Renee Maurice

Important and exciting new musical coming to Dunedin

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Hi, I'm Renee Maurice. You may know me as the winner of New Zealand's Got Talent 2013. I've had a big interest in music for many years and in 2006, I decided to write a musical. I did some research, looking for interesting stories and ideas and I stumbled across the story of the Seacliff Mental Hospital fire that changed my life.

Now I'm inviting anyone who has a personal interest, or involvement with mental and psychiatric health, or anyone who would be interested in getting behind a historical and exciting musical production, to donate. 

On the 8th of December, 1942, a fire took place at Seacliff Mental Hospital in Dunedin. 39 women were locked inside the ward which burned to the ground - 37 of those women perished. At the time, it was the worst fire disaster in New Zealand, until the Ballantynes Fire in 1947 which killed four more people. I continued my research into the Seacliff fire, and became more and more appalled at the circumstances around it. I went to school the day after first reading about it and asked my history teacher if he knew anything about it - he had never heard of it. I asked several other people who'd "been around a while", and they too had never heard of the tragedy. What began as a desire to tell a story through drama and music became a crusade to expose a terrible and tragic event in our Nation's history.

Now, after leaving school to devote my time to writing the play and spending 8 years researching, conversing with people involved and tweaking the script, the play has reached a standard which I deem ready for stage, and so, this December, I, along with a talented group of Otago performers, will be premiering the musical at the Westpac Mayfair Theatre in Dunedin. The show will run for 4 performances, from the 5th-8th of December, closing on the 73rd anniversary of the fire.

I have put a deposit down on the beautiful Mayfair theatre, I have booked a rehearsal space and I have sound/lighting and marketing all set up. I have a play, a very important musical play which I am hoping will not only allow these women to properly rest after more than seven decades, but will shine a light on the atrocities of mental health - emphasizing how far we have come but how far we have yet to go.

This is such an important message that needs to be spread. I, and the ladies of ward 5, along with many other mental health and psychiatric patients around New Zealand, thank you so wholeheartedly for your support.


  • Dunedin show video link

    24 MONTHS AGO!AgQeIx9t21W-ilPsQZS7JqR1t1P_

  • Dunedin 2015 production of Seacliff: Demise of Ward 5


    Dunedin 2015 production of Seacliff: Demise of Ward 5
  • Help me tell an important story!


Other Projects by Renee Maurice