Nathan Joe 周润豪


NameNathan Joe 周润豪 (he/him)
Country of BirthAotearoa
Place of ResidenceTāmaki Makaurau Auckland
ArtformTheatre, Literature
Decades Active2010s, 2020s


Nathan Joe 周润豪 is an award-winning playwright, dramaturg and performance poet who occasionally works under the nom de plume yellowperilproductions.

Born and raised in Ōtautahi, Joe grew up around his parents’ fish and chip shop. He moved to Tāmaki Makaurau in 2011 to pursue broadcasting but did not find the work creatively fulfilling, so began playwriting in 2013, supported by the Legacy Project and Playmarket's Asian Ink programme.

Though he started out as a conventional playwright, much of Joe’s theatre does not sit within the traditional confines of a ‘play’. He mixes mediums depending on the project, calling some of his works “theatrical and poetic collage” and others an “experiment”. Scenes from a Yellow Peril (2022), for example, combines slam poetry, song, movement, and interviews to analyse racism and privilege in Aotearoa, while I Am Rachel Chu (2019) is a semi-improvised, devised theatre show responding to the film Crazy Rich Asians.

Joe examines Asianness with wry humour and honed rage and has worked with a range of Asian theatre companies including Proudly Asian Theatre, Oriental Maidens, and Punctum Productions. In 2021, he created the recurring spoken word series Dirty Passports as a way to unite BIPOC artists, creating a space where they can shed their prescribed “minority meekness” and loudly “fuck some shit up”. Since its launch, it has been presented multiple times at Basement Theatre, as well as at Pride 2022 and Word Christchurch Festival 2023.

While some of Joe’s projects integrate queerness into their stories, others centre this narrative. Gay Death Stocktake (2022) featured a different gay male performer in his 30s each night performing 30 different tasks; each performer becomes the “mouthpiece” through which Joe explores gay male identity and challenges the concept of ‘gay death’. Homecoming Poems (2022) is a short film in which Joe performs three poems that meditate on his whakapapa and sexuality, and Losing Face (A Daddy Issues Play) (2023) tells the story of a gay Chinese man dating an older Pākehā man and meeting his Chinese-Pākehā daughter at Christmas, who is the same age as him. In an Instagram post, Joe wrote that he first tried writing this play ten years ago but at the time “there was no place for a play like this” and he couldn’t imagine it being staged with “culturally appropriate casting” back then.

Joe has been making work at Basement Theatre since 2015, before eventually joining the staff as Programming Assistant in 2022. Alongside working as a theatre-maker, Joe also works as a curator, dramaturg, and reviewer. In 2022 he guest curated the New Zealand Young Writers Festival and was later appointed Creative Director at Auckland Pride, a role he currently holds. He is also one of the editors of eel mag, a queer literary publication for Aotearoa poets of founded in 2022.

Joe graduated with a Bachelor in Broadcasting Communications (Digital Film and Television Production) from the New Zealand Broadcasting School in 2011. He lives in Tāmaki Makaurau.


Key works / presentations

As a writer:

2023 — Losing Face: A Daddy Issues Play
2021 — Scenes from a Yellow Peril
2021 — Gay Death Stock Take
2020 — 48 Nights on Hope Street
2019 — I am Rachel Chu
2016 — Like Sex
2015 — Hippolytus Veiled: Or, Eros Beware!
2013 — Flesh off the Boat

As a director:

2021 — Yang/Young/杨
2019 — I am Rachel Chu

As a programmer:

2023-24 — Auckland Pride
2022 — NZYWF Guest Curator
2021 — Dirty Passports

Key awards

2022 — Auckland Fringe Award: Organised Chaos (Gay Death Stocktake)

2022 — Auckland Fringe Award: ‘Where The Asians At?” (Gay Death Stocktake)

2022 — Grimshaw Sargeson Fellow

2021 — Bruce Mason Playwriting Award

2021 — Verb Festival Micro Resident

2021 — Te Matatiki Toi Ora (The Arts Centre) Creative Resident

2020 — Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence

2020 — National Poetry Slam Champion

2019 — Auckland Fringe Award: “Free Your Mind” Development Award (I am Rachel Chu)

2019 — Auckland Fringe Award: Best Newcomer (Ensemble) (I am Rachel Chu)

2019 — NZ Young Writers Festival writer-in-residence

2016 — Playmarket Playwrights b425 (Like Sex)

2015 — Playmarket Playwrights b425 (Hippolytus Veiled: Or, Eros Beware!)

Related entries

Last updated: 3 March 2024 Suggest an Edit


Nathan Joe, 'Homecoming Poems', 2022