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 returning to the Hawke’s Bay Opera House (HBOH) in 2020 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! Theatre techs transport every audience member into a world of their making by mixing voices and music, bringing light into the darkness, and creating a seamless spectacle from a collection of acts by working together as a theatrical machine. Once again students will explore the other side of the curtain with two Technical Theatre classes working out of the HNHS auditorium and off-campus at the HBOH. 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. Only 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. 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 $20.

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.

Kieran Hartridge is delighted to return to NYDS after stepping into a tutoring role in 2019. Throughout his 14 years in the industry he has become well acquainted with the inside of many of Aotearoa’s and Australia’s theatres, venues, and arenas through his regular work on New Zealand festivals, touring shows, and other productions. Kieran owns the largest lighting company in the Bay of Plenty, and services events all over Aotearoa with lighting, sound, visuals, and production management. When Kieran is not creating technical wizardry he is spending time with his wife and children who are also well and truly immersed in the arts and theatre life.

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, both traditional and modern, and focus on performance skills and the ability to work with a director. Students will need to prepare two 2-minute monologues – one from any Aotearoa/NZ work and one classical or modern piece (i.e. Shakespeare, Restoration, Pinter, Stoppard, etc.). Students may receive further work to be completed prior to the weeks 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.

Anya Tate-Manning is an award winning actor and writer, based in Wellington. She currently teaching at Toi Whakaari; NZ Drama School, as a tutor of craft and creative practice in the Acting department. Her solos show My Best Dead Friend has toured around New Zealand and the world, and was awarded Outstanding Performer (Wellington Theatre Awards in 2018), Best in Fringe (NZ Fringe 2018) and the Summerhall Touring  award for Edinburgh (Melbourne Fringe 2018). She is also the co-creator of the political satire series Public Service  Announcements, which has created 16 original productions in Wellington over the last 9 years. Anya trained at Otago University and Toi Whakaari; NZ Drama School, and has an MA in Scriptwriting from Victoria University, for which she received theDavid Carson-Parker prize for Best Script. Anya is passionate about working with young people and helping to foster the talent of our future artists.

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!

Pipi-Ayesha Evans is a circus and physical theatre performer, with 16 years experience of professional performing and teaching circus. She trained in circus at CircoArts, Christchurch, and theatre at Otago University, Dunedin. In performance, Pipi specialises in aerials and stilts, in particular combining them with physical theatre and aerial dance. She has performed extensively throughout NZ and the world, including in a solo circus threatre show ‘The Blue-Bearded Lady’. This has had seasons in Australia and New Zealand and has been described as: ‘Utterly charming in a ghoulish kind of way.’ (Theatreview), and ‘Seductive yet disturbing, graceful yet jarring, unequivocally captivating and above all absolutely fearless.’ (Regional News). Pipi-Ayesha currently lives in Nelson, where she makes and performs circus and physical theatre with InsideOut physical theatre.

Jenny Ritchie has had a performance career spanning 16 years. Prior to returning to New Zealand in 2016, she spent eight years training and touring overseas. Specialising in many aerial apparatus, she has worked on large scale circus shows created in Montreal and touring Canada, the USA and Mexico, and has worked under the direction of Robert LePage for Das Rheingold at the Metropolitan Opera of New York. From 2013-2015 Jenny was based in Switzerland where she toured an intimate avant-garde circus and dance show for which she developed, designed and workshopped unique apparatuses that were later displayed as part of the Swiss Science Centre ‘Techorama’. Jenny recently completed her honours year of a Post-Grad focused on Set Design.


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.

Isobel MacKinnon is an award winning independent theatre practitioner with extensive experience collaborating on devised processes. She has worked in a writing, devising, directing and performance capacity with critically acclaimed theatre companies such as Binge Culture Collective, Theatre Beating and Everybody Cool Lives Here. Isobel received the Chapman Tripp Theatre Award for Most Original Production for her 2014 show, Dinner with Izzy & Simon, as well as ‘Best Theatre’ and ‘Best Director’ for Wake Up Tomorrow (Circa Theatre) at the New Zealand Fringe Festival Awards. Isobel attended Victoria University of Wellington and the John Bolton Theatre School.

Makeup Design

Design is an often overlooked field and yet arguably it’s an area with some of the most exciting career opportunities in the industry. Hugely popular in previous years, this course will cover the foundations of makeup for stage and screen beginning with the design of a concept, following through to completion. This year students will also collaborate with the Drag School class to help them find their makeup sparkle. A great foundation if you aspire to work in design or makeup for screen or stage, or if you just love to dabble in visual creativeness.

Please note: A theatrical makeup starter-kit is required and is available to students for $75.00. 

Sarah Elford is an experienced Make Up and Special Effects (SFX) artist based in Wellington, whose key interests are prosthetics and blood & gore. Sarah has worked as HOD on many (award-winning) short films like period drama ‘Utu Pihikete’, and worked as artist and assistant on multiple feature films including ‘The Cure’, ‘Shopping’ and ‘Deathgasm’. Sarah’s accomplishments include Overall Winner of the BodyFX and Armageddon SFX competition; she received two awards in the Body Art Awards for full body art and facial prosthetics, and was nominated as top makeup artist in the Wellington V48 Hour Film awards where her team was nominated for Action on Film at the International Film Festival. Sarah works with Weltech in Wellington teaching Special Effects Makeup and Artistry.


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 wanted to scribe a non-traditional Bio but is too busy writing her PHD, performing and writing for theatre, directing and performing in poetry performances, that she had to rely on someone else to blow her trumpet. Maraea is a proudly indigenous Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa storyteller who lives in Wellington and the Bay of Plenty. She has been awarded three Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards (now known as the Wellington Theatre Awards), is a published author, and founded the DuskyMaidensNobleSavages, a Spoken Word troupe, comprised of poets of Te Moananui a Kiwa. Maraea 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. She is the founding director of Native Agency Limited created to develop and grow indigenous and minority voice across multi-media platforms.


Work, play, create and share in a supportive environment for the entire week. Perhaps turn your favourite poem or riff into a song. Learn tricks that will help you unlock the creations within you.

1. A passion for music.

2. A creative spirit.
3. Reasonable competence on a chord instrument (keyboard or guitar).

Thomas Oliver is an award-winning singer-songwriter. In 2016, he was awarded the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll Award for his hit, ‘If I Move To Mars’, from his new album ‘Floating In The Darkness’, which debuted at #6 on the NZ Album charts and showcases his distinctive blend of Roots, Soul, Folk and Electronic music. With millions of views and streams across different platforms, Thomas has developed an international audience from his home base in New Zealand, has performed throughout New Zealand, Australia, Europe and Vietnam,  and has toured and shared the stage with such legends as Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton and Fat Freddy’s Drop. Thomas is also internationally recognised as one of the leading players of the Weissenborn lap-steel guitar. His vast diversity in vocal delivery has also earned him a reputation in Drum & Bass and other electronic music, and his list of collaborations includes some of DnB’s most respected producers, including Black Sun Empire, Nu:Tone and Logistics, and boasts releases on prestigious labels including Hospital Records, RAM Records and Metalheadz.