Massey’s School of English and Media Studies team has received a theatrical boost, with the arrival of theatre-maker and drama lecturer Emma Willis.
Ms Willis will be based in Wellington teaching two second semester courses – Making Plays for Theatre and Modern Drama. Further Expressive Arts courses teaching into the Wellington Bachelor of Communications course are already on the cards.
Her arrival is timed to coincide with the opening of a new specialist theatre studio and green room in Wellington.
“I’m very excited about the opportunities for developing theatre studies within Massey’s program at Wellington,” Ms Willis says. “The addition of the new facilities means that students will get the chance to learn and present their work in fully equipped studio theatre, which is just fantastic.”
She joins Massey from the University of Auckland where she recently completed a PhD entitled, Absent Others: dark tourism, theatricality and ethical spectatorship; she has presented material from her thesis at conferences in New Zealand, Germany and Denmark. Ms Willis has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Film from Victoria University of Wellington, and a Master of Arts in Drama Studies with first class honours from the University of Auckland.
Her most recent work, Body / Fight / Time – a collaboration with choreographer Malia Johnston – will premiere at the State Opera House in Wellington in September and will also be performed at newly built Q Theatre in Auckland in October.
Ms Willis has previously devised, scripted and directed a number of new New Zealand plays in Auckland and Wellington, including The Swimming Lessons and Never Never by Jackie van Beek; and Milk (Best Theatre Work 1998 Wellington Fringe Festival), Flood (Most Original Production 2000 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards), Fever and A Perfect Plan (nominated for three awards at the 2002 Chapman Tripp Awards).
She has also written and directed two radio plays for Radio New Zealand, The Fat Man (adaptation of a Maurice Gee novel) 2003; and Milk, completed in 2005.
From 2006 to 2011 she taught drama at the University of Auckland’s English Department. While she was there she also convened a medical humanities course, “Performance and Medicine,” at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.