June 3, 2024

Lisa Jadwiga Valentina Warrington, services to theatre and education, Dunedin.

Huge congratulations from the Theatreview Trust for this extremely well-deserved honour!

We are proud to have you as our Dunedin Theatre Editor, maintaining your connection to ‘the scene’ and ensuring the rest of Aotearoa NZ and the wider world gets to know about it.


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John Smythe June 3rd, 2024

FROM THE ODT: Lisa Jadwiga Valentina Warrington, Dunedin - For services to theatre and education

It is all about supporting New Zealand theatre for Lisa Warrington.

She said it was an honour to be made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit as a member of the Otepoti Dunedin theatre and arts community. "I think it’s an important thing to promote the theatre of Aotearoa, so that’s what I do." Most of the 130 plays she directed were New Zealand works.

Ms Warrington had worked in Dunedin’s theatre scene since moving to the city in 1981. She directed 37 plays for what was Dunedin’s only professional theatre company — the Fortune — between 1981 and 2016, and taught theatre at the University of Otago.

Theatre came naturally to her and she had been involved in it since she was a child, including making plays with her siblings. Ms Warrington said just as naturally she fell into teaching. When she began teaching at the University of Otago, she was the only lecturer in the theatre department. She taught there for more than 37 years.

She helped foster a successful theatre programme that was well regarded for its acknowledgement and support of New Zealand theatre including Maori and Pacific theatre. As an academic, she published three books and also helped in the revival of Allen Hall as a working theatre space.

She also continued directing plays while teaching. "I see them both as being totally intertwined. "If I’m going to teach theatre, I need to practise theatre, otherwise how can I teach other people stuff if I don’t do myself?"

Ms Warrington was still an active member of Dunedin’s theatre scene with a company she co-founded, Wow! Productions.

She also set up the Theatre Aotearoa Database in 2004 to serve as a permanent record of theatre activity nationally.

She had entered and maintained more than 20,000 records of productions in the country since 1840 herself.

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