Auckland Theatre Company offers youth course to move rangatahi to centre stage

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

The Auckland Theatre Company has announced the formation of its own youth company, aimed at nurturing Aotearoa's next generation of theatre creatives.

The youth company will begin with a free, year-long training and performance programme that invites aspiring actors, directors, designers, writers, and theatre artists to Tāmaki Makaurau to receive in-depth training and practice in their chosen craft.

“Auckland Theatre Company has been working with young people for about 17 years,” youth company co-leader Sam Phillips says. “We’ve worked with awesome storytellers and writers from the whole country but mostly trying to platform and profile our young artists in Tāmaki Makaurau."

Fellow co-leader Matthew Kereama (Ngāti Raukawa) says there has always been a youth element to the company. “What’s really special about the youth company now is that we’re actually combining all of those things together into one streamlined course across a year.”

It’s a course that, in turn, becomes an opportunity to showcase rangatahi talents.

Māori storytelling

“Storytelling is a huge part of Māoridom and everything that we do. It’s woven into our culture. You look at the amount of performance that we do with kapa haka and everything like that.

“I think it’s really important to mention the voice of youth in Aotearoa, and bringing those voices into a space like the ASB Waterfront Theatre, or in our rehearsal rooms, is so, so, so important,” Kereama says.

Some 30 rangatahi are needed for the course, aged 16 to 25 years. A series of open-day auditions will be held which includes theatre games and hearing about the company itself, with everyone being encouraged to apply.

“If you’ve got the smallest of inklings or if you’re sitting at home and you think ‘Oh my gosh, this is everything for me and this sums me up perfectly,’ please go to

“If you’re watching this and you think you know someone that fits this perfectly, please send them along to the website.”

Kereama says the connections and training that rangatahi will be getting throughout the course’s duration will lead to Auckland Theatre Company productions too.

“I don’t want to give away all of our secrets. There will be performances throughout the year but we are working towards a largescale performance. We’re just deciding what that is.”

Registrations will end on April 25.