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 Toitoi, Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre in 2021 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 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. 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 $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.

Batanai Mashingaidze was born in Zimbabwe and moved to New Zealand when she was four. She graduated Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School in 2016 with a BA in Acting.  Following drama school she starred in ‘Maids’ by Jean Gennet (2017), Capital E’s Odd One Out Tour (2018) by Jo Randerson and Thomas Lahood. Batanai was in the 2018 NZ Arts Festival season of ‘Rushes’, directed by choreographer Malia Johnston. Batanai is passionate about film making, working as 1st AD for several independent films including the ‘Burbs’ directed  by Stella Reid, and in the Wellington event ‘Second Unit’ (2019).  She was also delighted to be apart of Reid’s ‘Drop Down Globe’.  Batanai collaborates with Auckland’s MIXIT, mentoring young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. In 2018 she was an intern / youth leader and in 2019 Assistant Director for their  summer show ‘Jump Cut’.  Batanai performed in the 2019 World of Wearable Arts Awards Show as a  featured singer and in 2020 Batanai was part of the Pop Up Globe Farewell Season.  Batanai is passionate about making meaningful connections with people running theatres and the different gateways that young artists pass through that can help continue to change how “our” stories are share with audiences. Batanai advocates for the Black community here in Aotearoa, for the queer community and making empowered and diverse work that give more space to these voices to be heard.

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.

Irene Göd 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.

Mitch Tawhi Thomas

Ko Ngāti Maniapoto te iwi. 

Mitch Tawhi Thomas is a dedicated Writer, Actor, Director and Teacher.  He has written several plays including “Coupling”, “Doughboy”, “Have Car Will Travel”, “Jangle” and “Hui” which won the Adam NZ play award in 2012. His latest play “Pakaru” won the same award in 2019 and premiered at the Kia Mau festival.  “Pakaru” went on to sweep several honours at the Wellington Theatre Awards including Best New Play and Production of the Year.  As well as forging new written work for stage and screen, Mitch appears occasionally as a performer. A committed educator, he is currently tutoring acting at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School, where he himself is a graduate from the Acting course. Mitch has also taught secondary school English and Drama over the last decade. He is passionate about helping young people of Aotearoa, and making sure their burgeoning creative voices are nurtured.

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. 

Makayla June  has been working in the make up industry for over 7 years, Some of her T.V work  includes- Sensing Murder; I Am, I Am Innocent; Cold Case; Face the Classroom; Jono and Ben; Awkward Love; 800 Words; and Warner Brothers- New Zealand’s Mastermind. Other areas of work have included editorials, fashion shows, numerous weddings events/awards, pageants and with NZ fashion Designers, Photographers, various corporate companies e.g Air Nz and model/talent agencies. Her work has also been featured in Woman’s Day, Shepherdess and NZ Performance Car magazine. In 2018 Makayla started Marble Fox Beauty in Hawkes Bay, where she has established herself as a successful hair and make up artist within the Hawkes Bay wedding industry, and furthering her career into the cosmetic tattooing industry.


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.