Auckland Theatre Company

On the Upside Down of the World

Choose a theme

Copy (Ctrl C) the code below


New Zealand. 1841. A savage, unknown land filled with savage, unpredictable people. Or so thought Lady Mary Ann Martin, wife of the first NZ Chief Justice, as she sailed here with her husband over a century ago. When she arrived, however, rather than 'civilising the natives' she found herself learning from them and caring for them, while discovering the key to her own liberation in the process.

ON THE UPSIDE DOWN OF THE WORLD is the story of a remarkable woman and the remarkable journey she embarked upon as one of the first settlers in our country. Based on the memoirs of Lady Mary Anne Martin entitled, 'Our Maoris,' ON THE UPSIDE DOWN OF THE WORLD is a truly New Zealand story set to dazzle international audiences at The Edinburgh Arts Festival this August.

Laurel Devenie stars as the crippled yet intrepid and intelligent Lady Martin in this powerhouse solo performance, seamlessly sweeping audiences into her strange new world as she learns Te Reo, adopts a local Maori boy, and sets up a makeshift hospital for Maori on the beach at Judges Bay.

Under the guidance of Auckland Theatre Company's own Artistic Director, Colin McColl, ON THE UPSIDE DOWN OF THE WORLD has toured extensively throughout New Zealand since the Company first commissioned it in 2010. Last year, it made its international debut at the New York United Solo Festival so the obvious next step for us is to take it to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and share this charming, revealing, unique piece of our history with the rest of the world.

Unsurprisingly, sharing this national treasure is proving to be an extremely expensive undertaking as we look to cover the travel, accommodation, production, marketing and operating costs involved - which is where you lovely people come in…

As playwright Arthur Meek explains, "it's not a history play, it's a play about who we are and how we've come to be like we are," and we believe that's a story worth telling. So please, dig deep into your pockets, piggybanks and purses and help us take ON THE UPSIDE DOWN OF THE WORLD, to the other side of the world.

To note: In preparation for the Edinburgh Festival Laurel will be performing a show case of ON THE UPSIDE DOWN OF THE WORLD at the ATC Studios on Monday 14 July and we would love for you to attend this intimate performance. More details will be announced soon.


  • We did it!


    We made it guys! With your help and generous donations we are able to say our first Boosted campaign was a successful one. The money raised will go a long way to helping cover the costs involved with presenting work in Edinburgh and sharing this beautiful story on the world stage so on behalf of everyone at Auckland Theatre Company - thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • The Final Countdown!


    This is it everyone. We have just 10 hours left to reach our goal and help share ON THE UPSIDE DOWN OF THE WORLD on the world stage. Thank-you all so much for your generous donations and if you know anyone else who you think may be interested in our project please share it with them!

  • Showcase Performance at ATC


    We held our showcase performance (and the final rehearsal before Edinburgh) of ON THE UPSIDE DOWN OF THE WORLD on Monday night. Laurel put on a wonderful show that drew both laughs and tears from our enthusiastic audience. We would like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who came along to show their support and donated generously to the tour.

    Showcase Performance at ATC
  • Showcase Performance at ATC


    We have confirmed that the free showcase performance of ON THE UPSIDE DOWN OF THE WORLD will be held at 7.00pm Monday 14 July in ATC Studio One (performance time is 75mins) .

    This will be Laurel's final rehearsal before she gets on the plane to Edinburgh so we would love you to come along and show her your support. All you need to do is email to register. See you there!


  • We're underway!


    Thank-you so much to everyone who has donated so far and helped us to get the ball rolling. We are thrilled to have made it past the $1,000 mark.

    We've also had LOTS of RSVP's from people wanting to attend the showcase performance on Monday 14 July. So if you haven't registered yet be sure to do so by emailing Spaces are limited. Performance time is still TBC.