Breaking Plates the musical explores the plight of every immigrant trying to adapt to a new unfamiliar environment while clutching firmly to their own long held traditions and beliefs in order to maintain some semblance of home.


Around 10 years ago in February 2011 a devastating earthquake hit Christchurch destroying a huge part of the city.
At that time I was happily running my restaurant, The Santorini Greek Ouzeri, in the central city Christchurch. This was my dream come true dancing and playing my bouzouki every night to a raucous crowd. My life was all sorted, ( so I thought ), the intention being to carry on like this till the day I die. Together with my wife, my mother, my three sons, and pretty much most of my nephews and nieces, we immersed ourselves in that feeling of being in Greece.


It all came to an abrupt end the day of the earthquake when the restaurant was demolished and my whole world fell apart around me.

When I wasn’t out helping friends and the community I would console myself sitting around at home playing my bouzouki.
Every day I would be thinking about rebuilding the restaurant, but my heart somehow wasn’t in it any more. When my friends would come round I would find myself enthusiastically recounting countless stories, some funny, some sad, about all the happenings in the restaurant and people I had met and known in my almost forty years in the hospitality industry.
A lot of the stories were about immigrants and the issues they faced trying to assimilate in a multicultural society and the difficulties of trying to give up ones own traditions, values and beliefs.

At the same time I could see around me how, as a result of the earthquake, regardless of religion or race , a community spirit abounded bringing people together to help each other rebuild their broken dreams and their broken city.
Even though the earthquake had a bad side, there was this good side rising up from the ruins. The community was brushing aside their prejudices, narrowing the divide and firing up new feelings of this city they were rebuilding together as being their true home. They had a new clean slate to build on. A new city with new beginnings. Their city.
One day the apple fell. Here is a story that had to be told. I would put all this together and write a book. But then, what about my love of music. Yes! That’s it! I’ll write a musical.

The first port of call was to go on the internet and Google “ how to write a musical”. Bad decision. Google sends me to “Writing Musicals 101”.

The first sentence is “If you are contemplating writing a musical… DON’T”
It then goes on to tell you of the relentless difficulties you will face.

But, I had a story that had to be told and my passion was music so no way was I turning back.

After five years I had finished my musical ( so I thought) and was ready to take it to the world.

First step was to have someone who knows about these things to read it. Lots of rejections until one day with the help of Ro Dalziel who was working with the Court Theatre in Christchurch we put together a reading to gauge the response. The reading was attended by a few experts in the field including Ravil Atlas who had years of Broadway experience. At the end of the reading Ravil stood up announcing (in his own words) “You nailed the dialogue, you nailed the music”. This got me really excited but then when Ravil later met with me he explained that the story and the music was all there but it needed “A lot of work” and he was keen to help. After another three years working with Ravil, Deen Coulson ,an accomplished musician, came on board to help with arrangements and scoring of the songs. Another two years later with lots of revisions and new songs the musical was finally ready to hit the stage.

Although the story I have written is set in what was once The Santorini Greek Ouzeri Restaurant, all the characters portrayed in the story are purely fictional, made up from snippets of past experiences with many people , particularly immigrants, that I have met during my life in New Zealand and bear no resemblance whatsoever to me, my family, or any other person for that matter.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed creating it.

Costa Kerdemelidis
[Mr Santorini]

*Parental Advisory: Explicit Language and adult themes. Reference to earthquake and earthquake scene may affect some viewers. Running time 2 hours 20 min (including interval).