Tim Bray Productions
Tim Bray Productions is recognised as Auckland’s leading theatre for children. Overseen by a charitable trust, The Operating Theatre Trust, we create world-class theatre most often based on New Zealand literature.
We see live theatre as a way to engage children with literature, and to encourage reading. We know that theatre is more than “just” entertainment; we also see it as an integral part of their education, their growing up experiences, socialisation skills, and encouraging and exploring their imaginations.
Our shows are supported by an ever-growing fan base, with shows being enjoyed by over 20,000 people a year. Typically the productions are based on New Zealand literature with plays based on stories by local authors.
As part of a way of giving back to our community, each season we invite children from Make-a-Wish (NZ) and when special funding allows, provide free tickets for children from low decile schools to provide the opportunity to engage with them at another level with children’s literature.
Since 2004, we have sought to make theatre accessible to various children with disability, providing a NZ Sign Language interpreter for special performances, and support a number of special education units in their visits to our shows. And in 2015, thanks to funding from Auckland Council’s Creative Communities we are offering free-entry Audio Described performances for blind or visually impaired children.
In the mid-1970s Mary Amoore, QSM, established the Auckland Youth Theatre. Tim Bray joined the AYT as a teenage drama student in 1977. The year after graduating with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Auckland, Mary employed Tim as an actor in their Theatredays (theatre-in-education) programme, and later became a tutor and director there.
In 1991, when the Auckland Youth Theatre closed its doors. Tim approached the outgoing AYT committee and asked if he could take over the lease of the premises in Lower Greys Ave. These premises later became the birthplace of the SiLo Theatre, and is now home to The Basement Theatre.
Tim kept the drama classes going and began producing theatre for children and adults under the name The Central Theatre, in honour of Mary’s early professional theatre company in Remuera.
In 1993, The Operating Theatre Trust was formally registered as a charitable trust. The children’s shows were so successful Tim moved from the 70-seat premises in Lower Greys Ave to running the company from his home and hiring a 200-seat theatre in the old Kiwiland on Ellerslie-Panmure Highway.
In 1998 we toured the solo show Me and My Vice, by Tim Bray, to the Edinburgh Festival. Other highlights have included performing our adaptation of a Margaret Mahy’s A Lion in the Meadow for her 70th birthday celebrations, and performing on the main stage at the Aotea Centre for the Storylines Festival of New Zealand Children’s Writers and Illustrators. In 2012, we were also honoured to again perform A Lion in the Meadow at Margaret Mahy’s Memorial gathering in the Auckland Town Hall.
In November 2012, we were thrilled to perform Lynley Dodd’s Hairy Maclary to TRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visiting New Zealand in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
We have grown from humble beginnings – in 2004 we presented just three weeks of performances to 5,000 people at The PumpHouse Theatre. Twelve years later (2016), we are in performance for nearly a quarter of each year to more than 20,000 people from across Auckland and beyond.
The Operating Theatre Trust
The company is administered by The Operating Theatre Trust – trustees are Rosemary Tisdall, Ken Bray and Tim Bray. We are a registered charitable trust: Charities Commission CC 26517.
The Operating Theatre Trust (Tim Bray Productions) is supported by a range of funders and sponsors (please see the Support Us page for more info). We are heavily dependent on this support, and graciously accept ongoing donation from those that wish to assist us in producing theatre for children.
Rosemary Tisdall (Chairperson) – Rosemary is a trained school teacher, and now a children’s literature consultant. She was convenor of the 2010 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards judging panel. She is a Trustee of the Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand, has been a management committee member of Storylines for over 10 years, and was Chairperson of its management committee for several years. She is currently on the Storylines Notable Books panel and chair of the IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) NZ committee.
Ken Bray - is a retired high school English teacher. He has been Deputy Head of Diocesan School for Girls and was Head of English at St Kentigern College and St Peter’s College. He was a founding Executive Member, and later, the first National President of the Independent Schools Education Association for many years. Ken has always been heavily involved in church and community activities, and is a study group convener for U3A in Auckland.
Tim Bray – founder of the organisation and Artistic Director. Tim was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for services to children and theatre in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2017.
The Administration Team
Artistic Director, Tim Bray, QSM
Tim Bray, an Auckland actor/playwright/producer who has been creating his own style of theatre productions in New Zealand for more than twenty-five years. Tim founded The Central Theatre (now trading as Tim Bray Productions) in 1991.
Tim is responsible for guiding the company in terms of the creative, programming and business directions. Along with being the director for many of the productions, Tim is the playwright for most of the scripts produced by Tim Bray Productions. Recently, he has written three new plays – The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera, The Little Yellow Digger by Betty and Alan Gilderdale and The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. His scripts are available for production by other theatre companies by contacting http://www.playmarket.org.nz/home.
Alongside of his Artistic Director role he is employed by a corporate client to perform in schools and at community events across New Zealand. Annually he performs to 50,000+ children, which helps keep him current with what children enjoy in live performances.
Business Development Manager, Gail Rotherham
Gail Rotherham joined Tim Bray Productions in October 2012 as the Event Manager for the Royal Performance of Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dodd, as part of TRH The Prince of Wales’ and The Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand. Gail has Graduate Diploma in Event Communications from Unitec. Gail’s role with Tim Bray Productions is to manage many of the added extra opportunities that we provide as a company. For example she oversees the organisation of new initiatives such as our Theatre Workshops. She is also the key contact for the sponsorship/funding functions of Tim Bray Productions.
Production and Front of House Manager, Nicole Arrow (while Alana Hawkes is on maternity leave)
After 5 years as a Secondary School Visual Arts Teacher, Nicole Arrow studied a Bachelor of Performing Arts At Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School. Nicole has worked for the Auckland Arts Festival in the Education and Community Department 2016 and as the Cast Coordinator of the World of Wearable Art Awards Show 2015. Nicole has also worked as an Associate Producer with the Wellington based Production Company ShowPony.
Marketing Co-ordinator, Yana Kirakovskaya
Originally from Russia, Yana has Bachelor and Masters Degrees in PR and a Postgraduate Diploma in Business (Marketing Major) from AUT in 2012. Yana mastered her professional skills at communications agencies working for various clients such as Nokia, Nestlé, Cirque du Soleil and Russian Tennis Federation. She expanded her digital marketing knowledge as an Account Manager for Progressive Enterprises at Affinity ID. She also launched an international online magazine called Papaya Stories in November 2013 which has become her personal highlight.
Yana has a passion for people, creativity and self-discovery, so working for Tim Bray Productions and its good cause sounds like a perfect fit for her new professional step.
Youth Theatre coordinator, Madeleine Lynch
Madeleine is our Youth Theatre coordinator at Tim Bray Productions. Madeleine is full-time actor and also an improviser and tutor with Auckland-based ConArtists, having also produced shows for them and sat on the Board in the past. Madeleine is also a regular narrator with the Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind, teaches tai chi to senior citizens in the community and is the mother of 3 girls.
Head tutor, Tom Wardle
Tom is our Youth Theatre Head tutor for TAPAC and Lake House. Tom has a strong passion for acting and the performing arts and has carried that with him from an early age. With Tim Bray Productions he appeared in every 2012 show, with one of the major highlights was performing as Bottomley Potts for the Royal performance of Hairy Maclary.
TAPAC tutor, Rachel Constantine
Rachel is originally from the UK and trained for three years at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, in London. She has over eleven years experience working as a stage actress. She spent seven years touring the UK, visiting many schools and theatre venues, playing a wide variety of exciting and interesting roles.
Rachel then took a break from acting to raise her three children, who are now nine, fourteen and sixteen. In that time, she has been involved with several children’s drama workshops and classes, teaching acting and movement skills as well as producing and directing numerous children’s stage productions.
Rachel is passionate about the benefits that drama can give to a young mind: helping to develop extra confidence and good communication skills as well as giving kids a sense of freedom to allow self expression and encourage creativity whilst having lots of fun along the way.
“Mrs Wishy-Washy is more than just a comfortable hour long dalliance in the theatre. It is a fine addition to the children theatre…”