Paul Jenden wrote and directed his first play at 8 years old: a classroom adaptation of Charlotte’s Web. In 1975 he graduated from Victoria University with a degree in French Language and Literature and began a theatrical career that has seen him established as a director, designer, dancer, choreographer and writer.
In 1980 he left New Zealand to base himself in New York City and toured in the U.S.A. and Canada as well as Europe and Asia. He returned to live in New Zealand in 1989.
Paul has many successes to his name. His first production at Circa Theatre was Fairy Stories in 1996, which began a series of highly successful Christmas shows. His Dancing the Gay Fandango at Taki Rua in 1991 became a top selling show at the 1994 Adelaide Fringe Festival and Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival. His sparkling 1989 production of Le Papillon was one the most popular NZ works ever mounted by the Royal New Zealand Ballet and with Maclary Theatre Productions he produced The Hairy Maclary Show which has toured widely in New Zealand and was featured in Adelaide’s Come Out Festival and at the Victorian Centre for the Arts.
He has designed sets and costumes for Dirty Weekends, Boys at the Beach and Travesties as well as Circa’s annual pantomimes and his own musicals. He has also worked as a movement consultant on Stones in his Pockets, The Cherry Orchard, The Underpants, The Winslow Boy and The American Pilot. He has twice been voted Costume Designer of the Year at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards.
Paul began working as a lyricist in 1988. With Gareth Farr he has written a trilogy of historical musicals, Troy, Monarchy and Rome and the sci-fi SPACE! He is also the lyricist for Roger Hall’s pantomimes, including Cinderella, Aladdin, Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood.