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. His current joy and delight is workshopping Shakespeare with his “more elderly” peers at U3A (University of  the Third Age); who have, over some 3 years, acted their way through approx. 24 plays.  At the other end of the spectrum, Ken is now into his 3rd year as Director of Hindu Epic Dance and Drama, produced by the H.B. Indian Cultural Centre. 

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!

Kelsey Andrews: Growing up in New Zealand, Kelsey danced from a very young age and moved to Australia in 2011 to pursue her love of dance. After completing her two-year full-time course—and gaining a scholarship in her second year— Kelsey went on to sign with a Melbourne Agency and begin dancing for various international tours, performing and traveling around the world for 4 years, living in Mexico, America, and the Caribbean (just to name a few) during this time. 

Kelsey believes in the world of dance and creative arts, and the opportunities to make a professional career within this sector. She is passionate about teaching, choreography, and sharing the arts with as many people as she can. Currently the owner and Director of KJ Studios with 4 custom built studio spaces and 600+ dancers coming though over 88 classes per week, the president of Create The Bay involving work with/choreographing for many local and national events throughout out NZ,  NYDS is still the highlight of her year and she is, once again looking forward to moving and dancing with the NYDS KIDS for 2022!’ 

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.


Lori Dungey has been an actor, tutor and writer and for over 30 years, specializing in improvisation. She came to Wellington 20 years ago from Canada for an International Theatresports Tournament and never left. Based in Auckland, she works as an actor, tutor and Creative Director with ConArtists. She’s a 2-time World Theatresports champion and has performed in Canada, Singapore, Fiji, Australia, Germany, and all over NZ, including a successful season at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and the Hamilton Rose Festival with ‘Austen Found – The Undiscovered Musicals of Jane Austen’. Lori has performed in the Comedy Festival with ConArtists and at the Herald Theatre in Auckland for the Stamp season. Most recently she performed with ConArtists in their Enid Untold: Five Go Mad on Improv – an Enid Blyton themed play.  Before the current global glitch, Lori travelled to Germany each year to attend Ring Co.  Lori is also and experienced screen actor with acting roles in both film and television including Lord of the Rings films and the television series Xena and Hercules.

Musical Theatre

Know all the words to “You Will Be Found” by heart?

Seen “Hamilton” more than three times?

Cant Stop your toes from tapping along to “You Cant Stop the Beat”? 

Then this class is 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’, ‘Dear Even Hansen’ and ‘Come From Away’. Sign up for our Musical Theatre course if you are up for a challenging week of all  singing, all acting and 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.

Sara Hirsch is a Rānana / London grown poet and spoken word educator. She is a former UK Slam Champion, third ranked in the World Slam Championships 2014, winner of the European Poetry Slam in Madrid 2016 and a 2017 BBC Slam Finalist. Sara has performed at Glastonbury, is a TEDx speaker, has featured on the BBC and toured extensively both in the UK and internationally. Sara recently graduated with distinction with a Master’s in Creative Writing & Education from Goldsmiths University and completed the acclaimed Spoken Word Education Programme. She worked as a poet in residence at a London secondary school for two years, is Education Director and Associate Artist with Motif Poetry and regularly runs workshops in schools and communities around Aotearoa, and before the global covid hiccup, loved bringing poetry to other parts of the world. After touring New Zealand with fellow NYDS tutor Ben Fagan  she finished her second poetry collection ‘Louder Than Words’, which includes voices of students from NYDS.  

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’ ‘Westside’ and ‘Head High’. 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.

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.