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The Complete History of Nelson (Abridged): The Professional Theatre Co.


Energy Centre Founders Heritage Park, Dec 1-10, 2023
A tongue-in-cheek race through Whakatū Nelson’s history is about to set your ideas of the region’s past on end, and will explain the mysterious signs promoting CHONA that have appeared on fences around the city.
Writer Gregory Cooper explains the acronym stands for Complete History of Nelson (Abridged), an 80-minute theatrical celebration of Nelson’s history.
He describes CHONA as a funny and frenetic variety show with songs, satire and silliness.
“We’re pitching it to families – there truly is something for everyone with slapstick comedy that kids will love through to historical information presented with a twist that will keep adults entertained,” Cooper said.
“It’s a challenge to get it all in since we start 800 years ago with Māori arriving, have the settlers arriving to the America’s Cup theme tune ‘Sailing Away’, roll Rutherford into the first rugby game, meet the pottery set at Chez Eelco and race to the finish line through the last 50 years with Rod Dixon doing laps around the audience.”
CHONA is the latest offering from The Professional Theatre Company – a group that won a standing ovation at the Theatre Royal earlier this year with the pacy and hilarious crowd-pleaser ‘Mr and Mrs Macbeth of Dodson Valley Road’.
Once again Mark Hadlow – best known for his role as Dori the dwarf in ‘The Hobbit’ – and his team are bringing professional actors to the stage in Nelson, with a show tailored for the home-town audience.
Gregory Cooper has been involved with theatre in Aotearoa-NZ since he joined Christchurch’s Court Theatre in 1993. He co-wrote the rock musical ‘That Bloody Woman’ about Kate Shepherd and the self-explanatory ‘Middle Aged Man in Lycra’.
As well as writing CHONA he’s appearing in it alongside local actors Doug Brooks and Donna Botha.
The Complete History of Nelson (Abridged) is presented at the Energy Centre, Founders Park, December 1-10, 2023. Tickets at


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