Home Group & Afternoon Tasters

If you are placed in a “Home Group” you will be in this class for the bulk of the week but will also be allocated one “Afternoon Taster” (also based on your rankings), which you will attend on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.

Acting Shakespeare

Acting Shakespeare can be a daunting task even for the most experienced of
actors; we get so caught up in the text we forget that Shakespeare himself was
an actor and wrote for actors, not academics. Shakespeare’s characters are
funny, sexy, serious, smart, sassy and above all human. The course will
concentrate on the simplicity of Shakespeare. His Scripts give the actor ALL the
clues needed:  to Create the character; to Create the Drama. JUST FIND THE

Ken Keys, Founder, and one-time Administrator and Artistic Director of NYDS, is delighted to be invited to teach the Shakespeare class. Shakespeare is his first love, even his obsession! He has taught, and directed, the Bard for 30 years: at Havelock North High School (where his students regularly shone at the Sheilah-Winn Festival); at NYDS; with the Hawkes Bay Youth Theatre; with the Shakespeare Globe Centre, where he was instrumental in setting up the NSSP (National School’s Shakespeare Production) and the YSC (Young Shakespeare Company), who represented NZ at the London Globe. For several years, Ken taught Summer Schools at the London Globe Theatre and he has been guest Shakespeare tutor with the U.S.A. National Theatre Festival and with Toronto’s famous ‘Shakespeare In Action’ Company. He regularly takes workshops around NZ and currently takes great delight in workshopping Shakespeare with the ‘mature’ folks of U3A (University of the Third Age).

Dance for Performance

If dancing is your passion then this is your class! This Home Group is aimed at intermediate level dancers and up, and covers a variety of styles in a professional environment (dancers work off-campus at a local dance studio) led by our world experienced tutor. With a foundation of basic jazz technique, the main focus of the course is on dance performance in the commercial dance industry. Perfect for the trained dancer who is keen to explore dance in the performance sense for musicals, cruise ships, music videos etc. By the end of the week you will have a comprehensive understanding of what the world of commercial dance is all about and an appreciation for the demands of working in it.

If you love to dance but you’re not a dancer in your ‘normal’ life, or you sneak in a dance when nobody’s looking, then this is the perfect Afternoon Taster. Kelsey eases her foot off the pedal and caters to all levels in an environment focused on fun!

Growing up in New Zealand, Kelsey Andrew danced from a very young age and moved to Australia in 2011 to pursue her love of dance, she went on to sign with a Melbourne Agency and begin dancing on various international tours- performing and travelling around the world for 4 years, living in Mexico, America and the Caribbean (just to name a few) during this time.

Kelsey has a passion for choreography, and in between tours she choreographed ‘Seussical the Musical’ for ‘OCPAC Theatre company’ in Melbourne. Seussical did a repeat season for the ‘Melbourne International Comedy Festival’ in 2014. Kelsey also Choreographed the Tauranga stage show of the NZ regional tour of ‘Mamma Mia!’ in 2016, and co- choreographed ‘Rock of Ages’ in 2017 for Tauranga Musical Theatre, 2018 saw her Choreograph ‘Chess The Musical’ for Stage right trust. Kelsey is currently President of Create The Bay, Tap Convenor for Tauranga Performing Arts, working closely with the National Young Performer of the Year and creative director/owner of ‘KJ Studios’ in Tauranga. However, NYDS still remains the highlight of her year and she is so excited to come back for her third year in 2020!

Drag School

Ever dream of donning a frock or tails, glamming up and being faaaaabulous?  Open to all who are keen to be more than they are! Extroverts, introverts, rugby players and drama geeks,this class is all about being open to new things; challenging our concepts of gender; collaboration and hard work, all while having a stunning time. The class will cover many aspects of ‘drag’, from the art of creating your alter ego character, including costuming, performance, choreography, attitude, lip synching and styling. You will learn how to mince in heels, strut in suits, rock some feathers and excite an audience. We will also work alongside the Makeup Design class to create some sickening, gag worthy looks for your persona to take to the stage!

George Fowler as Hugo Grrrl is a drag king, a doofus and comedy and cabaret producer from Wellington, New Zealand, creating  smutty, rough-around-the-edges, politically-charged late-night theatre that’s bound to leave ya with a smile on your face and a bit of glitter in your hair. He won season 1 of NZ’s drag race (House of Drag) making him the first drag king ever to both feature in and win a televised reality competition. He headlined the Austin International Drag Festival 2019, won an Absolutely Positively Wellingtonian Award in 2020 for contribution to the arts, Best Producer, Best MC and Outstanding Achievement (for diversity in comedy) at The Wellington Comedy Awards 2018 and was nominated for Wellingtonian of The Year in  2018. His debut solo show Princess Boy Wonder won two NZ Fringe Festival awards (Grand Design and Melbourne Tour Ready) in addition to nominations for Outstanding Solo Performance and best show. He co-created The Glitter Garden, the world’s first drag musical for kids,  alongside award-winning director and playwright Dr Lori Leigh which was a smash hit this school holidays at Circa Theatre. Stay tuned to see what this filthy little powerhouse is up to next. Coming to a city near you, he’s the lad who’s always happy to see you, he aims to sexually confuse, he’s Hugo Grrrl!

Improv Comedy – Naked & Scriptless

Spontaneity and imagination is where every creative work begins, so why does improvising terrify so many of the industry’s top practitioners? Students will learn to embrace the fear and freedom of acting without a script, how to trust their instincts and find the comedy, tension and game of a scene with their fellow performers. This class will focus on storytelling, characterisation and grounded techniques that can be applied to improvised scenes and beyond.

 Leona Revell is a veteran of the New Zealand improv scene, and is currently the artistic director of Spontaneous Improv group in Palmerston North. Spontaneous are the 2-time National Theatresports Champions (2017/2018) and have been instrumental in fostering a love of improv in the community.An award-winning local actress, with such plays as ‘That Bloody Woman’ under her belt, Leona understands the value of Improvisers being able to tread all theatre boards!  She will be assisted by NYDS alumni Alan Dingley, with whom she has forged a formidable improv partnership.  Leona will bring whanaungatanga-based approach, where students will learn the importance of the whole, rather than the individual.

Musical Theatre

Know all the words to “Summer Nights” by heart?

Been watching “Hamilton” on repeat?

Cant stop your toes from tapping along to “You Cant Stop the Beat”? Then this is the class for you! Students in our popular Musical Theatre class will unite with kindred spirits from across New Zealand as they get put through their singing, acting and dancing paces.  In recent years NYDS Musical Theatre students have studied and performed extracts from ‘Spring Awakening’, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and ‘Dear Evan Hansen’. Sign up for our Musical Theatre course if you are up for a challenging week of all singing, all acting, all dancing fun!

Trace Tidd fell in love with Musical Theatre as a child, and has never been far from the stage since, performing in countless shows and concerts around New Zealand. Trace gained qualifications in Musical Theatre and Acting from Wellington Performing Arts Centre (now Whitireia) and holds a Diploma in Contemporary Vocals from Excel School of Performing Arts. Trace is the owner and principal of Stage Door Performing Arts Academy Ltd in Whakatane. She is also a private singing teacher and works professionally as a performer, vocal director, director and performance coach. She loves all aspects of the performing arts, but is particularly passionate about coaching young people in the ‘ways’ of Musical Theatre.

Poetry in Performance

Are you harbouring a crush on spoken word? Maybe you write, maybe you want to write, maybe you just get on the youtube – either way, this class will be a safe and creative space for you to express your own stories. With the international spoken word scene expanding like a soufflé, the poetic communities of Aotearoa are going from strength to strength. Using a range of poetic forms, we will reach across communities and between disciplines to find the voices of our young storytellers – voices that are authentic, silly and critical.

Sameena Zehra is an award winning comedian, storyteller, actor, writer, director and blues singer/songwriter. She has performed her solo shows all over the world, including Edinburgh Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Brighton Fringe, Adelaide Fringe and New Zealand Fringe, where she was nominated for ‘Best In Fringe’ 2016, and won ‘Outstanding Performer’ in 2017. Before moving to New Zealand in 2019, Sameena lived and worked in the UK where she has performed a season at the National Theatre, and toured internationally with the Royal Shakespeare Company.  An intersectional feminist and humanist with a unique take on the world, Sameena’s solo work has always been rooted in the human condition. Sameena has  BA (Hons.) in Psychology and an MA in Literature. Her artistic direction was set early on, during her university years in India, creating forum theatre, performed on street corners, exploring a number of diverse topics. She has also used performance and storytelling to work with victims of domestic violence, refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.  Recently, Sameena finished directing 2 shows for NZ Fringe 2021, is currently the  dramaturg for a sitcom pilot in the UK, preparing her own solo show for NZ Comedy Festival 2021, and collaborating on a new Folk & Blues album with her singing songwriting partner, Mike ‘Dr Blue’.

Intro to Screen Acting – Two Workshops

‘Get off your screens’ – a familiar cry.  But at NYDS we want you on the screen. During this course you’ll discover what goes into effective on-camera work, what it takes to create a compelling performance, the challenges actors face, and the techniques they need.  Students will become familiar with the unique processes necessary for the screen actor and learn the process from the inside out.  This intensive course will challenge and inspire you.

Rachael Blampied is a former NYDS student and current member of the NYDS Board. She completed a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts at Unitec in 2006 and is an experienced screen actress. Rachael’s screen credits include playing the infamous Bree on ‘Shortland Street’ and NZ’s incredible WWII spy Nancy Wake in ‘Nancy Wake: The White Mouse’, also ‘The Kick’, ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’, the webseries ‘Darryl: An Outward Bound Story’ and the TVNZ series ‘Dirty Laundry’. Rachael studied music (voice and piano) for many years and has performed at Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park. She lives in Auckland where works as an actress, voice artist, and a TV and Film Producer – making commercials, music videos and films. She tells bad jokes, loves food, and has two kittens that she cannot pat hard enough.

Will Wallace trained as an actor at the Unitec Performing Arts School. His plethora of credits include roles in television and film, such as ‘Vermilion’; ‘Step Dave’; ‘Shortland Street’; ‘Legend of the Seeker’ and ‘Go Girls’. Also an accomplished film maker and editor, Will runs Fiftyone50 Productions – a successful production company specialising in everything from actor showreels to drama, corporate and documentary films. Amongst all this Will also finds time to teach screen acting at Unitec.

Screen Ninjas – Advanced Screen Acting

Have you made a film at school, taken part in the 48 Hour Film Challenge, or loved doing one of the Screen classes at NYDS?   Our newest class is for those who have sunk their teeth into a bit of screen acting before.  You’ll work on producing authentic performances by learning to identify the subtle changes within a scene, showing choices being made by your character, internalising emotion and many other screen acting and script techniques. You’ll learn what is expected in an audition, how to take a head shot, and get the chance to hear from professionals the secrets of the industry.

Paolo Rotono is a multidisciplinary artist working as an actor, writer and director in film, TV and theatre. In Paolo’s dramatic training his greatest influences have been Philippe Gauliere, John Bolton and he studied at The Globe in London as the Shakespeare Globe international Fellowship. Paolo has worked on the stages of some of Aotearoa’s most prestigious Theatre Companies, including, Silo, Taki Rua, ATC and Red Leap. On the silver screen Paolo has held leads in New Zealand Feature films including, ‘The Ugly’ (winning a Best Actor award in Rome) and ‘Stickmen’. On the small screen Paolo is best remembered for his role as the clinic CEO on ‘Shortland Street’ among many other roles.  As a Director Paolo has won acclaim for his multi-award-winning, debut feature film ‘Orphans & Kingdoms’. As a Director Paolo loves both the challenges of comedy and drama and prides himself in crafting outstanding performances. Paolo Directs TV Commercials and is represented by Flying Fish Films. In 2020 Paolo appeared in a lead role in the BBC, Elenor Catton screen adaptation of The Luminaries.

Stage Combat

Warm up your battle cry and stretch out those muscles, things are going to get physical. Stage Combat will give you the skills to create dynamic and effective fight scenes while keeping you and your partner safe. We’ll look at techniques used in theatre, television and film and look at how we can physically define different characters and storylines with these and many other skills and techniques.

Allan Henry discovered Stage Combat in 1999, when he was a student at The National Youth Drama School. There he met his eventual teacher and mentor, Tony Wolf. Allan studied under Tony for many years as his apprentice and when Tony moved on to start a new chapter of his life in the US, Allan assumed the mantle of heir-apparent and began teaching workshops and choreographing for professional and educational institutions across New Zealand, yet he looks forward to return to NYDS. He has taught for many years and relishes the chance to provide people with the skills and confidence to use their own natural creativity and personal talents to create safe effective staged violence. He has worked as a movement coach and motion capture performer for movies such as ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’, ‘Ghost in the Shell’, ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Justice League’, alongside his padawan, Ryan McIntyre.

The Acting Voice

Regardless of of your interest or your ultimate vocation, a flexible, strong, expressive voice is essential.  This challenging and intense workshop will free your natural voice and give you an armoury of vital techniques to last a life-time.   A MUST for serious screen or stage performers, radio and T.V presenters and communicators of any kind

Prerequisite: This class requires a high level of maturity and focus and is restricted to students 15 years of age or older

Lisa-Jane Easter trained as an actor in New Zealand before venturing overseas to further her studies in vocal technique (pertaining mostly to the spoken word) with actors. During her time overseas, she worked with renowned vocal tutors including Cecily Berry, and Kristin Linklater with whom she studied extensively. Lisa-Jane was Director of the Performing Arts Drama Diploma at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke’s Bay from 1998 till 2001, and has worked as a vocal coach on films and Television. Formally Director of Performing Arts at Iona College, Lisa-Jane now directs nationally and manages her own Performance Coaching company – One Voice Creative Consulting Limited.

Theatre of Disturbance

Challenge – what we are all about. This collaborative and exciting class will teach you to disrupt and challenge your own artistry, and look to expand the audience’s concepts of performance in creative and surprising ways. You will explore the Art of Disturbance by using movement, architecture, the environment, improvisation, devising, and much more – to harness your own ideas and curiosity. Theatre of Disturbance incorporates techniques of Viewpoints and Frantic Assembly and is perfect for the widest range of disciplines designers, technicians, directors, dancers, performers, composers and musicians – tapping directly into the individual strengths and knowledge of students to create a multi-layered company. We will challenge you to view, and to create theatre in a very different way.

Sabrina Martin is a physical theatre-maker, actor and singer who loves to create theatrical experiences outside of the theatre. She traverses many styles from clowning, to bike tours, to plays in gardens, to intimate shows in her home; from touring musicals, to kids shows, to street theatre.  Sabrina’s expertise is in physical theatre, having completed further training in Glasgow after drama school in Aotearoa. She has specialised experience in making site-specific, immersive theatre. In 2017 she made a solo show May Contain Sex Scenes, performing this to small groups of people in Ohtel (a Wellington Hotel), her home and at Melbourne Fringe Festival. She has made shows with the highly acclaimed Danish theatre company Cantabile 2, including acting in national theatre award winning show Hidden Number in 2017. Their intimate style of theatre has informed Sabrinas’ work.  Recent highlights are: street performance in What If The City Was A Theatre?, assisting at Circa Theatre on the play Di and Viv and Rose, artistic producing and performing in Moon Cycles (a theatrical bike experience), and a national tour of CATS the musical.