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 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 NYDS will be inviting students to explore the other side of the curtain with two Technical Theatre classes working out of the HNHS auditorium and off-campus at our ‘Sharing of Work’ venue. 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.

The NYDS 2017 Technical Stream is taught by Paul Tozer* and Wendy Clease 
*with the support of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School.

Paul Tozer graduated from Toi Whakaari’s Diploma of Entertainment Technology course in 2007 and since then has been working freelance on various theatre productions in Wellington and abroad. Paul has worked as the Production Manager for Victoria University’s Summer Shakespeare, toured to AK09 and Queensland’s The Dreaming Festival with Taki Rua’s ‘Te Karakia’ as Lighting / AV Designer, and worked in various roles on the critically acclaimed ‘Death and the Dreamlife of Elephants’. Paul’s Lighting and Audio Visual designs have toured both nationally and internationally. He is experienced in a wide range of production roles from Stage and Production Management to Set Construction and Technical Direction. Paul is currently in his sixth year working at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School as Production Coordinator.

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 6th NYDS and she loves coming back to Hawke’s Bay each ear to share her knowledge with the next generation of those creatives who make thing happen. 

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 will 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.

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 2015 New Zealand Fringe Festival Awards. Isobel attended Victoria University of Wellington and the John Bolton Theatre School.

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 15 years experience performing and teaching circus. In performance Pipi specialises in a range of circus skills including aerials, stilts, acro-balance and poi. She has performed throughout New Zealand and in Nepal, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, China, Japan, France and the USA. New Zealand productions include ‘Maui-One Man Against the Gods’, ‘Cats’, ‘Circus Aotearoa’ and ‘The World of Wearable Arts’. Her current performance focus is solo circus theatre show ‘The Blue-Bearded Lady’ which she has toured in Australia and New Zealand. It has been described (on Theatreview) as ‘utterly charming in a ghoulish kind of way’. Pipi teaches a broad range of circus skills including aerials, acro-balance, acrobatics, stilts, juggling and object manipulation; also yoga, physical theatre and act development.

Jenny Ritchie has had a performance career spanning 16 years. Prior to returning to New Zealand n 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 is currently completing her third year of a Fine Arts Degree 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 others 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 will 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.

Already an award winning director, actor and improviser Patrick Davies moved to Wellington in 2006 for his Master in Theatre Arts (Directing) at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School and Victoria University. He has directed, taught and performed in NZ, Germany, Romania, Serbia, USA and the UK. He has worked with the Northland, Auckland and Otago Youth Theatres; as well as Circa, Basement, Court, Fortune and Centrepoint Theatres and taught at Theatre Studies Departments at Otago and Victoria Universities and Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School. He cannot keep away from NYDS.

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. 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 availabel 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 teh 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 has recently begun a job 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 is new to NYDS las tyear and 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.

Phil Braithwaite enjoyed early success in his writing career when, shortly after graduating from university, he won the 2001 BBC World Service International Radio Playwriting Award. Since then his work has been produced in New Zealand, Australia and Europe, and he has collaborated with groups from the Royal Court Theatre in London, the BBC and the SEEyD theatre company. His radio plays have been produced on the BBC World Service and Radio New Zealand. Phil has also worked as a scriptwriting and theatre teacher at Massey University, Victoria University of Wellington, and Whitireia Polytechnic. He has provided mentorship for young playwrights at the Fortune Theatre, Dunedin; and in 2013-14 he was the William Evans Playwriting Fellow at the University of Otago. 

Short Film Intensive

This course demands passionate, dedicated and creative people committed to both working in a team and to the many hours required to tell a story through film. You’ll gain hands-on experience at every stage of the process, including collaborating on a script, the skills required to create authentic performances on screen and the opportunity to work with professional production equipment. This is a challenging course and you’ll need to be committed to overcoming barriers of inhibitions and self-consciousness. Students will experience first-hand, the demands, pressures and excitement of real filmmaking and after eight days you will have a short film to add to your CV and friends for life.

Please indicate your preference to focus on either the Performance or Production streams when applying, but in true indie filmmaking spirit, prepare to roll up your sleeves and work behind the camera either way.

Prerequisite: Applicants must have previous acting training and/or experience.

Performance tutor Vanessa Stacey is a multi-talented musician, actor and filmmaker. After graduating Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School in 1999, she spent three years on the internationally popular television show ‘The Tribe’, which she also began to Direct. Vanessa worked for five years as a Presenter / Actor / Producer and Director with Channel 5 in the UK and has appeared in numerous television shows and films in NZ, including ‘Out of the Blue’ and ‘Outrageous Fortune’. Musically she has collaborated with many including EWH, Module, her current bands Chocolate Box and The BONE$. She has worked as Senior Tutor and Coordinator of the Whitireia Screen Acting Course (now Film School), UCOL’s Preforming Arts Program and the Creative Communications Program at Massey University, where she was the 2012 & 2013 Artist in Residence.

Production tutor Cristobal Araus Lobos trained at Unitec and has since been telling NZ stories on film in exciting and innovative ways. Cris knows the production process from beginning to end, having written, directed, produced or edited several of his own and others feature films and shorts. His debut feature film ‘The Waiting Place’ was awarded Best Digital Film from New Zealand Film and he shot and edited ‘1nite’ for which he received Best Technical Contribution (NZ Film Award). Cris went on to edit and direct ‘Netherwood’ for which Will Hall received Best Supporting Actor at the NZ Film Awards. Cris has also worked in television, directing on the Jono project and the Emmy-nominated kid’s show ‘Let’s Get Inventing’. He currently runs Del Sur Productions.


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 who is also internationally recognised as one of the leading players of the Weissenborn lap-steel guitar. Last year, he was awarded the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll Award for his hit, ‘If I Move To Mars’, which features on his brand new album, Floating In The Darkness, which showcases his distinctive blend of Roots, Soul, Folk and Electronic music. Thomas has developed an international audience from his home base in New Zealand, and has performed throughout New Zealand, Australia, Europe, Vietnam and USA, and has toured and shared the stage with such legends as Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton and Fat Freddy’s Drop. HIs vast diversity in his vocal delivery has also earned him a reputation as a vocalist 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, Logistics, Rido, Trei, State OF Mind, Concord Dawn and Urbandawn, and boasts releases on prestigious labels including Hospital Records, RAM Records and Metalheadz. 

Madeline Bradley is a lyricist and melody writer who studied Electronic Music Production at SAE, Auckland. In 2015 she signed with Universal Music NZ. In 2012 Madeline won the Ian Morris Tribute Lyric Award at the New Zealand City Showcase and was a finalist in the Play It Strange Lion Foundation Songwriting Competition where she met Mike Chunn (Split Endz) who later became her mentor. In 2013 Madeline won the Rockquest Hawkes Bay Regional Final and was presented with the Woman’s Musicianship Award. Madeline was chosen as one of 8 emerging artists presented with an Auckland University Songwriting Scholarship and later that year won the New Zealand Peace Song award giving her the opportunity to complete a songwriting/music scholarship in Hiroshima, Japan. In 2014 Madeline won the University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Composition Competition, later composing a soundscape for a Shakespearian play performed at the Globe Theatre in London. Madeline’s songwriting credits and co-writes have included artists such as Six60 featuring Pharell Williams, Dave Baxter (Avalanche City), Georgia Nott (Broods), Buzz Moller (Voom), Sean Donnelly (SJD), Josh Fountain, SACHI, Sammy Telford (Vera Blue), Lindsay Jackson (Tori Kelly) and JOY.

Street Art

Ditch your traditional notions of art, this is art urban style. Students in this class will be playing with paints, spray paints, stencils and other materials and experimenting with different forms of street art seen all over the world. Students will examine how urban artists use the city environment to make a statement, to challenge or simply to beautify. You don’t have to be an artist, but an open mind is essential.

Born in 1977 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Mauricio Benega moved to New Zealand in 2004 and now lives and works as a full time artist in Hastings.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts & Computer Graphics in 2001 from the University of Tuiuti Parana, Brazil.  He has also completed post-graduate studies in School Administration & Visual Arts from FAE Business School in Curitiba, Brazil (2014) and a Diploma of Visual Effects & Motion Graphics from Media Design School in Auckland (2009).  Mauricio has worked with youth in urban Auckland and enjoys working on a variety of different projects at the same time – illustrations, paintings, graphic design, signage and murals.  Mauricio‘s work can be found in collections in NZ, Brazil, Australia, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, USA and Bali.