Iona Youngs is having a break from the big smoke of Auckland and is back in her hometown of Geraldine and sharing her love of drama and performance.
She has set up her own drama studio and is giving classes at the Pleasant Valley Hall to young aspiring actors aged between eight and 16.
Iona did her schooling in Geraldine and after attending an intensive weekend at a drama school in Wellington in her final year of high school decided to pursue a career in acting.
She studied for a Bachelor’s degree in performance and screen arts at Unitec in Auckland and graduated in 2018.
After graduating she looked for any opportunity to get involved with the film and TV industry and started on a web series for The Spinoff, which then led to a casting assistant role.
“We were auditioning a lot of children for a local film and that gave me the interest of working with children within the industry.”
Alongside her casting work Iona also picked up work as a junior producer for the company Swish.
She has also been involved in the Netflix series SweetTooth and has enjoyed her first taste of the assistant director path.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with companies such as the BBC, Acorn TV, and TVNZ, all in various roles, including as an on-set production assistant and 3rd assistant director.”
She has also continued to attend acting classes and attended auditions for various projects.
Unfortunately covid lockdowns in Auckland have stalled her progress in the industry in recent months.
“During the last lockdown the project I was working on for the BBC was halted and had continuous push backs as we could not film. After 10 weeks in lockdown I decided to come back home to Geraldine and to work on a dairy farm for a while until the opportunity for more work comes back up.”
Iona said it had always been her goal to create a drama classes for children and teenagers and she had taken the plunge by setting up the Name in Lights Drama Studio.
“There was nothing like that when I was growing up in Geraldine, and it is something that I would have loved to have done as a child,” she said.
Iona offers both forms of acting, stage and screen, and is creating a twisted fairytale reconstruction of Little Red Riding Hood with her eight to 11 year olds, which will be presented to parents at the end of term.
Her teens class is working on camera work and learning how to generate natural emotion, reaction, and impulse on screen.
“Giving the opportunity for kids, and especially teenagers, to be creative and in a climate where they won’t be judged for doing something silly or expressing their creativeness is so special and unique.
“It also proves to kids that there are opportunities to follow a career in the arts and that they should not be put off by anyone.”
Iona will start a new six week term of drama classes for tweens, teens and young adults from May 3 and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
-By Mick jensen