Sameena Zehra (she/her)

Artistic Director

 

Sameena Zehra is an award winning comedian, storyteller, actor, writer, director and blues singer/songwriter. She has performed her solo shows all over the world, including Edinburgh Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Brighton Fringe, Adelaide Fringe and New Zealand Fringe, where she was nominated for 'Best In Fringe' 2016, and won 'Outstanding Performer' in 2017. Before moving to New Zealand in 2019, Sameena lived and worked in the UK where she has performed a season at the National Theatre, and toured internationally with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

 

An intersectional feminist and humanist with a unique take on the world; equally at home exploring the individual experiences of daily life and the larger issues of the world we live in, Sameena’s solo work has always been rooted in the human condition, in holding power to account, in bringing people together in spaces that are tender and robust. This direction was set early on, during her university years in India, creating forum theatre, performed on street corners, exploring a number of diverse topics, including the death penalty, marital rape, the caste system and religious dogma. Her work is a goulash of of storytelling and political commentary, peppered with absurdity, dark humour and personal context. She has also used performance and storytelling to work with victims of domestic violence, and to bring out the stories of, and advocate for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.

 

In 2020, an idea that had been percolating for a while came to fruition, and Sameena The Magnificent Weirdos, a production company making work with accessibility built in. To make art that centres the communities that are traditionally marginalised in terms of being included in experiencing art. Her strong belief is that art should be inclusive, accessible and commonplace; an everyday activity, because art is the manifest expression of philosophy, and philosophy is the template for civilisation; it is how we express our humanity and how we access the humanity of others. The Magnificent Weirdos is an experiment in robust hope and aims to produce work, and also deliver workshops in a wide range of arts for people and communities all over Aotearoa. Currently, Sameena is working on new shows for The Magnificent Weirdos, especially the development of community workshops, and juggling a number of other projects, including directing, dramaturgy, and  collaborating on a new Folk & Blues album with her long time singing songwriting partner, Mike ‘Dr Blue’.