Shyla Kelly

Managing Director / lead drama teacher

Shyla has been in the youth development field for the past decade, working as a drama teacher, group facilitator, youth development worker, youth mentor and phone counsellor with organisations including Youthline, Action Education and Camp Quality. Shyla has trained with the Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand Psychodrama Association and holds a BA in Psychology and Anthropology from the University of Auckland. Shyla has extensive experience teaching and working with young people, and many years of teaching and group facilitation experience with a focus on experiential learning using the creative arts, drama and improvisation. Shyla developed and launched the Initialize NZ programme in 2018 in affiliation with Youthline.

I love that improvisation allows us to break free from the pressure to “get it right”, fostering creative freedom and a sense of playfulness and openness. Another aspect of improvisation that really speaks to me is the connection that arises between people when an improvised piece is being created. Improvisation requires us to be attentive and responsive to the ideas and feelings of others as they arise, building a sense of trust and shared understanding.

The idea for developing a drama-based youth development programme stemmed from a desire to combine of my love of drama and creative expression with my experience of how powerful and enriching group work and youth development projects can be. These combined passions have eventuated in Initialize, a place where we don’t teach drama — we let drama teach us.

Shyla facilitating a class brainstorm about boundaries in Term 1, 2019 at our Onehunga venue.

Shyla facilitating a class brainstorm about boundaries in Term 1, 2019 at our Onehunga venue.