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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.



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.  



My practical theatre experience began as a teenager in Dunedin under the guidance of Patric and Rosalie Carey (much Greek and Shakespearean drama) and ended up not long ago, standing in the river in the Christchurch Botanic gardens directing “The Wind In the Willows”for the City Council Summertimes programme. 


In the numerous decades between there has been much else at home and abroad. For five years pre – earthquake, I was the Artistic Director of the Canterbury Repertory Society, staging and directing a number of productions including: “The Visit”,  “Romeo and Juliet”, “Twelfth Night”,  “Cosi, Journey’s End”, “To Kill a Mocking bird”, “An Inspector Calls”, and “Same Time Next Year”.


During 21 years as HOD of drama at St Andrew’s College I produced some 30 major productions, many of them musicals, most memorably “West Side Story” , “Oklahoma” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”   In those bustling days I was also immersed in creating large scale Stage Challenges, entries in the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival, and in-house Variety shows. 


As a free lance director I worked for Ben McDonald Theatre Productions and the Christchurch City Council. Theatre administration has included setting up The Good Will Shakespeare Trust, a short period serving as a trustee of The Court Theatre Board , and for a longer period,  in earlier days as president of the New Brunswick Drama League in Canada. 

Frankly there has never been a dull moment!

In 2014 I moved to Alexandra where I have had the pleasure of attending community theatre productions here in Alex and in Clyde , Bannockburn and Dunedin and have directed a small group of players in  several themed reviews in Clyde.



Jim has been involved in Musical Theatre for the past 15 years and has become a well-known figure in Dunedin's wider theatre community. Jim's passion for musical theatre is complemented by the unwavering support of wife Rowena and daughter Louise.

Jim has an academic background in carpentry, making him an extremely valuable resource when it comes to set and prop construction. He is always up for the challenge of making a set fit or a prop work when others said it couldn't be done, and he is always committed to achieving the very best possible outcome while keeping a strict eye on the budget. As a consummate set builder, Jim has always continued to be a teacher and mentor, assisting those around him to achieve their best.

Jim has also turned his hand to other areas of the theatre. He has been part of the stage crew, wait staff, kitchen hand, money counter, ticket seller and he has also been part of a crowd scene on stage!

Jim is fair, level headed, impartial and passionate about musical theatre, and his extensive knowledge and experience in the industry would be invaluable in fulfilling the demanding role of being an OSTA's judge.


Set, properties

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