19 years ago I sat in a one bedroom flat in Auckland thinking about what to do next. As a struggling actor / director it became apparent that to survive in New Zealand in the arts one has to produce their own work. Lara Macgregor, now herself artistic Director of the Fortune Theatre in Dunedin, and then living and working in New York as an actor, sent me a copy of “The Compleat Works of William Shkspr (abridged)”. I read this script not sure of what I would do with it. and then...
I always remembered how painful it was in school listening as we read Shakespeare as a class and butchered it, staring out the window with little regard for the captivating and dramatic stories unfolding. We were unaware because we just didn’t understand. These memories and the great script in my hand inspired me to change that.
And so the Ugly Shakespeare Company was born to take the fear out of Shakespeare.
Now the longest running Theatre-In-Education company in Aotearoa, we have had our work in front of over 800,000 students. And we plan to continue doing that to bring theatre, Shakespeare and comedy to New Zealanders irrespective of social, geographic or economic isolation.
Rachael Longshaw-Park is a freelance theatre practitioner living and working in Auckland. Harking from England originally, Rachael moved to Aotearoa in 2006 and immediately fell in love with the artistic community.
After starting out as an actor Rachael chose to explore the different roles within theatre, developing a keen eye for direction and dramaturgy through her time studying for her MA. Since then Rachael has been a regular contributor to the critical discourse of Auckland theatre, writing regularly for Theatrescenes and recently for Pantograph Punch as a part of their Critics in Residence Program. Most recently Rachael worked as assistant director on the Pop Up Globe’s season of Taming of the Shrew. This coming year Rachael will be continuing on as Script Advisor to Legacy Project, an LGBTQI+ development initiative, and lending her dramaturgical skills to an adaptation of the classic tale of Antigone.
Through her many years of tutoring young adults and children, Rachael has become passionate about feeding art back into the community, specifically with a view to helping our young people find more ways to express themselves and flourish creatively.
Marianne Infante is a multifaceted Filipino actor and dancer. In 2016 she graduated from Unitec with a Bachelor majoring in Screen and Theatre Acting in 2016, Marianne has also immersed herself in the Arts as a writer, freelancing Stage Manager and Producer.
Marianne’s most recent performances are ‘Aroha Mai’ (2018) by The Oddballs, ‘Ruminations’ (2017) by Simple Truth Theatre, ‘Emotional Creature’ (2017) by The Others’ Club and ‘As You Like It’ (2017) by Auckland Summer Shakespeare.
Excited to be working with Ugly Shakespeare, Marianne is also a proud member and producer of PAT- Proudly Asian Theatre. She is currently writing and developing her first full length play ‘PINAY’, New Zealand’s first Filipino-Kiwi bilingual play.
He Waka Eke Noa
The He Waka Eke Noa Charitable Trust (A canoe on which anyone may embark) was set up in 2002 to facilitate and ensure the growth of all forms of the arts in Aotearoa with a particular focus on nurturing youth arts. Since then the company has produced 21 national theatre tours, produced 2 plays, 2 award winning short films, a web pilot, numerous festivals and arts events. He Waka also runs KickArts, a weekly arts radio show on PlanetFM running since 2012.
The Ugly Shakespeare Company is proudly administrated by He Waka Eke Noa Charitable Trust. For more information visit waka.org.nz.