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Martyn Roberts profile photo

BA(VUW) MFA(Otago)
Theatre Manager, Designer
Professional Practice Fellow

Office – Allen Hall Theatre
Tel +64 3 479 8825

Martyn has been creating award winning light and set designs for a number of years here in NZ and overseas. Works include This Other Eden for Opera Otago, The Caretaker, Punk Rock and Grounded for Fortune Theatre as well as working with Touch Compass Dance, Taki Rua Theatre and his own company, afterburner. He has worked as a designer and writer with devising companies such as Site-Specific creating Hotel and the innovative Wellington theatre company Trouble in the late 1990's.

Nominated 12 times at the prestigious Chapman Tripp Awards for his work, Martyn has built a reputation for innovative and exciting design. His NZ festival designs include Dr Buller's Birds for the 2006 International Festival of the Arts, Dark Tourists for AK07 and Mark Twain and Me in Maoriland for Taki Rua in 2010.

He founded afterburner in 2001, a light and sound collective creating installation/theatre hybrid pieces like Man on the Moon, The Telescope, and Fog and Mirrors. Other afterburner ventures include the Miranda Manasiadis written and directed work The Singularity (which Martyn co-designed with Rob Larsen), and Dark Matter, winner of two Dunedin Fringe awards in 2016 and Best of Fringe 2017 in Wellington. Dark Matter featured in the Arts Festival Dunedin 2018 and at the 2019 Prague Quadrennial as a VR exhibit.

Recent afterburner work Fission had its first showing in 2019 and is due for further development over 2020 to 2022. Martyn is a member of ETNZ (Entertainment Technology New Zealand) and chair of Dunedin's theatre trust Wow! Productions.

Details of these productions, including some review material, and other plays designed, devised or directed by Martyn Roberts may be found on the Theatre Aotearoa database.


Lighting and stage design

  • devised and site-specific theatre and Installation Art
  • co-founder of afterburner theatre and art collective based in Wellington and Dunedin
  • co-devisor for the Site Specific Theatre Company – winners of four Fringe awards for Hotel, 2006
  • photographer, writer and theatre maker.
  • Martyn has created light designs all over New Zealand, as well as Sydney, Brisbane, Edinburgh and Glasgow. He has exhibited his light installations at the Wellington City Gallery and at the Prague Quadrennial in 2004 and 2019. He was commissioned to create a light installation for the Macs Brewery on Wellington's waterfront, which was installed in 2007.

Current Projects

  • Set and Lighting Design for a multi-year research project called Fission
  • Lighting Design for Bruce Mason's play The End of the Golden Weather 2020 production for Wow! Productions, Dunedin
  • Creating an installation in November 2020 celebrating the dawn of 100 years of radio in NZ


Chapman Tripp Lighting Design Awards

  • 1996 Black Monk (Trouble Theatre Company)
  • 1997 The Lead Wait (Trouble Theatre Company)
  • 2002 Copenhagen (Circa Theatre)
  • 2006 Yours Truly (BATS Theatre)
  • 2007 Maui - One Man against the Gods (NZ Tour)

Fringe awards

  • 2017 NZ Fringe – Best in Fringe Dark Matter
  • 2016 Best Design – Dark Matter – Dunedin Fringe
  • 2016 Best Multimedia – Dark Matter – Dunedin Fringe
  • 2006 Visual Art Award – Fog and Mirrors – Site Specific Light Installations
  • 2007 Best of Fringe, Best Theatre, Best Marketing, Best performance (Gavin Rutherford) – Hotel (Site Specific Theatre Company)

Dunedin Theatre Awards

o 2018 Lighting Design Award – Dark Matter
o 2016 Lighting Design Award – Wairua a line near
o 2015 Set Design Award Farley's Arcade – The Wildest Place in Town
o 2014 Lighting Design Award This Other Eden


du Plessis, H. (cello), Roberts, M. (lighting designer), Holland, M. (sound engineer), Petersen, T. (violin), & Kalogeropoulou, S. (choreographer) (2023, 18-19 March). TwentyNineteen, at the Dunedin Fringe Festival, and composed by Maddy Parkins-Craig, Te Korokoro o Te Tūī, Dunedin, New Zealand. [Performance].

Cattermole, J., Halba, H., Kalogeropoulou, S., Roberts, M., & Wardell, S. (2022). Cartographies of a future. Dunedin Fringe Festival, Allen Hall Theatre, Dunedin, New Zealand. [Performance Installation].

Roberts, M. (2022, October). So what is stage design? Workshop presentation at the Drama New Zealand (DNZ) National Conference: Tīmatanga Hōu, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Roberts, M., & Mayall, J. (2020). Transforming the dark: Using colour to compose sound in Dark Matter. Critical Stages/Scènes critiques, 21. Retrieved from

Halba, H. (co-director, researcher, deviser), Roberts, M. (designer (stage, light, sound), deviser, researcher, producer), Hutchinson, D. (physicist, deviser), Kalogeropoulou, S. (choreographer, deviser), & Petersen, T. (musician, deviser) (2019, 26-30 March). Fission, an afterburner production, Allen Hall Theatre, Dunedin, New Zealand. [Performance].

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