HeLa play: Henrietta Lacks comes to New Zealand

helaThe University of Otago, Wellington, in partnership with the Science in Context group at Victoria University of Wellington, the British Council of New Zealand and Made in Scotland, is delighted to be hosting and sponsoring a theatrical performance of HeLa, an internationally award-winning one person play currently being toured through New Zealand.

Coming all the way from the UK, this solo show by Adura Onashile takes as its inspiration the true life story of Henrietta Lacks and the extraordinary life of the HeLa cell line. HeLa is an all-consuming story, intertwining genetic identity, social responsibility and current ethical debates about human tissue research and ownership …

In 1951 Henrietta Lacks walked into the coloured section of the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore with a pain in her abdomen. A biopsy revealed a cancer that would kill her just months later. A cell sample taken without her permission was used as the raw material for some of the most important scientific discoveries of the past 100 years.
HeLa is an engaging exploration of the vast scientific progress made possible by the cells of one, unknown woman.

Adura Onashile is a writer and charismatic performer with diverse experience in political, verbatim, site-specific and physical theatre. She has worked with companies including the National theatre of Scotland, National Theatre, Urban Theatre Projects, Australia’s foremost site specific company, Chicago Shakespeare Company, St Anne’s Warehouse, The LIFT festival, The Clod Ensemble, The Belarus Free Theatre and Vox Motus. Adura has toured internationally with both the Foreign Commonwealth Office and the British Council.

“…a shocking slice of shamefully hidden history … theatrically bold in the telling, with Onashile’s heart-rending performance at its centre.” [The Herald]

“The fusion of video, music, monologue and physicality makes HeLa a feast for all the senses. This extraordinary, true story is treated with delicacy and astuteness …” [The Peoples Review]

This production was designed to be presented in a Medical School lecture theatre environment, so we are delighted to be hosting this only Wellington performance of the show in the Nordmeyer Lecture Theatre at the University of Otago, Wellington in Newtown. This will be a one night only performance on Thursday 16 October at 7pm, so make sure you book now as tickets will sell fast.  Bookings can be made online only at www.otago.ac.nz/heLa. Please note that tickets are non-refundable, but are transferable to another person.

HeLa is also showing in Christchurch (October 9, 10) and Auckland (October 21 – 25).

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