Anthonie Tonnon

Rail Land

05 Nov 2020

A journey of the mind, through song and story, about New Zealand’s on-and-off again love affair with passenger rail.

Equal parts tragedy, comedy, and personal memoir, Rail Land is a theatrical show that weaves the critically acclaimed songs of Anthonie Tonnon with synthesizer soundscapes, and soliloquy like story-telling.

Along with touches like historical letters to the editor, and meticulous notes on taking Aotearoa’s surviving public railways, Rail Land is a story of human enterprise, sabotage, obsession and hope.

The show also travels with an exhibition of historic NZ Rail Advertising Department posters and schematic maps, blown up to large scale

In its first two summers, audiences took trains to reach each show. At selected locations on this new, Arts on Tour edition of Rail Land, audiences are welcomed to join Anthonie for special public transport journeys at selected locations.

Interested in the fluid boundary between organic and synthesized sound, Anthonie performs on a Synthstrom Deluge - a new electronic instrument designed in Wellington, and a storied, 1968 semi-hollow body guitar.

He has toured widely as a solo performer around North America, Europe and Australasia, sharing the stage with the likes of Nadia Reid, The Chills and The Veils. He has been a finalist for The Taite Music Prize, and three times been a top 20 finalist for the APRA Silver Scroll award

Tonnon begins, hands on the wheel, then peppers his sets with these kooky kinetic dramatic segues.  It’s captivating to watch... Imagine if David Byrne was born in Dunedin thirty years ago, growing up on Submarine Bells... He layers sounds, turns the audience into his percussive backing track, dives from synth to guitar to keyboard…. He’s laying out a commentary on that future promised by yesteryear, where rail was the way to go - Jess Soutar Barron - The Hook

Show Times

8:00pm Thursday 5th November 

Ticket Prices

All tickets $25

Book Tickets


This is roadtrip music for vintage geeks - window down, elbow out, sights seen through horn-rimmed Clubmasters.
He’s an old soul, youthful in a nostalgic way, with a civilised quality. Like looking at photos of Granddad before he was even a Dad.
Slick-back hair, suit jacket. “She carries albums in her mind from another time”, sings Tonnon.

There’s something delicious here that’s hard to identify, like an NZR tearoom savoury.
Meaty, spicy, little nuggets to really chew down on, leaves an after taste that lasts for the whole ride home.
THE HOOK - Jess Soutar Barron August 2019 

“I’ve come to realise that the only reason a performer deserves to have people turn up and give them an hour of their valuable time is if that performer has spent a lot more time preparing for that hour than the audience has. If you can distil 200 hours of research and preparation into an hour on stage, then you can transcend time, and that’s where the magic of performance comes from.”
NOTED - James Belfield September 2019 

RADIO NZ NATIONAL - with Jesse Mulligan 
Anthonie Tonnon's Rail Land Tour is a love letter to passenger rail in Aotearoa.

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