Sarah Gaitanos

Nola Millar: A Theatrical Life

ISBN: 9780864735379

Nola Millar was one of the most important figures in the history of New Zealand theatre. An indefatigable director and teacher who worked throughout the country, her work touched thousands and influenced the lives and work of several generations of actors and directors. Her legacy is perhaps best represented now by Te Kura Toi Whakaari / NZ Drama School, which she founded.

This book is a triumph of research and writing. It tells the full story of the many aspects of Nola Millar’s career, which also included important work as Reference Librarian at the Turnbull, and is illuminating about NZ theatre history and the social contexts within which Millar worked.

It is illustrated with over 100 theatre and personal photographs.

Praise for Nola Millar: A Theatrical Life

Now we have a brilliant biography by Sarah Gaitanos, who has put together in a highly readable way a mass of material, including meticulous appendices of all productions and teaching courses in which the “Mother of New Zealand Theatre” was involved.

Gaitanos has done a wonderful job on Millar, a woman everyone regarded as an “enigma” who kept her private life to herself.

... an intriguing view of Wellington artistic and intellectual life from the 1930s to 1970s and a candid yet affectionate examination of a unique soul.

...[Nola Millar was] one of the most influential characters of our creative history. Sarah Gaitanos has delivered an immensely readable biography of a unique woman.
Margaret Christensen WAIRARAPA TIMES AGE

To say that Gaitanos’s research for this biography was thorough would be an understatement. The historical scholarship is superb – with in-depth notes and detailed indexing. It not only traces the development of New Zealand theatre through the life of Nola Millar, it also demonstrates the importance of theatre in New Zealand prior to the arrival of television. The close links between librarians and the theatrical community is an interesting component of this book which deserves to be on the shelves of libraries throughout the country. Nola Millar: A Theatrical Life is an excellent in-depth social history on the development of New Zealand theatre – a history that includes many scenes of library life in mid-20th Century New Zealand.
Dan Dorner LIANZA Journal Vol 50 Issue 2

Sarah Gaitanos is an independent writer, researcher and oral historian. Her biography of Nola Millar is the culmination of over ten years’ extensive research that started with an oral history project of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School


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