Play: Seacliff – Demise of Ward 5

Based on the true events of the Seacliff Mental Hospital fire – this musical play intertwines a fictional story of the lives of some of the patients, and the factual events of the tragic fire.

  • When Sat 9 Dec 2017, 2:00–4:30pm
  • Where
    Soundings Theatre, Level 2
  • Cost Adults $30, Concession $25 (Gold card and students)
Book now


Sat 9 Dec, 10.30am–1pm

Sat 9 Dec, 2pm–4.30pm

Sun 10 Dec, 10.30am–1pm

Sun 10 Dec, 2pm–4.30pm

About the play

Written and directed by New Zealand's Got Talent Winner Renee Maurice, the story follows the patients at Seacliff Lunatic Asylum and the second worst fire disaster to ever take place in New Zealand. 

On 8 Dec 1942, Ward 5 of Seacliff Lunatic Asylum, near Dunedin, burnt down. 37 female patients inside the ward, perished.

Seacliff: Demise of Ward 5 tells the story of the ladies whose lives were so tragically taken. It shines a light on the atrocious conditions of Asylums of the day and the people who lived within their walls, in a satirical but heartfelt way. 

The show revolves around a young lady named Grace, who has been sent to Seacliff following the murder of her young daughter.

Upon her committal, Grace is petrified and grief-stricken. Over the course of the two months leading up to the night of the fire Grace begins to discover herself for the first time and, with the attentiveness of a young guard and a couple of the craziest, best friends she's ever known, she flourishes in the most unexpected of places.

Painting depicting the fire at Seacliff Mental Hospital


Fire at Seacliff Mental Hospital, 2016. Art by Cheryl Visser. Courtesy of Renee Maurice