Kura Forrester seems to be developing the Midas touch. Forrester, 34, won this year's Billy T award given to "outstanding emerging" performers and has been making audiences all over the country laugh with her Kura Shoulda Woulda show. She often works alongside fellow comedian Tom Sainsbury, acclaimed for his political satire and has popped up in some of our funniest shows – Jono and Ben and Golden Boy among them. To top that, she's just landed a regular gig with Shortland Street.
But Forrester's in a more serious frame of mind for her next show. She returns to Massive Company, the youth-orientated theatre group she's worked with since 2008, for One Half of the Sky. It's the third time Massive has joined forces with British writer and actor Lennie James (best known for The Walking Dead) to produce a play Forrester describes as sad and funny and grounded in stories of love.
What keeps her coming back to Massive?
"I love the rigour of making a play, how fit you get in your body but also in your brain. Every day you come to rehearsals and, especially because of the type of plays we make, it's like having six weeks to re-discover what it means to be human. That sounds really full-on - but it's true. It's like we really get to the heart of what is important in life and how to be a great human and I just feel like that is such a treat so I will always come back to Massive. It makes me a better actor because it's hard work. I am challenged here, I am really worked and I don't get away with any bulls***."
Kura plays Nyree Rose, whose birthday weekend brings her two sisters home to celebrate but when whānau reunite, it's never quite so simple. She stars alongside Grace Palmer, Awhina Rose Henare-Ashby, Max Palamo (who was in Massive original collaboration with James, The Sons of Charlie Paora) and Pat Tafa.
One Half of the Sky is at Loft at Q Theatre, October 16-26.