Sarah began her acting career with roles in television productions including Pigs Breakfast (channel 9), Neighbours (Channel 10), Canal Road (Channel 9) and Blue Heelers (Channel 7). In 2010 she landed the role of “Bridget Gross” in the Channel 7 drama series “Winners and Losers” and has recently finished shooting the 5th season of the hit show. Sarah has studied at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting in LA and is a graduate of the 16th St Part Time Program. She was also lucky enough to work with renowned acting coach Susan Batson in her 2012 Master Class. As well as being an actor, Sarah is a qualified teacher, completing her Bachelor of Primary Education at Deakin University in 2007. Sarah is very passionate about the benefits of drama in Education and takes great joy in watching students at Grace Acting Studios grow and flourish. At home, she has recently planted her first vegie patch which she is super proud of. Feel free to pop into the office and give her some gardening advice anytime!
Sue Grace & Michelle Beattie - Administration
Sue (Left) is one half of our extraordinary admin team. Sue is a mum of three adult children (one of whom is Sarah!) She loves yoga and the gym and has recently taken up knitting. Having a kid who was always mad keen on acting means that she can offer parents first hand advice on what to expect when your child get's involved in the industry. Michelle (the other half of the amazing admin duo) also knows what it's like to be a parent of a child actor. She is teacher Alex's mum and Sarah's auntie (We are one big family here at Grace Acting Studios!). Michelle loves adventure. She recently went skydiving with her family for her birthday!
Luke Saliba - Senior Teacher
Luke Saliba is an Actor and Producer. Luke started training and working as an actor at the young age of 10 and continues to do so today with more passion then ever before, landing a number of roles in Television, Film and TVC’s. Luke not only brings a plethora of knowledge of the craft to the classroom, he also brings his onset experience from a Director, Producer and Casting Agent point of view.
Luke is a very passionate teacher who simply wants to bring his years of experience both in front and behind the camera to the students he teaches.
Hannah Charnock - Senior Teacher
Hannah Charnock is an Actor and post-graduate who's passion for acting began at the age of 10 when she started musical theatre. Since then she has focused on continuing to explore how actors use their personal experience to influence their characters. In the classroom, Hannah aims to create a fun and educating environment which promotes self confidence and encourages students to step out of their comfort zone.
Hannah further encourages her students to attempt a range of different ways to perform, often incorporating music, dance and singing into her class activities. She sets a strong focus on the power of improvisation, focus and imagination to help shape diverse young actors. When she's not in the classroom, Hannah is behind a computer screen taking care of all things digital and working on expansion of our brand.
Tara Vagg - Teacher
Tara is a graduate from the Arts Academy of Federation University, where she recently completed her degree in Acting. Returning to her hometown of Geelong upon graduating, she was recently seen playing 'Catherine' in Skin Of Our Teeth's production of The Long Shodow and has just completed shooting a teaser trailer for independent feature film The Fortunate. Tara is also a vocalist who holds a Grade 8 certificate in Modern Singing (ANZCA). She has performed as a vocalist for Motown/Soul band Sweethearts at many venues and festivals, including the Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland) and Porretta Soul Festival (Italy).
Jessica Leaming - Teacher
Jessica Leaming is an Actor and Model who has had a lot of experience in both theatre and film. By studying Primary Education and Middle Years Drama at Deakin University, Jessica strives to pass on her knowledge and experience to others.
Jessica was first introduced to the world of acting during her early primary school days in New Zealand, though it wasn't until her High School years in Australia that she actively pursued her dream of becoming an actor. By choosing to do drama at school, this allowed her to play many roles in various productions, win many theatre sports competitions, take on leadership roles including becoming her high schools School Captain and ultimately gave her the confidence and skills to strive for what she wants in life.
Jessica's passion is not only to entertain but to also help others pursue and achieve their dreams.
Brandon Burns - Teacher
Brandon is a professional performer, who has been gracing the stage and screen since the early age of 7. Some shows that you may remember seeing Brandon on are Neighbours, Blue Heelers, Rush, Australian Idol, Round the twist & Bed Of Roses to name a few. Brandon has starred in several feature films, including the award winning short film "Dugong" alongside fellow Grace Acting Studios teacher Luke Elliot. Brandon also starred in the feature short End Of Town with one of Australia's most up and coming directors Jules Avery.
Brandon is currently starring as the voice of Channel Nine's children's animation series Dogstar airing on Channel 9 Go. He has recently shot a feature film for Dogstar, performing alongside Shaun Micallef, Matt Tilley, Marg Downey & Michael Veitch. Brandon also plays the lead role of Holden on ABC2 and the BBC's children's series "The Flamin Thongs" alongside Denise Drysdale, Mark Mitchell and Kate McLennan.
Brandon currently performs in a Wedding Band on the weekends and works professionally as a corporate MC. He and his wife have just welcomed their 3rd child into the world! With 3 kids under 5 Brandon's use to a bit of mayhem so feels very at home here at the studio!
Mariah Mannae - Teacher
Mariah is an actor and writer who started out in the arts as a ballet dancer with The Australian Ballet School. She went on to do her academic at The Victorian College Of The Arts Secondary School where she discovered her passion for acting in drama classes. Since then she has devoted her time to training and working with industry professionals.
Most recently Mariah performed with the Eagles Nest Theatre Company as the lead role of Isabella in the Shakespeare play, "Measure for Measure". She is also currently filming her key supporting role in the new Saara Lamberg feature film "Westermarck Effect".
Mariah wants to inspire students to trust their instincts and build creative intelligence from their own journeys, giving them the confidence to understand, enjoy and embrace their individuality
Kirsty Reilly - Teacher
Kirsty Reilly has been working in the performing arts industry for 25 years both in contemporary dance and theatre. She is passionate about the relationship between the two and the importance of an actor having an awareness and mastery over their physicality, a finely tuned vehicle to reveal the inner life of character and the ability to transform in any way the character requires with ease of effort and specificity.
Kirsty has been a movement tutor/coach, both nationally and internationally including National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the Victorian College of the Arts, Queensland University of Technology, Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, and has conducted extensive workshops throughout Australia for theatre and screen actors.
Her technique is diverse and eclectic in helping an actor to find an honest body, authenticity, freedom and range and influences include: Stella Adler, Stanislavsky, Laban, Feldenkrais, Monica Pagneux, Pina Baush, Keith Bain, DV8 dance company, Theatre de Complicite and Paris Centre of Dance.
Kirsty is currently artistic associate and choreographer for Blink Dance/Theatre Company, teaches at 16th Street Actors Studio and is a consultant and yearly panel member for the NIDA auditions.
Luke Elliot - Teacher
Luke Elliot is a graduate of the Victorian collage of the arts in 1991 and for the last twenty five or so years has been actively involved in all areas of the entertainment industry. He has appeared in films in Australia, both features and shorts and been in many international and local award winning films. He has won best actor awards in film including best actor at the St Kilda and Melbourne film festivals. He has also worked as a dramaturge and script editor for film, most notably on the academy award winning film and animation “Harvey crumpet”. He regularly works with the film and television department of the Victorian college of the arts facilitating actor/ director workshops and at Courthouse Arts Geelong, as an acting teacher.
In theatre, Luke has worked with all of the major theatre companies including, M.T.C. Playbox/Malthouse Theatre ,Ranters , La mama, Theatre Works, Arena, Melbourne Workers Theatre, Red Stitch, Forty Five Down Stairs, Salamanca, and Hothouse Theatre, plus many more. He has toured internationally with the Ranters Theatre and all over Australia with various productions including his award winning self devised show’ In the Belly of the Whale”. Luke has been nominated on seven occasions for green room awards and is proud two have won best actor awards on three occasions.
Luke has appeared in over twenty different television productions and various telly movies, series and commercials, most notable with the ABC, he has also worked extensively in radio drama and voice over.
Nicole Freeman - Teacher / Tech
Nicole has been working professionally from the age of 7, perhaps most notably as Leanne Moochmoore in P.J. Hogan's feature film Mental, opposite Toni Collette, Rebecca Gibney and Anthony LaPaglia.
Nicole also had a key supporting role in the ABC telemovie Dangerous Remedy and has appeared in guest roles in Upper Middle Bogan (ABC),Offspring (Ten Network), Winners & Losers (Seven Network) and Bed of Roses (ABC), as well as several short films.
Jayden L. Course - Assistant Teacher / Tech
Acting is my passion and Grace Acting Studios, has made it possible for me to become an actor. It is a joy to work at the studio with co-workers I consider as friends. It's inspiring working with all the eager students who are passionate to become actors. To watch the very shy and quiet students be transformed and step out of their comfort zone is so rewarding . I was once one of those shy kids who couldn't say a word to a stranger. Grace Acting Studios helped me with my self esteem and confidence to become the actor and the person that I am today.
Kelly Dolen - Teacher
Kelly Dolen is an award-winning filmmaker and director with over 20 years experience in the industry. He has worked on many projects throughout his career as a writer, producer and director across various mediums that include; music videos, short films, documentaries, and three feature films that have received worldwide release. Forming his own production company, Rapidfire Entertainment, Kel’s latest feature, ‘John Doe: Vigilante’, opened to high critical acclaim in the US in early 2014 and left many stirring reviews in its wake. His previous feature, ‘The Gates of Hell’, won international critical acclaim, premiering at the prestigious Screamfest Horror Film Festival in Graumans Chinese Theatre, and furthermore opened several other horror film festivals around the world. His first independent feature film also made over $10 million dollars, selling in over 30 territories globally.
With mentors such as Fred Schepisi, Nadia Tass, David Parker and Michael Rymer all helping to shape his career, Kelly Dolen has much to offer any students who wish to push their career to a professional level.
Alex Beattie - Tech
Alex Beattie has been working with Grace Acting Studios for 4 years now. He has been learning and evolving his acting for since he was 7 years old. Acting in only a few minor roles acting didn't feel like he was doing enough for the production. So for the past two years he has been learning the skills to working with the camera and directing styles. Alex has recently finished a bachelors of film and television in South Melbourne and working on multiple projects for tv and short film contests such as Seven west and other untitled productions.
Jesse Nathaniel Leaman - Teacher / Film Making
Jesse Leaman is an Australian Writer/Director with a focus on both Film and Theatre.
His recent work 'Lorne', staring Guy Pearce has been screened world wide at festivals such as 'Palm Springs International ShortFest' and 'ECU - European Independent Film Festival'
Jesse and writer Taylor Adams are in the early stages of developing their first Feature Film.
Adelle Mamone - Assistant Teacher / Tech
Acting has always been my passion. Since I was a little girl, I always knew acting was what I wanted to do with my life. Grace Acting Studios is my safe place. Here I don’t have to be me, I can be who ever I want to be with no rules. Working at the studio has made me more confident inside and out acting at the studio, has removed me from my shell and got me out of my comfort zone. Grace Acting Studios is the place where I have met most of my closest friends, who are still here with me today . Grace Acting Studios has chance my life in the best way possible, and I am so honoured to be a member of the teaching team.
Shani Clarke - Teacher
Shani discovered her love for acting from a very young age, she started dancing from the age of three training in all different styles and continued to do so competitively for years, after getting into acting and dancing, she trained in both classical and modern singing thus sparking her passion for musical theatre. shani was lucky enough to be selected out of hundreds of people to be one of fifteen performers in Joining the Chorus, a company which runs the state school spectaculars, and performing at government functions and opening many ceremonies as a solo vocalist.
Shani has been performing in shows with lead roles and supporting, being nominated for a guild award in the possess. In addition to performing on the stage in plays as well as musical theatre, Shani also performs in numerous bands and duo acts giging around Geelong and Melbourne. This is coming up eight years at the studio, and she loves it! Shani loves to work hard and is always up for a challenge, she is a strong believer in "you can achieve anything if you work hard!"
Jordan Dunse - Assistant Teacher / Tech
Jordan Dunse is an Actor who has been learning at Grace Acting Studios for the past 10 years. He originally started acting as a way to boost his confidence but now it’s a major part of his life. Jordan was one of the first kids to start at the studio as a student back in 2006. He has a second job as a lifeguard for Adventure Park which he has been doing for 4 years. Over the years he has starred in quite a few little roles as well as big ones from Wentworth to Coxy’s Big Break. Recently Jordan has starred in a short film called ‘Kane’ and appeared in a television commercial for Club Mix Rewards.
As a fairly new member to the team he is looking to improve any way he can. Jordan recently written and directed his first short film titled 'Evade'. He is very passionate about Beach Volleyball in which he partakes Mondays and Wednesdays and always wants to have a laugh. Jordan was the winner of the 2007 Most Improved award and 2013 Almost Famous Award.
Jordan wants the students to be engaged with their acting and realise their full potential.