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Nassim Soleimanpour on stage

5 to Beginners: White Rabbit, Red Rabbit

5 to Beginners: White Rabbit, Red Rabbit

Nicola Kāwana headshot

5 to Beginners
jargon, lingo, theatre-speak

The Stage Manager’s call to prepare actors for a performance, approximately five minutes prior to the time they are required on stage.

This 5 to Beginners is a handy first glimpse into the world behind Silo’s 2021 productions. Below are 5 quick tidbits to prepare you for White Rabbit, Red Rabbit.

No spoilers ahead, we promise!


‘The worldwide phenomenon that no-one’s allowed to talk about.’

White Rabbit, Red Rabbit is one of the most performed shows in the world. Despite this, an air of secrecy always surrounds the show. The performer can’t see the show or read the script before taking part, and you shouldn’t either!

This cloak of mystery means you can’t know what will take place… however… we’ll let you know the actor is always asked to prepare an ostrich impression before the big night.


Nassim Soleimanpour created White Rabbit, Red Rabbit to traverse the world at a time when he couldn’t. In 2011, Soleimanpour finished the script when he was restricted from leaving Iran after refusing to do mandatory military service.

From John Hurt to Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane to Cynthia Nixon, over 1,000 different performers from all walks of life have boldly stepped onto the stage to perform this play over the past 10 years.

Closer to home, in 2013 Silo produced a season of this work which featured local talents including Stephen Lovatt, Rima Te Wiata, Dai Henwood, Jarod Rawiri, Oliver Driver, Alison Bruce and our own Artistic Director Sophie Roberts.


Guatemala, Perú, The Netherlands, Japan, Russia.

This is just the beginning of a list of 90 different hubs where White Rabbit, Red Rabbit will be broadcast and/or performed to various audiences on March 13, 8pm local time..

Believe it or not, New Zealand is the only country confirmed to be hosting this event in person (touch wood, carry a rabbit’s foot, don’t jinx it!). Both in Auckland and in Greytown, audiences will be joining the actors in person to experience the thrill of Soleimanpour’s writing this weekend!


March 13 marks the anniversary of many theatres across the world closing their doors. Audiences here and abroad are marking this moment and raising awareness about the ongoing impacts of Covid 19 on the performing arts sector through the staging of White Rabbit, Red Rabbit.

Let There Be Theatre is a campaign seeking to build greater solidarity amongst performers, artists, technicians, venues and all other affected members of the global performing arts industry.

Here in Tāmaki Makaurau, a portion of the proceeds raised will be donated to Auckland Fringe Festival to support their artists who have been impacted by the very recent Level 3 lockdowns in our city.

Auckland Fringe Festival have extended their dates through to April – make sure you take the opportunity to indulge in the feast of works on offer. Visit To support Auckland Fringe with further donations, please enquire at

Auckland Arts Festival are also extending dates, don’t miss out on the vast amount of theatre, music and art throughout the region. Details can be found at


Stepping into the unknown on Saturday is a brave performer, Nicola Kāwana. You may recognise Nicola from her performance in the spectacular UPU last year with Silo Theatre and Auckland Arts Festival.

Nicola’s theatre credits also include Woman Far Walking (Taki Rua Productions), Under The Mountain, Rendered, Awatea, A Doll’s House, Motor Camp (Auckland Theatre Company), Fix (Junket Theatre) and The Vultures (Tawata Productions).

Nicola also has a wealth of experience on television and the big screen including Jackson’s Wharf, Shortland Street (South Pacific Pictures), The Man Who Lost His Head (South Pacific Pictures, ITV), Eruption (Gibson Group), Fresh Meat (Gibson Group), and The New Legends of Monkey (See-Saw Films, Jump Film and Television).

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