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 30 years. In 1992 she founded Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre with Simon Woods, and spent two decades building Zen Zen Zo into an internationally renowned performance and training centre. Lynne was one of the first artists to introduce Butoh to Australia in the early 90s and is currently involved in a major intercultural exchange with world-renowned Butoh company Dairakudakan in Japan, traveling regularly to train and work with her teacher of the past decade, Maro Akaji. Lynne’s seminal training in Japan (where she lived for 5 years in her early 20s) was with Butoh founder Ohno Kazuo, Katsura Kan (Byakko-sha) and Iwashita Toru (Sankai Juku), and also included extensive training in Noh and the Suzuki Method of Actor Training. In 1993 Lynne wrote her Honours Thesis (at UQ) on Butoh and continues to be passionate about introducing it to other artists around Australia. Lynne is also a principal instructor of the Viewpoints. 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. Lynne and Simon are also qualified teachers of Ashtanga Yoga (1st series).
As a director, choreographer and performer, Lynne worked extensively between 1992 and the present, and has won a number of awards, including Matilda Awards for Zen Zen Zo’s Cabaret (Best Musical) and The Tempest (Best Independent Production), and the 2017 Philip Parson’s Prize for In the Company of Shadows. Zeitgeist was also short-listed for a prestigious Total Theatre Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009, and toured extensively between 2008-2010. Lynne recently completed her PhD on Cultural Translation, and now runs USC’s Master of Professional Practice (Performing Arts).
SIMON WOODS founded Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre with Lynne Bradley in 1992, and directed many of Zen Zen Zo’s major works including The Cult of Dionysus (Brisbane Festival 1996), Macbeth: As Told by the Weird Sisters, The Odyssey and Sub-Con Warrior 2.0. From 2011–2015 Simon worked as a Producer for the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and the Brisbane Powerhouse. He is one of Australia’s leading instructors in the Suzuki Actor Training Method. Over 20 years of teaching and directing Simon has trained actors in the Suzuki Method and Viewpoints in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada and throughout Australia. As a resident in Japan from 1993–1995 Simon studied Noh theatre and the Suzuki Actor Training Method and participated in Suzuki Tadashi’s International Masterclasses in New York (1994) and Toga, Japan (2007). He has also observed Suzuki at work directing several productions for the renowned SCOT Company. Simon received a Master of Arts in Drama (UQ) in 2006 for research on the application of the Suzuki Method for contemporary performers.
From 2001–2007 Simon was also a consultant with the Brisbane Lions (AFL) delivering flexibility and core strength programs. In 2015 Simon launched his own film and photography company, where he works as a film director, cinematographer and photographer. His work includes documentaries, branded content, video portraits, web-series, commercials, and music video clips. He also specializes in creative content about artists, exhibitions, culture and travel destinations throughout Australia and South East Asia. In 2017 he won a prestigious Gold Award at the Australian Society of Cinematographers (ACS) Qld Awards Night for his eco-documentary People of Paradise. He also recently directed Dusk Till Dawn for the inaugural Master’s Program at USC in Noosa.