Meet the 2024 Youth Company

Sola Adekunle

Miriama Ashby

Tihei, mauriora! He uri tenei nō Kaipara Taporapora, Whakahuri Waka, whakarere wahine. Hikaka katoa ana te ngākau mō te haerenga e whai ake nei.

Miriama Ashby hails from Ngatiwhatua ki Kaipara, and currently works as an educator in addition to her studies. In her spare time, she enjoys making puppets, masks and clothing, which led to her interest in Auckland Theatre Company. She looks forward to the diverse range of opportunities offered here, and to gaining skills to contribute to her puppeteering.

James Cain

James has completed the first year of a On Screen Acting course and graduated with a Diploma in Film & TV Production from South Seas Film & Television school.
He has acted in several productions and short films as well as taking part in premier choirs and Technical Production crews. James enjoys a range of sports including football and scuba diving and holds an Advanced PADI divers license.
In 2021, James was awarded the Brandon Patterson award for acting, Outstanding Scholarship for Drama, National Certificate in Drama and was nominated ‘Best Male Actor’ for ‘Socially Distanced Shakespeare’ at the Auckland Live Showdown awards.

Flynn Cox

Kia Ora! My name is Flynn and I am an actor and creative based in Tāmaki Makaurau. I am so grateful to be apart of the ATC Youth Company whānau for 2024. I work in the travel and tourism industry however I have a love for film and theatre and plan on pursuing it as a career in the future, but primarily as my passion! Theatre lets me escape reality to imagine, create, play and develop characters and concepts to educate and entertain others as well as immerse myself and the audience out of reality for a little bit, as that was my favourite part of seeing a play as a kid. With this I hope to help inspire our younger tamariki and generations to also create and share more stories to help educate, entertain as well as enjoy the freedom and life that comes when having a passion in the performing arts.

Kirilayla Ireland

Kia Ora my name is Kirilayla Ireland. I grew a passion for acting back in 2017 when I studied at PIPA. Ever since then I had fallen in love with acting and being in the creative space. I have had a bit of a break since then so coming back into a space full of talent, passion and creativeness is really amazing.

What I am hoping to get out of this is to show case my passion for the arts and hopefully continue towards acting gigs. I am the oldest sibling and come from a multi cultural background. I grew up being a fruit salad that moved around a-lot of different schools growing up until I finally settled into high school which was at Rangitoto College. Never had I done acting at Rangi so to some people it was a shock when I did started to act and to others they knew it made sense. Would never be able to be where I am if it wasn’t for the support of my family, friends and partner.

Connor Magatogia

Kia Orana! Connor Magatogia is a 21-year-old Pasifika boy with a passion for the arts! Born and raised in a household of wāhine in east Auckland, his passions; whether jazz, D&D, or drama have always been well fostered ever since he was a wee lad.

He came into the grace of theatre-making after performing in school shows at Edgewater College and has since pursued it into tertiary study at UOA, where he currently is knee-deep in a Conjoint in Music and Drama. With his fourth and final year ahead of him, two shows already wrapped before uni starts and a long watchlist of movies begging to be watched, he intends that 2024 will be the best year yet.

After previously working with ATC on King Lear and The Trials/Future Tense in 2023, Connor is stoked to be part of the youth company for 2024! Huzzah!

Shanna Paese

Tālofa lava, mālō e lelei! My name is Shanna Paese. I’m a Sāmoan/Tongan actor, director and writer from the hearty South Auckland. I am in my final year at the University of Auckland studying a BA in Screen Production and Film, TV and Media Studies. Last year with ATC, I was part of the casts of Daddy Ubu and Future-tense. After performing in both shows, I knew that acting is definitely something I want to pursue in the long run. I love performing and getting the chance to make people feel, think or laugh. There’s something beautiful about being able to connect with people from all walks of life through stories.
This is my second year with ATC Youth Company and I am super excited to continue to make the most of what ATC has to offer, and to improve as a performer while working alongside my peers.

Roxie Pu

大家好!我是蒲奕含!Hello, I'm Roxie. I was born and raised in China. Currently, I'm pursuing my Master of Drama at the University of Auckland. Acting has been my passion since childhood, and it remains my lifelong dream. I had performed at the Edinburgh Art Festival and Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival. Then, I studied Acting for Film at the New York Film Academy before coming to Auckland.

I truly believe that acting is more real than life. I cherish every moment of being a storyteller, a listener, and a friend to both my fellow actors and the audience. I’m grateful to be a member of the ATC Youth Company and I’m excited about the journey ahead, eager to further develop myself and create memorable experiences.

Kalia Regan

Kia ora! I am a 22-year-old Filipino/Pākehā creative born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau.

I am a student in my final year at the University of Auckland studying a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Global Studies conjoint. My performance background started in choral music, in which I learnt the value of group performance and the community that comes from it, and spent most of my life performing solely in this area until I started pursuing theatre.

Since being a member of the 2023 Auckland Theatre Youth Company, my love for theatre has grown exponentially. I have learnt so much about myself as a creative and a performer, and my hunger to create and consume theatre has guided many of my choices and my path in life for the past year. The Youth Company provided me with experiences to taste a wide selection of different theatre works, and a creative and uplifting space in which I can develop and feed my own craft. I’m grateful to be back in the Youth Company again for 2024, and I can’t wait to grow further and strengthen my love for creating art and theatre alongside the Youth Company whānau.

Jorja Stevens

Jorja Stevens is an animation student at AUT, currently going into her second year. She’s been involved with various forms of theatre throughout her life, including stage plays, Theatresports, Sheilah Winn Shakespeare, and musical theatre, most recently joining AUT Performing Arts’ Executive Team as a graphic designer, and acting in a short film over the summer break.

Despite not studying theatre, she incorporates it into both her personal and creative work as often as she can, by focusing on character acting in her animation work and playing tabletop roleplay games in her spare time. She was born in New Zealand and is a proud member of both the rainbow and neurodivergent communities.

Leo Taylor

Leo is a recent graduate of Avondale College now studying Law at the University of Auckland.
From a young age, Leo loved performing arts, starting as a preschooler with Standouts weekend classes in an old church hall in Wellington, and performing in junior school plays.
Since moving to Auckland, Leo has been able to continue his exploration of a wide variety of performing arts. He enjoys playing bass and was a member of Avondales Jazz Quintet. He’s competed in Theatresports, performed in school musicals, coached junior students in drama, competed in Sheilah Winn Shakespeare, and co-directed in award winning mockumentary Iris by Iris.
These experiences have not only shaped his artistic identity but also fostered an appreciation for the creative process. Leo looks forward to continuing this journey by being a member of the ATC Youth Company for 2024.

Michele Sagarriga Visconti

Hi there! I'm Micky, an individual with a deep interest and passion for acting. I have participated in various activities in the world of theatre, starting from the Pop-up Globe Youth Theatre course in 2019, and then pursuing Drama and Media studies at the University of Auckland as my major.

Now, as I step into this exciting chapter at ATC Youth Company, I'm excited to learn more about acting and immerse myself fully in the world of theatre. Every moment, every scene, every line is an opportunity to grow, to learn, and to meet new people who share my same passion. I'm seeking inspiration to break the boundaries of my imagination, driven by curiosity and creativity, on this long road of learning. I act because when I do, I'm free to feel emotions without any limitations and to allow audiences to feel free to experience emotions. Thanks for joining me in the journey of emotions. 

Our Youth Company is proudly made possible by the generous Youth Company Supporters Group. A collective of private supporters have come together under the leadership of Peter Macky and Joan Vujcich to turbocharge Auckland Theatre Youth Company. The generosity of the Supporters Group means this programme can be delivered at no cost to the participants.