Full Day Workshops

If you are placed in a “Full Day Workshop” you will be in this class full days for the whole week and will not take any other classes.

Technical Stream

NYDS is thrilled to be back at Toitoi, Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre for a second year, and invites all those students interested in working behind the curtain to apply for this exciting and practical course.

NYDS is all about pushing your performance envelope and every performer needs to know their instrument whether it be your body, your voice, a pen, or an entire building!  Students will explore the other side of the curtain with two Technical Theatre classes working out of the NYDS base, Havelock North High School, and off-campus at the beautiful Hawke’s Bay Opera House. Both classes will include light and sound rigging, plotting, show operation, stage management, design elements, and more.  Beginners Tech is open to students who are completely new to the backstage world and those students who might have done one or two shows before. Students who have done a previous tech course at NYDS or who have worked extensively in their school or local theatre are invited to take the Advanced Tech class. There will be times when classes work to support each other and both classes aim to instil safe, professional, and industry accepted tech practices in an environment where you are encouraged to experiment. Taking either tech class means you like to sweat, walk a little on the geek side, are keen to work as a team, and generally want to make the magic happen.

Please indicate your preference for either the Beginners or Advanced class when you apply, but be aware that the teaching team may make final placement decisions after assessing student skill level during the first day of class.

Please note: A Technical T-Shirt is required and is available to techies for $25.

Wendy Clease has been working in the technical and creative aspects of the arts and entertainment industry for most of her adult life, mainly as a specialist in lighting and technical management. Her work regularly takes her around NZ and also globally, seeing many sights including the inside of many a theatre and airport. Currently technical director of two regional Arts Festivals and a regular fixture at many others, she still manages to take time out from pen pushing, chin scratching and lugging, to do some button mashing for live music and theatre. She also enjoys sharing experience and knowledge with the pool of others associated with her craft. This will be Wendy’s 8th NYDS and she loves coming back to Hawke’s Bay each year to share her knowledge with the next generation of those creatives who make thing happen.

Shane Cross entered tech for the same reason as many techies, to get out of class and “help” with the PA for assembly. Turns out he was quite good at making things work. He earned an EIT Video & Electronic Media Diploma, learning how the film and theatre industry differ, and which skills work between both. He worked at Toitoi Hawke’s Bay Opera House, then moved to Wellington for work in pyrotechnics and film special effects. After traveling abroad, he became Lead Technician back at Toitoi in Hastings, where you’ll find him today.

Advanced Acting

For those looking towards a career in acting for stage or screen or wanting to prepare for tertiary training auditions. This class will work with scripts and narrative works focusing on performance skills, the ability to work with a director, additional skills actors can use to do their best work, as well as demystifying the industry for those looking at a career as an actor. Students will need to prepare one 2-minute monologue – from any medium they’re drawn to: theatre, film, television, or even poetry. It’s recommended this is a piece new to the student. Students may receive further work to be completed prior to the week’s start. The class will challenge each individual in skill workshops and with the Directing class on scene work and connection with a scene partner.

Prerequisite: This is an advanced class designed for older, more experienced students. Applicants should be 16+ and provide a CV of experience or a letter of recommendation.

Acushla-Tara Kupe has spent the last decade working across New Zealand and the UK on stage and screen, and works in casting, coaching, and production when she gets the craving. Her passion for acting began in New Plymouth where she performed in many amateur productions, her favourites including The Wedding Singer the Musical, Miss Saigon, and After Juliet. When Acushla-Tara moved to Wellington to study business she found herself performing at BATS Theatre in the annual Young and Hungry Festival. In her second year with Y&H she was spotted by a casting director who cast her in her first screen role, and the director of that film went on to cast her in her first professional theatre role at Circa Theatre. She spent 4 years at Circa before heading to the UK where she found work on stage, screen, in video games, and radio, before returning to NZ at the beginning of 2020 to play the titular character in the Popup Globe season of Emilia! Since arriving home, she has continued working in screen, most recently in Te Pāmu Kūmara S2, Under the Vines S2, and The Gone, a co-production between NZ and Ireland in which she plays the lead role of DS Diana Huia. Just after NYDS 2023 Acushla-Tara appeared in the Olivier award-winning one-woman show Prima Facie at the Herald Theatre. As the keynote speaker for the opening of NYDS 2021, and Advanced Acting tutor for NYDS 2023, Kupe is passionate to pass on the knowledge she’s gained over the years in this industry to our up-and-coming creatives, and can’t wait to meet you all at NYDS 2024.


Circus Skills

Open to everyone – you don’t have to be a gymnast!

A fantastic course involving aerial tissu and rope skills, static trapeze and aerial ring (lyra), acrobatic balancing and tumbling, group and partner work, object manipulation (hoops, balls, scarves,clubs, poi and more), unicycle and rollabola. Although you don’t have to be a gymnast to give it a go, a good level of strength and fitness will help you make the most of this course. You will have the thrill of presenting some very exciting and spectacular work after only one week with skilled and supportive tutors!

Irene Göed has been performing and teaching various circus skills for over 25 years. Her passion lies with object manipulation like juggling and hula hoops and aerial acrobatics. She has been performing stilt and street theatre as well as juggling and firedance in her native Austria and other European countries. Since moving to New Zealand in 2000 Irene has finished a diploma in Circus Arts at Christchurch Polytech where she specialized in swinging trapeze and other aerials. For the last 13 years she has been performing in her very own circus-Circus Aotearoa- which she runs together with husband Damian and son Matthias. Irene is also teaching circus skills and yoga based movement to people of all ages in rural Raglan.  Her fascination with circus is never ending as there are always new things to explore and learn- no matter of age and abilities.


This class focuses on engaging with and developing the actors’ relationships to illuminate the text / narrative / story / characters. We will cover investigating the basics of directing; articulating your own directing style; leading the creative rehearsal room; and tools to coach actors. We take a peer-supportive approach wherein we learn to discuss each other’s work, addressing challenges by seeking solutions together. The theoretical work is matched with practical application as students will direct the Advanced Acting class in multiple short scenes with the guidance of the tutor. This is an intensive week and students may receive text work to complete prior to the start of school.

Prerequisite: This is an advanced class designed for older, more experienced students. Applicants should be 16+ and provide a CV of experience or a letter of recommendation.

Jamie Sharp first attended NYDS when he was a student at Sandbach school in Manchester, England.  Since then, he has taught a range of classes at NYDS, including movement, directing and devising.

Jamie has performed globally, at the Edinburgh Fringe, in Hong Kong, America, Istanbul, Singapore, France and on the London stage. He has worked directly with Frantic Assembly and is joint director of a creative facilitating company for aspiring performers. Jamie graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music in the UK in 2016 with a performance degree in Saxophone and now teaches and performs throughout England.



From a desire to nurture the telling of our stories on the stage, this class introduces the craft of writing for the theatre. Students will explore the basics of plot and character development, scene structure, theme and dialogue, and will touch on production considerations and the role of the dramaturg. With an emphasis on finding a unique voice, students will work on exercises designed to inspire ideas and creative risk-taking and will be supported to write scenes and work on an original one-act play over the course of the week.

Maraea Rakuraku is a proudly indigenous Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa storyteller living in the Bay of Plenty. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch and a Masters in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University, Wellington. Her doctorate manawahine, mana wahine, mana wāhine, manawa hine My Great Great Grandmother is a Māori Princess; calls out and writes back to the portrayal of wāhine Māori in theatre and film.


Write songs from scratch in a supportive, collaborative environment for the entire week. Discover how to take a basic idea, a possible title or a chord progression and turn it into a finished song you’re proud of. Learn how to work with other musically minded folk to present your song live. Prerequisite: 1. A passion for music. 2. A creative spirit – be willing to try things out and share ideas.

You will need a reasonable competence on a chordal instrument (piano, keyboard, guitar or ukulele).

Charlotte Yates is a professional independent New Zealand singer-songwriter with a growing catalogue of seven solo and fifteen collaborative releases. She runs her own Songwriting School, an online songwriting tuition subscription. She also works with international clients for US music education sites, Soundfly and Bandzoogle.