A Wellington theatre group, Walking Shadows, is bringing the famous playwright, Henrik Ibsen's last work to the Shambles Theatre on Sunday.

There are multiple reasons to see When We Dead Awaken, according to producer, Alexander Sparrow.

"It's the New Zealand premiere production of a 116-year-old Ibsen classic; it's the perfect mix of drama and laughs; there's sexual tension, romance, failed relationships, and a bear killer! It has everything, and it makes you think."

He said the main themes of the play were around the struggle to find a purpose for life, love, art, and freedom.


"We love that When We Dead Awaken was written for a completely different time, place, and culture, but it works for young New Zealanders today. The triumphs and failures experienced by the characters in the play continue to affect us more than a century later.

"As a company, we are committed to exploring what it means to be human, and the shared experiences that bring us together. This play perfectly represents this to us. It is rich, hilarious, and heart-wrenching.

"When We Dead Awaken provides reassurance of the intrinsically connected nature of the human condition. This play will make you think," he said.

"After a well-received New Zealand premiere during the 2016 NZ Fringe Festival, where it was hailed as 'a design and acting tour de force' we couldn't help but think we're not quite finished with this yet," added Catriona Tipene, co- director of Walking Shadows.

So the company decided to take the play to the people. The play is currently touring the North Island, and funding has included grants from the Emerging Artists Trust, a Boosted campaign online, and fundraiser show headlined by Tipene's brother, singer/songwriter Benny Tipene.

The play was not always received so well. When it was first performed in 1900, reviewers hated it, saying "audiences would rather see interesting life than awoken dead". A review of an English 1903 performance slammed it in the opening line, saying, "Nothing would be easier than to make fun of When We Dead Awaken".

This is Ibsen's worst play . . . or used to be.

What: When We Dead Awaken
Where: Shambles Theatre
When: Sunday 7pm
Tickets: Adults $20 / Concession $15