Napier Repertory players in rehearsal for Threads of Life Photo: Ken Morrison

Napier Repertory Players, based at The Little Theatre in McGrath Street, has been entertaining Hawke’s Bay audiences since 1933. Born out of the devastation of the 1931 earthquake, The Little Theatre will, this year of the 90th anniversary, bring those events alive in the world-premiere of the locally written Threads Of Life.

Part of the Napier Art Deco Festival, with an extended season to 6 March, Threads of Life revisits that fateful day 90 years ago when the earth shook, trembled and raged, and Napier was torn asunder.

In a story rich with drama, heroism, tragedy, pathos and even humour, the audience will be swept up in the experiences of the 3rd of February 1931 as Threads of Life lays bare the emotion and events of the day when the lives people of all walks of life collided and were forever intertwined.

Playwright and director, John Cocking, has drawn on earthquake archives, memoirs, diaries, and interviews with those who were caught up in the devastation and aftermath of that February day in 1931.

Cocking has always been fascinated by the coincidences that life throws up. “The threads of your life get woven with lots of other threads, sometimes for a moment, sometimes forever. So, I’ve used that as the overall theme for the play,” says Cocking. He imagined being in Napier on that day in 1931 – the panic, confusion and fear – a kaleidoscope of action and emotion.

The play recounts a number of individual threads of the terror, despair, and hope of that day and of how those threads became woven with the experiences of others and changed lives forever.

This will be a theatre experience like no other with action occurring not only on the stage before the audience, but around them, and amongst them, as the gravity of the situation becomes real and the urgency to save lives reaches an unbelievable conclusion.

With Deco dress highly recommended and held at the gorgeous Art Deco-era Little Theatre in Napier, Threads of Life is being staged both during the festival weekend from 18-21 Feb and then again from 24 Feb-6 Mar for those who may have missed out, or are looking to extend their festival experience.

Tickets can be booked through, at the Napier Municipal Theatre or at Hastings and Havelock North I-Sites. Check the Napier Repertory website for details.

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