This week the 2021 Creative Leaders Programme begins at Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre, led by Daniel Betty. Creative Leaders is part of Toitoi’s programme of engagement with the wider community in fostering arts and culture. 

The year-long free programme helps Hawke’s Bay youth become involved with the arts in practice by creating opportunities for work experience and mentoring, performance-based opportunities and access to live performances. 

Who are the Creative leaders?

Creative Leaders are from across Hawke’s Bay, aged 15 to 25. All applicants audition as part of the selection process, with about 40 students confirmed to take part this year. A Toitoi Creative Leader is someone who is interested in the performing arts industry or pursuing a career in the arts, performing in general and who wants to develop awareness of creative industries.

While the 2021 intake has been selected and is about to start their Creative Leader experience, it is a yearly programme and local youth are encouraged to apply in March each year.

What will they do?

Work experience is a key part of the programme. Across term 2 and 3, Creative Leaders gain work experience at Toitoi events, giving them insight into how a live venue operates, customer service, ushering, packing in an event and packing out. Opportunities are provided across the year to build their confidence, giving them important real life experience to begin their arts careers.

Another key part of the Creative Leaders experience is the opportunity to see professional shows. Toitoi recognises that to grow as an artist you need to see and absorb live performing arts experiences, in a range of genres. A wide range of shows are identified throughout the year, which the students will attend for free. This also creates opportunities for those being mentored to discuss works of interest and to broaden their perspectives. There are also opportunities to meet the artists, giving Creative Leaders an insight into the industry and how this artist has built their career. 

Toitoi has partnered with the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival to deliver a series of weekly Creative Leaders workshops with industry professionals in the second half of the year. The students will have a number of performance opportunities, where they can audition to present work or create work with local partnering organisations, including Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival, Fringe in the ‘Stings and Indelible.

Through Creative Leaders, students can also obtain specific NZQA-accredited unit standards or NCEA credits. Toitoi has partnered with Te Wānanga Whare Tapere o Takitimu to deliver this Gateway programme and works with students and their schools to tailor specific offerings to suit their needs. 

Some Creative Leaders will also be mentored by local professional practitioners to support their development and explore performance-based opportunities. 

To learn more contact Daniel Betty on or call 027 263 7694.

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