Katikati Theatre began in March 2010 when thirteen people attended a public meeting to consider the viability of a theatre group here in the town. Instead of residents travelling to Tauranga and Waihi, we agreed we had sufficient talent, experience and enthusiasm to start our own group. 

Those who came were so keen to begin that workshops were organized; these consisted of play readings, theatre games and improvisation. 

It was from such improvisation that our first production, ‘Barry, A Day in the Life’ was born. This told of a typical day in the life of the well known statue of Barry who sits outside the Arts Junction. All scenes were devised and written by theatre members. The play was a sellout and was performed in October 2010 in an empty shop which is now a restaurant. The production coincided with the bi-annual Mural festival.

Our second production in 2011, ‘Playing with your Food’ was also based on improvisation and was our first Dinner Theatre at Forta Leza Restaurant. This was to be the beginning of a very successful partnership over the next 8 years
with the restaurant. 

Since our inception, we have not only performed plays of varying lengths, from ten minute one act plays to full length plays written by established playwrights, but also have a team of writers who have brought local history to the stage.
The writers are Di Logan, Julie Thomas and Francis Young. 

  • In October 2011, ‘Gallaher’ told the story of Irish settlers, James and Maria Gallaher, the parents of noted rugby player and captain, Dave Gallaher. This play was performed to coincide with both the Mural festival and the Rugby World Cup.
  • ‘Come in to the Parlour’ in 2013 was a combination of local stories, poetry, song  and humour. 
  • In October 2015, the same writing team of Di, Julie and Francis recounted the life and times of Dr Joe Burstein, an Austrian doctor imprisoned in Dacchau who came to Katikati as its sole doctor. 
  • ‘Tales from the Lockup’ in 2017 shed light on miscreants sentenced to time in the Katikati gaol (or lockup) or who came before the local magistrate.

When Katikati’s new library was built in 2018, the ‘old’ library was transformed into a multi purpose Arts Centre with a performance space. This has become a ‘home’ for Katikati Theatre’s productions. Our first production in the Junction Theatre, as the performance space is named, was ‘A Walk in the Woods’ by Debbie Metzler. 

From no money and no equipment when we began, Katikati Theatre now owns theatre seats, lights, curtains, props and costumes. Our equipment and costumes are stored in two shipping containers which the group purchased.