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About Us

Whanaungatanga - a Feeling of Family and Inclusivity.

Hawkes Bay Youth Theatre is a registered charitable trust, committed to actively nurturing a safe and encouraging creative space for young artists. It is important to us that young people feel comfortable fully immersing themselves in their creative work, laughing, bonding and pushing themselves beyond their creative boundaries.

There are a lot of people involved in making sure this dream carries on being a reality. Have a scroll down to meet our Board of Trustees and Directing team.


Our Story

In 2021, Hawkes Bay Youth Theatre once more became a registered charitable trust. We have been fortunate to welcome our warm-hearted, competent and passionate Board members, all of whom are respected professionals in the relative fields. We are still looking for a few more like-minded individuals to help helm the HaBYT ship towards new horizons by providing chairmanship, funding and marketing/PR skills.

A huge boon to us has been the addition of Wai Tupaea, who joined the board  later in 2021, and who is currently working on our Maori Engagement Policy.

On the HaBYT board we have (pictured left to right): Aslan Rowlands (LGBTQ advisor and online fundraising coordinator), Juliet Cottrell (outgoing chairperson), Wai Tupaea (Maori Engagement), Liffey Rimmer (secretary and medical officer) and Tony Desmond (chief financial officer). We are also one of very few charitable institutions with a comprehensive Child Protection Policy; actively maintaining a safe and nurturing environment for young people is hugely important to us.

Meet the Team

Peter Cottrell trained as an actor in Australia and since 1988 has performed leading and supporting roles in over 15 theatre productions with Brisbane Arts Theatre, La Boite Theatre, Queensland Theatre Company and Harvest Rain Theatre.  These include modern Australian plays, theatre in education programs, Brecht and Shakespeare's works. He has also performed in television commercials and corporate training videos.  

Peter moved to NZ from Brisbane with his family in 2008. With his partner Juliet he has been a co-director of the Drama Workshop from 2008 to 2020, as well as Expertease Corporate Theatre. In Hawkes Bay he has performed in Send No Medals by Terry Coyle, Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare, Over the Top by Amanda Jackson, Letters to Lindy by Alana Valentine, and Away by Michael Gow.

As co-director of Expertease he has  written, produced, directed and performed in a number of Executive level conference sessions and corporate gigs.  More recently he has been working with Everyday Theatre touring to schools throughout Hawkes Bay.

For the last 5 years he has been a Director of Hawkes Bay Youth Theatre, directing and coaching the company actors in works they have performed throughout Aotearoa and Australia. 

Peter is an experienced and passionate director and coach. He specialises in voice, text and character work and delights in helping young actors bloom and grow into eloquent and confident performers.

Jandyra Maciel grew up in Australia, of Afro-Indigenous Brazilian descent, and graduated her Diploma in Dance Performance in 2008 after three years at New Zealand School of Dance. During her training she worked closely with many NZ choreographers including Sacha Copland, Taiaroa Royal, Malia Johnston, Taane Mete, Michael Parmenter and Sarah Foster. Since then she has been working as a freelance choreographer, movement director, dancer, creator, voiceover artist and actor. 

Jandyra has performed in  Away by Michael Gow, Much Ado About Nothing as Lady Beatrice, and as Flossie Le Mar in The Hooligan and the Lady. She teaches contemporary dance in schools, and has taught contemporary movement/physical theatre at the National Youth Drama School.

Jandyra has choreographed for several high school productions as well as for the Edible Fashion Awards and for various theatre productions. Jandyra collaborated as movement director for Puti Lancaster’s work Freedom is Behind My Breath, and created and performed her own show META_, in collaboration with Sophie Follet, Sara Hirsch and Rosie Langabeer. Jandyra created and performed And The Earth Shifted Beneath My Feet with the Human Project Aotearoa for the 2019 Performance Arcade in Wellington  and completely recreated the work for the Harcourt’s Hawkes Bay Arts Festival 2020. She collaborated with film-maker Andrew Browne on a dance film for Mīharo Hawkes Bay arts festival. She was a creative co-director and the movement director for Hawkes Bay Youth Theatre’s productions of Over the Top (2017), Skellig (2018), Romeo and Juliet (2019), Carol Ann Duffy’s Everyman in 2020, and April’s Fool in 2021.

Jandyra is an energetic, passionate and playful movement director and loves to push young actors outside their comfort zone, helping them discover raw and poetic movement that supports their storytelling.

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Juliet Cottrell has a Masters in Drama Education and Applied Theatre (Hons); B.Ed; Dip.T. As an experienced teacher, performer and producer she has written, produced and performed in a number of Theatre in Education and Applied Theatre projects and facilitates teacher workshops on integrating drama in the classroom.  She has also been engaged at both Griffith University and QUT, in Australia where she taught pre-service primary and early childhood teachers.

In New Zealand Juliet is currently the facilitator for the Drama NZ Networks of Expertise Drama and Literacy project providing  professional development for primary teachers across NZ and is part of the Applied Theatre Co. team for ‘Everyday Theatre’.


Juliet’s Masters in drama education and applied theatre, Griffith University, explored the effect of a theatre-making project on long-term unemployed youth. Juliet delivers the Drama NZ/Literacy project, mentoring primary teachers. She is a teacher-artist for Applied Theatre Co. ‘Everyday Theatre’ and a director of the Hawkes Bay Youth Theatre.

Juliet finds it richly rewarding to nurture young creators, helping children find their creative voice, and nurturing their rich imaginations. She zealously coaches children to value themselves as true artists.

Introducing Lisa-Jane (LJ) Easter, a true Renaissance woman of the performing arts. LJ is an actor, vocal coach, theatre director and drama educationalist, who has dedicated her professional life to the study and practice of the spoken word in theatre and film. She has travelled the world to train with renowned vocal tutors including Cecily Berry and Kristin Linklater, honing her craft to become a champion of her art.

LJ was the Director of the Performing Arts Drama Diploma at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawkes Bay for five yearsand a tutor at the National Youth Drama School, where she tutored voice for over 16 years. LJ was also the Director of Performing Arts at Iona College for 7 years.

LJ has a wealth of experience working with students of all ages helping them to find their unique voice and creative selves. LJ runs workshops nationwide, incorporating vocal drama work and vocal presentations.

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LJ continues to direct both in Hawkes Bay and nationally with over 43 direction projects to her name, 15 of which have been musicals.

Her love for the creative process and bringing performances to life is contagious, and continues to inspire and excite her. Based in Central Hawkes Bay, she works with the Hawkes Bay Arts Festival and runs her own company, One Voice Creative Limited, alongside her husband Jonathan and their beloved dogs. 


Andrea Brigden is a qualified teacher of secondary drama.

As an actor and theatre-maker, Andy is particularly interested in physical and visual theatre. She has recently returned from professional development experiences in Europe with Frantic Assembly and ACT International.  

Andy is excited to get back to teaching and directing as part of the HaBYT team this year.

Our Sponsors

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