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.
Emma is an extremely busy person who has been involved with the 'Uglies' for the past 22 years - first as an audience member and fan then as a member of its governing Trust 'He Waka Eke Noa Charitable Trust', and last year was the Associate Producer and Director of our national tour.
Emma is current President of Drama NZ: the National Subject Association for Theatre on Education as well as being the Zone One Representative on the National Executive for Musical Theatre NZ and also the NZ Coordinator for The Amici Trust’s Junior Theatre New Zealand.
Emma has spent the past 15 years in the classroom as a teacher of Performing Arts passing the mantle to the next generation of performers.
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.