Consummate Mr Michael Hurst," Metro (1985) "Michael
Hurst generates high energy. It ensures
that even while he's standing still, he draws
attention. Close up, his face is perceptive,
expressive--a mouth curved in readiness. When
the salvo of words breaks out, a divergent, mercurial
man begins to show.
amongst the many characters harboured in Hurst's
personality is a clown: a legacy from his northern
English origins. Like a jack-in-the box it
springs out frequently and you catch your breath
with its brightness."
McGill, director at Theatre Corporate, respects Hurst
as 'one of the few actors who make a maximum commitment
to his art and his theatre. He's also got that
intense and rare quality of watchability. You
only achieve that through hard work, good training
and in his particular case, wonderful enthusiasm
and energy towards whatever he does.'"
of Darkness," NZ Herald (2003) "Hurst,
unquestionably our finest and most versatile
actor, has established himself as one of the
most adventurous and exciting directors of Shakespeare. And
to watch him at work is to see instinct and intellect
combine in a way which makes effort seem effortless. He
may look like one who's making it up as he goes
along--in a sense he is--but his invention is
underpinned by a sure sense of stagecraft and
driven by a love for the grandly theatrical."
Macbeth review, NZ
Herald (2004) "Hurst
shows--as he did in his magnificent Hamlet--his
unparalleled ability to speak the poetry. Words,
snatches of phrase, sometimes whole passages,
explode into life as if never heard before.
one, can't wait until this man decides to shoulder King
Hurst was born on September 20, 1957 in Lancashire, England. He
was eight years old when his family moved to Christchurch, New
Zealand where he attended Papanui High School. He has three younger
brothers: Mark, Stuart, and Nicholas (half-brother).
began getting involved in school drama projects when he was about
fourteen, developing an interest in everything from acting and
directing to painting sets. When he was nineteen, after a year
at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, he joined the
Court Theatre on a two-year training programme.
twenty-two he was accepted into Theatre Corporate in Auckland.
He was there for seven years, ending up as Chair in 1985. He joined
the Mercury Theatre, performing in or directing over twenty plays
there between 1982 and 1991. In 1987 he became the first New Zealand
actor to be contracted to Australia when he won the role of D’Artagnan
in the Melbourne Theatre Company production of The Three Musketeers.
the early nineties Michael had become something of a Shakespearian
authority in New Zealand, both interpreting and teaching the works
of the bard. In 1991 he was a co-founder of the Watershed Theatre,
and in 2003 became co-founder and Artistic Director of The Large
1993 he was the first actor cast for the Renaissance Pictures
production of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,
in which he starred for six years as Iolaus, Hercules'
sidekick and best friend.
both actor and director, he has a very long list of theatre, film,
television, and radio work to his name. He has received
awards for both acting and directing, as well as the prestigious
Laureate Award from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand and an
appointment as Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit "for
services to film and the theatre". He is Chair of the AUSA Outdoor Shakespeare Trust.
is happily married to award-winning New Zealand actress Jennifer
Ward-Lealand, and they have two sons, Jack Louis Ward Hurst (born
25 January 1997) and Cameron Lane Ward Hurst (born 2 December
1999). He and Jennifer are the Patrons of The Auckland Performing
Arts Centre (TAPAC), and in 2005 became Champions of Auckland's
New Theatre Initiative (now Q Theatre). In 2010 they were named the Patrons of Q Theatre.
skills include acting, directing, writing, dancing, and singing,
and stage fight and fencing choreography. He was also a fencing
Interviewed for New Zealand On Screen
did the ScreenTalk interview below for the website
New Zealand Onscreen. The site celebrates New Zealand films and tv shows and the people who make them. Michael talks about his career, from his first tv role in a show called "Tinkling Brass" to
the upcoming feature film Bitch Slap.