Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient 2021 - Louise Petherbridge QSO


Louise Petherbridge (née Harris) QSO was born in 1931. Louise attended St Hilda’s for all her schooling, and credits the school for instilling in her a passion for drama, as she recalls fondly the plays they used to put on at pupils. Louise graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English in 1953. While at university, she was active in the Drama Society and also appeared in plays with the Dunedin Repertory Society. After university she won a New Zealand Government Drama Bursary which allowed her to study in the UK for two years. She met her husband, Edward Petherbridge, at the Northern Theatre School and they married in 1957. She worked with theatre companies such as Lincoln Theatre Rep and Ipswich Theatre Rep, then spent some time back in New Zealand in 1958-59 touring with The New Zealand Players. Back in the UK, where her son David was born, she continued her career, including a brief period of work for Noel Coward. She retuned to New Zealand in the mid 1970s, and enjoyed a very successful career as an actor, producer, writer and director. Louise was awarded the QSO for services to drama in 2000. She was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dunedin Theatre Awards in 2012 and in 2014 she was awarded a New Zealand Theatre Services honour medal.

Louise lives in Dunedin.