Michael Hurst
Official Website



  Films: Feature
  Television: Directing
  Theatre: Directing
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Review Excerpts

Pleasuredome (2017) "Pleasuredome is the best show of 2017 ... director Michael Hurst and producer Rob Tapert should hold their heads high, because they've delivered something I don't think we've ever experienced in New Zealand" (Newshub)

"Michael Hurst's trademark abiity to build a spectacular number, which he displayed ... in his productions of Cabaret and Chicago, is in full force" (Theatre Scenes)

King Lear (2016)  "Hurst's direction is spectacular … The story is clear, the characters well developed … He has created a wonderful production … done with energy, understanding, and is compelling … I will definitely be going back for a further viewing" (Theatreview)

Lysistrata (2015)  "Hurst has, in his inimitable style, grabbed Aristophanes' play firmly by the goolies and given it a thoroughly good shake up and this modern treatment really works ... it's a no-brainer that you should go and see it" (Theatreview)

A Midsummer Night's Dream (2015) "A Perfect Midsummer Night Out ... I am in nirvana.  I wanted this to be good.  Thanks everyone for not undermining my book reader's vision of A Midsummer Night's Dream ... If I lived closer I think I would be at this show every night" (Theatreview)

Chicago (2013)  "If this triumphant production played in the main theatre centres of the world, I suspect it would be heralded as a major new revival.  Hurst plays fast and loose, allowing us to discover a Chicago that is immediate and cynical.  More importantly: it is startlingly entertaining ... " (Theatre Scenes)

Brel (2012) "the whole show . . . crafted into the sexiest, most gloriously romantic incitement to life and to love by director Michael Hurst.  Few shows are ever as good as this". (Metro)

The Waste Land (2011) "I find experiences like these are all too rare, but it's what keeps me coming back to theatre; the promise of being taken out of my body, to be transported to an undiscovered territory, to feel something new.  . . . The poem is given a startling voice and vitality in a theatrical interpretation by director Michael Hurst". (Theatre Scenes)

Cabaret (2010)  "director Michael Hurst . . . is the star here, having mounted a taut, affecting version of the musical.  The traditionally weak story line actually supercedes the explicit choreography and musical number". (Los Angeles Times)

Happy Days (2010)  "That it is a fascinating play is a tribute to the two actors and director Michael Hurst.  Directing a play where the actors barely move must be difficult, but it was always, unfalteringly intriguing". (The Big Idea)

She Stoops to Conquer (2009)  "Hurst Conquers Stage Again:  The production is another triumph for Michael Hurst." (NBR)

Hansel and Gretel (2008):  "Director Michael Hurst has given the opera a freshness and unity, balancing the fairy tale, the cautionary tale and the sinister with a careful hand and an understanding of the links between the dramatic and musical elements of the work." (NBR)

The Threepenny Opera (2008) : " . . . a mesmerising, ambitious production of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's classic that feels freshly minted, an instant classic . . . It is only June, but if I had money on it, The Threepenny Opera is already the theatre experience of the year." (Metro)

Tis Pity She's a Whore (2007) "Hurst’s work with the group of new actors chosen for the Silo’s Ensemble Project has produced an intense and visceral performance packed with extreme emotion. . . . This fine, exhilarating production honours a classic work with a real sense of danger."  (Metro)

Twelfth Night (2006) "For best production for the year, nothing could beat . . . Twelfth Night, Michael Hurst’s playful and dazzling take on Shakespeare’s giddy, lovestruck comedy.  Setting it in the 1950s on a tropical island inhabited by tipsy colonial misfits and dreamers was a stroke of brilliance, and all aspects of the highly imaginative production . . . were perfect. . . . a gorgeous, sensual show where Shakespeare’s text was utterly comprehensible . . . A fantastic and unforgettable show." (Listener)

Mr. Marmalade (2006)  "Directed by Michael Hurst, the Silo production is as energetic and physical as one of his own performances. He ensures his actors use their bodies as powerfully as their voices to deliver the dark emotions that lie underneath the cynical comedy".  (NZ Herald)

Macbeth (2004)  " Macbeth is often given fanciful interpretations that place it in modern settings or tease out of it a study of psychosexual dynamics or the corruptive force of power.  Michael Hurst, our most consistently impressive director and performer of Shakespeare, has come up with a version which says, almost audibly, 'to hell with all that'.  He wades right in, feeling for the jet-black heart of the play and finding a man who, as he told one interviewer, has declared war on his own soul." (NZ Herald)

Aladdin (2003)  "Hurst's Aladdin was made by a sorcerer.  It's the sort of stuff that makes you believe that carpets can fly--and that theatre can take you on a thrilling and magical ride." (NZ Herald)

Hamlet (2003) "As star, director, and co-founder of this new theatre company, Michael Hurst has shouldered a huge burden and it is testimony to his talent and leadership that the result is the finest Shakespearean production in a decade." (Sunday Star-Times)

Aladdin (1996)  "Michael Hurst has done it again in his hugely welcome return to the Auckland stage with a swashbuckling, rip-roaring all-action version of the traditional pantomime favourite, a most fitting and long-overdue follow-up to his fabulous first panto effort, Jack and the Beanstalk." (NZ Herald)

Othello (1995)  "Michael Hurst's production of Othello at the Watershed brings new life to a traditionally heavy play by exposing the wit and the words." (The Strip)

Hamlet (1994)  "Directing and playing a great Shakespearian role--a feat unprecedented in this city's professional theatre--is something of an actor's Everest.  And it's a delight to report that Michael Hurst, to paraphrase our most famous mountaineer, knocks the bastard off.  And he does so with the light-on-his-feet and sometimes brazenly cheeky inventiveness that has distinguished his last two mid-winter tilts at Shakespearian tragedy." (NZ Herald)

Romeo and Juliet (1993)  "Romeo and Juliet must be one of the most difficult of Shakespeare's plays to make work in a contemporary moral climate.  Treated straight, the romantic extravagances of the young star-crossed lovers invite cynical laughter.  Treated cynically, the poetry evaporates.  Michael Hurst's production comes tantalisingly close to achieving a balance, and in some passages is triumphantly successful." (Sunday Star)

Cabaret (1992)  " . . . director Michael Hurst's interpretation goes straight to the dark heart of the piece, accenting . . . the rotting core of the society that was only hinted at in Hollywood's sanitised version." (NZ Herald)

A Long Walk Off a Tall Rock (1991) "The Drama School's graduation productions have enabled professional directors to ignore the constraints of the commercial system they normally work under.  The results have nearly always meant invigorating and challenging theatre.  Michael Hurst's bold direction of A Long Walk Off a Tall Rock is no exception.  (Evening Post)

Ladies' Night (1988)  "Hurst held the strings of this production taut, playing it to the hilt and showing the metamorphesis of these characters clearly, sympathetically in well-timed high-calibre theatre."

Measure for Measure (1987)  "This was an encouraging first major directing commission for Hurst.  It was a steady, well-paced show, making the most of available talent, and showed an intelligent sense of purpose and touches of relevant flair."

ICTUS, Rhythmical Stress (1983)  "Michael Hurst looks behind the conventions and finds his truth in man's more primal motivating forces.  . . .  Michael Hurst is an invaluable asset to Theatre Corporate both as an actor and a creative director."


Theatre, Directing

2017 Pleasuredome (Mark Beesley & Rob Tapert; stage adaptation by Michael Hurst & Charlie McDermott), Rob Tapert
2016 King Lear (William Shakespeare), Circa Theatre

Lysistrata (Aristophanes, adapted by Michael Hurst), Auckland Theatre Company

Generation of Z: Apocalypse, Riverside Studios, Luke Johnson, Andy Harries, The Generation of Z Ltd., and Jean Doumanian; Whitechapel, London, England (4 April-19 July)

A Midsummer Night's Dream (William Shakespeare), University of Auckland Summer Shakespeare


Generation of Z (previously Zombie: Red Zone), Royale Productions, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, Scotland (31 July-25 August)

Zombie: Red Zone (now Generation of Z), Royale Productions, Cass Street Recycling Centre, Christchurch (25 April-17 May)

Brel, Silo Theatre, 'One Night Stand' at Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall (4 March)

Brel, Silo Theatre at NZ Festival (26 February-2 March)


Chicago (Kander, Ebb & Fosse), Auckland Theatre Company

Brel, Silo Theatre - on tour:
Taranaki International Arts Festival (27-29 August)
Christchurch Arts Festival (31 August-1 September)
Nelson Arts Festival (19-20 October)
Tauranga Arts Festival (26-27 October)

2012 Wings (Jess Sayer), Auckland Playwrights Collective (Read Raw playreading; 24 April)

Brel, Silo Theatre


The Waste Land (T.S. Eliot, adapted by Michael Hurst), Auckland Theatre Company


Cabaret (Kander & Ebb), Auckland Theatre Company

Happy Days (Samuel Beckett), Silo Theatre


Loot (Joe Orton), Silo Theatre

Creditors (August Strindberg), Ford Transit Productions

She Stoops to Conquer (Oliver Goldsmith), Auckland Theatre Company (watch interview here)

Life is a Dream (Pedro Calderon de la Barca, in a version by Beatrix Christian), one of two productions in Silo Theatre's Ensemble Project


Hansel and Gretel (opera; Englebert Humberdinck), NBR New Zealand Opera

The Threepenny Opera (Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill), Silo Theatre and The Large Group

2007 Tis Pity She's a Whore (John Ford adapted by Michael Hurst), one of two productions in Silo Theatre's Ensemble Project

The Bacchae (Euripides), University of Auckland

Twelfth Night (William Shakespeare), Auckland Theatre Company

The Woman Who Loved a Mountain (Pip Hall), Auckland Theatre Company (rehearsed reading)

Mr. Marmalade (Noah Haidle), Silo Theatre

Flotsom and Jetsom (Pip Hall), Urbis 24-Hours Deadline Theatre (short play)

2005 Jack and the Beanstalk (Michael Hurst), Auckland Festival 2005

Macbeth (William Shakespeare), The Large Group

Measure for Measure (William Shakespeare), The School of Performing and Screen Arts, Unitec


Lysistrata (Aristophanes, adapted by Michael Hurst), University of Auckland, Second-Year Theatre Studies Students

Aladdin (Michael Hurst), Auckland Festival 2003

Hamlet (William Shakespeare), The Large Group

2001 Sister Wonder Woman (Josie Ryan), Silo Theatre (co-director)
1996 Aladdin (Michael Hurst), Watershed Theatre

Othello (William Shakespeare), Watershed Theatre

Braindead: The Musical (Stephen Sinclair and Francis Walsh), Watershed Theatre


War Music (Christopher Logue), Selwyn College

Hamlet (William Shakespeare), Watershed Theatre


Jack and the Beanstalk (Michael Hurst), Watershed Theatre

Medea (Euripides), Watershed Theatre

Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare), Herald Theatre


Lysistrata (Aristophanes, adapted by Michael Hurst), Downstage Theatre

Cabaret (Joe Masteroff), Watershed Theatre

The Hungry City (Michael Mizrahi, Marie Adams, Harry Sinclair), Watershed Theatre

Macbeth (William Shakespeare), Herald Theatre


The Tempest (William Shakespeare), New Zealand Drama School

A Long Walk Off a Tall Rock (Stuart Hoar), Toi Whakaari Drama School

Merchant of Venice (William Shakespeare), Mercury Theatre

Weed (Anthony McCarten), The Gods, Mercury Upstairs


Threepenny Opera (Bertolt Brecht), Inside Out Theatre

The Sex Fiend (Danny Mulheron and Stephen Sinclair), The Gods, Mercury Upstairs

The Changeling (Thomas Middleton and William Rowley), Performing Arts School

House of Atreus [adapted from Electra (Euripides), Orestes (Euripides), Agamemnon (Aeschylus), and Thyestes (Seneca)], Performing Arts School

1989 King Lear (William Shakespeare), University of Auckland Summer Shakespeare

Ladies Night (Stephen Sinclair and Anthony McCarten), Centrepoint Theatre, Palmerston North


At the Hawk’s Well (William Butler Yeats), Public Works Performing Arts Centre

The Bacchae (Euripides), Auckland Centre of Performing Arts

Measure for Measure (William Shakespeare), University of Auckland Summer Shakespeare


Ictus, Rhythmical Stress (Michael Hurst), Theatre Corporate

Rip Tide (Harry Sinclair and Michael Hurst), Theatre Corporate (co-director)

1977- 78 Co-directed light lunchtime shows as a Court Theatre trainee
1975 Directed two one-hour comedy shows for fund raising, Papanui High School, Christchurch
1973 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice), Papanui High School, Christchurch
1972 Jesus Christ Superstar (Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice), secondary school adaptation, Papanui High School, Christchurch