SGCNZ ALUMNUS

Brendan West (SGCNZ NSSP 2004, SGCNZ YSC 2005)

Brendan West has, for the last decade, been on a journey through as many media as possible. Starting as a fight choreographer, which stemmed from training as a boxer and kickboxer, he quickly moved to the stage.

In 2004 he was selected for SGCNZ NSSP and from there he went to London in 2005 as member of the SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company. His involvement in the SGCNZ programmes¬†and community improvisation eventually led to Theatre Studies at Waikato University. Outside of university, Brendan has run two large theatre groups in the Hamilton area, including M.T.E (the tongue-in-cheek ‘Maungatautari Thespian Ensemble’) and Apocalypse Lounge, which recently toured the production Six Bad Arthouse Plays to Wellington.

Never one to stick to one area, however, Brendan addressed the relative lack of support infrastructure in Hamilton by filling as many roles as possible himself. Lack of improvisation training? Start a training group. No dedicated weapons for stage combat? Learn to be an armourer.

This modus operandi has shaped Brendan as an academic and a practitioner, often liberally mixing the two. Completing his Masters degree in 2012 (which aptly involved constructing a giant insect suit) he stayed on at the university to teach in the English, Theatre and Screen & Media departments. Appropriately specialising in Adaptation Theory, Brendan helped rebuild the ‘Page to Screen’ page into a cutting-edge cross-discipline course. In the community, he has taught a range of activities in high schools, as well as running the Cerberus Sword & Buckler School.

Now, he has moved to Wellington in the hope of bringing his talents to fresh hunting grounds.