Our Executive Director and Artistic Director work year round in preparation for NYDS!

Kelie and Claire are supported by a dedicated and committed Board throughout the year and are joined during the week of NYDS by an amazing team of tutors, support staff and volunteers.

If you’re interested in joining the NYDS team in any capacity, send us an e-mail at


Kelie Jensen

Executive Director

Kelie loves her role at NYDS and is thrilled to be part of something so inspiring. She is an arts administrator, producer, writer and actress.  She has a Bachelor of Business Studies from Massey University, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Calgary (Canada) and is a qualified Chartered Accountant.  Before returning to New Zealand in 2011, Kelie was General Manager and Artistic Associate at Sage Theatre – an award-winning professional theatre company in Calgary, and Associate Publisher at Alberta Views Magazine – Canada’s Magazine of the Year in 2009 .  She has also worked professionally in Canadian theatre and film.  Kelie now lives in Napier with her husband of 19 years and two wonderful kids, and is proud to call Hawke’s Bay home.


Claire Keys

Artistic Director

Claire was a student of NYDS in it’s inaugural year and has since returned as assistant tutor, assistant AD and now AD. She has a passion for the learning and development of students at the drama school and is very honoured to be in the position to enable this tradition to continue. She is a graduate of the New Zealand College of Performing Arts, Victoria University, and Wellington College of Education. Claire has directed for HaBYT and has travelled to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with the play Desperate Antics. She currently resides in San Diego with her two beautiful children and wonderful husband.