The Cell

The Cell is an original piece of NZ theatre, created for an online platform. The Cell details a dystopian uprising gone wrong. In a world where robots rule, seven humans meet twice a week for book club. They hatch and execute a clever plan to overthrow the robots but something goes wrong and the rebellious readers are thrown into prison cells. Tune in to hear their confessions. Can the robots find it in their circuitry to let these people go? The Cell is an original play that has been written during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown. It utilises the resources available at that time- Zoom, the innovative minds of humans who want to keep creating and Facebook Live. The Cell first played live on Facebook on Sun 21 June, 8pm. It was also part of the Bay Landscapes Nelson Fringe Virtual Festival 2020, where it was nominated for Best Script and Most Original Concept and won Best Ensemble.

LISA ALLAN | Director, writer, producer

Lisa trained at the Hagley Theatre Company in 1999 and 2000. She went onto complete a BA, BSc and GradDipArts at the University of Canterbury. During this time she was active with DramaSoc, directing, choreographing, producing, acting and writing theatre. She co-created her first independent theatre company, The Loopen Experiment, in 2004 and has been heading up troupes ever since. CUSP is her most recent adventure and with this troupe Lisa has conceived The Wisp and The Wishing Star, to date. The Wisp was performed at Little Andromeda (2019) and accepted into the 2019 Nelson Arts Festival where it was performed at the Waimarama Brook Sanctuary as a fundraiser for the Sanctuary and the Nelson Fringe Festival- a Festival that Lisa and her husband Dan founded in 2015.  

Lisa has written The Cell as a series of seven monologues. She will direct five of these and will be responsible for the overall shape of the show.

WIREMU TUHIWAI | Actor, director

Wiremu (Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Porou) is a Wellington-based performer. He has been performing on stage and screen for over 15 years. He has worked with the BBC, Wellington Summer Shakespeare and appeared as the lead in numerous short films. He can also be found on the stand-up comedy stage and in musical theatre. Career highlights include 'Cleopatra,' 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' Spamalot' and 'Footloose.' Wiremu is also an avid performer and teacher of improvised theatre and has appeared as an invited guest in shows around the country, including the 2019 fundraiser show, Comedy for Christchurch.


LAURA IRISH | Actor, director

Laura is an award-winning actress and improvisor who is represented by The ProActors and Bohemia Group. She holds a BA in Theatre and studied at The Stella Adler Studio of Acting in NYC in 2013. She has worked with industry greats such as David Razowsky, Patti Stiles, Joe Bill and Jason Geary. Stage credits include Lady Macbeth (Macbeth), Kathleen Scott (Terra Nova), Myrrha and various (Metamorphoses), Cecily (The Importance of Being Earnest), Milady de Winter (The Three Musketeers), improv locally, nationally and abroad, Bonnie Parker (Hot Chocolate & The Trail’s End), Puck (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Viola (Twelfth Night), Mercutio and Lady Capulet (Romeo & Juliet). She has directed children's theatre for the Body in Space Theatre Company and is a proud member of Equity NZ.

JADE ALBORN | Actor, videographer

Jade is an emerging artist. She is just out of high school, where she was in her region's winning theatresports team. Jade is an improvisor, actor and videographer. She is part of the CUSP improv troupe and has just performed in four episodes of their online improv show, The Outer Reach, where she rose from intern to captain of the space station. She works for F45 Motueka and Abel, making videos and running social media accounts.

PANIA PARSONS | Actor, make-up design

Pania is 20 year-old aspiring actress and filmmaker studying at Victoria University. She is currently working toward a degree in film and enjoying making connections and gaining experience in the industry. She has studied improvised theatre and taken a short acting course with Toi Whakaari. She has performed in 'The Maids,' by Jean Genet and 'Find Me,' by Olwen Wymark. Alongside film and acting, Pania's biggest passion is art and she has been deriving an income from this since 2017.


Daniel is an actor and improvisor. He was a member of the Court Jesters improvisation troupe (2003 - 2009) and trained with Zen Zen Zo physical theatre company in 2009. He has had contracts with The Court Theatre, NZ Playhouse, Fortune Theatre, multiple Nelson-based companies alongside acting for his own theatre company, Body in Space (2010 - 2015). Dan is a member of the improvisation companies Cusp and The People’s Republic of Improv. Recent scripted acting credits include: 'Romeo and Juliet' (Nelson Summer Shakespeare, 2020), 'Twelfth Night' (NSS, 2018), 'Maungatapu' (Northpark Productions, 2018), 'The Girl Who Climbed a Mountain and Saved the World' (Wintergreen Creative, 2018), 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' (NSS, 2017) and 'The Three Musketeers.'



GLENN COUSINS | Actor, tech support

Glenn comes to the cast primarily as an improvisor with a background of decades spent working in film and television production (USA). He has been performing improv professionally since 2013 when he joined The Deep End. He currently works with the improv troupes, The People’s Republic of Improv and CUSP and has performed various styles around New Zealand. Glenn's acting credits include 'One Man, Two Guvnors,' the short drama, 'Found,' 'Doing It for the Penguins' and 'An Angel but in the Dark.' Most recently he played Max Load in CUSP's 'The Outer Reach,' an online, improvised space saga.





Pete Foley studied theatre, dance and singing at the Hagley Theatre Company in Christchurch and has been involved in over 40 productions ranging from theatre, to film and television. Some highlights include touring a unique devised piece of physical theatre entitled Fleet around South America with The Loopen Experiment Inc., and also multiple productions with Body in Space theatre company in Nelson.



Gina is a nurse, a mum, and children's book writer and illustrator. She enjoys playing board games, writing, adventuring in the great outdoors, and of course, playing (aka Improv)! She won the Nelson Pun Battle in 2018 and recently devised and performed The Wishing Star for the Volume Mapua Literary Festival. She is a human of many talents and is responsible for The Wishing Star imagery and providing real-time, projected and improvised drawings for our Little Andromeda season of The Wisp. Gina has also designed a whole host of posters for CUSP.


Fleur is a passionate performer and music educator. Originally from Nelson and an active musical family, she completed a BA/MUSB at Canterbury University under the tutelage of Jan Tawroszewicz. In 2016 she returned to study and completed her BMUS (First Class Hons) and her MMUS in Classical Performance under Helene Pohl from the NZSQ at Te Koki New Zealand School of Music. In Nelson she has been part of an eclectic mix of ensembles, ranging from an American folk duo to a Klezmer band and a Classical string quartet. She is currently a member of the Goya Ensemble, Trio Jackson, the NCMA Chamber Orchestra, various chamber music ensembles, CUSP and teaches at NCMA.

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