You could have knocked Christchurch actress and a chanteuse Ali Harper over with a feather, more than once in recent weeks.
The first time was when she was invited to return to New York to perform at the Awards Gala of United Solo, New York’s leading theatre festival for ‘solo’ performers’, as Encore Performer for 2018.
Ali had just finished her show “Songs for Nobodies” in late October when the festival organisers approached her to see if she would return in early November for the gala. She was due to head back to New Zealand before the gala evening.
“It was such an incredible honour to be asked,” she says. “There’s a group of very talented performers including Bruce Springsteen and John Lithgow up for the top festival award that night. The problem was, to come back again to New York from New Zealand, costs thousands of dollars.”
So when Ali was on Waiheke Island recently as part of her “Songs for Nobodies” New Zealand tour, during the post-show Q & A session she mentioned the New York gala invitation.
“At the end of the Q & A, I was asked to return to the stage where I was told I would be going to New York. Apparently, a woman in the audience had chatted with a number of others and decided to pay the cost, supported by donations from fellow audience members. She said, “you MUST go to New York and take up this terrific opportunity”. I was extremely humbled by such amazing generosity,” says Ali.
Well-respected theatre director and performer Cathy Downes was in the audience and as the woman doesn’t want to be identified, Cathy is acting as spokesperson.
“It really is a fantastic opportunity,” says Cathy. “There will be a significant number of high-powered directors, producers and performers at the gala event. I am so pleased that Ali can showcase her talent thanks to the generosity of others.”
Ali Harper leaves New Zealand on Monday 12 November at 4pm and will perform at the Solo Festival Gala Award night on Sunday 18th (US time), at Theatre Row on East 42nd Street.
Ali Harper was named Best Actress in the 2014 United Solo Festival, at which actor Billy Crystal received the top festival award for best overall performance.