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John Smythe has trained and worked professionally in New Zealand, Australia then back in New Zealand as a playwright, director, screenwriter (& screenwriting teacher), actor, theatre critic and book writer.

His formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Dramatic Art from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (Sydney) and a Certificate in Screenwriting from the Australian Film Television and Radio School. He has also completed honours papers and a range of script writing courses.

Theatre directing credits in Australia include plays by Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Gorki, and world premieres of plays by himself, Len Radic, David Williamson, Louis Esson, Katharine Susannah Prichard, Jack Hibberd and David O’Brien. Back in NZ he directed his own trilogy of short plays – ENTRANCING EXITS: Ms Conception; Nothing Twisted; Used Heads, at Bats Theatre, Wellington International Festival of the Arts; Faulty (sic) Towers & Blackadder’s Banquet at the Museum Hotel.

Playwright credits include Entrancing Exits (BATS Theatre), Conundra (Ensemble Productions), Swaggy Mack and his Magic Back Track (Arena Theatre), The Seven Stages of Hugh Mann (Melbourne University Theatre), Party Games (Jane St Theatre; La Mama) and Making A Play (Melbourne Theatre Company; Central Theatre), Where There’s a Will (BATS Theatre). Unproduced plays include Thelma, Weather and The Virtues of Reality.

John has also written The Peace Monster (Vintage, 1991); Downstage Upfront: the first 40 years of New Zealand’s longest-running professional theatre (Victoria University Press, November 2004) and The Plays of Bruce Mason – a survey (VUP & Playmarket, November 2015).

Amid a wide range of acting roles on stage, television and film, John has played Polonius and the Gravedigger in Hamlet twice (2006 and 2011). In 2012 and with Arts On Tour NZ in 2013 he played James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Carl Jung in Jan Bolwell’s Dancing in the Wake. In 2015 he played Barry Scanlan in his own play, Where There’s a Will, at BATS Theatre. (Since 2000 he has also played Birdboot in an annual VUW English Dept reading of Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound.)

Before becoming the founding Managing Editor of Theatreview.org.nz in 2006, John was a theatre critic for The Melbourne Times, The Australian, Theatre Australia Magazine, The National Business Review.

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Theatre and dance reviews since 2006.

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Quartett

Wellington

24/01/2006 - 28/01/2006

"Intense, deadly, worth it..

"Taut, spare, marvellously sustained..

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Stories Told to Me by Girls

Wellington

10/01/2006 - 21/01/2006

"Delight without depth..

"Fairly sizzles..

Disney's Beauty and the Beast

Wellington

12/01/2006 - 28/01/2006

"Beat that, Broadway..

"Showbiz magic despite wonky moral..

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2005 Overview: Wellington theatre

Wellington

20/11/2004 - 12/11/2005

"Theatrical Ups and Downs..

"Bacchanalia..

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Roger Hall’s Cinderella – the pantomime

Wellington

11/11/2005 - 17/12/2005

"Cinders glows but lacks sizzle..

"Homegrown pantomime a great treat..

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