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Artistic Director

DPedro Ilgenfritz

B.ED Theatre, MA Theatre Direction, PhD 

Pedro is a theatre and performance scholar, teacher, administrator and practitioner with national and international experience working across various creative, educational, and research contexts. Originally from Brazil, he migrated to Aotearoa, New Zealand, in 2000. His expertise is grounded in investigating approaches to acting training and theatre directing towards introducing young performers to professional careers. 


He worked as a senior lecturer in acting at the Unitec Performing and Screen Arts Department in Auckland, New Zealand, for 18 years before assuming the role of artistic director of Hagley Theatre Company in 2024. He is a trained teacher with a Bachelor's degree in theatre from Universidade do Estado de Santa Catarina - UDESC in Florianopólis, Brazil; a master's degree in theatre direction from Toi Whakaari/New Zealand Drama School and Te Herenga Waka /Victoria University of Wellington in 2005; and completed his PhD at Waipapa Taumata Rau/University of Auckland in 2023. His thesis investigates the genealogy of Jacques Lecoq's theatre pedagogy in Aotearoa, New Zealand. 


He began his theatre career as an actor with the acclaimed Grupo de Pesquisa Teatral Atormenta in Brazil in 1992 under the tutelage of theatre director Geraldo Cunha. He is an established theatre maker and director in Aotearoa New Zealand. His main theatre productions are The Spot (2005), Harmonious Oddity (2008), Alfonsina (2009), One By One (2011), Comic Interludes: The Romance of Flavio and Isabella (2013), 2063 (2015), 

Leilani (2016) and Tea For Two (2023). 


Voice, Viewpoints, Physical Theatre

Rachael Schönberger

BHSc/ NZRN/ PGDip Sports Medicine/ Dip Contemporary Music/ GradDip Teaching and Learning

Rachael is a Voice Practitioner, Singer and Songwriter who has performed in Christchurch since the early 2000's and has been involved in all levels of voice and music education. With a Health Science background, Rachael has a long working experience with a wide range of clients in voice therapy and voice development with particular expertise in working with performers and other professional voice users. She guides our students through Voice development and Slam Poetry project work.


Previously Rachael ran her own business consulting in Sports Nutrition and Exercise Prescription, and has written and taught a specialist course for the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic. She has trained and competed in various disciplines from Ceroc Dancing, a free-form Street Latin dance style, to Seido Karate, and her interest in the art of performance was a natural progression to Physical Theatre, in which Rachael directs various projects each year.

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Brendon Bennetts

BA English, Grad. Dip . Education

Brendon joined our staff in 2015 and teaches scriptwriting to both year levels.


He has written several plays for young audiences including Little Red Riding Hood (Court Theatre, Fortune Theatre, Centrepoint Theatre) and Shakespeare: As You Write It (for New Zealand Playhouse). Stag Weekend, Brendon's full length play co-written with Dan Bain was performed at the Court Theatre in 2014 and Centrepoint in 2016.


Brendon is responsible for guiding our students towards completing a number of projects, notably the Hagley Bytes One Minute Play Festival.

Brendon is also an experienced improvisor and has been performing with the Court Jesters (Scared Scriptless) for almost 20 years. He was part of victorious teams in the 2019 NZ Theatresports National Championships and the 2022 Theatresports Grand Championships in Brisbane.



Naressa Gamble

BPSA, Contemporary Dance/GradDip Teaching in Secondary/Contemporary Yoga Teacher Training 200-hr

In January 2019 Naressa completed a 200hr Contemporary yoga teacher training certification in Auckland and has been teaching ever since. 


Naressa’s yoga journey started in Florida, USA in 2000, she trained in Ashtanga and Iyenga styles with Felicity Molloy (Limbs Dance Company) and other tutors while at UNITEC.  While on her travels in Canada she trained with the I Am Yoga studio in Sicamous, CA. 

Naressa is continually training and upskilling her Yoga knowledge, participating in various workshops, retreats and classes. In 2020 she completed a 13 hour intensive with Donna Farhi on, ‘Yoga for Lower Back ​Health: Keys to Sacroiliac Stability and Ease of Movement’.  Naressa is an inclusive teacher who is passionate about sharing her knowledge.


Film & Television

Richard Bell


Richard has owned film production companies in London, Los Angeles and New Zealand. 
He has produced hundreds of music videos and commercials, all over the world, as well as short films, features and many live productions.
Richard emigrated to New Zealand over 20 years ago and now runs his production company Shuriken, through which he has directed award-winning short films and music videos, as well as numerous TV commercials.
Richard works with our students on acting for screen and also teaches directing and working with actors at the New Zealand Broadcasting School at Ara Institute of Canterbury.

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Fleur De Thier

Fleur has been working professionally in the dance industry for the last 32 years. She trained for three years full time at Auckland Performing Arts School (now Unitec) graduating in 1991.  Fleur worked as a freelance dancer in Auckland before returning to base herself in Christchurch in 1993.

Fleur is an established New Zealand choreographer and has had works featured nationally in Arts Festivals throughout the last decade.  Fleur is known for her diversity and connections with many different companies Including  Jolt Dance Theatre, Rebound, Southern Lights Dance Company ,Unitec ,Footnote and Hagley Dance Company. 

Fleur has most recently been exploring collaborations with visual artists presenting works with sculptor Robyn Webster  and Puppet Maker Simon van den Sluijs.


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I am really grateful for my training at Hagley Theatre Company. It provided me with an incredible base to begin further training and acting with the industry.

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HTC alumni (2009)


Hagley Theatre Company is a self-contained, independent training and performance programme attached to Hagley College in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand. In 2023, the Company celebrated 35 years of providing expert, hands-on tuition and contemporary performance experiences to young people from all over the country. To apply for our 2025 intake, please submit our application form.

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