About Us

The National Youth Theatre is New Zealand's premier musical theatre training programme for young people aged 7-21.

Open to all without audition, our performing arts training programmes include workshops, holiday programmes, and two full-scale musical theatre productions each year featuring a diverse cast of up to 250.

Within an inclusive and supportive atmosphere, our professional theatre mentors provide unique opportunities for young performers to be part of a major theatrical production whilst inspiring them to have fun, build confidence, and develop essential capabilities including:

  • communication and language skills
  • imagination and creative problem solving
  • co-ordination and motor skills
  • the ability to work under pressure
  • teamwork
  • a sense of pride in group achievement
  • an understanding of commitment and accountability to self and others
  • resilience
  • patience
  • perseverance

And through our Outreach programme, we not only provide full scholarships for a large number of deserving students to join the cast, but we also reach new audiences by presenting four schools’ performances and partnering with deserving schools to fully fund their attendance at those shows.

Our programmes change lives. Whilst some will be inspired to pursue a career in the theatre, every child will benefit from an experience which enables them to confidently take the stage and happily interact with their peers whilst developing the skills for well-rounded lives.

Our Team

James Doy
Chief Executive
Elin Esther
Operations Manager
Shirley Sequiera
Relationships Manager

We also have a wide pool of tutors, contractors and volunteers for each programme. View the tutors for our current programme CATS.

The National Youth Theatre was established in 2004, with our first programme, "Cinderella", being presented at the Bruce Mason Centre in May 2005.

Since then we have gone on to run over 30 programmes, two each year, including Disney's "High School Musical" - which set a new record as the fastest selling locally produced show.

In 2013 we became the resident Youth Theatre at Auckland Live, producing all our programmes at the Aotea Centre or the Civic Theatre from that point on.

The NYT Board

Melanie Esplin (Chair)

Kelly Bleakley

Dianne Ruela

Ola Ioane

Oliver Gilmour


Guy & Sue Haddleton

Artistic Patrons

  • Carl Doy
  • Jason Gunn