NZ director heads to the Lincoln Center's directorslab, NYC
Seven years ago budding theatre director and third year Massey University student Dione Joseph left
New Zealand to go on a six month exchange to study theatre and film at one (if not the most) iconic
college destinations in the world, University of California, Los Angeles. It was an experience that would
change this young kiwi's path forever.
This year, after directing over thirty productions since that exchange she returns to the USA to represent
New Zealand at one of the most prestigious centres for performance: as an invited participant in the 2014 Lincoln Centre's DirectorsLab.
Having directed continuously since her early 20’s (both at home and internationally) this invitation comes
at an opportune moment in Ms. Joseph's career.
"I didn't plan to be a theatre director," says Ms. Joseph, "In fact I went to Massey, Palmerston North to
become a vet. Unfortunately, I soon found that my love for James Herriot's writing didn't quite translate to
the dissection lab; and after a few incidents with half-frozen rats and the potential of carving up puppies - I decided a career change might be in order."
Her love for literature made the decision to switch to the arts obvious. But it was in the drama department that she found her real passion. Under the tutelage of Dr. Angie Farrow she directed her first production in 2006, The Land of Heart's Desire, an obscure Irish play by W.B Yeats about love, faeries, and of course being whisked away on your wedding night.
"It was a bizarre choice for a first attempt as a young director and I am so grateful to my cast for trusting
me to direct such a work," says Ms. Joseph, "At the time I had been studying post colonial literature and
was increasingly drawn to the stories and voices from Ireland, South Africa and the Caribbean. They
offered a perspective of the world that I felt increasingly connected to, an awareness of New Zealand's
past and history within multiple contexts; a changing landscape where I felt that my voice and my story
has a place in our country's unique and complex cultural matrix."
Since then Ms. Joseph has directed a range of diverse productions, including being invited to direct Neil
Simon's Fools at UCLA during her exchange; a work in Fuyang, China with local women; numerous
productions in Melbourne, Australia and also an opportunity to be Assistant Director to Scott Rankin from Big hART on the company's latest production of Hipbone Sticking Out.
She will be the only New Zealander amongst fifty of the world’s top international directors who will be spending three weeks at this year's directorslab. "I applied two years ago to the lab but I didn't get in," says Ms. Joseph. "This year not only is the theme of the lab focused on audience (ideal for my community based work) but I've also been able to clarify a lot of the reasons as to how and why I want to create large scale community based performances."
Ms. Joseph who graduated as a Massey Scholar with a BA in English has also received a first class honours in theatre studies from the University of Melbourne and an Artist scholarship to complete her MA in Community and Cultural Development from the VCA (Victorian College of the Arts). In addition, she is the recipient of numerous artistic and academic accolades and is honoured to be representing New Zealand in New York.
"It's not just about me, it's about our whanua, the communities I work with, the creatives who trust me, the audiences who come to these productions with the understanding that story is medicine, and that theatre is a space to grow, engage, share and be transformed.”
She adds, “I strongly believe a diversity of voices and perspectives from Aotearoa need to be heard and that people across the globe are witness to the fact that New Zealanders are individuals who work tirelessly to fulfil a vision that will serve not themselves, but their community; that is engineered not for self advancement but based upon the unswerving commitment to our people and our stories. That is certainly one of the most rewarding reasons to be in attendance at this year's lab: to participate in however small a way, to ensure that our distinct voice is heard in an international context."
Ms. Joseph will be in NYC from the 5th-26th July to attend the Lincoln Centre's directorslab. Interviews prior to the lab are possible as well as in late July once the lab is over.
For more information, high-res images and to organize interviews please contact Hayley O'Donnell at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the directorslab please visit http://www.lct.org/directorsLabMain.htm
For more information on Dione Joseph please visit www.dionejoseph.com