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 - Administration
Sue 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 Beattie - Administration
Michelle (the other half of the amazing admin duo) has also been the parent of a child who acts so can offer you plenty of advise based on her experience. She is also 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.
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 2017 television commercial work includes Victoria Tourism, Sensis, Virgin, Victoria Police, Medibank, Panadol and offshore productions.
Brooke continues working in the casting industry as a freelance consultant for various casting houses, production companies and advertising agencies. She just completed casting the comedy feature film "The BBQ". Brooke also has extensive experience running workshops and classes for young actors throughout Melbourne, Sydney and Geelong. When she is not teaching or casting she is being mum to two gorgeous girls.
Some of her favorite actors are Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Toni Collette (just to name a few!!) and her fave film is ‘Magnolia’.
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
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!"
Nicole Freeman - Teacher
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.
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.
Liam Pavey - Teacher
Liam first attended classes at Grace Acting Studio class when I was 16 and instantly became dedicated to acting and improvisation.
He is currently in his third year of Primary School teaching at Deakin University, and teaching at Grace studios has taught him how to become an effective teacher and facilitator.
His biggest inspiration for acting comes from his parents who always believed in him and motivated him to strive to be the best he can possibly be.
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.
Jayden L. Course - Teacher / Tech Supervisor
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.
Ali Cruikshank - Assistant Teacher/ Tech
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 have 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!
Harry Musgrove - Assistant Teacher /Tech
Hi my name is Harry, I started acting at Grace Studios in 2009.
I’d always loved performing and lacked social skills, 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.
Late last year I gained representation with BGM agency and hope to find work with them. I currently work at Grace Acting Studios as a technician, and find I’m still learning the craft, working with the range of teachers and equipment there. My role at Grace Acting Studios is helping me pursue my passion for cinematography and I love providing the students with well shot scenes that can be used for show reels etc. I hope to work in the film industry, in acting or as a cinematographer.
Evie began her journey with Grace Acting Studios in 2016 as a passionate student. She started acting as she could no longer play sport and soon after joining, her dedication grew along with her passion.
Evie is inspired by the care, kindness and devotion exhibited by her peers and co-workers. She enjoys watching students evolve into confident and proud young people!
Currently, Evie is signed with Filmbites and is working towards a career in the industry. She is grateful to be part of our team and is looking forward to what’s to come!
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.
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.
Kelly Dolen - Teacher/ Adult workshops
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.