Terry MacTavish

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Terry MacTavish’s’s first professional engagement was at age 18 touring with The Southern Comedy Players as Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest. After that she worked at the Globe Theatre with Patrick Carey, in plays by T.S.Eliot, James Joyce, John Whiting, and Shakespeare. As daughter of dance pioneer Shona Dunlop MacTavish and founding member of Dunedin Dance Theatre, she has toured New Zealand and performed at the Edinburgh Festival.

Terry played Celia in the Fortune’s 1973 ‘pilot’ production of The Philanthropist, before leaving for overseas study and travel. In 1986, with awards from the Arts Council and the Director-General of Education, she gained her Masters degree in Theatre Studies from Lancaster University, UK. Terry has performed in London and Lancaster, and toured the north of England with the Red Rose TIE team playing, among other parts, all three witches in Macbeth!

Roles for the FortuneTheatre in the early years included Gwendolen in Earnest again, Kate in Pinter’s Old Times, Olga in The Three Sisters, and Alithea in The Country Wife. More recently at the Fortune, Terry has played the Wicked Duchess in The Revenger’s Tragedy, Amanda in The Glass Menagerie, and earned standing ovations as Maria Callas in Masterclass.

Terry is a staunch supporter of Dunedin’s Globe Theatre where she has recently created Rusa for Renee’s new play, Shall We Gather at the River. Over the past few years she has played lead roles in Wit, Vita & Virginia, The School for Scandal, Hay Fever, The Road to Mecca, The Seagull, She Stoops to Conquer, The Rivals, Blithe Spirit, Anna in Old Times and Lady Fidget in The Country Wife.

Passionate about inspiring future generations to love theatre, Terry heads the Drama department at Queen’s High School, and has served on national bodies to develop Drama in the new Arts Curriculum, and establish Drama as an NCEA subject. For young people she has directed Shakespeare (Twelfth Night x 2, A Midsummer Night’s Dream x 2, The Taming of the Shrew, A Merchant of Venice, As You Like It and King Lear), Brecht, Classical Greek and Restoration plays, contemporary works such as Top Girls, and many plays of Aotearoa including The Pohutukawa Tree, Children of the Poor, Wednesday to Come, The Revenge of the Amazons, Ophelia Thinks Harder, Eating The Wolf and Heroines, Hussies and High High Flyers.

She was tutor and guest lecturer in Theatre Studies at Otago University for 8 years, directing at Allen Hall such productions as Cloud Nine, The Gut Girls, Her Aching Heart, The Lucky Chance, and Gay Times at Radcliffe Hall. Recently she played Queen Eleanor for the English Dept’s King John. She taught at Victoria University too, particularly enjoying creating a course on Theatre Costume, until she realised the airfares took up most of her salary. One of the papers Terry delivered at an international congress of IDEA, King Lear Was a Woman: the case for cross-gender casting, was published in the Drama NZ journal.

Since its inception, Terry has been chief Dunedin reviewer for Theatreview, as well as for Arts On Sunday on National Radio, and for local television. (She was also a regular panellist on Loose Women for Channel 9, and has acted in various films, from whaling documentary to Katherine Mansfield short story.) She is a Judge for the Dunedin Theatre Awards, and has judged Fringe Festival and 48 hour Film Challenge.

Terry MacTavish's reviews



20/02/2009 - 14/03/2009

"Comic variety in couples..

"Our perpetual hunt for someone who will understand us..

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll


04/12/2008 - 13/12/2008

"Superb portrayals in Aussie classic..

"Universal themes in culturally specific play..

The Full Monty


30/10/2008 - 15/11/2008

"Perfectly pitched at the staff Christmas party..

Things I Hate About Mother


03/10/2008 - 12/10/2008

"Perspicacity, charm and potential for improvement..



07/10/2008 - 08/10/2008

"Toddlers hilarious..

"Rocking with laughter..

Palliative Care


03/10/2008 - 12/10/2008

"How do we comfort each other?..

Jane Eyre


03/10/2008 - 19/10/2008

"Vivid life brought to dazzling adaptation..

The Winter’s Tale


21/08/2008 - 30/08/2008

"A tall Tale: Shakespeare refreshed by a spot of gender-bending...

"General exuberance with a few bugbears..

More reviews

James and the Giant Peach


08/08/2008 - 30/08/2008

"Fantastical magic and charm..

Dirty Dusting


04/07/2008 - 26/07/2008

"Dirty, dusty – and funny..

"Celebrating the gutsy charm of older women..

A Streetcar Named Desire


23/05/2008 - 16/06/2008

"A heart’s Desire..

"Absorbing emotionally powerful drama – a theatrical tour-de-force..

More reviews

Moonlight & Magnolias


01/04/2008 - 20/04/2008

"Gone like the wind..

"Frankly my dear, it’s a great play..

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The Last Antigone


29/03/2008 - 05/04/2008

"Timely reworking of timeless tale..

Who Wants To Be 100? (Anyone Who’s 99)


15/02/2008 - 15/03/2008

"The audience was laughing..

The Great Storm of 1868

(not a specified venue)

14/11/2007 - 14/03/2009

"Unique enriching theatre..

"Immaculately presented, utterly engrossing retelling of Oamaru history..

Glide Time


06/12/2007 - 22/12/2007

"Laughter and affection at failings and follies of fellow NZers..

Hairway to Heaven


01/12/2007 - 15/12/2007

"Ordinary people made fascinating..

Roger Hall’s Aladdin : the pantomime


02/11/2007 - 08/12/2007

"Deserves to pull in the crowds..

"If it doesn’t quite scintillate, it sparkles..

The Twits


28/09/2007 - 20/10/2007

"Brash and noisy family fun is filled with silliness..

"Utterly gross but such unqualified fun..

King Lear

Wellington, Dunedin

01/08/2007 - 01/09/2007

"Return season wanted in Wellington..

"A great work realised with fidelity..

More reviews

Mum's Choir


22/06/2007 - 14/07/2007

"Truth and humour in well observed rituals..



17/05/2007 - 28/05/2007

"Mad hilarity and wistful poignancy..