Igniting creativity and memory through poetry

  • Programmes
  • Training
  • Speaking

watch coverage on tvnz of the Auckland Arts Fringe Festival

Active Arts – winner of the Outstanding Community Engagement Award, for Auckland Fringe 2018.

Who we are

Nina and Fiona are passionate about giving back to their local community. Both have elderly friends, mentors and relatives and appreciate the impact sharing poetry, literature and prose has with this age group.

Nina Burchett

Nina is a highly regarded New Zealand actor and the founder of Shine Speech & Drama. She has worked in theatre, television, film and as a teacher around the world. Through her teaching, she loves helping people to believe in themselves and be the best they can be.

After graduating from Toi Whakaari The New Zealand Drama School, Nina’s performance career highlights to date have included being nominated for New Zealand’s Most Promising Actress Award for her portrayal of May in Sam Shepard’s Fool For Love. Nina recently played Gertrude Hillary in the Ed Hillary drama series.

Fiona Mogridge

Fiona is an organisational development specialist, an actor and performing arts educator. In all her work she is passionate about how the performing arts can help build confidence and communication skills. Fiona’s performance career highlights include winning the Fisher and Paykel best actress award, roles in TV dramas; Duggan, Plain Clothes, Street Legal and Shortland Street, feature film roles and more recently theatre in the award-winning play Seed at the Basement Theatre.

With Active Arts, Fiona works in the aged care market, igniting participation, interest and engagement from a senior group of attendees through the sharing of performing arts and poetry.

Elisabeth Easther

Elisabeth is a writer, broadcaster, actor and publicist who works for magazines, newspapers, radio and television. Aiming to create compelling stories for the widest possible audience, Elisabeth focuses on travel, the arts, culture, books, our natural world and people. She is also an award-winning playwright who’s also been seen on screens fronting the popular television series Islands of the Gulf.

Gillian Baxter

Gillian has worked in the film and television industry for over 30 years. Starting in television production in both New Zealand and Australia she then took the plunge and studied drama full time at Auckland Performing Arts. Highlights in Gillian’s acting career include TV dramas; Shortland Street, Mercy Peak, Plainclothes and Street Legal and she has featured in many television and radio commercials over her career. 

Gillian has always found it most rewarding sharing her passion for joy and positivity with all ages.  Whether it was working as a fully qualified Kindercare teacher to more recently sharing laughter and memories with senior groups in aged care facilities.

What we do

Poetry Programmes

Nina and Fiona have been delivering poetry sharing sessions in aged care homes since 2015. 
The interactive sessions they run are very well received, both by staff and attendees.  Each month they created a theme for the poetry that they share and performed, encouraging discussion, participation and involvement.  

“Wonderful. This has been really wonderful for me. We don’t have anything else like it”
“Please continue and keep coming. We want more. More poetry, more."

Training for diversional therapists and coordinators in the art of facilitation using poetry
Supporting diversional therapists and coordinators to use poetry sharing technique and group facilitation have been successful ways to engage with people in aged care homes.
Fiona and Nina have run training sessions for practitioners across Auckland homes.

“Too often in life we rush to 'fill the gaps' as if reflection is wrong. The skilled way in which this and many anomolies regarding poetry were addressed in this wonderful training session was outstanding. It was an informative and fun session that demistifyed the fear of poetry. Personally,I will carry this heightened awareness back to my residents”
Karina Hyde
Diversional therapist Selwyn Village


Public Speaking engagements

Nina and Fiona are available to speak at your event, conference or deliver an interactive workshop.  Both speakers are experienced performers and able to confidently speak on any topic or MC events.

  • Conference key note/workshops
  • Onsite staff training

For any inquiries please email