Robbie Magasiva's debut one-man show is on a topic close to his heart.

Magasiva, who lost brother Pua to a suspected suicide earlier this year, will star in the critically-acclaimed Every Brilliant Thing during Silo Theatre's 2020 season.

Written by English playwright Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe, the play is about depression, loss and focusing on the good things in life.

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It adopts the point of view of a 7-year-old boy who starts to list the "brilliant things" that make life worth living, to give his mother reasons to stay alive.

Magasiva says he's "really excited" to be working with director Danielle Cormack and the central Auckland Silo Theatre.

Since Pua's death, the Naked Samoans and Sione's Wedding star has been vocal about the need to check in on friends or family who may be going through depression.

"Mental health is a really important issue for me and it's important we're having these conversations both on and off the stage.

"Plus I've never done a one-man show before and it scares the s*** out of me."

The show also marks the debut of Wentworth and Top Girls star Cormack as a director at Silo.

When she discovered Every Brilliant Thing, Cormack was amazed theatre could deal with mental health in such a moving and uplifting way.

"With suicide rates the highest they have ever been in New Zealand, this is a very timely and important play."


The UK's Guardian newspaper described it as "one of the funniest plays you'll ever see about depression – and possibly one of the funniest plays you'll ever see, full stop".

In a review of a 2017 production, the Herald wrote: "The show does what live theatre is supposed to do. It creates a communal space for people to engage empathetically and imaginatively with problems that are too big to face alone."

Silo Theatre's 2020 season starts in March with UPU, part of the Auckland Arts Festival. The show, curated by award-winning poet Grace Taylor and directed by Fasitua Amosa, will bring Pacific poetry to life.

The Writer, a #MeToo-era work about a young writer and director from Britain's Ella Hickson, will have its international premiere on Silo's stage.

The newly-commissioned Break Bread will round out the season, bringing together theatre-makers from all over Aotearoa in a production about the rituals and traditions that hold societies together.


If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call 111.

If you need to talk to someone, the following free helplines operate 24/7:
LIFELINE: 0800 543 354
NEED TO TALK? Call or text 1737
SAMARITANS: 0800 726 666
YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 or text 234
There are lots of places to get support. For others, click here.