THEATRE SCENES is an independent and alternative blog for reviews and commentary on theatre productions in Auckland and beyond. Edited by James Wenley, our critics are Matt Baker, Sharu Delilkan, Tim Booth, Jess Holly Bates, Tim George, Nathan Joe and Rachael Longshaw-Park.

If you have a production you would like to be reviewed, or would like to suggest something to be featured on Theatre Scenes, please email james@theatrescenes.co.nz


James  Wenley is a theatre critic and enthusiast.  He began reviewing theatre for Craccum Magazine in 2008, and was the Theatre Editor 2009-2010 before establishing Theatre Scenes in 2011. While continuing to edit and review for Theatre Scenes, he joined Metro Magazine‘s review team in 2014. James won the inaugural Pantograph Punch Best Critic award at the 2015 Auckland Theatre Awards .

He has a Masters of Arts in Drama and is currently completing his Doctoral Thesis and lecturing at the University of Auckland. James is a producer for Theatre of Love. He likes his theatre well done.


matt bakerMatt studied as an actor at the UNITEC School of Performing And Screen Arts and has performed in theatre, musical theatre, short films, television, and commercials for the past 11 years. In 2013 he completed a Meisner technique course with Neighbourhood Playhouse representative Mike Saccente, as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts with Merit specialising in Drama. Matt began directing in 2014 with critically acclaimed productions of Mo & Jess Kill Susie and An Unseasonable Fall of Snow by New Zealand playwright Gary Henderson. He is represented by Kathryn Rawlings & Associates, is a member of New Zealand Actors’ Equity, and is the inaugural New Zealand member of the International Association of Theatre Critics.

Matt began reviewing in 2011 for Craccum Magazine, and won the Hackman Theatre Award for best review quote of the year for a pithy comment on that year’s Othello.

Matt offers this quote towards his reviewing philosophy: “Criticism is the first word, not the last.”


Sharu DelilkanPrior to blogging for Theatre Scenes, Sharu Delilkan was the freelance Entertainment editor for The Aucklander for 4+ years, writing about and promoting a huge number of arts events. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications (Journalism Major), was co-founder and managing director of BB Showbiz in Malaysia working in the live music scene, and since moving to New Zealand has been highly involved with PR and the arts industry.  She has produces under her company Sharu Loves Hats, and has a Master of Arts in Arts Management at Whitecliffe College.

Sharu often co-writes her reviews with partner Tim Booth.



Tim has been  a contributor to Theatrescenes for a number of years now in collaboration with his ‘first wife’ Sharu. Tim is an engineer by trade and attempts to present a slightly alternate audience members perspective in his reviews.

Tim has also written two short plays with Sharu, Footprints to New Zealand and The Marriage Bureau, both which reached the Short + Sweet gala finals in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

His set design credits also include The Marriage Bureau (Short + Sweet) at TAPAC, Northern Glow (Working Class Productions & Agaram) at The Basement Theatre,  Henry V (Sharu Loves Hats and ShakeItUp) at The Pop up Globe, Pah Homestead and The Pumphouse, Love N Stuff (Prayas Theatre Company) at TAPAC, and the remount of Sham (We Three Productions, Dan Williams original set design) at Te Pou Theatre.


Jess Holly BatesJess Holly Bates is a pakeha performer, writer, director and theatre-maker based in Auckland – who is invested in a theatre scene that is critical, necessary and entertaining. She is a graduate of the Philippe Gaulier Theatre School and the University of Auckland (MABSc). Her performance theatre credits include The Heretic (ATC), White Rabbit Red Rabbit (Silo) and The Blind Date Project (Silo). In 2014 she launched her solo spoken word theatre show Real Fake White Dirt at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which has performed sell-out seasons in both Auckland and Wellington, and was awarded Best Writing of NZ Fringe 2015. It has also been published by Anahera Press as a book of poetry.  In 2015, her performance work was commissioned both for the Brisbane GOMA as a part of the SaVAge K’lub installation at the 8th Asia Pacific Triennale, and for Artdego at Toi o Tamaki. She is currently writing The Offensive Nipple Show, set to debut at The Basement in March.


Tim GeorgeTim George enjoys writing and watching plays. He has two Masters degrees because of low self-esteem and a fear of gainful employment. When he is not analysing plays  you can find him contributing self-important discourses on pop culture on denofgeek.com, theragnz.com and at his own blog http://midniteramble.blogspot.co.nz.




Nathan JoeNathan Joe is a graduate from the New Zealand Broadcasting School and an Auckland-based playwright. He has also been a regular contributor over at The Lumière Reader since 2014, and is currently their ongoing theatre editor.

In 2015, Nathan was awarded the Playmarket b425 award for Hippolytus Veiled and shortlisted for the Playmarket ADAM NZ award for Who is Sada Abe? Part One: Bullfight of Love.



Rachael Longshaw-Park, a current MA student at the University of Auckland, divides her time between teaching, studying and devouring theatre, whether that be by reading, directing or viewing – as long as theatre is involved she’s content.

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