Our YPT Team
CO-ARTISTIC DIRECTOR &
THEATRE SCHOOL COORDINATOR (Secondary)
Leilani has been a member of Young People’s Theatre Newcastle Inc. since she enrolled in drama classes in 1999. She grew within the organisation taking roles on the stage and behind the scenes throughout her school years before becoming a parent volunteer for her younger sisters, a tutor and most recently a Theatre School Coordinator and Co-Artistic Director at the end of 2019. Leilani is a performer, director and designer for multiple companies in the Hunter area while also volunteering her time to many of the practical elements of behind the scenes work.
Leilani studied Drama, Music and Entertainment Industry Theatre at Hunter School of Performing Arts and has completed a variety of short courses in voice, storytelling, design and drama. In 2016 Leilani generated MRTAC, a youth theatre program based at Maitland Repertory Theatre which grew from a more casual drama group for children into a 100 capacity theatre school with high quality tutors and content.
Directing Experience: The Addams Family (Young @ Part): YPT (2021), Snow White: MRT (2019), Lost in Yonkers: MRT (2018), Peter Pan: MRT (2017), Blithe Spirit: MRT (2017), Cinderella: MRT (2016), Alice in Wonderland (and Back Again): MRT (2015), Miranda: MRT (2014), Grimm: NTC (2013), Twelfth Night: YPT (2012).
Playwright Experience: Grimm: NTC (2013)
Performing Experience: Christmas at Pemberley: NTC (2019), God of Carnage: MRT (2019), Gaslight: MRT (2015), The Butler Did It: MRT (2014), The Importance of Being Earnest: NTC (2013), over 20 roles as a young person at YPT and other companies in the Hunter.
Awards: At YPT, Leilani has received the Ray Brooks award. Leilani has also received a number of City of Newcastle Drama Association award nominations for acting, directing, costume design and set design. In 2012 Leilani received CONDA’s – Excellence by a non-professional director (Twelfth Night – YPT) and Best non-professional production (Twelfth Night – YPT).
Riley began drama classes at YPT in 2006 and never left, growing up to become a drama tutor, director and co-artistic director of the organisation. Riley is also the founder, president and artistic director of Bearfoot Theatre. Involved in many facets of the industry, they have worked as a writer, director, producer, designer, performer, photographer, production manager and marketing manager.
Riley studied Drama, Music and Entertainment Industry Theatre at Hunter School of Performing Arts. They hold a Diploma of Acting from the Regional Institute of Performing Arts and a Diploma of Musical Theatre from ATWEA College Creative Arts and Music. As a company leader, Riley has managed two touring productions including an interstate tour in 2019. Riley also runs a photography business (Bearfoot Photography).
Directing Experience: Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight? (2021), Picnic at Hanging Rock: YPT (2020), I Hope it’s Not Raining in London- interstate tour: Bearfoot (2019), Hermit Crabs and Meteors: Bearfoot (2019), I Hope it’s Not Raining in London: Bearfoot (2018), Take Me to Neverland: Bearfoot (2018), You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown: YPT (2017), RENT: Pantseat (2017), Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight?: Bearfoot (2017), Mulan Jnr: YPT (2016), Rumours of Polar Bears: Eclectic Productions (2016), Various Short Plays: Tantrum’s Hissyfest.
Playwright Experience: Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight? (Full length), Take Me to Neverland (Full length), Mental (Short Play), Life in Plastic (Cabaret), How to Depend on Theatre Without Nearly Dying (Cabaret).
Producing Experience: Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight? (2021), Playing Face (2019), SPECTRUM (2019), Hermit Crabs and Meteors (2019), I Hope it’s Not Raining in London- interstate tour (2019), DYPKYS the Musical Concert (2018), I Hope it’s Not Raining in London (2018), Take Me to Neverland (2018), Do Your Parents Know You’re Straight? (2017), Rumours of Polar Bears (2016), One Good Thing (2015)
Performing Experience: Over 40 local productions, the vast majority at YPT. Highlights include: Avenue Q: Pantseat (2016), Love Awkwardly: YPT (2015), One Good Thing: Eclectic (2015), Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat: YPT (2014), 13 the Musical: National Theatre Company (2013), The Wizard of Oz: YPT (2013), House on Fire: Tantrum (2013), Seussical: YPT (2012), Les Miserables: HSPA (2010).
Awards: At YPT, Riley has received both a Ray Brooks and an Arthur Boswell award. They have received 11 City of Newcastle Drama Association award nominations for writing, direction, set design, sound design and best production.
Theatre School Coordinator (Primary)
Claire is a qualified primary school teacher with a focus on the arts and has been involved with Young Peoples Theatre since 1991. She started out as a year 5 student and tutored classes as a young adult, before becoming the principal of the theatre school.
As the principal of the theatre school, Claire is striving to maintain the fantastic foundations that have been laid by those before her, as well as bringing new programs in to keep YPT a fresh and contemporary place. She stands by our motto: theatre for young people, by young people.
As well as acting and makeup design, Claire has also taken on other roles at the theatre such as front of house, canteen, choreography, backstage crew, stage manager, set painter and director.
Claire has definitely come a long way since the little girl running around on stage in a squirrel costume and she attributes this to everyone at YPT, her mentors, her colleagues, her students, her parents and her friends.
Chelsea has been training in the performing arts since age 4, when she took her first dance lesson and has gone out to have a career in the industry. Chelsea hold her Diploma of Arts (Acting) through the Regional Institute of Performing Arts, completed a 2-year full-time dance course through Newcastle Dance Academy and has an Associate Diploma of Performance (Musical Theatre) through Trinity College London. As well as being the Theatre Company Assistant and Senior Tutor at Young Peoples Theatre, Chelsea currently works as a performer for the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Chelsea’s performing highlights include playing ‘Kate’ in the theatre-in-education touring show Opening Doors produced by the Nib Foundation/ Tantrum Youth Arts, was ‘Sammy’ in the Peppa Pig Show Live, ‘Queen Miranda’ in the Sofia the First Storytime Live, performed in and was dance captain for the Metropolitan Players shows Mary Poppins and Wicked and most recently appeared in the cast of a Mystery Musical with The Very Popular Theatre Company. Chelsea is also a director/ choreographer most recently working on, CATS Abridged, Seussical KIDS, Little Women and The Addams Family.
Chelsea has taught dance, drama and musical theatre at several institutions around the hunter and has been involved with many theatre companies. Chelsea is a member of the City of Newcastle Drama Association Committee and has been a selected performer/ choreographer for the CONDA Award Ceremony for several years. She was also nominated for a CONDA for Costume Design for CATS Abridged. Chelsea was the Nib Foundation’s Inspiring Young Australian for the Newcastle Community and was featured in their Youth Week Campaign.
Chelsea is delighted to work as a part of YPT and thanks the students for the enthusiasm and willingness to learn that the bring to YPT.
Young People’s Theatre is an incorporated community organisation administered by a Management Committee elected by the Adult Members at the Annual General Meeting in March each year.
General Meetings are held at the Theatre. Parents/carers are encouraged to become Adult Members, to attend the meetings and to participate in running the organisation.
2020 YPT Management Committee
PRESIDENT Monica Skehan
VICE PRESIDENT Robyn McLean
SECRETARY Sarah Skehan Ryba
TREASURER Natalie Peattie
COMMITTEE MEMBER: Shoba Alexander and Matthew Hudson
CO-ARTISTIC DIRECTORS Leilani Boughton & Riley McLean
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR Chelsea Willis
THEATRE SCHOOL COORDINATOR (Primary) Claire Thomas
THEATRE SCHOOL COORDINATOR (Secondary) Leilani Boughton
FINANCE MANAGER Mark Heath
CLASS MAESTRO PROJECT MANAGER Katie Heath
Life Membership is awarded to adult members who have demonstrated outstanding service to the association.
Barbara DELANEY (d)
Mary Ann HILL
Lyris LEIS (d)
Jack NYMAN (d)
Robert (Bob) PRICE
Robyn THOMAS (d)
Young People’s Theatre has nurtured the careers of many young people, with many former students continuing to maintain a focus on the Arts and Entertainment Industry.
Former students have become performers on the stage and screen, and behind the scenes as teachers, directors and lighting and sound technicians.
Melvin JAMES RELF