Rotunda website imagePhoto credit: Celia Walmsley 

Rotunda 2015 Australasian Tour

Foundation Partner

Westpac Logo

Core Funder

Creative NZ Logo

Sustaining Partners


LGB Lotto Logo

Major Partners

Wellesley Studios Logo The Audience Connection Logo
ASB Community Trust Logo
Pub Charity

Supporting Partners

Auckland Council Logo

Southern trust

You are here: Home > Shows > Rotunda
  • Rotunda 2015 Australasian Tour

    Show Overview

    What is courage?

    Rotunda features the beautiful collision of a live brass band with the raw power of contemporary dance, timed to honour the Gallipoli landings in 1915. This is a poignant and moving work, created by Arts Laureates Shona McCullagh (Artistic Director) and Don McGlashan (Musical Director) in collaboration with a cast of 8 dancers. Performing with the NZ Army Band and North Shore Brass in New Zealand, to a range of heartfelt hymns and stunning, new brass works by contemporary New Zealand composers, Rotunda is a living memorial that celebrates the ANZAC spirit and the themes of courage, loss, kinship and ultimately, a desire for peace.

    Invited to the Holland Dance Festival in February 2014, Rotunda received 4 star reviews and standing ovations at every performance. Rotunda brings to life the world of the band rotunda, an iconic symbol of early 20th Century community, where we rekindle memories of loss and love in a haunting snapshot of Australasian history.

    Rotunda draws from the extraordinary courage and indomitable spirit of our ANZAC men, and the women who set about running the country with aching hearts and dread that their men might not return. Renowned for its earthiness, physicality, rhythm and expression this unmistakably New Zealand choreography integrates shadow play, mace twirling, a Brass band, and a fusion of waiata with dynamic contemporary dance theatre.

    Click here to see what audience members are saying about Rotunda.
    The New Zealand Dance Company completed a sweeping Australasian tour, performing Rotunda in Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Auckland, Adelaide, Melbourne, Parramatta and Geelong.

  • We want to hear your stories

    We want to hear your story.We are calling for the names of the fallen, the survivors who returned from
    World War One, and the women who served at home.Do you have a family member who fits the brief? Please tell us about them,
    we want to know your story.

    Each name we receive will be projected on a commemorative veil in the theatre
    prior to each performance of Rotunda.

    Lest we forget….click here to honour your relative.

    Click here to read some ancestors’ stories which have been shared.


    As part of the Rotunda 2015 Australasian Tour the company is also offering a dedicated schools’ matinee in all NZ centres. NZDC is committed to its Youth Engagement strategy vision: “The New Zealand Dance Company has a leadership youth engagement role, creating access and mentoring for young people to get hooked into dance. The art form and society are fortified by inspiring the values of courage, enthusiasm, independence and contribution.” NZDC has created a benchmark NCEA resource around Rotunda and workshops at primary, intermediate and secondary level are also available throughout the country.

    To book school performances or workshops please click here.

    Tauranga (matinee performance)
    Baycourt Community and Arts Centre Friday March 13 at 1.00pm (90mins)
    Students $15

    Wellington (matinee performances)
    Soundings Theatre, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Friday March 20 at 1.00pm (90mins)
    Students $15

    Christchurch (matinee performance)
    Airforce Museum of New Zealand Friday March 27 at 1.00pm (90mins)
    Students $15

    Dunedin (matinee performance)
    Regent Theatre Wednesday April 01 at 1.00pm (90mins)
    Students $15

    Auckland (matinee performance)
    ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre Friday April 24 at 1.00pm (90mins)
    Students $15

  • Music

    The music is performed by The NZ Army Band in Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, and North Shore Brass in Auckland. The score consists of contemporary brass music from New Zealand composers Gareth Farr, John Ritchie and Don McGlashan. Traditional hymns are woven into this stunning score to conjure the emotional landscape of a seminal time in our nation’s history. The following musical works are performed during Rotunda.

    • Flourish For An Occasion by John Ritchie
    • Invercargill by Alex Lithgow
    • Invercargill Deconstructed by Alex Lithgow, arr. Don McGlashan
    • Tawhirimatea* by Gareth Farr (recorded by the National Youth Band of New Zealand, conducted by Nigel Weeks)
    • Coventry Carol by Trad, arr. Don McGlashan
    • E Pari Ra (sung) by Paraire Tomoana, arr. Don McGlashan
    • Jerusalem by William Blake/Hubert Parry, arr. Don McGlashan
    • Threnody by John Ritchie
    • Flourish Homecoming by John Ritchie, arr. Don McGlashan
    • Colne by Thomas Rive
    • Nimrod, from Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar, arr. Denis Wright
    • Chorale Prelude #1 by Johannes Brahms

    All other incidental music by Don McGlashan. *    Sound Recording: Brass Aotearoa: National Youth Brass Band of New Zealand (MMT2049) © & 2003 HRL Morrison Music Trust. Work: Tawhirimatea (2002) by Gareth Farr © 2002 Promethean Editions Limited. The music of Gareth Farr is published exclusively by Promethean Editions Ltd.

  • Creative Team

    The music is performed by The NZ Army Band in Tauranga, Wellington., Christchurch and Dunedin. North Shore Brass will perform in Auckland. The score consists of contemporary brass music from New Zealand composers Gareth Farr, John Ritchie, John Psathas and Don McGlashan. Traditional hymns are woven into this stunning score to conjure the emotional landscape of a seminal time in our nation’s history.

    Shona McCullagh

    Musical Director
    Don McGlashan

    Shona McCullagh in collaboration with the dancers

    Tupua Tigafua
    Carl Tolentino
    Hannah Tasker-Poland
    Lucy Lynch
    Gareth Okan
    Chrissy Kokiri
    Katie Rudd
    Chris Ofanoa

    SSGT Phillip Johnston
    Marc Taddei

    NZ Army Band
    North Shore Brass

    Don McGlashan
    John Ritchie
    John Psathas
    Edward Elgar
    Johannes Brahms
    Gareth Farr
    Alex Lithgow

    Set Design
    Joe Bleakley

    Costume Design
    Jane Holland

    Lighting Design
    Paul O’Brien

    Michelanne Forster

    Production Manager
    Paul O’Brien

  • Stamps of Approval

    “The rotunda-like set design, striking costumes, and sensitive lighting design combine to make this an outstandingly cohesive production, of which New Zealand can be justifiably proud.” – The Dominion Post

    Read more here.

    “You can’t help but be mesmerised by the powerful and raw talent that is the New Zealand Dance Company…Gentle humour made it easy to lose yourself in the enjoyment of the show; but goosebumps and the welling of tears reminded me what was being portrayed.” – Bay of Plenty Times

    Read more here.

    Rotunda is brilliant!…The powerful and engaging performance ends with a standing ovation.” – Sheree Bright, Theatrereview

    Read more here.

    Rotunda is a remarkable feat of artistic collaboration…Friday night’s enthusiastic audience were privileged to share in a defining moment in the history of New Zealand dance.” – Ian Lochhead, Theatrereview

    Read more here.

    “At the end of the performance of Rotunda in Tauranga on Friday 13th March I turned to my friend and said I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more beautiful in my whole life…. The story these incredibly talented and passionate dancers portrayed resonated and moved me to tears of joy and sorrow.” – Rotunda audience member

    “What a tribute to our nation’s history. This collision of several completely different worlds form a spectacular, moving and beautiful artwork.” – Rotunda audience member

    “Absolutely phenomenal! A moving, creative and artistic tribute to the resilience of soldiers and those who support them.” – Rotunda audience member

    “What an amazing show. I am really overwhelmed. Amazing dancers, amazing music, amazing musicians. Funny and touching at the same time.” – Rotunda Schools Matinee audience member

  • Gallery

    Photo credit: John McDermott