After directing work around the world, Churchill Fellow Anthea Williams is returning to Christchurch for her Court Theatre debut in homegrown comedy, The Pink Hammer.

“The Court is the company that made me realise I wanted to be a director,” says Williams, talking about her decision to travel across the ditch for this production. “I’ve always wanted to make theatre for my community, and as much as I now live overseas, I still call Christchurch home.”

Williams, now based in Sydney, is back in Ōtautahi for The Pink Hammer; a Kiwi comedy about five misfits who come together for an ‘empowering’ women’s carpentry course that goes hilariously awry...

“Audiences can expect brilliant performances, new friendships, some terrible - and some fantastic! - carpentry and, of course, lots of laughs. The Pink Hammer is a brilliant play about five wonderful, if lost, people.”

In this heart-warming play, Annabel, Helen, Louise and Siobhan turn up to a workshop in Palmerston North, expecting to learn woodworking skills from a pioneering, female furniture maker... but instead find Woody, an out-of-work builder – and their new teacher.

“This will be an actor-centred production. We have a brilliant cast and it’s my job to make them shine,” explains Williams.  

Court favourites Kathleen Burns (Steel Magnolias); Amy Straker (In the Next Room, or the vibrator play); Eilish Moran (Mum’s Choir) and Lynda Milligan (Roger Hall’s Easy Money) will be playing the women taking over the workshop, outnumbering Tom Eason (Astroman) as Woody, their reluctant teacher.  

“I’ve been watching Eilish and Lynda at The Court for years, so it was brilliant to be able to offer them roles. I’ve only seen Amy and Kathleen on stage once and twice respectively, but I was sure of their talent immediately. Tom is new to me, but after seeing work online and reading about him, I was sure he was the right Woody for our team – a Christchurch resident who’s on the rise," says Williams. 

Talking about the appeal of the play, The Court’s Artistic Director Ross Gumbley says, “The Pink Hammer is Kiwi comedy at its best. It’s quirky as all hell; it’s very funny; it provides phenomenally strong roles for four women – and one guy! – but more than anything else, these are recognisable New Zealanders.”

Written in 2014 by the late playwright, poet and actress Michele Amas, The Pink Hammer team are overjoyed to be producing a new version of her story that will continue Amas’ theatrical legacy and bring laughter to Cantabrian audiences.

“Michele wrote a beautiful play about five people trying to find their best selves,” explains Williams. “That’s always relevant. The audience will be crying with laughter – then getting out their tissues.”

The Pink Hammer runs at The Court Theatre from 7 September – 5 October. You can learn more and book tickets here.