ZEN ZEN ZO is a Brisbane-based physical theatre company at the forefront of contemporary performance and training in Australia. Founded by Lynne Bradley & Simon Woods in 1992, the company has continually produced innovative theatre experiences that have challenged and delighted the audiences. Zen Zen Zo has created over 50 new productions ranging from radical reinterpretations of the classics to innovative self-devised works, many of which have been showcased at national and international festivals.
Zen Zen Zo’s aesthetic was forged between the ancient Asian dance-theatre traditions, the European avant-garde theatre movement, and contemporary pop culture, where sound, light, movement and spectacle communicate meaning and experience. This fusion of old and new gives Zen Zen Zo its unique appeal, and an audience base that spans several generations. Zen Zen Zo believes in a theatre of contact, in which the relationship between the actors and the audience is at once intimate and shocking, compelling and confrontational, ritualistic and profane.
LYNNE BRADLEY has worked as a director, choreographer, performer and actor-trainer in Brisbane and abroad for the past 25 years. In 1992 she founded Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre with Simon Woods, and has spent the past two decades building Zen Zen Zo into an internationally renowned performance and training centre. Lynne is currently involved in two major intercultural exchanges with world-renowned Butoh company Dairakudakan in Japan, and the International Schools throughout Asia. She travels regularly abroad to direct and teach. As a director, choreographer and performer, Lynne has won a number of awards, including most recently Matilda Awards for Cabaret (Best Musical), and The Tempest (Best Independent Production). Zeitgeist was also short-listed for a prestigious Total Theatre Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009. After 20 years as Artistic Director, Lynne has recently moved into the role of Training Centre Director of Zen Zen Zo.
Lynne is also a principal instructor specializing in movement and physical theatre, and has founded all of Zen Zen Zo’s flagship training programs, including Stomping Ground, Company Internship and The Actor’s Dojo. Her training includes the Suzuki Method, Noh, Nihon Buyo and Butoh, which she studied intensively whilst living in Japan from 1989-1995, and again in 1999 (whilst on a Fellowship from the Brisbane City Council). Her Butoh teachers included founder Kazuo Ohno, Katsura Kan (Byakko-sha), Iwashita Toru (Sankai Juku), and Maro Akaji (Dairakudakan). In 1998 she received a scholarship to study the Viewpoints with Anne Bogart and the SITI company in New York, and she and Simon Woods subsequently became the first teachers of this actor training method in Australia. She is also a qualified teacher of Ashtanga Yoga (1st series). Lynne received a first-class Honours degree from the University of Queensland, is currently completing her PhD on Physical Theatre in Australia, and lecturers regularly in Australian universities around the country. She also leads many of Zen Zen Zo’s courses and classes in the Brisbane and Melbourne Training Centres, where she mentors over 50 students each year.
SIMON WOODS co-founded Zen Zen Zo with Lynne Bradley in 1992. From 2011-2015 Simon worked as a Producer at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and Brisbane Powerhouse delivering productions and festivals across all genres.
Simon directed over 20 productions for Zen Zen Zo, including the multiple award-winning Macbeth: As Told by the Weird Sisters (Brisbane, Townsville, Singapore 98-02), The Cult of Dionysus (Japan 94, Brisbane Festival 96), Sub-Con Warrior 2.0 (08), The Odyssey (QPAC 04), and The Man Who Sold the World (Brisbane Festival 2000).
Simon is one of Australia’s leading instructors in the Suzuki Actor Training Method. Over 15 years of teaching and directing, Simon has also run numerous Suzuki Actor Training programs in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada. As a resident in Japan from 1993-1995 Simon studied the Suzuki Actor Training Method, attended the Toga International Arts Festival (93 & 94) and participated in Suzuki Tadashi’s International Masterclass in Saratoga Springs, New York. He observed the director at work first hand in Mito, Japan and in Delphi, Greece. As well as leading ongoing training with Zen Zen Zo, Simon received First Class Honours in Drama at QUT (1996) and was awarded an APA Research Scholarship in 1997. He received a Master of Arts in Drama (UQ) in 2006 for research on the application of the Suzuki Method for Western performers. In 1998 he was a recipient of the Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor’s Performing Arts Fellowship to continue practical training in Japan then studied the Suzuki Method, Viewpoints and Composition with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company. Simon again attended the International Masterclass with the Suzuki Company of Toga in Japan in 2007. In addition to training performers at Zen Zen Zo, Simon was on staff in the Strength and Conditioning Department of the Brisbane Lions Football Club under Leigh Matthews developing programs in flexibility, core strength and mental skills from 2001-2008.