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The Star Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Thursday April 27 2017 21 Theatre/Arts Performer treks into unknown • By Georgia O’Connor-Harding KATHLEEN BURNS has always been captivated by the dangers of travelling into space. A Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica enthusiast, the 31-year-old had always loved the “high stakes” and drama of shows set in the galaxy. After being heavily involved as a performer with The Court Theatre for more than 13 years, Burns has taken her career in a new direction crafting her first original play. The Parklands resident has transformed one of the world’s most well-known fairytales into an adventurous sci-fi about a slave space mechanic named Cinderella. Cinderella In Space is a new adaptation to the 1950 Disney animated film, telling the story of a young heroine forced by an evil “Captain Step-Mummy” to clean a space station even though she would rather build robots. Burns described the original character of Cinderella as a “bit of a victim” who gets helped out NEW DIRECTION: Kathleen Burns on set of her first original show at The Court Theatre. of her situation so she can marry rich. “I just think we can do better than this . . . we can make her a woman who does things SHOW BROUGHT TO LIFE: Monique Clementson as Cinderella and Ralph McCubbin Howell as Captain Step-Mummy in Kathleen Burns’ first original show Cinderella in Space. and affects change to her environment and makes her a role model worthy of aspiring to,” she said. Since she was a child, one of Burns’ favourite past-times was “writing dialogue.” “What I didn’t know about myself was I wanted to write plays . . . I loved using those speech marks,” she said. For the past decade her writing dreams were put on hold to pursue performing. She ditched her double degree in psychology and gender studies at Canterbury University, going onto to study at the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art. “I got two-and-a-half years into it and I was like, I don’t want to spend one more second going down a path I don’t want to go down, and literally overnight I was like, I am throwing all of this in,” she said. Before then, she first cut her teeth entertaining youths on a Friday night with The Court Jesters. “Definitely, you have to love it. For starters, nobody in this industry is paid enough to warrant doing it without the love and drive for it,” she said. So far, the highlight of her performing career was working with well-known actor George Henare. “His approach to the work is so uncomplicated and it reminds me acting should be really simple,” she said. Her first gig as a writer had her frightened but she said she needed to try something new. “I always knew writing is hard. I have so much respect for writers . . . I am still outside thinking it is a magical allusive thing other people do,” she said. •Cinderella In Space runs at The Court Theatre until Saturday. To book tickets go to https://courttheatre.org. nz High profile faces for Court production BEST KNOWN for his role in Australian television soap opera Neighbours, actor Stephen Lovatt will take the stage in The Court Theatre’s newest production Uncle Vanya. With a career spanning 30 years, Lovatt has performed on stage, television and in film. He will now play the leading role Vanya in a show about family, love and heartbreak. As part of the story, Vanya and his niece Sonya have laboured for years on Stephen Lovatt Shane Bosher their family’s country estate in relative harmony. But when Sonya’s father returns from the big city with a glamorous new bride, unfulfilled desires and fierce family loyalties collide to destroy the status quo. The show is by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov (1860–1904), who is known for his fictional short stories. Lovatt is not the only high profile performer involved with the show, with four-times The New Zealand Listener magazine’s “director of the year” Shane Bosher set to direct. Bosher said he had Uncle Vanya at the top of his “must direct” bucket list. He said audiences will be able to identify themselves and the people they interact within the show. •Uncle Vanya runs from May 13 - June 3. To book tickets go to https:// courttheatre.org.nz