Louise Tu'u
Playwright/curator
1978

First New Zealander awarded the Royal Court Theatre international residency

New Zealand born Samoan Louise Tu'u well and truly earned her place as an art world pioneer in 2005, when she was the first New Zealand and Pacific Island playwright to be invited to take part in the Royal Court Theatre International Residency in London.

Following the residency, the playwright, director and curator has written and directed several award-winning works including Top 16, Providence, Dead Mileage, Range of Convergence, Gaga: the unmentionable, a collaboration with her mother, Horses and other farm animals and, last year, Magdalena of Mangere which won 2nd equal in the 2016 Auckland Mayoral Writers Grant.

The causes she cares about – arts and culture, human rights and social justice, poverty alleviation, the environment and education – are frequently reflected in her work which has been performed in New Zealand, the United States and Germany.

Heading the arts organisation We Should Practice since 2009, Tu'u has also made a mark internationally as Fulbright & Goethe-Institute alumna, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and Chevening Fellow, as Oceania's first delegate to the Tokyo Cultural Creation Project and, in 2013, as the first judge from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands at the Zurcher Theater Spektakel, a European festival for contemporary performing arts.

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