Penny Dodd - Musical Director, 2008 Summer School

Penny Dodd is a pianist, arranger and musical director with 28 years experience in New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Victoria University she moved to Auckland to work with director Simon Phillips at Mercury Theatre in 1980 where she stayed for five years. Highlights include productions of Chicago, Sweet Charity and Jesus Christ Superstar in 1982, where she met long time music collaborator Helen Medlyn with whom she has presented the hell series of seven cabaret shows – 1998 ( hell on heels) – 2007 (Hell, Man ).

After touring New Zealand with Stetson Productions' Pirates of Penzance in 1986, she moved to London and worked for four years in musical theatre on the West End and in national tours. Productions included Phantom of the Opera with the original cast, Fathers and Sons in an eight month repertory season at the National Theatre, and tours of Chess and The National Theatre's The Pied Piper , with Matthew Kelly, several traditional pantomimes, and piano rehearsal work in London. In 1989 Penny conducted a season of Evita in Sydney, at the State Theatre.

On returning to New Zealand in 1990, Penny worked on the Mercury Theatre's Porgy and Bess , and the NZ tour of Chess. In 1992 she moved into the musical worlds of concerts, radio and recordings, arranging and producing Rima te Wiata's self titled album, and touring with her and the NZSO. In 1996 - 1998 Penny worked as an opera repetiteur with Opera New Zealand, productions included Don Giovanni with Dame Kiri te Kanawa, conducted by Stephen Barlow.

She was invited to write arrangements for the Auckland Philharmonia in 1992, leading to her arranging and conducting three fully orchestral concerts - Sirens with Jackie Clarke and Tina Cross (2000) with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and Symphonic Rock 03 , and Symphonic Rock 04 with the Auckland Philharmonia.

In 2002 Penny returned to the theatre as musical director for NZ tours of Chicago and Evita (2004), and has arranged and musically directed two shows for the Auckland Theatre Company – High Society (2005) and End of the Rainbow (2007)
Penny continues to arrange and conduct the music for Coca Cola Christmas In The Park on TV3, 2007 being her 10th year.