Would you like me to direct your next production or dramaturg your play?
Performing Difference Differently: New Ways of Doing, Old Ways of Seeing | READ
My mahi as director & dramaturg
I began directing in 2006 with one of W.B Yeat’s lesser known works: 'Land of Heart's Desire’. I chose the play because its ghoulish mixture of faeries and lovers, twilight hours, and changelings appealed to my sense of bending our expectations of reality. The play premiered in Palmerston North while I was completing my undergrad in English and Media at Massey University and was the start of my life-long love affair with shaping and sculpting work, differently.
The next stage of the journey took me on a student exchange to UCLA (University of California Los Angeles), where I completed a semester of study in the School of Theatre and Film. In addition, I was invited to direct Neil Simon's 'Fools’ as part of a local university theatre company and had the opportunity to immerse myself in the world of theatre in LA. Soon after returning home, I found myself having itchy feet and after a quick stint producing the Manawatu Festival of New Art (2008) I headed across the ditch to complete my honours degree in theatre at the University of Melbourne.
It was then that my career as director began to crystallise. I took on my first Assistant Directing job on Wole Soyinka's "Death" and "The King's Horseman" with BooBook Theatre and this led to over 30 productions over the next five years in Australia.
My passion for working with BIPOC creatives propelled me to undertake what I call 'colour-conscious casting,' inviting actors to bring all of themselves into the rehearsal room - and it is this commitment that continues to guide my approach to any of the works I develop. Today, 15 years after I first started directing my style has been enriched through a range of rich immersive experiences and encounters with incredible humans including Monique Mojica and Lemi Ponifasio, connecting with members of the Harlem Theatre as well as having to opportunity to have been in situ with different practitioners from Turtle Island, China, Mexico and the UK.
Ultimately, my approach supports narratives to be told on their own terms, in their own language(s) and in their own voices. My toolkit incorporates a range of different methods from Butoh to Meisner, meditation to Chubuck, the Silva Method and many more.
My directing practice is also closely intertwined with my work as a dramaturg. I began my exploration into dramaturgy knowing that while the word itself was centered in Euro-centric traditions, the act of dramaturgy itself was not necessarily exclusive to the practice of 'Western theatre'. Having completed my honours thesis on the "Sacred and Sublime - an exploration of Indigenous aesthetics", my research involved embracing deep listening practices as I spent time with different Indigenous storytellers.
This, in turn, enabled an understanding of dramaturgy that was sculpted by the largely unseen but tangible forces that are involved in the creation and endurance of a work. Monique Mojica (Guna-Rappahannock) playwright, performer, and dramaturge, has been my mentor since 2014 and continues to play a pivotal role in supporting my practice.
Upon returning to Aotearoa, I began a deep and lengthy exploration of NZ dramaturgy. This resulted in a two-part series that drew upon my conversations with a wide range of dramaturges and script consultants across Aotearoa and was subsequently published on The Theatres Times. You can read my article Towards a NZ Dramaturgy here and here. My work on dramaturgy can also be found in the book, Performing Turtle Island: Indigenous Theatre on the World Stage.
Since coming home, I have found joy in developing new New Zealand scripts and have dramaturged over 25 new plays since coming home in 2014. This includes new scripts for the Playmarket, the Oryza Foundation, Prayas Theatre, Proudly Asian Theatre, and for Black Creatives Aotearoa, where I directly support the development of Black NZ Plays.
My formal qualifications include Honours in Theatre Studies (Uni of Melbourne) and a Masters in Community and Cultural Performance from VCA (Victorian College of the Arts). I completed directors training at the Melbourne Actors Lab under Peter Kalos, attended the Chicago Directors lab (2012), and was awarded a place at the Lincoln Center's Directors Lab in New York (2014).