Interview: Kate McGill on Yarns With New Zealanders

Kate McGill is a New Zealand actress and theatre maker. She has done all sorts of amazing things, including The Laramie Project, Album Party (which you might remember I did a review of when it came to Wellington), and currently she is doing Weave – Yarns With New Zealanders at the Basement theatre in Auckland.

What was your childhood like?

I have two amazing parents who are both artists so I spent a lot of time with a lot of interesting adults that worked in a whole manner of different jobs. We had an incredible treehouse like home by the sea. My favourite memory involves roaming around it, building huts and jumping off the trampoline into the garden and performing in the band the Three: Erina, Alyse and Kate. We had one song- called A Three Timer, we were 8. It was about a boy who “dated” all of us.

How did you get into performing?

I think being exposed to it at an early age definitely piqued my interest. But the thing that confirmed that this is what I was going to do was at 18, as part of an ensemble performing The Laramie Project. It made me aware of making work inclusive.

What’s your proudest moment of your career so far?

Eep. There have been many proud moments, but I think interning with Tectonic Theatre Project is definitely up there – the generosity, humanity and precision with which that company work was hugely informative and inspirational to me.


What inspired Weave?

Two main focuses – looking at identity and character as individuals and a society. I have always been curious about this country and who lives in it and how we operate collectively. That’s what kicked me off anyway!

Why is verbatim theatre important?

Verbatim theatre is a form which allows people to reflect ideas, thoughts and feelings in response to an event or a point of contention or unease in society. It can be funny, moving, boring, thrilling and surprising. Because ultimately that’s what people are like.

What advice would you give a young person wanting to get into acting/performing?

I think it goes for everyone – I certainly try to give myself this advice: be brave, listen, soak up as much as you can, find out what you like, and find people that you can jam with!

Why do you think performance is important?

It has the power to reflect back to the audience, to give people something to think about and feel.

Who is the person that inspires you the most?

I have many people that inspire me. All strong women: Helen Clark, Lena Dunham, Zadie Smith, Miranda Harcourt – but my mate Jess Smith is really paving a wonderful path for herself and for others by really gunning to be a pioneer of women in film. I’m so proud of her and inspired by her.

After Weave what other projects are you working on/have coming up?

I’m working on further developing this work, Album Party and two short films I’ve got on the burner.

Weave is playing at Basement theatre in Auckland until April 15th, get tickets here.

Check out the Alacrity Productions Facebook page here.

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