A local actress with her own distinctive vibe has been fundamental in helping the local art scene get a wriggle on.
Phoebe Hurst put on her first solo performance of WORM last week, which had an intimate audience squirming with mirth. “It is weird – but it’s a comedy with no linear storyline, designed for the audience to participate and have fun and disconnect from reality for 50 minutes.”
She takes the Glitter and Chaos production to Auckland’s Basement theatre next month, opening on 15 October. Where WORM will wriggle to next will be interesting. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is her goal post.
Born for the arts, Phoebe spent two years at Hagley Theatre Company before moving to Wellington and graduating from Toi Whakaari, New Zealand Drama School, in 2011.
Now well-seasoned on the Christchurch theatrical scene, she stole the show last May in The Court Theatre’s dark comedy Hedwig and the Angry Inch. “I was in male drag as Yitzhak. He was a beautiful, humble, charismatic and patient character.”
However, her Christchurch stage debut was in 2015 as part of the musical production That Bloody Woman at The Christchurch Arts Festival, which then went on to be performed up and down the country. “I was super stoked to be involved in such a successful project.”
Phoebe, who lives in Linwood with her husband, has just turned 30. “I feel like I have crossed an imaginary threshold. When I graduated, I was crippled with self-doubt and suffered depression.”
She decided back then to be a musician instead. With two EPs under her belt, That Bloody Woman came along and thankfully created the opportunity for acting to take centre stage in her life again. This led on to other ventures such as working with Silo Theatre, The Auckland Philharmonia and The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
Alongside WORM, Phoebe is currently working on a cabaret act for the 2020 Jazz and Blues Festival with Two Production’s co-artistic director, Holly Chappell-Eason.
“Acting is a remedy and illness at the same time,” Phoebe explains. “It helps me to process stuff – it is a double-edged sword.”
In this year’s 48-hour film festival, her team Snack To The Future won the national grand final with their film A Familiar Feeling. “We were given the genre ‘gross-out/cringe comedy’. It’s about two people who meet in a bar and discover they have more in common than they think.”
A must-see, the film can be watched on www.48hours.co.nz. Phoebe encourages anyone and everyone to support local theatre.