A Revealing Thyme at the Gaslight

Joanna Bishop stars as Mary Best (pictured) a midwife and herbalist in colonial New Zealand, in the Gaslight’s latest show A Revealing Thyme.

The last two shows of A Revealing Thyme will play at the Gaslight Theatre this weekend – the first play to be performed with the theatre’s new curtains.

It stars Joanna Bishop, who recently played Vera in Blind Eye at the Gaslight, performing a one-woman show which she wrote herself.

A Revealing Thyme proved to be a massive success during its sold-out run at the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival earlier this year. Now it has come to Cambridge, with shows across July 14, 15, 21 and 22 at the Gaslight Theatre on Alpha St.

As Jo describes it, the show reveals the harshness of colonial life alongside love and hope, following the life of Mary Best, and English woman who immigrates to New Zealand with her husband in 1869 and becomes a local midwife and herbalist in Lawrence, Otago’s first goldrush town.

“The play just combined my love of acting and theatre with my love of the subject,” said Jo, who was inspired to write the play by her PhD research of the history of medicinal plants in New Zealand.

“Through the diaries and journals of colonial women, I learned of the valuable contribution these women made to the health of the colonial population, and I pay homage to them through this play,” she explained.

“I love acting and love the research that went into this play. As I read the stories of colonial women, I imagine myself as one, and so it seemed natural to act it myself,” she said. “I also liked the idea of challenging myself as an actor with my own script.”

The play paints the picture of New Zealand’s goldmining frontier coupled with colonial ideas and understandings of health and wellness, weaving aspects of New Zealand’s history with an emotional journey into Mary’s life.

The show starts at 7pm Saturday and 2pm Sunday at the Gaslight Theatre, 8 Alpha St, Cambridge. Tickets are $20 at the door.

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