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The Orderly

"Hospitals are battlefields."


Mind must be the firmer,

heart the more fierce,

courage the greater,

as our strength diminishes.

"Solo theatre as it should be." 

Capital Times

Approximate running time: 1 hour

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The video of our 2019 production is currently available:

In The Orderly, raspy-voiced Peter shares his passion for Anglo-Saxon historical reenacting as an escape from his normal life as an orderly in a New Zealand hospital. Through the story of the Battle of Maldon, juxtaposed against the everyday struggles of daily life in a hospital, Peter uses history, literature, and the imagination to enrich life in a thankless job, and to make sense of loss. 

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Photos by :

Robert Michael Evans (2019)

Liam Mitchinson (2013)

The Orderly Trailer (2019)
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Mind must be the firmer,

heart the more fierce,

courage the greater,

as our strength diminishes.

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"Hospitals are battlefields."

Written and performed by Michael Downey

Directed by Lauren Ash-Morgan

Appropriate for all ages, aside from a few curse words.

Approximate running time: 1 hour

"Quality work… solo theatre as it should be." 

Capital Times

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Meet Peter—orderly during the week, ferocious warrior on the weekend. As he prepares for the weekend’s battle against the notorious Vikings, a long day at work changes his life. Time flickers. Empty hospital wards turn into long-forgotten battlefields and everybody fights for their lives. This is the basis for The Orderly, Michael Downey's poignant, heartfelt solo show.

This comedic and moving play blends the world of the hospital with that of an ancient battlefield. Downey takes on all the parts of the play; ranging from the gorgeous nurse Donna to a semi-nude Viking berserker high on mushrooms and lusting for blood. 

The Orderly is inspired by the life of the now deceased Peter Russell, whom writer and performer Michael Downey met when he worked as an orderly at Auckland’s North Shore Hospital. Peter, a small and frail man, was a hospital orderly during the week and fought as a Viking in the weekends as the member of the historical re-enactment group, the Auckland Norse. 

The Orderly was the first production of The Rebel Alliance Theatre Company, founded by Michael Downey and Anders Falstie-Jensen in 2006. It went on to tour New Zealand for a number of years and was adapted for radio by Radio New Zealand in 2009. In 2013, Downey revived The Orderly for Probationary Theatre Company, in association with The Rebel Alliance, at the White Box Theatre, Seoul. The Orderly was revived again in 2019 as a co-production between Seoul Shakespeare Company and Speech of Fire. 

This show is appropriate for all ages (aside from a few curse words)

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"Shows us that the humdrum can contain the heroic"

Korea Herald

"A small and surprising gem" 

Natasha Hay, theatre reviewer for The Listener








"Heart-warmingly humble"

NZ Herald

"Quality work… solo theatre as it should be." 

Capital Times

"A touching slice of an interesting life" 


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Michael Downey

Playwright / Actor

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Lauren Ash-Morgan


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Original New Zealand production team:

Director: Anders Falstie-Jensen

Set Design: Rachel Walker

Lighting Design: Bonnie Burrell

Sound Design: Jared Neems

The Orderly  Original (2007) Trailer

The Orderly in the Press

Michael Downey Interview for The Orderly,

Breakfast, TVNZ, 2006

Audience reactions


"I was lucky enough to catch a preview of this show last night. It's a terrific show. Definitely well-worth your time and money. Truly excellent show."


“Excellent characterizations, fluidity and story!”


“I was really drawn into the story and your characters. Wonderful writing and beautiful arc!”


“Run to this show, it is absolutely fantastic. Michael Downey is a force.”


“Funny and poignant.”


“Beautiful, touching, one-man show. Excellent theatre!”

“I watched the last performance of 'The Orderly' yesterday, a terrific one-person play written and performed by Michael Downey. Forget the flying man with the cape or the legions of zombies. The Orderly was the most spectacular thing I've seen in recent months. I’m so proud to know this man. Bravo, Michael. “Mind must be the firmer!”


“Really enjoyed the show! Well done.”


“Super impressed by Michael Downey. He shows us what art in a pure form looks like.”


“The more I see this play, the more I love it. It really is a gem of a play and Michael gives a brilliant performance. It's so much fun to see each audience respond to its humor, cleverness, and heart. One weekend done, and one more to go! If you are in Korea, come see this show. When else will you get to see it performed by its creator?”

“Well done Mr Michael Downey. I lovely little story, well executed. I fell in love with Peter, the poor soul. You should be very proud. It also brought out a bit of the history geek in me.”

“Great show!! Was so impressed. Dunno why but especially liked your "Donna" hehe my roleplaying bf loved it too. Superb!!~~”

“Wonderful show just as I expected it would be! My friends really loved it, too :).”

“Great job, Michael Downey! It was so lovely to see the breadth of your range in this show. Best of luck for opening weekend!!”

“If you are looking for your theatre fix this weekend, look no further- touching, funny, and expertly performed- a rare chance to see a truly original piece of theatre performed by the creator himself!”

“Go see The Orderly at Whitebox this weekend. I saw it last weekend and it is truly a moving, funny, touching, and visually stunning piece of theatre that you DO NOT want to miss. Really fantastic show!”

“Go check out "The Orderly" at White Box. You can thank me later!!!”

“Seoul people! Need something for the weekend? I recommend THE ORDERLY at the White Box Theatre. One man. One hour. I would love to tell you more, but where's the fun in that?”


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Graphic design: Liam Mitchinson



Graphic design: Joongwon Jeong

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