Helen Moulder is performing her one-woman play during July and August at her temporary theatre on Collingwood St. Photo: Tim Cuff.

One-woman show finds home in empty shop


One actor, five characters and an empty shop. That’s what makes up Helen Moulder’s new solo play, ‘The Bicycle and the Butcher’s Daughter’.

“I’ve performed in all sorts of spaces – people’s homes, art galleries, libraries and even the odd shearing shed, but this is my first shop,” says the well-known Nelson performer.

The temporary venue on Collingwood St, named ‘Shopfront Theatre’, has been set up thanks to Make/Shift Spaces, which facilitates temporary takeovers of empty retail spaces in the city centre.

Helen says when her original venue, the Refinery Art Space, closed due to earthquake damage earlier this year, she was left without space.

“I started noticing the empty shops and I applied to Make/Shift spaces and they were pretty interested as they hadn’t had a play in one of the empty shops before.

“After lockdown, they suggested I went and looked at a certain shop, and when I saw it, I realised it would work. It was wide enough for an audience with an indented space that could be a stage.”

Directed by Brisbane-based Sue Rider, Helen describes ‘The Bicycle and the Butcher’s Daughter’ as a “funny and moving” account of a family in crisis.

“It’s a family story – family tensions, family drama.”

The story follows Olivia Paterson, a high-powered executive at the peak of her career, running a large meat exporting company.

Olivia wants to feed the world. But her daughter is a vegan, and her father wants things to stay as they are.

So, when Olivia’s business plans cause conflict within her family, she must figure what is more important – the company’s survival or her relationship with her daughter and her aging father.

The play opened on 16 July and runs until 16 August – but Helen says if bookings are full, she will continue it longer.

“It’s been a really wonderful opportunity to launch a new play – and, so far, it’s been full every night and the bookings are going really well. We’ve had some lovely feedback from audiences, so they seem to be enjoying it.”

The Bicycle and the Butcher’s Daughter is on at Shopfront Theatre, 105 Collingwood St, during July and August.

See here for show times and bookings.