New Zealand Opera brings courtroom comedy to Christchurch court

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“Oh joy unbounded!” New Zealand Opera is bringing Gilbert & Sullivan’s one-act operatic comedy Trial by Jury to Christchurch’s Old High Court this August.

The irreverent, joyous romp sends up the Victorian legal system, with observational humour that is just as relevant today as it was when it debuted in 1875.

Trial by Jury stars current Dame Malvina Major Emerging artists Natasha Wilson, Manase Latu and Samson Setu, Freemasons New Zealand Opera Artist Deborah Rogers and features returning Cantabrian James Harrison as the Learned Judge as well as the Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus under Chorus Director Sharolyn Kimmorley.

Outgoing New Zealand Opera General Director Stuart Maunder has directed Trial by Jury in five different courtrooms (Bow Street Magistrates Court, Royal Courts of Justice London, Supreme Court of Western Australian, Central Police Court Sydney, County Court of Victoria) and returns to New Zealand especially to bring his production to Christchurch.

“This is one of my favourite G&S works and I’m thrilled that it’s going to be staged in the absolutely ideal surrounds of the Old High Court,” Stuart said.

“New Zealand Opera’s 2018 season is all about showcasing the best New Zealand talent and this production showcases five wonderful singers who are based in New Zealand, as well as the Christchurch branch of the Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus. Christchurch is in for a treat.”

The Old Court Building provides the perfect backdrop to the courtroom farce, with audience members given the chance to sit and watch from the public gallery, or in the heart of the action from the dock or the bench. Tickets – including drinks and nibbles – cost $60 for gallery seats and $100 for one of six seats in the dock or the bench.

The five performances of Trial by Jury will be preceded by a special appearance of the Canterbury Lawyers Choir under co-directors Helen Charlton and Matthew Everingham.

Friday 24 August – 6:00pm and 8:00pm
Saturday 25 August – 6:00pm and 8:00pm
Sunday 26 August – 2:00pm

High Court Number 1
Old Court Building, Durham Street, Christchurch.

Running time: 45 minutes

Book now on 0800 696 737 or email