puck – Laurence Ward

Laurie is thrilled to be playing Puck in this year’s Bard in the Yard. Puck is a trickster who enjoys causing a bit of mayhem and misery to those inhabiting both the fairy and the human world.

Laurie is a stalwart of the Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe, playing key roles in at least a decade of productions. His first love is Shakespeare, with notable roles in recent years ranging from villains to fools — Caliban in The Tempest, 2016; Touchstone in As You Like It, 2019; Iago in Othello, 2020; and the Young Shepherd in last summer’s The Winter’s Tale. Laurie has also created soundscapes for several of our productions.

In winter 2021, he played wheelchair-bound Bill in the troupe’s very successful farce, It Runs in the Family.

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Director and Philostrate / Assistant fairy- Anne Manchester

I have been a member of the Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe almost from its inception. I am a regular performer in the Bard in the Yard productions, and played Paulina in last summer’s production of The Winter’s Tale.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the third full-length play I have directed for the troupe, the first being As You Like It in 2019 and the New Zealand murder mystery SNAP! in 2020.

Directing the Dream has been challenging, totally engrossing and utterly satisfying. Very fortunately, I managed to get a dream cast, who have been 100 per cent committed to this show right from our first read through in December. Add to that the live music, fabulous costumes and an indefatigable backstage crew, I couldn’t have wished for more.

Previous acting roles with the troupe have included the gravedigger in Hamlet, the nurse in Romeo and Juliet, Ariel in the Tempest, Emilia in Othello and Justice Lauren Wargrave, the psychopathic mass murderer in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.

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Lesley Fogarty

I was introduced to the BCTT by Florence MacFarlane approximately 12 years ago. I began by helping, then organising front of house. Over the years, I have been involved in many backstage roles, particularly as stage manager and now production manager for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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Stage Manager and Properties – Wendy Timarac

Being new to the Eastbourne community, I started out helping with props and backstage with BCTT as a way to meet new people.  The first production I was involved in was Agatha Christies And Then There Were NoneThis included learning great blood splattering skills, which resulted in a Wellington theatre award for the best graphic effect!

No matter the production, being an avid op shopper, I have found my passion is being able to scour op shops looking for some very specific items and having great pleasure when I find ‘just the thing’.

My backstage roles have included Production Manager and props. However, this time round I am undertaking a new challenge as Stage Manager, helping to keep the production running smoothly and getting to boss everyone about. 

Working with the cast and crew for A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been a pleasure. They are a great, fun bunch to work with and have pulled together a fantastic Bard in the Yard for your enjoyment.

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Kristi Lofthus Kleijn

Over the last few years, Kristi has played a long-suffering queen, a long-suffering duchess, a long-suffering companion to a duchess, and a newscaster in various BCTT productions.

Now she’s once again in charge of costumes for this season’s Bard in the Yard, raiding the Troupe’s Aladdin’s Cave of a costume room above the stage and her own collection to provide a mix of periods and styles. Our aim is to create a timeless, whimsical version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that we hope will entrance you.

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Musicians – Merilyn Moonen and Dan Nicholls

Merilyn Moonen

I fell in love with the piano when I first saw one at the age of four. From that moment on, music became my passion.

Over the years, I have played and taught a variety of instruments, including the piano, violin, cello, tin whistle guitar and flute. During my busiest teaching years in Eastbourne, I had more than 70 students a week, taught one-to-one. I now have around 20 students.

In 1987, while at an academy in Southern Belgium, I learnt to play the hurdy-gurdy, a medieval style instrument. While living overseas, I continued performing music in the Netherlands and Germany, and also learnt to make instruments, especially ocarinas.

In arranging and composing music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I am mainly using the rinkelboom, the hurdy-gurdy, a lot of percussion, a recorder and a bamboo flute.

Being part of this show is exciting, bringing lots of new challenges and enormous pleasure. I am blown away by the talent of the actors. Working alongside Dan is brilliant too.

Dan Nicholls

I’ve spent over two decades pursuing a career working with music and sound. Through my teens and twenties I dedicated most evenings and weekends to playing and recording in bands as a bass player and then lead singer. I studied film and sound at Staffordshire University and began my journey as a sound designer creating jingles for a local radio station in Hertfordshire, England. Over the last several years, I have worked extensively with the Shooting Fish Theatre Company out of Lincolnshire, UK, composing original scores and designing entire soundtracks for a range of original live theatre productions, films and audio dramas across multiple genres, including contemporary and period drama, thriller, and horror. For obvious reasons, I haven’t actually stepped foot inside a theatre since 2019, when I worked as a music editor and sound operator for the Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s touring production of Rebel Music. Written by Robin French, the musical drama explored the cultural youth movement centered around 1970s Birmingham which led to the genesis and rise of 2-Tone music. Since then (besides emigrating to New Zealand with my wife and our two boys in 2020!) I’ve taken on projects more conducive to remote working, such as editing and creating sound for films and audio dramas, so it is a great pleasure to be back around the stage again and collaborating with all the lovely and talented people involved in BCTT’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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Sound and light operator – Matt Ruglys

Matt did an awful lot of acting in his teens and then nothing until six years ago when he took a class in acting Shakespeare at Victoria University.

He joined Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe by accident four years ago and has appeared in a number of their productions, most recently playing Polixenes in last year’s Bard in the Yard, The Winter’s Tale. In the past year, Matt has become a professional actor, with roles in a number of short and feature films. He is the secretary of the BCTT Committee and also of the Equity Wellington Performers’ Committee.

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