Some people may regard a comedy inspired by the death of a friend as morbid, but it’s the kind of bold and unique idea Q Theatre’s Matchbox season aims to shine a light on.

The annual programme, now in its sixth year, gives three boundary-pushing New Zealand artists the chance to develop their work and see it on stage. Anya Tate-Manning’s My Best Dead Friend is the first of the three plays in the 2017 season.

The one-woman show is deeply personal for the 36-year-old. Describing it as more storytelling than theatre or stand-up, half the play takes place in 1998 in Dunedin, centred on a crazy night with her friends, while the other half focuses on the death of one of those friends 10 years later.

“The story in 1998 [is] about a night where we attempted to have a revolution in Dunedin. Success was not high,” Tate-Manning laughs. “It was a failure that we never talked about, and it was deeply embarrassing, but I feel when my friend passed away it became significant.”


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