Stages and film sets in America, Europe, New Zealand and other Pacific locations were the artistic terrain upon which University of Auckland graduates Alan Brunton (1946-2002) and Sally Rodwell (1950-2006) navigated as they performed for audiences from the late 1960s to the mid-2000s.
Red Mole and White Rabbit Puppet Theatre, the primary vehicles for their performances, were founded by Brunton and Rodwell in the early 1970s and, with other members and participants, produced around 40 shows. Brunton and Rodwell’s joint versatility encompassed scriptwriting, directing, choreography, mask and puppet-making, costume design, film-making, and publication of prose and poetry.
After much time living and working overseas, Brunton, Rodwell and daughter Ruby settled in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1988. Rodwell developed her interest in women’s theatre and workshop facilitation; Brunton founded the Bumper Books publishing house and was the Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury in 1998.
Alan Brunton died suddenly on tour in 2002 and sadly, Sally Rodwell’s death followed in 2006. Special Collections holds a large collection of papers and ephemera generated by this couple, amongst which are to be found scripts, films, slides, photographs, correspondence and publicity material.
Yvonne Sutherland, Special Collections
Brunton, Alan, and Sally Rodwell 1950s-2007. Papers. MSS & Archives 2009/4, Special Collections, University of Auckland Library.