Artistic Board

Sara Wiseman

Sara Wiseman

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Australian based, award-winning actress Sara Wiseman has been a prominent figure on stage and screen for over a decade. On New Zealand’s small screen credits include: THE CULT, OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE, THE ALMIGHTY JOHNSON’S, MERCY PEAK, SHORTLAND STREET, JACKSON’S WHARF, STREET LEGAL and winning Best Actress for her portrayal of Kate Sheppard in THE WOMEN’S VOTE. In Australia, Sara appeared in ABC’s RAKE and CROWNIES and Foxtel’s A PLACE TO CALL HOME. On the large screen Sara’s credits include, HUMAN TRACES, REST FOR THE WICKED, JINX SISTER, THE INSATIABLE MOON, MATARIKI for which she won Best Supporting Actress. Theatrical credits for NZ companies such as Silo, ATC, Downstage, and Royale include AMY’S VIEW, CABARET, COLLECTED STORIES, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, PROOF, DANNY & THE DEEP BLUE SEA, THIS IS HOW IT GOES, LASHINGS OF WHIPPED CREAM, KILLER JOE, THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, HATE for Melbourne's Malthouse Theatre and THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT for Redline Productions in Sydney.

 
“I feel very excited for the students who are selected to take part in this innovative program. The calibre of practitioners tutoring is incredible.”

Michele Hine

Michele Hine

Artistic Manager
Agent

Michele has been a professional actor, director and acting teacher for over 35 years. She has a Masters in Directing and was a co-founder and lectured in the acting department of the Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts at Unitec for many years. She has acted extensively in TV, film and theatre, most recently as Holly Walter in AUCKWARD LOVE and Carol in GO GIRLS series 2, 3 and 4; and on stage in SHAM, GWEN IN PURGATORY and ELEVATOR. She has also been seen in the title role of THE HOUSE OF BERNADA ALBA, THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES and won a Hackman Theatre Award for her portrayal of Jude in THE IDEA OF AMERICA. Michele has performed in Britain, Europe, Australia and Japan. She toured New Zealand in two highly acclaimed solo shows and performed with such companies as Theatre Corporate, Downstage Theatre, Dramadillo and Royale Productions. Her screen appearances include two Disney films, RETURN TO OZ and ATOMIC TWISTER and the internationally acclaimed short film THIS IS HER. TV roles include ALMIGHTY JOHNSONS, SHORTLAND STREET, MERCY PEAK and AWAY LAUGHING. Michele has taught acting both nationally and internationally, including students at Unitec, Toi Whakaari and Auckland and Victoria Universities. She is Chairman of The Basement Theatre Trust Board. 

 
“What makes this course unique is its intense, pared-back nature and its high expectations of its students to be mature, independent and self-motivated professionals from day one. This is an exciting return to the core basics of being an actor and will give our students the skills to thrive in a tough and demanding industry.”

Jennifer Ward-Lealand

Jennifer Ward-Lealand

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Since training at Auckland’s influential Theatre Corporate, Jennifer has worked extensively in theatre, film, television, musical and radio for over 33 years. On stage her work includes THE GOAT, THAT FACE, BERLIN, BREL and THE BOOK OF EVERYTHING for Silo Theatre, LE SUD, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, THE HERETIC and LYSISTRATA for ATC, and RITA AND DOUGLAS for Armstrong Creative. She has excelled in both dramatic and comedic roles, as well as numerous roles in musical theatre and cabaret. She works regularly as a voice over artist and can be heard as DORABLE DUCK on the children’s television series BUZZY BEE. Jennifer was a founding board member of the Watershed Theatre and a co-founder of The Large Group and The Actors' Program. She is currently President of Equity New Zealand, Patron of Q Theatre, and serves as a trust board member of Arts Regional Trust, Silo Theatre, Clarence St Theatre Trust, and Actors Benevolent Fund. In the 2007 New Years Honours List, she was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to theatre and the community.

 
“I’m so proud to be part of fostering a new generation of smart, engaged and committed New Zealand performers, ready to take on whatever challenges come their way”

Michael Hurst

Michael Hurst

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In his 40 year career, Michael has played over a hundred roles in theatre ranging from Hamlet to The Widow Twankey, with musicals such as CABARET, THE MIKADO and THE THREEPENNY OPERA along the way. His directing credits include the recent ATC hit productions of CHICAGO and LYSISTRATA, but he is most known for his innovative and compelling productions of Shakespeare's works, including HAMLET, MACBETH, TWELFTH NIGHT, MEASURE FOR MEASURE, A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM and most recently KING LEAR at Circa Theatre in Wellington.  Michael became Internationally known in the 1990s when he played Iolaus in HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS. Since then, he has not only maintained his career in the theatre as an actor and director, but has also gone on to direct such television shows as SPARTACUS, LEGEND OF THE SEEKER, ASH VS EVIL DEAD, THE ALMIGHTY JOHNSONS, 800 WORDS, WESTSIDE and THE BROKENWOOD MYSTERIES.  In 2003 Michael was made a New Zealand Arts Laureate, and in 2005 he was appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM). He is chair of the AUSA Outdoor Shakespeare Trust, chair and founding member of The Actors' Program Board, Patron of Q Theatre and a proud member of New Zealand Actors' Equity.

 
“I could probably tell you everything I know about acting in an afternoon. The rest is practice.”

Cameron Rhodes

Cameron Rhodes

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Cameron has been working for over 25 years as an actor in Theatre, television and film and as a voiceover artist. A 1987 graduate from Toi Whaakari, he has appeared in over 85 stage productions, 12 feature films and a number of television productions. With a particular interest in voice and acting technique, Cameron has tutored and directed at Unitec, Toi Whaakari and in recent music theatre summer schools. In demand as a voice and acting coach in the private sector, he has also worked as a communications coach at TVNZ and TV3.  Recent stage work includes DEMENTIA 13/ CARNIVAL OF SOULS LIVELIVE CINEMA tour to The Barbican London and Frankfurt, TARTUFFE at Silo and co-directed and acted at the ATC this year.  Recent films include the South By South West hit HOUSEBOUND, and MR PIP. Recent TV appearances include AGENT ANNA, and SECRETS AND LIES for Channel Ten in Australia. Cameron has recently finished filming a major role in IN YOUR DREAMS a German/Australian co-production for Channel Seven Australia.

 
“The Actors’ Program is an exciting, intensive, year-long course learning from the best in the business. Every tutor is a highly successful professional working in, and familiar with the needs of the acting industry in NZ. I am thrilled to be part of this course that will truly equip the students with the skills to succeed.”

John Callen

John Callen

NZ On Screen  |  IMDB  |  Agent

John has worked for more than 45 years as a professional actor, director and writer in theatre, radio, film and television. He has performed in or directed more than 100 stage productions and two dozen television series. He has won several awards for his acting and has also appeared in a number of films including the core cast of THE HOBBIT. Recently he has directed several plays in Auckland as well recording audio books. He has narrated more than 150 documentaries for local and international producers and is in constant demand as a voice-over artist. John has also directed TV dramas, documentaries and commercials and worked as a part-time drama lecturer around New Zealand.

 
“The Actors’ Program is a return to the ‘basics’, the development of core skills geared specifically to performance. It’s an exciting venture that will deliver a new age of actors directly to New Zealand’s stage and screen industry.”

Natalie Beran

Jessi Williams

Program Manager    IMDB  |  Agent

Jessi is an experienced actor, voice-over artist, writer, producer and director. After studying theatre and film at Waikato University, she moved to Hollywood, where she worked as an actor for several years and taught in the high school program at the New York Film Academy (NYFA). She continued her training at the Brian Reise Studio in Los Angeles as well as NYFA at Universal Studios. Upon her return to New Zealand she completed The Actors' Program in Auckland.  She has performed extensively in film, TV, web series and theatre around the world in amazing locations such as Sydney, London, Paris, Stockholm and Hollywood. Film and Television credits include SHORTLAND STREET, FRIENDS, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3, LONELYGIRL15, IRIS EXPANDING, GORDON COMPLEX, BALLOONS and FILTHY RICH 2. Theatre credits include LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN, ANTIGONE, ROMEO & JULIET, KING LEAR, DANNY & THE DEEP BLUE SEA, LION IN WINTER, AFTER YOU, REASONS TO BE PRETTY, DANCING AT THE BLUE IGUANA, 8-THE PLAY and VERNON GOD LITTLE Jessi is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA in the United States and Equity New Zealand.

 

Kirstie O'Sullivan

Kirstie O'Sullivan

Head of Voice    Official Website  |  Agent

Kirstie O’Sullivan has worked as a professional actor, voice-over artist, teacher and trainer in film, theatre, television, radio and business for over twenty years. After appearing regularly in local and international theatre, film and television, Kirstie was awarded a CNZ grant to undertake Post Graduate study in Voice at NIDA in Sydney, Australia. Kirstie is Head of Voice for The Actors’ Program and has worked as a voice coach for ATC, Silo Theatre, MASSIVE Company and Auckland Shakespeare Company. Kirstie has also worked extensively with film and television productions companies throughout New Zealand.  She regularly lectures in voice and communication training at Auckland and Waikato Universities and has been on the faculty of the annual New Zealand Law Society Litigation Skills programme since 2010. Kirstie is also the Director of The Voice Practice, which specialises in media and communication coaching, voice and speech training and business presentation skills.