The Keys are in the Margarine is a unique theatre production coming to Whanganui in October.

The play tackles the topic of Alzheimer's in a profound and enlightening way by channelling the voices of real people affected by the disease.

Conceived by Dunedin writer, actor and director Cindy Diver, The Keys are in the Margarine is a unique form of stagecraft, created from interviews with people with direct experience of the disease - caregivers, family members, doctors and support workers.

"I had wonderful collaborators including Dr Susie Lawless, a GP who helped me make so many connections, and I worked with different groups of people who gave generously of their time and testimonies," Diver said.


"They represent an amazing range of different backgrounds and ideologies.

"Their stories communicate the all-encompassing effect dementia has on the lives of people living with the disease and the lives of everyone around them."

September is World Alzheimer's Month, an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia.

More than 60,000 New Zealanders live with Alzheimer's disease or a related form of dementia – a number that is expected to triple by 2050.

Diver said The Keys are in the Margarine is intended to raise awareness although that does not mean it is a frightening or depressing experience for audiences.

"It interweaves hilarity with heartbreak to poignant effect while providing deep insights on what it means to be human."

Diver, along with three other actors, re-present the edited testimony from interviews.

With the audio playing in their ears, they relay the original words and how those words are spoken along with the physical gestures and facial expressions of the interviewees.


"I've been delighted with the responses we've had.

"People who don't usually enjoy theatre have responded really well, saying it rang true for them."

The Keys are in the Margarine is coming to Whanganui courtesy of Arts on Tour NZ in association with Brain Research New Zealand.

The Arts on Tour trust receives funding from Creative New Zealand to support tours of outstanding New Zealand performers to rural and smaller centres in New Zealand.

Brain Research New Zealand – Rangahau Roro Aotearoa is a national research centre focused on the ageing brain and ageing-related neurological disorders.

The Keys are in the Margarine: Royal Wanganui Opera House, Sunday, October 20, 7.30pm. Adult $25, senior/student/friends OH $20, group discounts. Book at Royal Wanganui Opera House or online at