Ben Fagan


Ben Fagan is a poet and producer from Te Matau-a-Māui & Te Whanganui-a-Tara. He has shared his work across the UK, USA and NZ, including writing and performing two shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His debut collection Some Traveller was published in the UK in 2017 by Bx3, then in 2018 he co-founded Motif Poetry | Ruri Tūtohu, a charity for NZ poets. Ben is part of the team behind the annual New Zealand Poetry Slam, Choirs Aotearoa New Zealand and was a guest curator of Verb Writers Festival 2019.


Ken Keys

Founding Member

Ken is the Director of HaByt (Hawkes Bay Youth Theatre), founder of NYDS, guest tutor at the Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance Institute at the Shakespeare Globe Centre in London and at the International Theatre Festival in Maryland, USA. He is also the NYDS Sponsorship Coordinator, current tutor of the Acting Shakespeare class and is married to the wonderful Annetta, the ”hostess with the mostess”.


Rachael Blampied


Rachael is a former NYDS student and current tutor of one of the Screen Acting classes. Rachael completed a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts at Unitec in 2006 and is an experienced screen actress. Perhaps most recognised for her role as Bree on ‘Shortland Street’, Rachael’s screen credits are many and include playing NZ’s incredible WWII spy Nancy Wake in the TV movie ‘Nancy Wake : The White Mouse’, also rugby TV movie ‘The Kick’ and recently filmed for American TV series ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’. Rachael studied music (voice and piano) for many years and has performed at Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park. She lives in Auckland where she works as an actress, voice artist and a TV and Film Producer – making commercials, music videos and films.


Jess Soutar Barron


Jess Soutar Barron is a writer and project manager and avid collaborator on creative initiatives. She has a background working in corporate communications in the public and private sectors. Her particular skill is in translating between the creative sphere and the world of bureaucracy! Jess’ ‘first career’ was in television production and she holds a Bachelor of Communication Studies and a Master of Arts. Her board experience includes time on the Creative Hawke’s Bay board as well as sitting on school and daycare boards.

Natalia Albert


Natalia is an inclusive, kind and experienced leader with a proven track record in management and leadership in the Wellington public service and overseas. Her background in leadership, nonprofits and fundraising, politics and project management give her the right balance of skills to be a courageous, collaborative and committed leader. She is a Mexican born, Kiwi citizen, who has grown up in many different countries and cultures thanks to a diplomatic parent. She has a degree in business and political theory, a post grad in political theory and currently undergoing a masters in public policy. During the weekends she loves to read in bed with her two chihuahuas and go have lunch in town with her partner Mike.