We are thrilled to introduce the creative individuals tasked with delivering the 2021 World of WearableArt Awards Show featuring returning and new talent from across the globe.

Brian Burke will join forces with veteran Show Director Malia Johnston to lead the creative team and to create a reimagined and immersive 2021 WOW Show experience. 

WOW Founder, Dame Suzie Moncrieff says the competition has always attracted the world’s best designers and performers to New Zealand and Brian is the latest exceptional international talent to join the team. 

World of WearableArt is all about creativity and new ideas so I am excited that Brian is joining the team bringing his wealth of experience of large-scale productions and his injection of creative flair. I look forward to WOW soaring to even greater heights in the future as we bring in new ideas and creative talent.”

Brought on for a three-year term as an artistic consultant, Brian brings an impressive wealth of producing and directing experience across a range of genres from multi-media stage productions to smash hit tv series. His experience spans the international stage from Las Vegas and Broadway to the Sydney Opera House. Brian says:

“I have fallen in love with everything about WOW, the creativity, the garments, and especially the people. Crafting unique live experiences with an incredible creative team has always been my passion, so I am truly honoured and humbled to become part of this very special WOW family.

“I am enthusiastic about the future and know the alchemy of our creative collaboration will bring new, exciting, and unforgettable experiences to WOW audiences.”

Building on his past successes, Brian will bring his artistic vision and concert-scale expertise to take the WOW show experience to the next level, says Chief Executive David Tingey.

This year’s show returns to Wellington from 30 September – 17 October and features three recurring sections – Aotearoa, Avant-garde and Open – as well as three new sections – Architecture, Elizabethan Era and Monochromatic. Prepare for a WOW spectacular like never before, led by the talented team of creatives below.


2021 World of WearableArt Creative Team:


Brian Burke 

Executive Creative Director 

Brian Burke spent the early part of this career as Production Supervisor of the international Australian touring sensation Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs. In 2002 Brian partnered with former Cirque Du Soleil mastermind Franco Dragone and served 10 years in his company as Artistic Director of Las Vegas Resident shows Celine Dion – A New Day, which became the highest-grossing residency of all time, and Le Rêve – The Dream, which won Best Production Show for nine consecutive years. 

His worldwide stadium, arena and festival tours include Lionel Richie, Keith Urban, Westlife, Il Divo, Katherine Jenkins and Pitbull.

Brian is the creative producer of the world’s most successful TV format, America’s Got Talent and co-executive producer of American Idol. He creatively produced numerous shows internationally including Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor, The Latin Grammy Awards and earned an International Emmy Nomination as Co-Executive Producer of La Banda. He has produced hundreds of live TV performances for music superstars of all genres and his combined work to date has over five billion views. 


Malia Johnston 

Show Director 

Choreographer and performance director, Malia Johnston has been involved with WOW for almost two decades. Malia is a brilliant craftswoman who has a talent for bringing out the best in performers. 

She has created a significant repertoire over the past 20 years across a range of genres from lead choreographer of Auckland Theatre Company’s box office hit Billy Elliot -The Musical to director of multi-award-winning shows Meremere (three national tours) and Rushes programmed in the New Zealand Festival of the Arts. 


Patrick Neys

Drop the Spoon

Audio-Visual Content Designer

Belgium-based audiovisual company, Drop the Spoon has contributed to a variety of internationally renowned shows and theatrical productions over the past 15 years. A collective of premier visual and conceptual artists, they provide a unique approach for every project that they develop covering conceptual design, video design, video editing, software expertise, technical production, and award-winning directing. As Covid-19 made it impossible for them to be here in person to create the show’s AV, they are using Virtual Reality technology to visualise the space.


Robin Rawstorne

Production Designer

Robin Rawstorne returns to the WOW Creative Team for his fourth year. Robin comes from a global design background that was immersed in the worlds of theatre, dance and opera. Originally from the UK, he has worked extensively overseas including on large-scale events in China.




 Kayla Paige and Andrew Cesan

Momentum Productions


Kayla Paige and Andrew Cesan have over 20 years of combined experience in the dance and entertainment industry. The pair run Momentum Productions, one of New Zealand’s leading dance and entertainment companies, and will bring with them exceptional choreographers, world-class talent, costuming and artistic vision. 


Paul McLaney

Music Director

New Zealand-based composer, singer and guitarist, Paul McLaney returns as Music Director for the third WOW Show running. For more than two decades, Paul has built a strong reputation for his solo and collaborative work with Kiwi musicians including Concord Dawn, Anika Moa, Fly My Pretties and SJD. His career spans drum and bass and electronica to symphony, jazz and blues.




Eden Mulholland

(Ngāti Uepohatu, Aotearoa)


Eden Mulholland is one of Australasia’s most respected composers and producers for theatre, film, and contemporary dance. A gifted multi-instrumentalist and digital artist, he is known for his generous and uninhibited delivery, whether performing solo or with his bands.




Chris Petridis

Lighting Designer

Australian Lighting Designer, Chris Petridis returns for a third year with WOW. Chris has worked on dozens of stage performances developing his experience across theatre, dance, and other live events in Australia and internationally.





 Sophie Ham and Gabrielle Stevenson

Co-Costume Designers

Sophie has been working on WOW Awards Shows since 2011 and has worked with several of the top theatre and dance companies including New Zealand Opera, Auckland Theatre Company, Indian Ink Theatre Company and the Touch Compass Dance Company.


Gabrielle is a costume designer with more than 20 years experience in the film/Television and theatre industries. She has worked on many Internationally acclaimed productions including The Luminaries, Ghost in the shell, Mortal Engines and the Hobbit. She Designed the award winning television show Reservoir Hill and has been nominated for best costume design at The New Zealand flm and Television awards. More recently she designed critically acclaimed Coming Home in the dark that was screened at the Sundance Film Festival and has completed 3 years designing for the popular TV series Wellington Paranormal Unit.