Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

Cellfish in Wellington this week

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Eight counts of unlawful entry using imagination, five counts of reckless use of Māori mythology, four counts possession and cultivation of Shakespeare, and one count dangerous operation of a voice class… in CELLFISH, hardened inmates come face to face with a whole new nightmare: Shakespeare classes with Miss Lucy!

After sell-out seasons at Auckland’s Silo Theatre and the 2017 Auckland Arts Festival, acclaimed theatre work CELLFISH is touring the country in June 2019.

Offset with wicked humour, CELLFISH gives agency to the voiceless: characters whose lives are framed by incarceration and challenged by our punitive penal system. Starring highly-acclaimed actors Jason Te Kare and Carrie Green, CELLFISH shines a light on those our society keeps hidden inside.

The play is inspired by the Shakespeare Behind Bars programme, a real rehabilitation method used in the U.S which had massive success in reducing reoffending. While these programmes are proven more effective than traditional punishment, the alternative approach can be hard for people to get their heads around.

"Especially emotionally for victims of crime, you feel they [offenders] need to be punished for what they have done, but at the end of the day, is that going to make our society better or worse when they get out? Because inevitably they get out."

While the show hits some hard truths, a distinctly dark comedy is woven throughout the play. Jason believes people will be surprised at what they laugh at.

"The whole time through the play we balance that quite finely" says Jason. "There’s a lot of humour, a lot of laughter, a lot of good times but it’s always on a knife edge, there’s always a moment of danger so you’re never fully free of that moment."

Between them, Jason and Carrie embody seven unique characters, creating a multifaceted vision of life behind bars. CELLFISH explores a range of unique perspectives - from determined teacher to hopeful corrections officer to disenfranchised inmate.

"The changing from character to character is done physically through the actors’ abilities." says Jason. "That's what I call the magic of theatre, when you can create this whole world just using two people, some lights, some sound."

CELLFISH is at Hannah Playhouse in Wellington 11-15 June as part of Kia Mau Festival. Tickets are available through and full details are at

All articles and comments on have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.