Richard Boraman 1938 - 2021

The death on 21 December 2021 at the Otago Community Hospice in Dunedin of Richard (‘Dick’) Boraman was announced in The Otago Daily Times on 27 December last year. Born in Roxburgh in 1938 he graduated from the University of Otago with a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. He was a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology and worked for Greggs in Dunedin as a research chemist in their coffee and (Wilsons) whiskey making plants.

He first came to attention as a playwright in 1972 when he won a One-Act Play competition organized by the long-standing Christchurch suburban theatre group, the Elmwood Players. Production by the group of A Matter of Sheep and Goats, which had a Central Otago setting, took place in March of that year. 

In 1977, the first year that he held the Burns Fellowship at Otago University, Roger Hall taught a night-class course in playwriting through University Extension and Dick was a keen participant.

Dick was an early Playmarket client and in 1977 another one-act play, A Clean Pair of Boots, was workshopped by Playmarket at the Court Theatre in Christchurch. The resulting script was staged by Dunedin’s Globe Theatre as its entry in the 1982 New Zealand Theatre Federation One-Act Play Competition. The play won an award for the Best Previously Unperformed and Unpublished New Zealand Play entered in the competition and the production reached the Divisional final that year.

1982 was also the year that Dick’s first full-length play, Bonzobonanzo, was staged by Downstage at their studio space in Courtenay Place, The Depot. The production was directed by Euan Upston and featured Des Kelly, Gerald Bryan, Michael McGrath, Louise Dunn and Kay Melhuish. Dick’s day-job at Greggs was as a Research and Development Manager and it would have given him insights into the power plays of middle managers, mediated by the finance section, in a food processing plant. In Bonzobonanzo it is an Auckland family-owned ice cream factory that is the setting for a well-crafted comedy, driven by the rivalry of the Manufacturing and Sales Managers in the course of a successful marketing campaign in which an existing product is cynically rebranded and relaunched.

In the 1970s and 1980s Dick was an occasional actor for OUDS and the Globe. He acted in the latter’s production of A Clean Pair of Boots and also in the 1984 premiere there of his second full-length play, A Hole in the Head (also known asThe Weekenders). This comedy revolves around more familiar dramatic themes – holidays that prove more stressful than staying at home would have been, declining passion in long-term marital relationships and family friends who come to call when it would be better if they didn’t.

Dick was an enthusiastic writer of sketch comedy and contributed to the three late-night revues staged by Dunedin’s Fortune Theatre - The Big Black O (1980 and 1981), The Big Black No (1981) and A Bit on the Nose (1985 and 1986).

His final recorded credits were as a contributor and performer of sketches, alongside Roger Hall, in the Deep South revue at the Globe in 1994.

The Otago Daily Times obituary for Richard is available to read here.


Alister McDonald

Fortune Theatre Dramaturg 1985 - 2018