Since training at Auckland’s influential Theatre Corporate, New Zealand actor Jennifer Ward-Lealand has worked extensively in theatre, film and television for over 40 years. She has excelled in both dramatic and comedic roles, as well as numerous roles in musical theatre and cabaret. She is a fully qualified Intimacy Coordinator (Intimacy on Set, UK), is on the SAG-AFTRA Intimacy Coordinator Registry, and has worked on over 60 productions spanning TV drama, comedy, feature film, theatre and opera. Jennifer is in demand as a tutor of masterclasses for actors, singers and choirs.
Narelle Ahrens is a NZ Actor, Voice Over Artist, Singer & Foley Artist who has been working professionally in the industry since graduating from Victoria University of Wellington with a BA in Theatre & Film, and English Literature in 1995.
Narelle has performed roles in over 30 productions in Television and Film. Highlights include being nominated for Best Actress at the NZ Film Awards for her performance in the internationally award-winning short film “I’m Going to Mum’s”, which premiered at the prestigious Berlinale International Film Festival. And recently playing the lead role of DeeDee Blancharde in US TV show James Patterson’s “Murder Is Forever”.
Narelle has acted extensively in theatres throughout NZ including Bats Theatre, Downstage, Circa and the Fortune Theatre in Dunedin. Highlights include roles in two acclaimed NZ Premieres, the award winning “The Love of HumanKind” by Brian Sergent at Circa Theatre and “The Paradise Package” by Geraldine Brophy at the Fortune.
Narelle has trained for screen under a number of recognised tutors including Perry Piercy, Tina Regtien, Diana Rowan and Vicky Yiannoutsos. Training in the Meisner Technique with Michael Saccente also led to Summer Season training in New York at the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse in 2004. Most recently, Narelle has also been invited to train in masterclasses with the inspiring talents of Stuart Devenie, Fiona Samuel, Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Miranda Harcourt.
For the last 20 years Narelle has also been part of NZ’s favourite No 1 girl-group TheBeatGirls, performing throughout NZ and Internationally, the highlight being a performance as the headline act for Sports Illustrated and Holden at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Outside of acting, Narelle is an in-demand Voice Over Artist for Short Films, Radio, & Television, and is a recognised voice for some of NZ’s biggest brands.
Narelle is also one of the most experienced Foley Artists in NZ. Since 2001 she has performed foley for feature films such as Lord of the Rings and a number of New Zealand’s most successful hit TV shows, telefeatures, and short films, including Outrageous Fortune, Westside, Fresh Eggs & The Deadlands.
New Zealand acting icon Lisa Chappell first won fame in 1980s soap Gloss, playing rich brat Chelsea Redfern. She went on to do a stint of theatre in Palmerston North including being a breakfast DJ on 2XS, played Velma in the musical Chicago and joined TV cop drama Shark in the Park. Her first film role followed in big screen period piece Desperate Remedies, followed by the quirky Jack Brown Genius produced by Peter Jackson. After a variety of theatre and TV roles including The Herbal Bed, All My Sons, Hercules and City Life, Chappell decamped to Australia, where she won two Logie awards during a three year run on international hit McLeod’s Daughters. Since releasing her debut album, she has won a Qantas award for a gun-toting role in Kiwi TV drama The Cult, is a regular performer with Auckland Theatre Company and has written a number of critically acclaimed plays. Her acting career continues unabated across New Zealand and Australia in theatre, film and TV.
Jodie Dorday debuted her theatre career with ATC’s Dancing at Lughnasa in 1995 and the stage is still her favourite place to be! She has also been involved with Take a Chance on Me and All My Sons with ATC, Sylvia in Wellington, and Social Climbers and Midsummer Night’s Dream in Palmerston North. When in Australia, Jodie played Goneril opposite Barry Otto as Lear in Sydney Theatre Company’s King Lear – an extraordinary experience! Jodie picked up the Best Supporting Actress Award for the film Via Satellite in 1997. Other notable TV roles include the TV series Burying Brian. Jodi trained for 15 years in dance and worked alongside her Mum Debbie at Burgundys for a good few years making people laugh!
An NZ Pakeha of Irish heritage, proud NZ Equity member Peter Feeney has been a professional actor since 1994, working in UK, US, Australian and NZ Theatre, TV & Film. He runs his own Auckland Screen
Acting school, the Actors Lab Studio, and is a guest teacher at Drama schools and for organisations such as MEAA, NZ Equity and SDGNZ. Peter is also a published author and has written numerous articles and several screenplays and books. His handbook on acting, ‘Acting and How to Survive it,’ was published in 2020 to great acclaim.
Peter’s first novel, ‘Blind Bitter Happiness,’ was published by Harper Collins. Since 2020 Peter has written, produced, directed and acted in a limited TV series based on ‘Blind Bitter Happiness,’ now slated for broadcast in NZ and internationally. In 2005 and 2006 Peter directed and played the title role in the Auckland Seasons and national NZ tour of Michael and Margery Forde’s stage play, ‘Milo’s Wake,’ the inspiration for the world and characters of The Sinkhole, a new TV series he has in development.
Peter has performed at the Fortune, Court & Circa theatres in New Zealand, and The QTC in Australia; as well as numerous independent theatre productions. His acclaimed one man show A Night with Beau Tyler toured in 2008 & 2009 to 25 theatres around New Zealand. He has worked or trained at different times with Cicely Berry (Royal Shakespeare Company), Bob Benedetti (US Emmy Award winning Television producer and Broadway Theatre Director), Rob Marchand and Dean Carey. Notable credits over a long career include the Kiwi zombie hit Black Sheep; Australian mini-series A Difficult Woman, UK TV Dark Knight and Cold Feet, numerous US TV & tele-features, including in 2015 a prominent role in Ash versus Evil Dead, and in the same year playing the iconic Rose Noelle skipper John Glennie alongside Dominic Purcell (Prison Break) in Abandoned (winner of best tele-feature at the 2017 NZ Film Awards).
Peter has a 1st Class Honours degree in Politics & History from the University of Melbourne (1991) and a Diploma in Drama from the University of Auckland (1993). He was Nominee for Best Actor in the 2003 NZ Film Awards for his role in the film The Platform.
He is represented in NZ by Kathryn Rawlings & Associates and in Australia by Lisa Mann Creative Management.
Peter is a very gifted young actor who will always be genuinely interested in exploring his work and finding new approaches to it, and opening this out to his fellow actors.
Cicely Berry, OBE, Voice Director, Royal Shakespeare Company.
Emmett is a New Zealand born actor, director and screenwriter and has worked in over 40 productions in film, TV and stage, with most recognising him as the young God-in-the-making, Axl, from TV3’s The Almighty Johnsons.
Emmett has gained a passion for writing and directing, most recently directing Shortland Street, the film Thirteen Suspects, written by Rachel Lang, and Auckward Love, which he also co-wrote and produced. Emmett is also a regular tutor, mentor and advisor to the board at the Auckland based drama school, The Actors’ Program, and is a co-creator of a new program The Directors’ Program.
Emmett’s passions as a director lie in honest, raw and connected work, with a strong focus on relationships and emotional history.
Joel Tobeck is one of New Zealand’s busiest actors. Born into a theatrical family, he acted in a number of early titles directed by Niki Caro, including Cannes-nominated short film Sure To Rise (1994) and Caro’s first feature Memory and Desire. In 1997 Tobeck won a NZ Film and TV award for Topless Women Talk About Their Lives, playing wannabe partner to Danielle Cormack’s character. He re-teamed with Cormack for offbeat drama Channelling Baby, and played the bad guy in both the first Lawless telemovie (winning him another acting award) and This is Not My Life. Tobeck has played lead roles in the American television hit Sons of Anarchy and the Australian series The Doctor Blake Mysteries. In Little Fish he played against Cate Blanchett, was Geena Davis’s husband in Accidents Happen, and has worked with Ben Mendelsohn in Tangle.
‘I don’t have classic good looks … but then I’d rather play the off-centre roles. I’m quite happy playing a drug addict or the bastard in the wheelchair.’
Jonathan is a New Zealand-born director of film & television, based in Melbourne, Australia. Equally acclaimed for his work in comedy and drama, his television credits include The End, a black comedy about assisted dying featuring Frances O’Connor & Harriet Walter that will screen on Sky Atlantic (UK) and Foxtel (Aus) early in 2020, Rosehaven Series 1,2 & 3, Ronny Chieng: International Student, The Family Law, The Unauthorised History of New Zealand & Eating Media Lunch and Outrageous Fortune. With a great affinity for working with comedians, he has won two Australian Directors’ Guild Awards for Best Director, Comedy – in 2016 for his work on Sammy J & Randy in Ricketts Lane and again in 2018 for Rosehaven.
He has also made several acclaimed short films including The Model (Official Selection Cannes Film Festival), Permanent Wave (London & Sydney Film Festivals), No Ordinary Sun (‘Best Short Film’ New Zealand International Film Festival 2005 / Official Selection Edinburgh / Hof / Slamdance) and Snowmen (in competition, Interfilm Berlin/ Pacific Meridian Film Festival).
Born and bred in Auckland, Stephen Campbell managed to make his way into television after a number of years in advertising, where he did everything from copywriting to art directing.
In the mid 80s he applied — more than once — to join TVNZ’s producer training scheme. A fortnight after being told he’d finally succeeded, Campbell found himself in a TVNZ staff cafe in Christchurch, surrounded by extras dressed as spacemen and cowboys. “That was when I was completely sold,” he says. “I thought: I’ve arrived. And I’m staying.”
The scheme saw Campbell on attachment for a year to TVNZ’s Children and Young Personʼs department. Here immortal children’s character Thingee enters the story. One of Campbell’s first breaks was directing an After Schoolsegment which saw one of the hosts tell a lighthearted historical tale, alongside illustrations drawn by Campbell. One story was about a ‘plucked duck’; a duck mistaken for dead after the local pond got infected with beer. After School producer Bryan Allpress liked the illustrations so much, he suggested the duck could have the makings a great character elsewhere.
At the end of year Campbell was one of eight out of 40 chosen for two further years of producer training. Allpress then gave him the task of taking the duck images and designing and supervising construction of a new character, Thingee(so named, because no one had thought of a better one). Thanks also to the voice talents of Alan Henderson, co-hosts Thingee and Jason Gunn would win a legion of fans, starting with After School.
In 1989 Campbell headed back to Auckland, to produce five day a week teen show 3:45 LIVE (Campbell alternated directing with John Milligan). The show proved so popular that the first time viewers were invited to ring in and pick their favourite music clip, the Auckland telephone exchange crashed from the strain.
After time on TV3 children’s series Early Bird Show and Yahoo, Campbell freelanced as a writer/director on a variety of sketch comedy series, including Funny Business and That Comedy Show.
He also co-created award-winning magazine show Ice TV. Campbell wrote and directed many of Ice TV’s most popular segments, including ongoing parodies of hospital and cop dramas. “Jon (Bridges), Nathan (Rarere) and Petra (Bagust) were incredibly good on camera,” says Campbell. “They were having a lot of fun and I think it just came across.”
In 2002 he created Greenstone TVʼs ambitious, “gag-heavy” Secret Agent Men. The show revolved around a group of Kiwi teens helping save the world from villains with plans to take over the world. The second season was named best children’s programme at the 2005 Qantas Television Awards, and the show sold to multiple countries.
The longtime superhero fan’s next series was originally pitched as The Fantastic Friends, but the release of Marvel movie Fantastic Four saw it retitled The Amazing Extraordinary Friends. As director and chief writer, Campbell oversaw production through three seasons and two accompanying web series. Although made on a far from heroic budget, the show’s makers didn’t “shy away from galactic androids being chased into the sun.” Another international success, the tale of schoolboy superhero (Carl Dixon) and his grandad (David McPhail) was nominated for awards in Rome and NZ, and picked up another in Korea.
Campbell went on to direct and contribute writing to Nigel Lattaʼs The Politically Incorrect Guide to Teenagers and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Grown Ups, which saw Latta doing pieces to camera everywhere from jet cockpits to glaciers. Campbell also directed on follow-up show The Hard Stuff.
In 2012 he produced The Radio, which saw Jeremy Corbett and Paul Ego playing incompetent radio hosts.
In 2015 Campbell debuted his next show. Science fiction thriller The Cul De Sac centres on a group of teenagers who wake up to find all the adults have mysteriously disappeared. The ambitious, twist-filled dystopia ran for three seasons. Campbell directed all but three episodes.
The youngest child of immigrants from Hong Kong, Roseanne Liang was all set to follow her two sisters into medical school. But when the high school dux was encouraged by her siblings to defer for a year to try other things, Liang put aside becoming a doctor to concentrate on filmmaking.
In 2005, Liang released her hour-long documentary Banana in a Nutshell, based on her own romance with a European Kiwi “Banana in a Nutshell was originally a short documentary I devised to distract me from the highly emotional events that I knew I would have to get through.” said Liang. “The camera was something to hide behind.” The title refers to Asians (yellow on the outside) brought up in Western society (white in the inside). Liang continued the story with a 30 minute epilogue for the film’s DVD release.
At Banana in a Nutshell’s premiere, producer John Barnett offered Liang the opportunity to turn her documentary into a narrative feature. Liang has described it as an “‘angels chorus’ moment”. “Most film graduates want the opportunity to make a feature film and it’s a really hard road. But to have someone stride up to you and offer it to you is an incredibly lucky happenstance.” In 2005 Liang was named New Filmmaker of the Year by screen organisation SPADA.
In 2017, Liang signed with an American agent, after directing action short Do No Harm. The bloody action film, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, is about a Chinese surgeon facing off against gangsters just as she’s about to operate. The film was funded by the NZ Film Commission as a proof of concept for an action film Liang was developing. Do No Harm won several awards, including the Audience Award for favourite short at the 2017 NZ International Film Festival and a nomination for Best Short Film at Sundance.
By 2018, the success of Do No Harm and My Wedding and Other Secrets had brought Liang to the attention of the 50 studio executives and producers behind the Alice Initiative, named after pioneering female filmmaker Alice Guy Blaché. They named Liang as one of 20 female directors from around the globe who merited a directing gig with a Hollywood studio.
In late 2018, Liang announced she was set to develop and direct the feature-length version of Do No Harm, produced by husband and wife filmmaking team David Leitch and Kelly McCormick (Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde).
Nikki is an award winning actor, writer, director and camera operator based in Auckland, Aotearoa (New Zealand). On screen, she’s acted in Creamerie, The Sounds, Same But Different: A True NZ Love Story, One Thousand Ropes, Housebound, Super City, Whole of the Moon, and Pot Luck. Behind the camera, her films have screened at the Berlinale, Tribeca, Sydney, Melbourne, FIFO, NZIFF, Hollyshorts, and ImagineNATIVE. She stopped introducing herself as a dancer when a professional dancer asked her what style she did.
Rita Stone (BPSA, Dip Tchg)
Rita graduated from the UNITEC School of Performing and Screen Arts in 1998, and has since taught at UNITEC, Massey University, Auckland University and The Actors’ Program.
In 2000 she founded the Legacy Theatre Company; directing, producing and/ or performing in outdoor productions of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Dir Rita Stone, 2000), MEASURE FOR MEASURE (Dir Richard Rugg, 2001), THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (Dir Jarrod Tuck, 2002), and AS YOU LIKE IT (Dir Tim Faville, 2004), as well as coordinating Theatre in Education schools’ tours around Auckland of abridged Shakespeare scenes.
Rita traveled to London in 2004 and took a course at Shakespeare’s Globe, returning again in 2011 with the Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ (SGCNZ)’s ‘Teachers Go Global’ scheme, where she trained at the Globe Education Centre and performed in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, directed by Bill Buckhurst, on the Globe stage.
Rita holds a Secondary Teaching qualification in English and Drama and was Assistant HOD of Drama at Western Springs College in 2011. For Western Springs College, Rita has directed A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, OUR TOWN, TWELFTH NIGHT and MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN – for which she won Outstanding Play at the 2011 AMI Showdown Awards and was nominated for Best Director. She was the SGCNZ University of Otago’s Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival Auckland Central Representative 2010-2011, and in 2013 she directed an all-female production of MEASURE FOR MEASURE at the Titirangi Theatre.
In 2012, Rita founded the Young Auckland Shakespeare Company which produced THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (Dir Rita Stone, 2012), and MACBETH (Dir Jaque Drew, 2013-2014) ROMEO & JULIET (Dirs Paul Gittins and Calum Gittins, 2015), MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (Dir Rita Stone, 2016) and THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR (Dir Stuart Devenie, 2017).
In 2016 Rita directed LUCRECE (“…a visually stunning show”) for the Auckland Shakespeare Company, and for the Pop-up Globe she directed the gender-reversed JULIUS CAESAR (“… a plethora of strong performances aided by Stone’s direction and a fresh take on the classic play mean it’s not one to miss.”) in 2018.
Vincent Ward has won an international reputation as an original and visionary filmmaker. Vigil and The Navigator played in competition at the Cannes Film Festival (the first New Zealand features to do so). Docudrama Rain of the Children (2008) revisited people from his 1980 documentary In Spring One Plants Alone. Ward also directed Robin Williams afterlife drama What Dreams May Come.
“I’m interested less in objective or social realities than in private realities, so it’s a special kind of landscape I’m exploring, an interior landscape”
Lori Dungey has been a professional actor, improvisor, writer & tutor for over 35 years. The first Artistic Director of The Improvisors, she remains one of New Zealand’s most experienced and finest improvisors. She has performed in and devised over 50 improvised productions, including Suspect: A Game of Murder (which toured Canada, Sweden, USA, Australia & NZ) and Austen Found (Wellington, Auckland & Adelaide). She has taught Improv in Germany, Singapore & Australia. She is currently the Education Director for the Theatresports Youth Program that runs in 24 high schools and is a Creative Director of ConArtists, a company that produces public Improv shows as well as corporate training and entertainment. She is a voice artist for the TV show Power Rangers and was a Hobbit in LOTR.
Matt has been Head of Casting at Shortland Street since April 2020. He has worked in the New Zealand Casting Industry since 2002 (previously Casting Director with his brother at Barefoot Casting) & within the acting industry since 1995. He trained at Auckland’s Unitec Performing Arts School. Matt also teaches with Unitec Performing Arts, The Actors Program, Toi Whakaari, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa – Mangere, South Seas Film School, The Pan-Asian Screen Collective, Actors Lab, ATC Summer Holiday Program & Young adult courses at TAPAC.
Katrina is an actor, dancer, physical theatre deviser, and choreographer. Since graduating from Toi Whakaari Katrina has worked extensively in theatre performance and creation in NZ and overseas. Recent performance highlights include; Under The Mountain for Auckland Theatre Company, Kororareka: The Ballad of Maggie Flynn for Red Leap Theatre Company, and creating and performing Masina for Touch Compass Dance Company. Katrina is the International Workshop Tutor for Red Leap Theatre Company and has recently directed devising processes in Hong Kong and Singapore. She is a movement/ensemble/theatre making tutor at The Actors’ Program, and a dance tutor for Mixit. Katrina worked with Wellington-based company Everybody Cool Lives Here and independent artist Rodney Bell as the Kaitiaki (guardian) of Rodney’s work Te Kuuititanga, which she performed in New York. She was also the choreographer and assistant director for Emilia at the Pop Up Globe.
Harriett Maire is a Casting Director based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She runs a boutique company called Good Egg Casting. She works predominantly across commercials, but also enjoys casting longer form narrative work.
Harriett began her journey as an actor, before realising she was better suited for the other side of the process. She is also a director, represented by Film Construction. Harriett’s breadth of experience gives her a holistic understanding of the film industry, and enables her to be a comprehensive and empathetic Casting Director.
As well as casting through traditional acting agencies, she also does a lot of community casting – working to create a safe space for people who haven’t auditioned before.
She enjoys creating a relaxed and collaborative energy in her casting room. She understands that we get glowing performances from people who feel comfortable and confident.
Cherie is a singer, actor, vocal coach, director, producer, and a company director of Last Tapes Theatre Company. She is a graduate of The Actors’ Program, has a double degree in Drama and English from the University of Auckland, and has studied singing for the last 20 years. She is the founder and creative director of Ihi Musical Theatre Company.
Cherie teaches singing to a private studio of students, for The Actors’ Program, as an itinerant teacher, and for The Auckland Performing Arts Centre. Cherie regularly vocal coaches voice and singing for professional productions in New Zealand.
Cherie has been directing since 2011. Recent credits include: Hubbub (Basement Theatre), Love and Information (Asst. Director, Basement Theatre), Swimming With Whales In Tonga (Nelson and Hamilton Fringe), 99% for the Short & Sweet Festival where she won Best Director.
Cherie has been directing large scale musical theatre productions for high schools since 2015, including Seussical, Grease, Threepenny Opera, The Wiz, and The Addams Family.
Cherie co-created and performed in Last Tapes’ show ‘Valerie’ in 2016, named cabaret of the year by The Herald, and most original production at the Auckland Theatre Award. Other acting credits include: Twelfth Night and Into The Woods (Fortune Theatre), The Tempest (Pop Up Globe), Hungover (Basement Theatre), The Last Five Years (Herald Theatre), Verbatim (North Island Tour), and Shortland Street. Cherie is represented by Auckland Actors, and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity.
Sheena has been a professional actor for over 20 years, working in the UK, before emigrating to Aotearoa 10 years ago. Her experience as an artist gives her specific insight into the social and psychological stressors related to a vocation in the Arts Industry. Sheena’s personal journey with depression and anxiety inspired her to train as a Mental Health Practitioner, and she now combines her Arts and Counselling practice into a unique skill set, working as an Actor, Counsellor and “Wellness Tutor”, with a special interest in working collaboratively to promote Psychological Wellbeing within the Performing Arts.
Tim Wong has been a Stunt Coordinator, Fight Choreographer and Stunt Performer in New Zealand & beyond for over 20 years. He first started as the Frodo stunt double in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and has since gone on to garner over 70 credits across film & television. Tim’s recent Stunt Coordinator or Fight Choreographer credits include Ghost in the Shell, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Shadow in the Cloud, The Suicide Squad, Without a Paddle, River Queen, King Kong, The Water Horse, The Warriors Way, Spartacus – Blood and Sand, The Hobbit Trilogy, Mad Max: Fury Road, Gods of Egypt, Crouching Tiger Hid-den Dragon 2, Pete’s Dragon, Hacksaw Ridge & The Meg. Tim is dedicated to designing interesting and imaginative action in stunt sequences – his 30 years’ experience in various martial arts equipping him well to handle any style required for fights in any genre. Tim is always researching new ways to bring a fresh approach to his action designs. He is a great believer in actors doing as much of their own stunt work as possible.