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Arts on Tour production: Austen Found: The Undiscovered Musicals of Jane Austen

October 14, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Austen Found: The Undiscovered Musicals of Jane Austen

“Jane Austen would be turning in her grave with delight…Rollicking good fun!” – Rip It Up Adelaide

“Austen Found: The Undiscovered Musicals of Jane Austen is the good pavlova, the one someone has taken a few goes to get just right. The brilliant version.” – Waikato Times

Addicted to Darcy?  Lost all Sense and Sensibility?  Bonkers for Big Balls?  Well put down your cross-stitching and join Penny Ashton, Lori Dungey and Jamie Burgess, as they swoon, romp, and pianoforte their way through an entirely improvised Austenian Musical. Charming suitors, meddlesome mothers, tight breeches and surprisingly well-educated girls will all paint a vivid picture in song, dance and passionate handholding.

For her fifth Arts on Tour NZ Penny Ashton (Olive Copperbottom, Promise and Promiscuity, Sense and Sensibility – The Court Theatre, Hot Pink Bits) is bringing along her most accomplished improvising friend; Lori Dungey (M3GAN, Lord of the Rings, Xena) and her most melodical musical maestro; Jamie Burgess (Canterbury Opera, K Rd Strip, Basil Fawlty)  to perambulate the NZ countryside spreading laughter and delightful bonnets as they go.  An entirely improvised Austenian Musical.

Complete Sell-out Comedy Festival (2007 and 2021) and Adelaide Fringe (2010)

“Penny Ashton and Lory Dungey – two excellent improvisers who know what they’re doing.” – Dominion Post

Penny Ashton

Penny Ashton is New Zealand’s own global comedienne who has been making a splash on the world stage since 2002. She has performed over 1000 solo shows and has sold out from Edinburgh to Edmonton to Tokoroa. She has represented both New Zealand in The World Cup of Theatresports in Germany, and Australasia in a Performance Poetry Slam Tournament Tour of the UK. She has also performed poetry by invitation at The Glastonbury Festival, her solo musical Promise and Promiscuity at The Jane Austen Festival in Bath and has reported from the Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas.

Her first mainstage play, Sense and Sensibility is premiering at The Court Theatre in 2023. Penny has been a professional improviser for 22 years and was the creator of Austen Found. She is also a voice over artist, social commentator, writer, and wedding celebrant. Her four tours with Arts on Tour were career highlights & laid the foundation for her constantly touring Aotearoa through the amazing connections she made whilst touring. They have been invaluable in bringing further culture to the regions.

Lori Dungey

Lori has a BFA from UBC, Canada.  She’s been actor for over 40 years and has created, produced, and performed in over 60 devised and improvised productions with ConArtists/The Improvisors/Waiheke Comedy productions.  Coming to NZ in 1990 she has also worked as a solo artist with theatre companies throughout Germany, Australia, Canada and NZ.

Currently the Education Director for the Theatresports Youth Program, Auckland (TYP), which runs in 21 High School/Colleges.  Also, for over 20 years Lori has been an improvisation tutor for the National Youth Drama School (NYDS) that is held every year in Hawkes Bay over the Easter holidays.

Some stage credits include Austen Found (Int’l Comedy Festival), Ropeable (Centrepoint Th.) The Dinner, (Circa/The Improvisors), Death of a Salesman (ATC), By Degrees (Court Theatre), Taking Steps (Arts Club Theatre, Vancouver), White Biting Dog (Touchstone Theatre, Vancouver) and several Tim Bray Productions in Auckland and on tour.

Lori is also a world-famous hobbit and is a darling of the conference circuit die her part of Mrs Bracegirlde. She also played the nosy neighbour in recent smash hit M3GAN.

Jamie Burgess

Born, raised and trained in New Zealand, Jamie now calls Melbourne home. Passionate about all aspects of performing and creating theatre, he has dipped his fingers into pretty much all the pies since graduating from NASDA a couple of decades ago. On stage he’s toured with Canterbury Opera, been to Copacabana and even been a Cat. As part of the original Australian cast of ‘Children of Eden’ he’s performed for Stephen Schwartz, he’s also managed to sing for Andrew Lippa and Jerry Sachs and had a great time doing it. He did, however, forget his tap shoes once, so didn’t make it onto the rooftop to sweep away Ms Poppins.

He’s toured with independent theatre companies over the years, most notably for the 2008 Auckland Festival hit ‘Sleep/Wake’ and the 2013 cabaret fever dream national tour that was ‘K’Rd Strip’. Of his own creations, he has written for the stage multiple times, his debut play ‘Shoes’ winning critical accolades, with his sophomore works ‘Becoming the Courtesan’ and ‘Butch Masters: Man of Destiny’ achieving their own degrees of success.

He has toured as a cabaret artist around Australasia with fabulous other people bunches of times now, as a resident improv-pianist he has imparted misguided musical wisdom to improve people’s improv, and as a piano bar player he has quite literally rocked all across the South Pacific Ocean. In 2020 the opportunity arrived for him to (goose) step into a role he believes he was pretty much born for… playing Basil Fawlty!


October 14, 2023
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


The Plaza Putaruru
50 Kensington Street
Putaruru, 07 883 8596 3411 New Zealand
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