jeff szusterman

AYA Director and Teacher

Jeff is a professional actor, director, and teacher both in New Zealand and the United States.

Originally a Wellingtonian, after graduating Toi Whakaari o Aotearoa he acted to critical and popular acclaim on the professional stages there. Credits include: Tzigane, The Visit, Duck Variations, Taking Sides, Pains of Youth, An Unseasonable Fall of Snow.

He continued his training with Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, MA, and then lived and worked in Portland, OR, where he won a 2000 Portland Drama Critics’ Best Actor award for his performance as the war poet Wilfred Owen in Not About Heroes. In Portland, he acted with - among others - Portland Center Stage, Oregon Children’s Theater, Cygnet Theater, The Haven Project, and the JAWWest Playwrights’ Festival.

Upon moving to Auckland in 2004, he began acting and directing for the Silo theatre (Tape, Suddenly, Last Summer, This Is How It Goes, and Take Me Out) and has been part of workshops for the Auckland Theatre Company (most recently Drinking Games, the 2009-2011 Summer Schools, and ran ATCs directing workshop at Kings’ College), as well as teaching workshops at the Sheila Winn Shakespeare-in-Schools Festival, and running youth theatre summer camps in the Christchurch area. He was also a cast member of the Basement Theatre’s hugely successful Christmas shows Christ Almighty and Toys.

Film and television credits include The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe, The Jaquie Brown Diaries, Power Rangers, Legend of the Seeker, Interrogation and Doves of War.

As a theatre director, credits include: My First Time, Mojo, A History of the American Film, The Hospital at the Time of the Revolution, The Water Engine among others. As a television director, credits include: Shortland Street, Cycles 2 & 3 of New Zealand’s Next Top Model, and Series 1 of Neighbourhood, as well as commercials.