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Creative ID: 134

Art form(s): Theatre.

Based in: Auckland.

When I'm available: First creative: As a parent of a primary school-aged child who freelances as a creative artist – and with a partner who does the same – I am best suited to work within school hours. As an arts freelancer – who is rekindling my love of acting, my schedule is subject to radical changes at short notice. One of the reasons why we are teaming up is that, whilst we can work together easily, we know that should such a gig arise we can “pinchhit” for each other. I teach at a drama school all day each Sunday across Terms 1-3 inclusive. Second creative: My availability is based around school and daycare drop offs, so within school hours and allowing for travel. The occasional freelancing acting gig arises in my schedule, so having a 2-person team is an ideal solution for such situations.

Where I'm available: One of us is based in the Whenuapai-Hobsonville area of Auckland and the other is based in Glen Eden, West Auckland. We can easily service schools across North, West, and Central Auckland. Happy to work in South as well.

My arts or creative practice (including details about my specific focus within that art form/practice and my strengths)

Two individuals are proposing a joint Expression of Interest to collaborate. First creative: I have a long and successful career as a theatre, television, and film actor and director, and also over 20 years of working with school age children in making theatre and presenting productions. I am particularly adept at analysing text, directing young people and nascent acting talent into wonderful performances on stage. Second creative: I am a graduate of Unitec Performing Arts School and have worked for the last 16 years as an actor, producer and writer for both stage and screen, in New Zealand and the UK. I have created my own work, collaborated with professional theatre companies as well as smaller independent productions. I am passionate about youth discovering and developing their voice, connecting to themselves, their communities and cultural roots.

My track record of experience and success - or the track record of experience and success of the creative or artist that I will partner with

First creative: I am an award-winning actor, director and drama teacher who has made work across New Zealand and the United States. A graduate of Toi Whakaari o Aotearoa, I've worked in theatre, television and film ever since; achieving critical acclaim and award nominations in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Portland, Oregon and New York, New York. I teach drama and facilitate playmaking with children as young as five up to tertiary-aged training. I have worked with youth in schools – public, private and independent, juvenile detention facilities, special education programmes and regularly direct and makes work for young audiences. Second creative: I am an award-winning film and theatre maker who has created work in New Zealand and the UK. I frequently collaborate with my husband via our company. Our most recent short film has been an award winner on the international festival circuit. My work as a theatre producer includes a Producer in Residence, and various productions. I have experience working with teenagers as a drama teacher and drama mentor.

Describe the experience you have had working with children or young people, teaching or facilitating creative processes

First creative: I first taught drama for young people in the late 90s. From 2000–2004, in Portland, OR, I worked as a mentor and playwright for two projects. From 2004–2007 I established a programme for at-risk youth aged 5–18 years. I run a drama school – Auckland’s premier drama school for young people aged 10–19 years, and have tutored and directed at Aotearoa’s leading tertiary drama training schools. I was nominated for a Best Director award at NY Webfest for my work on an NZ On Air-funded web series. From 2013 I have facilitated the generation of and directed a Theatre-in-Schools show for an organisation. Second creative: Upon graduating from Unitec Performing Arts school, I worked with children as a drama teacher. This included after-school classes, holiday programmes and performances in schools. I joined the team of drama mentors for the programme for at-risk youth and was deeply moved by the transformation in the young participants. I have also engaged in young people’s playful enthusiasm as a party entertainer, improvisation tutor at a youth drama school, and daily as a parent of 2 young girls.

Why I want to be part of the Creatives in Schools programme and how my involvement will link to my creative practice

We believe that a creative mind is a flexible mind, enabling free adaptation to new influences and problems and finding creative solutions. These are key traits that will be required in the world that young people are inheriting and growing into. Creativity is inherent in the young mind, and developing that creativity at a young age provides a pathway for expression. The expressed self is more confident, self-aware, empathetic, healthier and freer from the serious debilitation of mental illnesses – the fastest growing illness in Aotearoa. First creative: I am clear in my commitment to the development of creative expression among young people, and make better work in my own projects after facilitating the creativity of others. I bring my work at the drama school and an organisation into the room, and will transfer my work from that room back and out into my other projects. Second creative: I am in awe of the drive young people have to understand, learn and imagine a new world. I believe to overcome future challenges and flourish we need to nurture these abilities in our younger generation. Involvement in the programme will continue to sharpen my own learning and widening my cultural experiences of Aotearoa.

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