Nurturing the development of tomorrow’s performing arts practitioners and audiences.

Young and Hungry was started in 1994 by BATS Theatre as a Festival to provide young people, aged 15-25 years, with opportunities to gain hands-on theatre experience within a professional structure. The Young and Hungry Arts Trust (Y&H) was established three years later.

Y&H supports young and emerging creatives into the world of the performing arts. It might be sparking an interest in students, supporting young people to jump into theatre appreciation, going deep into the technical aspects of production or working with playwrights and young creatives to showcase their work.

We have been delivering great creative experiences for young people for over 24 years and understand our role in the sector, outlined in our Strategic Plan

Young & Hungry provides mentorship and development opportunities for young people in all facets of professional theatre, including: acting, playwriting, stage management, costumes, set design, lighting, sound design and publicity.

Our reach is both national and local. Young and emerging creatives can access Y&H once, or use us as a pathway to a career in the sector. We welcome beginners and those already in the performing arts sector. We also work closely with partners and others in the arts and education sectors to deliver an outstanding experience.

Many people who started out at Y&H have gone on to become accomplished practitioners – actors, playwrights, producers, designers, production technicians and film professionals.  Y&H alumni include Taika Waititi (Boy, Thor, Ragnarok); Jackie van Beek (The Breaker Upperers), Michelle Ang (Outrageous Fortune; Fear the Walking Dead); Kerryn Palmer (Director), Heather O’Carroll (BATS Theatre), Eleanor Bishop (Director), Cara Waretini (designer) and Brianne Kerr (Publicist).

Early Young and Hungry writers, including Gary Henderson, Hone Kouka, Jean Betts, Dave Armstrong, Jo Randerson, and David Geary, are now leaders within the New Zealand theatre industry. More recent writers who went through the development process of the Playwrights’ Initiative, such as Pip Hall, Eli Kent, Thomas Sainsbury, Sam Brooks, Uther Dean, Finn Teppett and Abby Howells, are established and respected in the theatre scene.