Meet the 2023 Youth Company

Kais Azimullah

Stage and screen are my second home. With a background in musical theatre and film, I return to Auckland Theatre Company after previously having performed in Leki Jackson Bourke's The Gangster's Paradise in 2019. I have been performing for as long as I can remember. I strive for the Youth Company to assist me in building further fundamentals into what encompasses a performer. I feel privileged to have the ATC whānau and Indian Ink Theatre Company among other creatives in Tāmaki Makaurau building momentum for next year. I am immensely proud to be an Fijian-Indian creative of Aotearoa.

Chloe Bettina

Kia ora, I’m Chloe! I’m an artist, actor, director, and stage manager. I was born in Cebu, Philippines, but my family moved to Tāmaki Makaurau when I was one. I grew up here doing musical theatre, ballet, choir, and also played saxophone in the school band - all of which fuelled my passion for performing. While studying for my Bachelor of Arts in Screen Production and Drama, I continued to involve myself with more theatre and arts outside of my studies. I worked with Stray Theatre Company, Massive Company, Proudly Asian Theatre, and Seed Theatre Company. In 2018, I worked backstage at Auckland Theatre Company’s Here & Now Festival for which I performed in the following year's production of Watch Party, a collaboration with Binge Culture Collective. Brace yourselves because I’m about to take over the whole Auckland theatre scene.

Zoe Courtney

I grew up in the muddy paddocks of rural Aotearoa, but I always knew I wanted a career in arts - telling people's stories. I love writing, photography, and drawing but l fell in love with acting when I realised the power and sense of importance you can give to someone when they see themselves represented on stage. I am very excited to be here in Tāmaki Makaurau collaborating with the creative artists at Auckland Theatre Company and developing my skills as an actor and as a storyteller.

Brandon Cudby

I have a real love and respect for art in all forms. I am fascinated by the power art has to make us feel and think. I have moved around a lot and grown up in different countries. I was born in Australia. Then, as a young boy we moved to Scotland. I spent most of my childhood there until 2013 when we moved to New Zealand. This was where I spent most of my high-school years. Growing up I was always astounded by how different life can be all over the world. My upbringing has been a blend of different environments and I believe this has had a large impact on who I am today. I feel this has given me a deep appreciation for the different aspects of culture and people. I look forward to the valuable experiences and opportunities to create art there will be with the Youth Company.

Chinmaya Dixit

Kia ora! My name is Chinmaya and I'm a 23-year-old Indian-Kiwi engineer and wannabe creative based in Tāmaki Makaurau. I enjoyed acting, writing, and directing during high school and uni and I'm grateful to be developing my craft further with the Youth Company. It's been a lot of fun diving into the thick of it. Stay tuned for what we create together over 2023!

Sahil Goyal

Kia ora whānau! My name is Sahil Goyal. I have immense love for films, storytelling and entertainment since the time I can remember. I am 18 years old and have just graduated from high school in 2022. Although I come from a conservative Indian family where education and a stable income is given utmost importance, my father has always encouraged me in whatever endeavour I choose to take part in. The ATC Youth Company has served me as a stepping stone towards my life-long dream of becoming the biggest movie star in the world. It’s a daunting goal but I think that’s what’ll make the journey more enjoyable. I can’t wait to see where this year with Auckland Theatre Company, and the other amazing other performers who are part of it, will take me.

Luuk Heijnen

Hello, I’m Luuk, I grew up in the Netherlands and I arrived in New Zealand just before COVID-19 hit. I was part of the 2022 Youth Company and other previous Auckland Theatre Company youth projects. I have always shown an interest in the technical side of theatre, especially sound and lighting, and I am looking forward to help with the design for the Youth Company shows this year.

Erin McCarthy

My name is Erin McCarthy. I'm a 21 year old graduate of theatre and film, Te Herenga Waka (Victoria University of Wellington). Performance has always been a way to expose myself to different perspectives and offer insight to the diverse world we live in.
My interests and experience include acting, directing, stage management and intimacy coordination. I would love to be part of the change that is happening industry-wide in making the mental and physical well being of performers a priority.
I’m super excited to be part of the ATC Youth Company to expand my knowledge and experience, and to be surrounded by likeminded individuals. This opportunity will be a great way to gain new perspectives and be inspired by others, learning from the diverse experiences and talents that everyone has to offer.

Hazel Oh

Kia ora and 안녕하세요, my name is Hazel Oh. My background is in theatre, movement and pansori.

My journey with Auckland Theatre Company started with the Here & Now Festival in 2021. I was one of the cast members of Fleshies 2.0. It was not only an unforgettable experience but also very healing for my inner starved theatre kid. Last year, I was working in finance and was attending acting classes when someone asked if this was a hobby for me. I knew in that moment that I didn't want acting to be just a hobby but something I actually want to pursue in life. I want to grow as an actor and as a performer this year. I'm ready to soak up everything Auckland Theatre Company offers us!

Shanna Paese

Tālofa lava, Mālō e lelei! My name is Shanna Paese. I am a Samoan/Tongan artist from South Auckland. Acting, filmmaking, singing (alone in my room), and writing are areas of the arts I love. This year I look forward to growing as an artist alongside my Youth Company whānau; to take risks, to make memories, and to collaborate in a curious and encouraging space. I am very grateful for this opportunity and it is vital that I make the most of it! I hope to inspire young Pacific artists to accept what they gravitate towards in the arts, and to not feel discouraged while giving it a go. You’ve got this uso!

Megan Pochin

I'm a 19 year old University student who is passionate about theatre. Before living in Auckland, I lived in Nelson where I was a part of the Nelson Youth Theatre for six years and participated in many productions. In addition to this, I attended drama classes outside of school for many years. I am grateful to be apart of the Auckland Theatre Youth Company and have this opportunity to further develop my performance skills.

Nikolai Puharich

My name is Nikolai Puharich. I am a 22 year old actor, writer, director of Māori and Croatian descent and a film graduate from Massey University based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Growing up, the creative arts provided me with a means to express myself and explore the world around me. Storytelling, acting, creating characters and using my imagination helps to create purpose and meaning in my life. I am passionate about the horror genre and everything that encompasses the words ‘dark’ and ‘disturbing’.

This is my second year with the ATC Youth Company and I am really excited to keep the ball rolling, to learn and soak up as much knowledge as I can; to explore more about my relationship with theatre, and to try out different ways and techniques of approaching acting.

Kalia Regan

Kia ora! I am a 21-year-old Filipino/Pākehā creative born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau. I am a student at the University of Auckland studying a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Global Studies conjoint. I have always had a love for theatre, but only recently started seriously pursuing it when I enrolled in university. I have a background in choral music and I cherish the feeling of community that comes from group performances. I often gravitate towards theatre works that combine both musical and theatrical elements. I love how theatre can transport you to other worlds and I am deeply interested in how it can help change and shape perspectives within society. I bring with me to Auckland Theatre Company a strong enthusiasm for collaboration and performing, and an eagerness to grow and create in this space with a warm and welcoming community of passionate and like-minded people.

Te Ohorere Williams

Kia ora! Ko Te Ohorere tōku ingoa. I am a proud descendant of Ngāiterangi, Waitaha, Ngāti Pukenga, Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Kahungunu and am a Masters student studying classical performance at the University of Auckland. Recently, I performed as a soloist with various orchestras and groups, including the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, St Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Music New Zealand, and the New Zealand Opera Freemasons Chorus. I love to perform and be a storyteller in all different mediums, and am now working to pursue further study and a career in performance internationally. To develop my storytelling on stage, I auditioned for the ATC Youth Company to help further my stagecraft, performance and acting skills. I am extremely excited for this year, especially to learn and work with likeminded actors and create wonderful stories.

Luka Wolfgram

Kia ora kō Luka Te Ngere Wolfgram ahau! I’m 19 years old and I am a Serbian/Māori aspiring artist born and raised in South Auckland. I’ve been an avid lover of performing, acting, movies and pop culture since I was very young. My love for these things fostered into writing and directing short films as a young teen and, as I got older, acting on screen and in theatre. I currently study law at the University of Auckland. I hope to develop my skills in acting and creating theatre work with Auckland Theatre Company and I am extremely grateful for the opportunities companies like this give a young artist like myself, who would otherwise be pessimistic about the idea of having a career in Aotearoa.

Zane Samuel Wood

Kia ora! My name is Zane Samuel Wood (He/Him) and I am a part of the ATC Youth Company 2023! I am honoured to be a part of this talented group and am looking forward to the exciting year ahead! Growing up, I bounced around amateur theatres and fell in love with the art form (with encouragement from my fantastic grandmother). Recently, I co-founded a new performance art company; LOST PROPERTY. I also made my debut as a playwright with Seed Theatre Company.

When I saw the call for the 2023 Youth Company, my mind went back to the first Auckland Theatre Company production I ever saw - Amadeus. I remember a stage built entirely upon pages of paper, and to this day, the revised version of Rock Me Amadeus that played is still stuck in my head. I am super excited to develop further as an artist alongside my peers in the Youth Company.

Keltie-Kewan Young

Howzit! I'm Keltie-Kewan, but please, call me Keltie. I'm a creative from Te Papa-i-Oea but live in Tāmaki Makaurau. I'm studying at University Of Auckland for a conjoint Bachelor of Law & Arts, but theatre is one of my main passions - and it can help in the Law world! I started in the arts with singing but quickly realised acting was a connecting aspect I found really awesome and that's where I began my theatre journey. I bring natural emotion and fluidity-knowledge into stage pieces through my musicianship, but I would like to better understand directing, placement and nuances.