Alannah's career as an actress and scriptwriter has spanned more than thirty years, six continents and as many oceans. She has been captivating audiences since she first appeared on stage as a young girl singing with her mother and six sisters. She graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Masters degree in English, and a stream of professional acting engagements followed at New Zealand's leading theatres—she won Best Actress accolades in three cities.
At the same time she edited scripts for Radio New Zealand and adapted Spike Milligan's children's book, Badjelly the Witch as a stage show. Badjelly is Playmarket's most licenced title.
Then came the partnership with John Cairney in Two For A Theatre, and 12 years touring the world. Alannah is also an experienced manager, producing all their Shanter Production shows as well as performing in them. Her production and management credits also include executive producing with the Burns Musical Company Ltd, The Pennyfarthing Partnership, and John Cairney & Company Ltd.
Alannah has amassed a weight of experience as a scriptwriter in New Zealand television. She has worked as editor, storyliner, dialogue writer and script consultant for Seannachie Productions, Greenstone Productions, Communicado, Auckland University of Technology, Te Reo Productions, Marigold Films, UNITEC, Gibson Group, and South Pacific Pictures. She has served as President of the New Zealand Writers Guild (1999–2002) and completed a term as President of the Writers Guild in Scotland.
Since 2008, John and Alannah have been operating from Glasgow under the banner of John Cairney Ltd.