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Ronald Trifero Nelson

Ronald talks about growing up and a number of plays that he has written and directed.

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Summary

Ronald Trifero Nelson, born in mid-1950s America to a middle-class family, had an extensive career in politics in Washington D.C. before relocating to New Zealand due to visa issues faced by their partner. Nelson's journey to New Zealand was influenced by a combination of personal experiences and international events, including the impact of 9/11.

In New Zealand, Nelson initially intended to continue their political work but found challenges in integrating into the local political scene. This led them to explore other avenues, eventually leading to a significant involvement in the theatre community. Nelson's work in theatre includes directing and writing plays, many of which draw from personal experiences and societal issues. A notable example is their play about a family losing their onion farm to developers, which received acclaim and toured the South Island.

Nelson discusses their surprise at the New Zealand community's attitudes towards significant international events like the murder of Matthew Shepherd and the Jeff Whittington case. They express a desire to raise awareness about hate crimes and the experiences of marginalized communities through theatre. One of their major works, "The Corner 4 a.m. in Cuba," is a play about Jeffrey Whittington, a 14-year-old murdered in Wellington, which Nelson developed through extensive research and interviews.

The podcast delves into the challenges and nuances of creating queer theatre, particularly in casting and audience engagement. Nelson speaks about their efforts to bring authentic, diverse queer narratives to the stage and the importance of representing the queer community's history and experiences. They also touch on the broader landscape of queer theatre in New Zealand, noting its development and potential for growth.

Throughout the conversation, Nelson reflects on the intersection of art, politics, and social justice, highlighting the transformative power of theatre in addressing complex social issues and fostering community dialogue. Their journey from American politics to New Zealand theatre underscores a commitment to advocacy, creativity, and the pursuit of social change.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

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Record date:23rd April 2010
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Location:Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-003854).
URL:https://www.pridenz.com/ronald_trifero_nelson_profile.html