Jan Bolwell, choreographer

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Jan is a playwright, performer, choreographer, dance educator and director of Wellington’s Crows Feet Dance Collective, a dance company for mature women.

“Bolwell’s fluency, grace, precision and wit as a dancer is truly remarkable.” John Smythe

She has created over twenty works for Crows Feet since its’ beginning in 1999. In 2014 she created a full length version of Karl Jenkins famous choral work The Armed Man in commemoration of New Zealand’s involvement in WW1. The work is being remounted in 2015 and staged in Carterton, Napier and Wellington.

Bill Massey’s Tourists, currently touring New Zealand, is Jan’s fifth play and the third in a trilogy of solo plays. Standing on my Handstold the story of her father’s WW2 experiences and Here’s Hilda! ( Chapman Tripp Theatre Award nominee) dramatised her grandmother’s life.

In 2013 her play Dancing in the Wake, featuring Sacha Copland and John Smythe and herself, toured throughout the country with Arts on Tour New Zealand. Double Portrait, her play about Frances Hodgkins with actors John Wraight and Perry Piercy, also toured extensively throughout New Zealand.

In September 2014 Jan directed and choreographed the hit play Destination Beehive at Circa Theatre in Wellington.

In November 2015 Jan takes up a writers residency at the Robert Lord Writer’s Cottage in Dunedin where she will write a play about Freda du Faur, the first woman to climb Mount Cook/Aoraki in 1910.

Jan is still involved in education and is currently on contract to Te Kura (Correspondence School) where she has helped pioneer NCEA dance standards for Correspondence students.

Handstand Productions

I began Handstand Productions in 2001 when I started writing plays. I couldn’t see the point of writing plays and not having them staged. The only way to do that was to set up my own company — hence Handstand Productions.


Crowsfeet Dance Collective began in 1999 when Jenny Cossey suggested we start running dance classes for mature women. I didn’t want to just teach classes, but rather to choreograph and stage dances for these women.