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School of Theatre and Dance presents Waiora, September 30-October 9

The Illinois State University School of Theatre and Dance will present Hone Kouka’s Waiora, opening September 30. Performances will be held in the Center for Performing Arts Theatre and will run through October 9.

Performances of Waiora are at 7:30 p.m. September 30, October 1, and October 5-8, with a 2 p.m. matinee performance on October 1. In celebration of International Education Week, there will also be a special matinee performance at 3 p.m. October 9.

Tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. For tickets or information, contact the College of Fine Arts Box Office, located in the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts, open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, at (309) 438-2535, or purchase tickets online by visiting ticketmaster.com.

Originally commissioned by the 1996 Wellington International Festival of the Arts and performed to sold-out audiences, Waiora is a captivating indigenous Māori play from New Zealand depicting a Māori family who migrated from the North Island’s East Cape to the South Island. The family forges their identities as they strive for success in their new home, but their origins and cultural background cannot easily be forgotten. This critically acclaimed play explores what it means to be home and to belong.

Director, Kim Pereira states, “When I first read Waiora I was struck by how much it was centered in the Māori culture, with many passages in the Māori language, and yet it spoke eloquently to me about my own experiences. At its heart it is a play about migration, about people moving away from their roots and what that does to them, to their sense of self and identity. It is a play about the past and about home, about loss and recovery. In this day, with refugees uprooted from all they love and cherish, Waiora offers a universal mirror to all of us.”

Māori cultural consultant and guest artist Jack Gray, remarks that Waiora is “a really genuine story” about “displacement, disconnecting from what you know” and “unpacking the word and the meaning of home.”