October 17, 2022


Following the announcement of the Hannah Playhouse being re-opened as a home for the development of new works and practice in the performing arts of the city, Wellington City Council is delighted to announce Isobel MacKinnon has been appointed as the Manager of this iconic venue.  

MacKinnon, a director, writer, and theatre practitioner has 10 years+ of experience in event planning and delivery, community collaboration, arts marketing, and creating effective audience experiences. 

She joins the team in November, after recently working at The Dowse Arts Museum and Petone Settlers Museum, where she has been integral in developing and implementing the strategic vision for public programming across the Hutt City Museums Team. 

MacKinnon has developed diverse events programmes, delivered live events, administered venues, and worked with key arts organisations and performing venues in the Wellington region. 

She has created a number of original theatre productions with professional seasons at major theatres across New Zealand, Australia, and the UK.

Wellington-based MacKinnon thrives on busy. She has toured the country and internationally, and Wellingtonians may have seen her perform in productions by Binge Culture, Barbarian Productions and in the NZ Festival among others.

Mackinnon says, “I’m a big believer in ‘use what you have’. As theatre artists it’s our superpower – reimagining new potential for the things at our fingertips. Waste is a painful thing to see. That’s why I’m thrilled and committed to this initiative to return the Hannah to its purpose – as a space to hold artists, their ideas, their work. 

“Our artists have unparalleled ingenuity and work ethic. They need simple things; money; space; time. I intend to work closely with the sector to envision how the Hannah can be used to alleviate some of the most pressing challenges we’re facing.  

“I want to see the Hannah grow into more than a presentation venue, but rather a theatre lab that supports artists to work. Art doesn’t grow on trees. Shows don’t arrive fully formed on an artist’s doorstep delivered by a stork. We need space for development, experimentation, risk, failure – all that hearty and harrowing stuff you have to do before you’re ready to put something in front of an audience. I’m also excited for audiences to be able to return to the Hannah, for this windy corner of Courtenay Place to crackle with the kind of live experiences that leave a mark.”

Wellington City Council City Events Manager, Stephen Blackburn, says “We are excited by the expertise and vision Isobel will bring to the Hannah Playhouse as a home for development. This is a key infrastructural investment for this city’s diverse performing arts. We encourage the sector to engage with Isobel in making the iconic Hannah Playhouse a vibrant and exciting platform for their work and for the audiences it will attract to the Creative Capital’s theatre and entertainment district”.

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