Tackling the tough topics in award-winning play The First Time

The First Time will be showing at The Little Theatre on May 25 and 26.
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The First Time will be showing at The Little Theatre on May 25 and 26.

A short-fused hairdresser will be one of five characters exploring firsts in an award-winning show coming to Lower Hutt.

The First Time writer Courtney Rose Brown worked on the play last year and ran it at BATS Theatre in Wellington.

Now she's looking to bring it to her hometown of Lower Hutt.

"It's about five young women in their late teens experiencing things for the first time. New relationships, mental health problems, exploring their sexuality, going on the benefit, falling in love."

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She hoped the show would open up discussion around feminist issues.

Brown's love of the theatre began at high school. She attended Naenae College and graduated as dux of the school.

The First Time, Brown's second play, won Highly Commended in the 2016 Playwrights b4 25 awards.

The play is aimed mostly at high schoolers and their parents. "We want to be able to present female voices on stage for any audience to understand."

 Feedback from the run at BATS showed parents often related to the young characters, recognising their own children in the characters. It provided insight into how their own teenagers felt, she said.

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People were often surprised by the different voices in her show. "They're like 'how did you write that?"

Brown took part in a production last year called Well, which was written based on interviews with people who had experienced mental illness. She transcribed many of the interviews and found reading them introduced her to a wide range of different lives.

She wanted her characters to show this diversity and have more than the usual, educated female voice used in theatre.

Brown will take to the stage in the production as well, where she'll be playing Elle, a young hairdresser with a short fuse.

* The First Time is playing at The Little Theatre, 2 Queens Dr on May 25 and 26. General admission is $12, concession $10 and groups of 6+ $8. Cash at the door or email first.time.playnz@gmail.com

 - Stuff

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