Emily Duncan

Emily is a Dunedin-raised and based playwright, director, and dramaturg. She holds a PhD in Theatre and her thesis includes the playscript, Waipiata, about a former TB Sanatorium and borstal in the Maniototo. She undertook actor training at the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, and at RADA’s summer school in London. Emily was the 2019 University of Otago Burns Fellow. 

Emily won the Adam NZ Play Award in 2021 for her play, & Sons. She also two other categories: Best Play by a Woman Playwright and the McNaughton South Island Play Award. Other writing awards include Playmarket’s Plays for the Young and The Robert Lord New Script Award (Dunedin Theatre Awards) for Eloise in the Middle. Le Sujet Parle was shortlisted for the 2019 Adam New NZ Play Award.

Emily was the inaugural artist in residence at St Hilda’s Collegiate in 2017. In this role she wrote In Our Shoes, which was shortlisted for the 2018 Adam NZ Play Award. In 2020 she was awarded the prestigious Bruce Mason Award. 

Emily’s recent dramaturgical work includes a graduate Dunedin School of Art project (2017), the immersive character host project Journey of the Jura at Toitū Otago Settlers Museum (Wow! Productions, 2018), and as mentor/script advisor for the Fortune Theatre’s Studio 4 x 4 Emerging Playwrights Initiative (2017, 2018).

Emily wrote, directed, and produced the short film Hours with the Flowers for TV2’s 2000 series (TVNZ, 2000). More recently she wrote the script for the short film There (dir. Tabitha Arthur) which premiered at the The Bienal Internacional Dona i Cinema - Mujer y Cine - Woman & Film Festival in València in January 2019.

With producer H-J Kilkelly, she founded Prospect Park Productions in 2016. Prospect Park has staged four premiere theatre productions of Emily’s work, and produced the multi-award winning thriller podcast Dark Dunedin (written and directed by Emily). In 2019, Emily and H-J launched the Ōtepoti Theatre Lab to support local theatre development and new and emerging playwrights in Ōtepoti-Dunedin.