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Laura Irish
-Founder & Artistic Director

Laura Irish is an award-winning actress, playwright and comedian originally from St. Louis, USA. She studied Stanislavski & Shakespeare at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, NYC. Laura holds a BA in Theatre from Greenville University and a Masters of Arts of Management from AUT. Laura is also the Artistic Director of the Nelson Fringe Festival and teaches acting at Soundstage. Most recently her first original solo show, Medea the Mother, was nominated for Best Theatre at the Dunedin Fringe 2018. She is also mama to the two coolest kids in Nelson, Elijah (aged 10) and Ivie (aged 3).


Debbie brooks
-Venue manager

Debbie Brooks is the Venue Manager for Ghost Light Theatre. She trained in technical theatre at Greenville University in the USA and has been a part of the Nelson Fringe Festival team since it started in 2014. She is originally from the USA and has worked with Laura on many productions and in many different capacities over the last 17 years. She is passionate about creating great theatre and making sure everything runs smoothly. In her spare time, she helps run Longbrook Landscapes and dabbles in crafts of a wide variety.


The team

Laura and Debbie have been friends for 17 years. They met at Greenville University, USA, in 2001 while both studying Theatre. The two midwest American girls have had several adventures together from being roommates at university, numerous theatrical productions, living in a tiny St. Louis apartment, moving to South Korea and now living in New Zealand running a theatre. The two of them make a great team, Debbie being the grounded, practical-minded doer and Laura being the feisty, big ideas networker. The two of them hope that artists coming to Ghost Light keep in mind that they do this work because they believe in the performing arts and that currently, while the theatre is successful in its beginnings, they do not make any money from their efforts. So be kind.