Sameena Zehra (she/her)
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. Most recently, her critically acclaimed show Tea with Terrorists was nominated for 'Outstanding Performer' and 'Director of the Year' at the Wellington Theatre Awards 2022.
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 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 created The Magnificent Weirdos, a production company that endeavours to put access and inclusion at the heart of making art. Her strong belief is that everyone has the right to art; to make it, to experience it, to have access to it.
Currently, Sameena is working on new shows for The Magnificent Weirdos, and juggling a number of other projects that involve writing, directing, and dramaturgy. Also in the works is a new Folk & Blues album collaboration with her long time singing songwriting partner, Mike ‘Dr Blue’. She has recently started providing audio description for shows, and is looking forward to doing more of that in the future.