It will be a night filled with dancing queens as Rangitīkei farmers kick off their gumboots in exchange for wide-leg disco pants for a production of Mamma Mia.

The Taihape Drama Club, filled with talent from across the district, had been rehearsing for around four months and was two weeks away from opening night when Covid-19 came along and all six sold-out shows had to be cancelled.

But the show must go on and the cast has found time during their day-to-day jobs to schedule some singing practice and work on those dance moves.

Ohingaiti farmer and lawyer Scott Parkes said it has been a long time since he has done any singing or drama.


"I have been practising my lines and my singing, trying to get the notes right, whilst on the motorbike so I'm singing to cattle and my dogs who think I'm nuts and my daughter who is 4 is pretty fluent in all my lines and she sings away as well."

Parkes is set to play Sky in the show and is getting ready to belt out his main number Lay all your love on me.

"I am very much at the lower end of the spectrum and Lay all your love is right at the very top of the lower end of the spectrum."

Mamma Mia is the first show Parkes has been part of for years, having only done a little bit of drama in high school.

"My kids see me and my wife working and playing rugby and working pretty much and they're 5 and 4 and it just gives a different aspect to what happens in small communities."

He said the drama club is exactly like being in a rugby team.

"There's a fair bit more drama than in a rugby club but it's a team effort to carry it on."

The West End musical is set to music by ABBA and includes hits such as Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia and Money Money Money.


Taihape farmer Andy Law has also found himself lost in the music while out and about.

"I rehearse while I'm drenching, fencing, dagging, you name it – the farm makes for the perfect rehearsal space."

The cast of Mamma Mia are looking forward to performing six sold-out shows and three new added shows at the end of July. Photo / Supplied
The cast of Mamma Mia are looking forward to performing six sold-out shows and three new added shows at the end of July. Photo / Supplied

And the drama club has certainly has had its dramas on top of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Leading lady Donna, played by Ariana Hansen, who is checkout manager at Taihape New World, said two weeks before the initial opening night she ruptured her Achilles tendon.

She was put straight into a moon boot and was broken-hearted as she thought she was going to lose her part.

But then the lockdown happened and she continued to work as an essential worker and had time to heal.


"I did my whole lockdown at work and I got given a scooter so I scootered around the aisles and sung Mamma Mia to everybody and they were going 'are you not going to be in the show' and I said 'like hell they're not going to get rid of me'."

Hansen, who is a professional singer, has enjoyed being able to sing and dance with the customers while at work.

This will be her fifth show in theatre and she said "it's just another level of excitement, I love it".

"I didn't like Abba at the start but now I love it."

Her Achilles has now healed but she is not able to do all the dance moves she would like but is still able to play her part.

She wants everyone to come and have a sing-along and some fun post-Covid-19.


Director Wendy Revell said the intention from the very start was to bring some joy to the region, and that's needed now more than ever.

"This musical is the perfect way to bring people together."

Three new shows have been added, with opening night now on July 24 and a matinee and evening show on July 25 at the Taihape Town Hall. Tickets are still available for these shows.

The sold-out shows will be performed from July 28 to August 1.

Tickets are available at the Taihape Info Centre and online at and