Since abandoning a career in ballet due to a pesky need to eat, Creative Director Penny Ashton is fast making a name for herself as a global poet and comedienne.

Penny has been nominated four times as Best Female Comedienne in New Zealand, twice for a Billy T James Award, three times for the People’s Choice Award at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and once for Best Comedy at the Wellington Fringe Festival.

In 2013 she finally won something; Best Performance in a Comedy, Auckland Fringe 2013 and Best Solo Show Female, Victoria Fringe Festival, Canada 2013 with her solo show Promise and Promiscuity: A New Musical by Jane Austen and Penny Ashton.

She has performed at numerous NZ and international Festivals including Edinburgh, Adelaide, Edmonton, Montreal and Vancouver Fringe Festivals and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Her Hot Pink Festival persona has been a critical and commercial success and has prompted invites to perform in Singapore, England, Australia, Germany, North America and Scotland.  In 2006 Penny also represented New Zealand in The World Cup of Theatresports™ in Germany, toured the performance poetry circuit in the UK and represented Australasia in the Four Continents Slam UK Poetry Tour in December.

She is the originator and director of ConArtists acclaimed show Austen Found: The Undiscovered Musicals of Jane Austen, which has sold out festivals in New Zealand and in Australia and has received rave reviews.

In NZ Penny is well known for her radio, television and journalism work.

She reviews books, and is a social commentator and interviewer on Radio New Zealand.  She is a gossip monger on Good Morning and presents Heartland’s Kiwi Gold on TVNZ. Her voice has also used for numerous advertising campaigns and has brought to life two Power Ranger’s Monsters and one lesbian puppet called Ginny.  She has appeared on Shortland St as a gynecologist and starred as a children’s entertainer with a stalker in the comedy Talent.

She was in the first wave of Theatresports™ taught in schools in 1987 and has loved making stuff up ever since.


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