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Pop-up Globe founder honoured with Sir Peter Blake Award

Pop-up Globe founder honoured with
Sir Peter Blake Award

Founder of the New Zealand-born theatrical sensation Pop-up Globe, Dr Miles Gregory, has tonight been bestowed the honour of a Blake Leader Award for his extraordinary efforts as an arts pioneer and innovator.

Dr Gregory is regarded as an extraordinary leader with unwavering vision, integrity and the ability to bring together and lead a team of passionate people on a journey of innovation.

The Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards are the premier leadership awards in New Zealand. Each year six Blake Leader Awards are given to inspirational mid-career leaders who have shown determination, the will to succeed and a belief in achieving extraordinary things, in the style of Sir Peter Blake himself.

Sir Peter Blake’s daughter, Sarah-Jane Blake, presented the Blake Leader Awards at a black-tie function on board HMNZS Canterbury tonight in Auckland.

Inspired by his young daughter, Dr Gregory fearlessly set out to re-imagine the most sacred of all theatre venues and turned it into a modern-day New Zealand success story. He created the world’s first Pop-up Globe theatre, recreating a full-scale temporary working replica of Shakespeare's theatre, the second Globe.
Since it opened in 2016, more than 450,000 people in Auckland and Mebourne have seen his productions over four memorable seasons. Pop-up Globe has become New Zealand’s most commercially successful theatrical export ever.

Driven by a dream, Dr Gregory is considered one of New Zealand’s most influential theatre figures. His personal authenticity and integrity, and ability to empower and promote others has helped him stay true to his dream and bring it to reality.

James Gibson CE of the Sir Peter Blake Trust says, “Like Sir Peter Blake, Miles is a true visionary and inspires others to travel with him on a journey to success. We are delighted to recognise and celebrate Miles tonight and look forward to seeing his further leadership contribution to NZ Inc in the years to come.”

Dr Gregory’s leadership is described as empowering, promoting and earning trust and communicating clearly. He celebrates achievement and continually tries to raise the bar, lifting his own performance as a way to bring others with him.
His own love affair with the world’s most famous playwright began as a 14-year-old at Auckland’s King’s College, editing a scene from Romeo and Juliet.

The only child of Auckland fashion designer Trish Gregory and her husband, James, Gregory excelled in English at secondary school, then at 17 left for England, where he studied history at Durham University.

He went on to make his London debut as a theatre director at the age of 23, directing Hamlet and Twelfth Night at the Westminster Theatre in London’s West End, collecting a Master of Fine Arts in Staging Shakespeare from Exeter University, and a PhD in Shakespeare in Performance from Bristol University before, enjoying stints as an artistic director, producer and chief executive at various festivals, touring companies and theatres, along the way directing more than 20 professional productions, mainly of Shakespeare, in the United Kingdom.

“I was going to be a lawyer, but I fell in with the wrong crowd and they all liked theatre,” he quips.

When he and wife Barbara returned to New Zealand in 2012 with their children, he set himself up as a lecturer and consultant in the arts.

When his initial team started the Pop-up Globe project, they worked from a small studio off Queen street with nothing but running water and a few trestle tables. The team of two then turned into a team of nearly 50 within two months, with the first Pop-up Globe opening in Auckland’s CBD in February 2016, just in time for the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Two years on, Pop-up Globe is now one of the biggest and most successful theatrical ventures in Australasia, employing hundreds of actors and support staff across its seasons in New Zealand and abroad.

The design integrity of the Pop-up Globe, based closely on research conducted by Sydney University, enables them to present Shakespeare as it was intended, with the audience fully immersed in the Jacobean-period experience.

My favourite moments happen after every show. It’s the noise from the audience after the actors leave the stage and the applause dies down: a loud, excited buzz of people who are talking nineteen to the dozen to their friends about what they’ve seen. And that buzz is probably the greatest tonic you can have running a theatre because it’s the sound of people who’ve had a great time.

“There’s a line in Twelfth Night that the character Feste sings in the epilogue to the play, where he says, "we’ll strive to please you every day". And that is what we do. We strive to please our audience every day."

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