Home Group & 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 an afternoon “Taster” class (also based on your rankings), which you will attend on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.

Dare to do Shakespeare

Tackling 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 and the drama. We’ll help you find the clues with our brand new, London-based Globe tutor Michael, who is flying in specially for this week.

Michael Fenner is an actor, writer and a painter who has been leading workshops to all ages at Shakespeare’s Globe for the last 27 years. He has taught and directed in leading drama schools and lectured at university.

As an actor he has been a member of the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe, the English Shakespeare Company and appeared in the West End in London. He has made numerous TV and film appearances over the years.

He recently wrote and premiered a One Man Show about Augustus John, the Welsh painter, set in his studio whilst painting a self-portrait as John.

He is passionate about Shakespeare and one of his specialities is ‘demythologising’ the language and making Shakespeare simple and accessible. “I don’t necessarily like ‘verse-speaking’ and encourage my actors to use the language as naturally as their own.”

Dance for Performance

If dancing is your passion then this is your class! This class 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 Class.

Drag School

Extravagance, fierceness, glamour, glitter and self-expression. Welcome to Drag School: an intensely fun week of lip sync, dance, clowning, makeup and character and costume design. In just 8 days, you’ll learn how to create slick, simple, sickening stage spots that’ll leave the audience’s jaw on the floor. Drag is a fast evolving performing arts industry in Aotearoa and NYDS Drag School is ready to prepare the never generation of superstars.This class is suitable for anyone interested in drag performance of any kind (kings, queens or in-betweens!), of any performance level or experience. Drag is a gear-heavy art form. Our Drag Class wardrobe of donated goodies is available but students are also encouraged to bring as much of their own gear as possible – particularly makeup and heels. A full list of ‘useful things to bring’ will be provided after enrolment.

Students that are gender diverse, transgender or non-binary will be given priority, as a reflection of the rare and transformational opportunity drag experiences can offer to queer youth. If you fit this criteria, please mark this on your application. If you are uncomfortable or unable to mark this directly on the form, please reach out to @hugogrrrl directly.

George Fowler is an rainbow diversity and inclusion consultant and a world-class drag performer based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa. As his alter ego Hugo Grrrl, he won Season 1 of ‘House of Drag’, making him the first drag king and transgender man globally to ever compete in or win a televised drag competition. He won an Absolutely Positively Wellingtonian Award and a Wellington Theatre Awards “Theatre Angel” Award for outstanding contribution to professional theatre 2020. He headlined the Austin International Drag Festival in 2019, and was nominated for Wellingtonian of The Year in 2018.

Drag photo credit – Auckland Live

Headshot – Roc Torio

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, all taught by Lori and Leona.

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.

Leona Revell is a founding member and co-director of SpontaneoUS, the resident improv company for Centrepoint Theatre. With SpontaneoUS she is a two time National Theatresports Champion. Leona is a familiar face on stages around Manawatū as a multiple Regional Theatre Award winner, MCing multiple community events such as the Palmerston North City Council Christmas concerts and a judge at various Performing Arts competitions in the region. Recent credits include Gabriel in “An Act of God and Jeanie in “That Bloody Woman” at Centrepoint Theatre, Performer as part of the Lola and Friends ensemble and writing and performing in FWB – Friends with Boundaries with Regan Taylor. Leona is passionate about Theatre and making it accessible to the wider community, which fits in well with her role as Centrepoint’s Outreach Coordinator where she creates inclusive and wide-ranging community performance projects. Leona has experience tutoring adults and youth, neurodiverse and people with disabilities. When Leona has spare time, she embraces the Crazy Cat Lady within and fosters kittens for the SPCA and likes to craft up a storm.

Musical Theatre

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

Regularly find yourself binge watching “Hamilton”?

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 Aotearoa 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, Theatre Director, vocal 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.

Off the Page – A playful approach to poetry in performance

Are you harbouring a crush on spoken word? Maybe you write, maybe you want to write, maybe you need to shout from the top of your voice – 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. This is a class for anyone who loves to play, try new things and occasionally make things rhyme.
Sara Hirsch is a Rānana / London grown poet and spoken word educator now based in Aotearoa. She is a former UK Slam Champion, third ranked in the World Slam Championships 2014 and winner of the European Poetry Slam in Madrid 2016. Sara has performed at Glastonbury, is a TEDx speaker, has featured on the BBC and toured extensively both in the UK and internationally. Sara holds a Master’s in Creative Writing & Education from Goldsmiths University and is Education Director for Motif Poetry. Over the last 18 months Sara has directed Amy Atkins in the award winning clowning show ‘RAW! ASMR’, travelled to Malaysia and Singapore to teach spoken word and facilitated poetry workshops alongside New Zealand’s poet laureate Chris Tse. Sara currently runs a community centre in Wellington, co-produces Windswept Poetry Slam and is raising her two-year old James to be as silly as possible. Sara has had the privilege of working with many alumni from the NYDS poetry course in professional settings across NZ and loves to see how this class is inspiring the next generation of powerful voices. 

Intro to Screen Acting – Two Classes

‘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. One of our classes is run by Will Wallace and the other by Miryam Jacobi.

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.


Miryam Jacobi grew up in Hawke’s Bay, attending Hawke’s Bay Youth Theatre and NYDS before training at Toi Whakaari; NZ Drama School. As an actor, she starred in the indie features Follow the Random and There’s No ‘I’ In Threesome as well as popular local comedy series’ Auckward Love and Only in Aotearoa .

An award-winning filmmaker, Miryam has shown narrative work at Show Me Shorts, Galway Film Fleadh, Melbourne Women in Film Festival, Vail Film Festival, Down Under Berlin Film Festival and more. In 2021, Miryam served as 2nd Unit Director on Amazon’s feature Don’t Make Me Go starring John Cho.

Miryam co-founded production company 2113 Creatives and has produced and directed commercial content for WellingtonNZ, Sir John Kirwan Foundation, Fonterra, MediaWorks, Look Good Feel Better NZ, Eden Park, Auckland Theatre Company, Diabetes NZ and more.

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.

Introducing Ryan McIntyre, a seasoned performer with a flair for stage combat and storytelling. Beginning his career as an actor and stunt performer in Wellington, Ryan swiftly gravitated towards the electrifying realm of motion capture at Weta Digital. His exceptional skills in physical performance and dedication to his craft earned him nominations for prestigious awards like the BAFTA and Academy Award. Today, Ryan channels his passion for stage combat into mentoring and coaching aspiring young actors in the art of dynamic fight choreography. While he also contributes his creative talents as a writer for New Zealand’s leading game studio, Ryan’s relishes the oppurtunity to guide kids through the intricacies of stage combat. Join him for an unforgettable journey filled with dramatic flair, adrenaline-pumping action, and the timeless allure of staged combat!


Tyler Wilson-Kokiri (he/him) (Ngaati Porou), graduated from Toi Whakaari in 2016 and has worked in the Stage and Screen profession since, in a variety of roles.
He is an actor, voice actor, stage combat choreographer, writer, producer and Professional Wrestler.
Some of his Screen Credits include Shortland Street, Ahikāroa, and Not Even, as well as a multitude of Stage Credits including the recently renewed Pop Up Globe performances of Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet, and Albert Belz’ Astroman.

Voice for the Performer

Voice is the biggest asset of a performer. A strong and confident voice that is willing to play and try new things is the voice that will succeed in this loud world.
Join Tessa on a week of play and exploration of the human voice using the medium of ‘Voice Over’. Learn the fundamentals to enhance your own natural voice. Experience vocal shaping as you move from a slick commercial retail voice to a character in a video game. Learn to shift your voice to learn the general American accent, a must have for every performer! Learn to love the sound of your own voice as you experience using a professional microphone, listening back to your vocal creation, with curiosity of all the sounds you can make.
Voice is not about perfection, it’s about expressing who you are and not being afraid to make noise!

Tessa Livingston is the In-House Vocal Coach and a Voice Agent at BigMouth Voices. Working with Demo Reel Production and Audition Management for talent on the books. Her working background is as a speech pathologist, vocal coach, voice over artist, actress, podcaster and content creator.

Signed with both an acting and voice agency, Tessa is skilled in commercial voice over, character voice and accents. She has voiced for companies such as Google, Air New Zealand and Toyota. She specialises in voice health, safety and production for vocal performers. With a background in drama teaching, acting, and a graduate of ‘The Actors Program’ Tessa is able to build confidence in the performers she works with. She is all about empowering people to feel how your voice is produced in the body for the most reliable and successful outcome. Voice is for fun, let’s start using it that way.

Devised Theatre

Let’s make some theatre together! Let’s create something new! Let’s play!

The devised theatre programme is an opportunity to create an original piece of theatre – it gives you the power to create your own thing, using your own authentic voice. As an ensemble you will refine the topic, do the research and make the whole thing up during your week together at NYDS.

What are you passionate about? Is there something that has been claiming your ‘brainspace’? Is there something you really want to say to your peers, or your elders, or to younger people, to the world? Do you just want to make people laugh? Or maybe you feel unsure about what you have to contribute, that’s okay too; we will investigate this together and I promise you, you have something interesting to say.

You will be strongly supported by Sabrina Martin, your tutor, who offers guidance through training, facilitation and direction. We will work with movement as a base practice, with a lot of playfulness and inclusion for those who do not have a full range of motion – all bodies, brains and abilities are welcome here.

Sabrina Martin is an actor, singer and director, who trained in physical theatre in Glasgow, Scotland, after completing drama school in Aotearoa. In 2022, Sabrina directed Tea With Terrorists starring Sameena Zehra and Gag Reflex starring Rachel Atlas (winner of 2022 NZ Fringe Festival). She was nominated for Director of The Year in Wellington for these two productions.

With 25 years on stage traversing the many styles of theatre, a number of Sabrina’s theatrical works have been devised, including working with Danish theatre company Cantabile 2, and her own solo show May Contain… She loves working in found spaces, creating immersive environments for audiences.