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Ella has been an active member and committee member of Showbiz Queenstown since arriving in Queenstown in the late 1990s.  She started helping with front of house and then joined the makeup team. She has been a dedicated committee member and Makeup Manager for productions since 2002.  In 2018 she was made a Life Member of Showbiz Queenstown, and elected Vice President.  She attended her first MTNZ conference this year.

Ella is fully involved with Showbiz Queenstown and our productions, attending rehearsals and supporting the cast and creative team. In addition to running a seamless make up department, she works tirelessly with the myriad of jobs which need doing, from catering and social functions, sourcing props, to helping at pack in and pack out. 

Prior to moving to Queenstown Ella was involved with Porirua Little Theatre for several years, both on and off stage. 

Her passion for musical theatre is such that an overseas holiday isn’t complete without several visits to the theatre.  Her experience would make her an ideal judge for the OSTAs, and Showbiz Queenstown is confident that she would judge fairly and without bias.


In my every day life, I am a University teacher (Biochemistry) and a mother to three adult children and three adult step-children – in short, I know drama when I see it! My career has given me excellent skills in judging performances based on criteria, and my love of being involved with theatre has made me very keen to lend this to the OSTA community.

I began my involvement with musical theatre in 1988 with the South Otago Theatrical Society while at High School . Over the next few years I had the opportunity to do the big things and the small things – I had one lead role, but I also did my time in the chorus, painting bits of set, designing programmes and even turning the pages for the pianist!

I dabbled in the odd performance while at Teachers College and University, then had a fairly long break before performing in Spreading Out with the Taieri Dramatic Society about 8 years ago. After moving to Waikouaiti in 2014 I was in the chorus for Oklahoma in 2015, then decided it was time to throw my efforts behind the scenes and join the EOMT commitee (having teenage children more talented than you will cause this reaction!). Since then I have worked as assistant production manager and stage manager for Stars in Their Eyes, production manager for Anything Goes and Celebration! , and Wardrobe Mistress for The Addams Family, as well as being Vice President for the past year. I still have a wee go on the stage in “character”roles in our November shows.

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I am thrilled that Remarkable Theatre is happy to support my nomination and  I would bring to the position a lengthy and wide experience in lots of different kinds of performing, including opera, music theatre, classical and contemporary music and acting.  

 Whilst at school I learned piano for 10 years and am a competent pianist.  Having qualified to teach in December 2014 I now have a small portfolio of piano students and have returned to playing myself with a much greater level of commitment.  In my second year at university I began voice lessons and have learned from some notable New Zealand tutors including David Griffiths and Isabel Cunningham.   Whilst always happy ‘acting’ when singing, my first foray into acting with the spoken word came with parts in Gilbert and Sullivan productions in Dunedin.  I moved to Queenstown in 2004 and did my first show with Queenstown Shakespeare in January 2006 (playing Lady Bracknell and some of the unpleasant older ladies in ‘Under Milk Wood’).  My experiences with them and subsequently with Remarkable Theatre have given me a lot more confidence in my acting skills and I’ve had some delicious parts to play over the years.  

I am a keen theatre-goer and am a regular attendee at local and touring productions in Queenstown as well as travelling throughout New Zealand and (so far) to Australia to view productions of opera, musicals and straight theatre.  I consider that I am well-known and respected in the local theatrical and music scene and would be similarly well-respected as an OSTA judge.  

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I have been an active member of West Otago Theatrical Society (WOTS) since 2014.  I have had major and minor roles in seven plays and musicals over this time.  I’ve been on the WOTS committee for the past 3 years and have been in charge of publicity for our past two productions.  I have received an OSTA nomination for best leading female in a play or musical twice - for my role as ‘Sylvia’ in ‘Stepping Out’ and ‘Kim’ in ‘A Relatively Uneventful Evening’.

I love theatre and all that it encompasses.   It’s a fabulous outlet for making new friends, growing in confidence and showcasing creativity and talent.  Southland and Otago has incredible talent and I am amazed at the breadth and width from Directors to Wardrobe to Props crew.  Not to mention the depth of talent through actors and actresses across musicals and plays, comedy and drama.

I have seen a multitude of shows over the years from various Society’s locally and further afield, as well as amateur and professional shows within New Zealand and overseas.   Over this time I have developed a keen eye and ear for what makes great theatre across all areas of a musical or play.  I have a sharp ear for musical pitch and an eye for detail in costuming, props, set, lighting, hair and makeup.  I know what it takes to bring your best on stage as an actor and can see when someone has played their given part with exception.

I am passionate about theatre and would love to bring my skills and years of experience to the judging panel on behalf of WOTS.

Away from theatre, I work as a breeding consultant for a dairy genetics company and manage my 100 acre farm where I breed Hereford cattle and run dry stock.  In addition, I have a skill for public speaking and announce at A&P Shows throughout Southland and Otago.  I’ve also MC’d numerous weddings and social functions over the years for friends and family.

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Colin first joined Oamaru Operatic Society, now Musical Theatre Oamaru, in 1994 as part of the cast for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Since then he has been involved in 10 other major musicals and theatre restaurants, with notable roles being the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, the Foreman in Les Miserables as well as the understudy for Val Jean, and Skimbilshanks in Cats. Colin feels playing the role of Skimbilshanks was a defining moment because it has been his biggest stage role.

In 2008, while also being a cast member, Colin made a 3/4 size working Wagon for our production of "OKLAHOMA". In 2015 Colin was head Carpenter / Designer for our production of The Addams Family, earning him an OSTAS nomination and realising a natural calling towards Set design. For our production of Mamma Mia! in 2018 Colin was part of the backing vocals group.

While teaching Technology at Waitaki Boys High School Colin was always involved with the School's productions and House Drama competitions; overseeing the writing, directing, and making of props for his assigned House. He was also Stage Manager for the School's main productions of Oliver and South Pacific in 2008 and 2010.

In recent years Colin has been a valuable helper with our kids productions from prop and set making to backstage crew and supervision.

In 2019 Colin was awarded a Musical Theatre Oamaru Special Award for continued services to Musical Theatre.

Colin is excited to be submitting a nomination for the consideration to be an OSTAS judge as he believes it's a great opportunity to give back to the theatre community that he so dearly loves.

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I started my theatrical career at the age of 12 years as Lewis Leonowens in ‘The King and I’ with Milton Dramatic society. I wrote material and performed in many skits for Dunedin Hospital revues during my early working life. 

My first performance with ‘Musical Theatre Dunedin’ was in 1991 as a company member in ‘Evita’. I have since performed in several majors and Theatre Restaurants with this organisation. I have also performed in productions by ‘Opera Otago’, ‘The really Authentic Gilbert and Sullivan Performance Trust’ and various benefit concerts. 

Latterly I can be found working as a back stage crew member where my great claims to fame are as the revolve grinder in both early productions of ‘Les Miserables’ and turning the bus in ‘Priscilla’. I have stage managed shows and several theatre restaurants, which also involves set construction and painting. 

I am currently a life member of Musical Theatre Dunedin after being involved as an executive member over many years including 3 years as President. I am very passionate about the asset built by past members of Musical Theatre Dunedin and proudly hold the honorary ‘custodian’ title which enables me to help preserve this for future generations. 

I have an obvious passion for theatre both musical and dramatic productions and have attended many shows both in New Zealand and overseas as an audience member.

If you are interesting in applying to be an OSTAs judge please email OSTAs secretary Donna Osbourne for an application form