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 was a series regular for the entire 5 seasons of the 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 is mummy to her sons Jack and Leo, which means she is an expert at playing trucks, play dough and getting a toddler to eat veggies among other things:)
Melissa and Sarah met as teenagers in acting classes and have been friends ever since! Melissa is a very talented actress who has had roles in television productions including Blue Heelers, Tripping Over and Rush. She has worked for many years in customer service outside of the industry she loves the most and is thrilled to be now working at the studio, supporting students as they pursue their passion for acting. Outside of work Mel is a mum to toddler Billy and step mum to Olly. She is also an animal loving vegan.
Wendy Calvert - Administration
Wendy’s first introduction to acting began with her daughter Brooke as an 18-year-old busily developing her acting skills in Drama School. Brooke became a regular in Neighbours from 1994-1995, and then went on to pursue a successful career in Casting. She is the founder of Geelong Extras Casting and one of our teachers!
Between driving Brooke to sets and helping with her scripts, Wendy’s career involved being a Personal Marketing Assistant for a large oil company, who also staged and hosted local and international functions and presentation evenings. Having a diverse career since then, Wendy and her husband went on to become successful business owners and entrepreneurs who are still busy at work and who love travelling and enjoying time with their seven grandchildren whenever they can.
A natural communicator, who brings us a diverse range of experience together with a sense of warmth and humour, Wendy loves getting to know and supporting our students, families and teachers – and being actively involved in all the excitement and fun.
Luke Saliba - Teacher / Industry Mentor
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 than 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 an Actor, Writer and Producer point of view.
In 2018 Luke had the privilege to train with internationally renowned acting coach Larry Moss (acting coach to Leonardo Di Caprio).
In 2019 Luke wrote and produced feature film 'Paper Champions' which was released in cinemas in 2020
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.
Laura Jane Turner is an award winning Actor, Director and Producer with more than ten years experience in screen and stage. A First Class Honours Acting graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts (2013) and a First Class Honours Film graduate from SAE Creative Media Institute (2020), Laura Jane (or LJ) has toured internationally and throughout Victoria as a creative practitioner.
In addition to walking the red carpet with industry veterans in New York and attending exclusive, invitation-only mentoring sessions with industry leading Directors and Producers, LJ is the 2022 recipient of the Atlantic Acting School Scholarship presented in partnership with the Equity Foundation.
Committed to creating more opportunities for gender diverse and historically underrepresented people both in front of and behind the camera, LJ founded feminist film company, F Word Films in 2017. Now an award winning production company, F Word Films collaborates with like minded creatives to spotlight gender diverse and queer stories.
LJ is deeply passionate about sharing her experiences, training and knowledge with new and emerging creative students and looks forward to fostering a love of the arts and creative expression with students at Grace Acting Studios.
Erin Saliba - Teacher
Erin has been a performer from a young age and recently returned from Adelaide where she worked for the ABC as a reporter for the long-running children’s news program Behind the News. She is a passionate actor with credits in various short films, educational videos, as well as the show Rostered On (Netflix). Erin is a hard worker, and is driven to set goals and see them fulfilled.
Libby Brockman trained at The National Theatre Drama School (Melbourne) as well as various intensives in London, Sicily and Catalonia. Whilst living most of her life in Melbourne, she has now moved to Geelong and is loving it! She recently worked for Regional Arts Victoria as part of the Creative Worker in Schools program, has taught drama in London and Melbourne and plans to pursue a career in youth work and drama therapy. She is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to make engaging theatre that represents diversity and explores challenging stories. She loves immersive and intimate theatre, having enjoyed working on many productions with TBC, Act-O-Matic 3000 and The Honeytrap Theatre Companies. She has also had the pleasure of touring Shakespeare and kids shows around Australia with The Flying Bookworm and Geelong’s very own, Essential Theatre. You can check out some of her work at www.libbybrockman.com
Harry Musgrove - Teacher
Hi my name is Harry, I started acting at Grace Studios in 2009.
I’d always loved performing and lacked social skills as a child, so acting classes were the perfect fit for me. I spent three years in the master class, and during that time was involved in an independent GPAC performance and making of a short film overseas in Ireland.
I've since gained representation with BGM agency and recently played the lead role in the professional theatre production Archimedes War. I am passionate about the film and TV industry and I particularly love cinematography. I am currently studying Media Communications at Monash Uni and loving it. After working as a tech and assistant teacher at the studio for many years I am now enjoying sharing my knowledge with the students as a class teacher. I love providing a safe and supportive environment where students can express themselves and their creativity freely. I look forward to helping more students at Grace pursue their passion in the years ahead. Watch Harry's Video
Ali Cruikshank - Teacher
Ali started taking acting classes with us over 7 years ago as a young girl and now we're lucky enough to have her as a part of our team! Her experience at Grace Acting Studio has landed her roles in performances such as her school musical ‘Pirates Of Penzance’ as a Pirate and a Brecht play called ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’. She is currently studying VCE Theatre Studies and attending Grace Acting Studios herself.
From a very young age Ali has always enjoyed pretending to be other people and acting, she would often do impersonations of people she knew or celebrities that she liked, she would walk around like them and act like them. Her favourite was Steve Irwin though.
Attending Grace Acting Studios has made her a much more confident and sociable person. She said about 7 years ago her Mum asked her if she wanted to start Acting classes to help make her not as shy and timid? She agreed to give it a go and she is so glad she did! She wouldn’t be how she is now if it hadn’t have been for all the AMAZING, KIND, ENCOURAGING, REASSURING and SUPPORTIVE teachers and staff that work here! She’s so glad that she is now one of them! Never in her wildest dreams she would think that she would end up working at such an amazing place that has shaped who she is now so much!
Her favourite thing about working at Grace Acting Studios is getting to know the students she teaches and building a connection with them as well as making them feel comfortable talking to her. She also loves watching the quieter kids ‘come out of their shell’ and develop more confidence (like herself when she was younger). In her spare time she loves spending time with her family, watching movies, listening to music and hanging out with friends, she also like to sing and dance (when no one is around :)). She would describe Grace Acting Studios as THE BEST PLACE EVER!
Tommy is a passionate filmmaker who has completed his Cert III in Screen and Media and has always had a passion for the film industry. "Grace Acting Studios has really opened the doors for me and a lot of young talented people to pursue their passion and I am super excited to be a part of that."
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.
Amanda LaBonte has been working as an actor and theatre producer for over twenty years. She is a highly skilled theatre practitioner. As an actor she has worked with numerous Australian theatre companies & television studios, and most recently spent the last two years starring in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at The Princess Theatre, Melbourne. The core of Amanda’s producing work has been with the creation, development and management of Essential Theatre. The company is proud to have survived as a robust and active independent theatre company for 20 years.Amanda studied at The School of Physical Theatre, London and graduated with Honors at The University of Ballarat (Performing Arts).
Brooke Howden - Teacher
Brooke has over 20 years’ experience in the casting industry and spent 14 years at two of Australia’s top casting consultancies.
Brooke has cast over 250 television commercials and worked on over 20 feature and short films with some of the Australia’s most renowned Directors. Her most recent 2019 work includes casting the Canon EOS Camera commercial - https://scoutproductionservices.com/canon-eos-r/ Melbourne casting for the feature film ‘Li Na’ and the latest Infiniti 2019 / 2020 car campaigns.
Brooke has extensive experience running workshops and classes for young actors throughout Melbourne, Sydney and Geelong. Brooke feels very fortunate to share her casting experience with our teenage actors, helping foster and unlock raw talent by using confidence-building techniques, individual encouragement and taking a naturalistic and playful approach to lessons. When she is not teaching or casting, she is being mum to two gorgeous girls.
Some of her favourite actors are Patricia Arquette, Kate Winslet, Gary Oldman, Edward Norton, Hugo Weaving, Toni Collette (just to name a few!!) and her fave film is ‘Magnolia’
Fiona Williamson - Tech / Assistant Teacher
Hi! My name is Fiona, and I’ve been attending Grace Acting Studios for 7 years now. I began acting at the age of 9 when my mum encouraged me to start pursuing something I was passionate about. In that case, I was super into acting. Ever since then, I’ve learnt so much about the acting world, as well as myself.
Fiona’s ambition in life is to become an actress, and she’s been using stepping stones as her way of building herself up to that level. This includes being cast as an extra for several films and tv shows, such as NITRAM & a new Netflix series titled ‘Surviving Summer’ which is to be released some time in 2022.
Her upcoming extras work is to be for a new ABC series called ‘Summer Love’ .
Jacob Jones - Tech / Assistant Teacher
Hi my name is Jacob and I have been a student at Grace Acting for seven years. I have developed not only my acting skills but also self confidence because of the encouraging teachers at Grace Acting.
I was lucky enough to complete work experience at Grace Acting in 2021 where I really enjoyed working with the younger kids starting out in their Drama and Acting journey.
My goal is to perform in live theatre or screen plays, and maybe even one day combine my love of animals with my acting skills!
Hannah Charnock - Marketing
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.