Madeline Sami and Joel Tobeck are among the familiar faces linked to an exclusive new actors' school.

Sara Wiseman, star of Shortland Street, Mercy Peak and Outrageous Fortune, is among the leaders of The Actors Program. She said the year-long course aimed at aspiring stars of stage and screen would feature different modules taught by industry experts.

Sami, known for her medley of outlandish characters in Super City, ranging from a homeless cretin to a closet lesbian gym instructor, is expected to teach character development. Tobeck will teach a script and character analysis module.

Wiseman said the Auckland school was based on a home-grown model that emerged from an actors' brainstorming session in April 2010.


"We all had a feeling that there was a gap in the market with regard to developing a one-year fulltime programme," she said.

Working with other stage and screen veterans, Wiseman said their vision was to create a place where students could be free from unwieldy theory.

"We wanted to create something that was separate from NZQA. Our course is 100 per cent practical."

The actors also wanted to limit student numbers - only 14 people are admitted each year. Wiseman said higher class numbers would dilute the focus and intensity.

Aspiring stars at the programme must also be at least 20 years old to enrol. "We wanted our actors to have a little more life experience behind them," she said.

"The people who are there are there for a reason. They've put their hard-earned cash into it themselves, but at least they don't come out with a big student loan debt."

It costs $11,900 plus GST to attend.