Getting the Play Right

By Dunedin, UNESCO City of Literature | Posted: Wednesday March 15, 2017

Bios for the panel of Fringe Festival playwrights

Ian Loughran

Ian Loughran has poems published regularly in the ODT, and has also been published in ‘Down in Eden’ and the Anthology ‘Fire and Ice’ (Solrwyrm Press). He is also acclaimed as a performance poet and has read in NZ, UK, USA and Australia. Ian is also a playwright and comedy writer as well as an award winning stand-up comic. As a playwright he has had two short plays produced and performed in Dunedin the award nominated ‘Last Postcard from Cuba’ and ‘Head Full of Toys’. He has recently been accepted onto the ‘4 x 4 emerging playwright’ program for 2017 run by the Fortune Theatre. He produces and hosts two radio shows including one specialist poetry show ‘All Good Poems Wear Travelling Shoes’ (OARFM 105.4) and a music show ‘Sidewalking’ (R1 91FM). He regularly organises poetry events in Dunedin that combine poetry with other art forms such as theatre, dance and music. He is a member of the Octagon Poetry Collective and the Dunedin Slam Poetry Collective. He has had three articles published in the ODT this year.

Anisha Hensley-Wilson, My Beloved Monster and Me

Anisha is a true Dunedinite, who loves writing, acting and the arts in equal measure. She creates pieces to make you look at things from new perspectives - highly suspect in her opinion. In her spare time you'll find her firmly believing she has no spare time, or asleep. Otherwise she's at home at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, the public library or other culturally-inclined spaces.

Francis (Fran) Kewene (Waikato), Stories to Heal Violence

Fran Kewene is of Maori and British descent and whakapapa’s to Waikato – Tainui on her father’s side and Somerset – Wells, England on her mother’s side. Fran is a new comer to writing plays and would debate calling herself a playwright. Fran wrote her first verbatim play Barrier Ninja: A verbatim play about hauora (2015) as part of her Master’s of Art through Otago University 2017. This play was followed by a collaboration with her sister, Lou Kewene-Doig and produce “It’s a Maori melody” (2016); a verbatim play interwoven with live music exploring Maori music of the 1950s and 60s. Fran’s latest work is with Stopping Violence Dunedin. This work Stories to heal violence (2017) explores people’s journey of transformation from participating in a stopping violence program.

The techniques used by Fran to devise plays embraces a Maori tradition of story telling called purakau and verbatim theatre creating a form Fran calls korero pono.

Fran graduated from Te Kura Toi Whakari o Aotearoa – The New Zealand Drama School in 1990 and currently works as a Hauora Maori Practice Fellow for Kohatu, Centre for Maori Health at Otago University. Fran is interested in the space that is created when theatre and health overlap.

Jenny Powell

Jenny has written six individual collections of poetry and has worked with other poets to produce two collaborative collections. In 2015 her multi-genre performance piece, Montecillo Child, had its debut season at Toitu Otago Settler’s Museum. Co-directed by Jenny and Simon O’Connor, the soundscape was written by Kerian Varaine. In 2016 Otago University Press published her non-fiction book ‘The Case of the Missing Body which immediately became NZ Book of the Month. Alive in Berlin, her multi genre performance piece was first performed at the 2017 Dunedin Fringe Festival. Jenny first studied music when she left school, and a few careers later, now works at a Dunedin secondary school.

Simon O'Connor

Simon has a strong interest in theatre collaborations, including those for community theatre and devised theatre productions. He is a co-founder of Talking House (an arts collective) and RBS Productions. He has written for theatre, film, radio and television and is a past-recipient of the Dominion Sunday Times Bruce Mason Award For Playwriting. He was a researcher, co-deviser and performer for the verbatim theatre pieces Hush and Be/Longing (Otago University Theatre Studies Programme/Talking House) and he co-devised and performed in One Day (RBS Productions). He is currently working as animateur/director for Alive In Berlin (by poet Jenny Powell - a piece for live voice, recorded voices, projected images and music). Simon's theatre credits include roles in Othello and Hamlet (Shakespeare), Home Land (Gary Henderson), Who Wants To Be 100?, Four Flat Whites in Italy, Shortcut To Happiness (Roger Hall), Heroes (Gerald Sibleyras/Tom Stoppard), Play (Samuel Beckett), Outside Mullingar, (John Patrick Shanley), The War Play (Philip Braithwaite), Gifted (Patrick Evans), Krapp's Last Tape (Samuel Beckett). Roles for film include Herbert Reiper in Heavenly Creatures (Wingnut Films) and Alf Benning in How To Murder Your Wife (Screentime Productions)


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