Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Premiere Of A New Biographical Work Comes To The Meteor

How to make sense of 98 years’ worth of life in just a few short minutes?

Lily Empson- photo credit Benjamin Wilson

In the wake of Nana Elsie’s death, a young woman tries to piece together fragments of family legend, fact and memory left behind. In the process of grief, she meets Elsie long before she was a Nana, discovers the incredible life she led and the legacy that she leaves behind in the memory of her family…

Local creative Lily Empson brings new devised work Elsie to The Meteor October 7-9 as part of The Meteor’s ‘BOIL UP’ Creative Development Programme.

A biographical piece, Elsie is based on the life of Empson’s own Nana Elsie and is performed by granddaughter’s and sisters Lily and Lauren Empson. An exploration of how shared memories are a tool to hold onto those we love, Elsie combines physical theatre with contemporary dance to “honour Elsie and tell the story of the full life that she led”.

“We always think of our grandparents as old and never really stop to think of them as how they were when they were young.” Says Empson.

“When Nana died, my family started sharing all these stories about her. We found an old suitcase and hat box filled with black and white photos of her as a young woman and at her funeral, so many people came and shared memories and stories of her. For the first time, I started seeing her as more than a Nana. I felt like I had just discovered her…”

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

A work grounded in the importance of family Elsie has seen Empson join forces with her sister Lauren to create and perform this personal piece documenting the life of a wife, sharemilker, mother and Nana.

“Being able to share this process with my sister and being able to share stories with family has been a really positive experience” says Empson. “One thing that was so important to Nana was family. She was the one who brought everyone together - her dining table was where we conjugated. Her death certainly brought everyone closer together again, which she would have been so thankful for.”

A work that has been developed with support and mentorship through The Meteor’s ‘BOIL UP’ programme from January 2021, Elsie will be Empson’s first full-length showcase of a work of her own devising. No stranger to Hamilton stages Lily’s most recent projects include working as a Co-Choreographer for Moving Parts NZ’s Shifting Dynamics in this year’s Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival and as a dancer in their 2020 season of Enough. Empson also played ‘Arcite’ in Tahi, T’ai, Tasi’s Two Noble Kingswomen (2019) and choregraphed Hamilton Musical Theatre’s A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum earlier this year.

Elsie will be running at The Meteor Theatre October 7-9 with 7pm performances. Tickets can be found at $20 GA and $18 Concession (Gold Card, Student ID) along with further information at

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.