Joanna Butler is a Brisbane based actor, writer and director. Her 2006 show, I Want to be in a Jane Austen Novel, which she wrote and directed for Harvest Rain Theatre Company, garnered her an ABC Bell Award for Best Playwright, a number of Delarte Awards including Favourite Playwright and Favourite Play, and a Matilda Award nomination for Best New Play.
Joanna trained as an actor at USQ. Since graduating in 2001, she has performed in various roles for Harvest Rain including Susan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Mary Warren in The Crucible and the Baker's Wife in Into The Woods. She has worked as an assistant director on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Idiot, and continues to work for the company as a workshop facillitator, corporate performer and director. Her most recent production, Little Women which she adapted and directed, was a sold out season. Joanna wrote, performed and produced her first show, The Bathroom Diaries in 2004 at MetroArts, and went on to perform it at the 2005 Brisbane Cabaret Festival, receiving a nomination for Best Emerging Artist at the 2005 Matilda awards. She performed her second cabaret, Shakespeare's Women, co-written with Sarah McCoy, at the 2005 Shakespeare in Queens Park Festival, Toowoomba and at MetroArts. She will be touring a version of this show to high schools as part of the Queensland Arts Council's 2008 season.
"Emma, to me, is the story of one young woman's journey to self discovery. Emma is a girl who only learns to reflect, and think about the way she views the world, by making mistakes; by falling down and picking herself up again. The world around Emma tells her she is perfect, just as she is. The only person who thinks differently is Mr Knightley. He sees her potential and wants her to be the wonderful, caring woman he knows she could be. This often causes conflict, but as my father used to tell me, 'As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the character of his friend'. I believe that Jane Austen would have embraced the concept of lifelong learning. The concept of improving one's self is something Austen obviously valued; would that we all looked at our own flaws, and made some changes. The world would be a nicer place, and we'd probably be a lot happier!" - Joanna Butler