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



28/02/2019 - 09/03/2019

"A timely revival..

Prince Charming


17/12/2018 - 22/12/2018

"A show to crow over..

Eloise in the Middle


29/09/2018 - 06/10/2018

"Potent and commendable..

"So-called tug-of-love viewed with humour and wry compassion for all involved..


Auckland, Dunedin, Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Invercargill

06/06/2017 - 02/05/2019

"Important conversations incredibly thoughtfully crafted..

"Extremely engaging and constructive..

More reviews

Blood of the Lamb


20/09/2018 - 29/09/2018

"Bold directing of lyrical writing has powerful impact..



19/07/2018 - 21/07/2018

"A thrilling interpretation..

Charlie, Estelle and the Poppazoid


10/07/2018 - 12/07/2018

"Captivating rapport..

The Devil and Mr Mulcahy


08/06/2018 - 10/06/2018

"Effective revival of riveting classic..


Hamilton, Dunedin

07/04/2018 - 19/02/2020

"Searingly, unforgettably relevant..

"Anti-war play memorable..

More reviews

Mental Notes


16/03/2018 - 17/03/2018

"Surprisingly luminous, controlled and lucid..

Pretty Little Confessions


11/03/2018 - 14/03/2018

"Quick-thinking, lively and courageous improvisers but stuck in the toilet bowl..

From Sex to Soccer - Exercise, Sport and Me and Everything else in between


08/03/2018 - 10/03/2018

"A cheerfully satirical hour..

Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense


10/02/2018 - 03/03/2018

"A felicitous serving of the lightest, most delectable soufflé imaginable..


Wellington, Wanaka, New Plymouth, Auckland, Kerikeri, Dunedin, Christchurch

05/11/2015 - 16/12/2017

"Comedy great Christmas fare..

"Utterly captivating..

More reviews



07/10/2017 - 14/10/2017

"Delights the children..

Into the Woods


05/08/2017 - 26/08/2017

"Uniformly dazzling..

What You Will


15/07/2017 - 22/07/2017

"Playful fun with an utterly vital message..

"Stimulating and relatively light-hearted..

Twelfth Night


01/07/2017 - 22/07/2017

"Zesty production has wide appeal..

"Mad, wild party of midwinter misrule..


Wellington, Dunedin

10/09/2016 - 27/05/2017

"Hall again puts spotlight on later years..

"New-minted jokes to make us smile and sometimes a real revelation..

More reviews

Little Red Riding Hood


22/04/2017 - 29/04/2017

"“Just show what you can achieve, when you imagine and believe!”..

The Impossibly Possible, Unbelievably Believable, Journey and Return of Josephine Clark


15/03/2017 - 17/03/2017

"Technical ingenuity tends to bog down the narrative..

Alive in Berlin


14/03/2017 - 17/03/2017

"Art that tilts us off balance..