Teachers and Feedback
The tutors in the Acting Studio and Short Course programs are skilled teachers and practitioners in their own areas of speciality. Their connections with the School of Performing Arts are various: as professional colleagues, as alumni, as previous and present teaching staff of the full-time courses and as current sessional staff.
Paula van Beek
Paula is a theatre maker dedicated to creating new contemporary performance works. Paula has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Theatre and Film from Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand (1998) and a Graduate Diploma in Animatuering from VCA (2006). Her diverse experience working in the performing arts sector - as a devisor, performer, director, arts manager, teacher and lighting designer - enables Paula to approach performance work from multiple angles. Paula is participating in the Solo Artist Residency program at Victoria University during 2009.
Danielle graduated from NIDA, is one of Melbourne’s busiest actors, and sought after Film & TV tutor.
Her range of work in theatre, film and television include: Underbelly, All Saints, Elephant Princess, City Homicide, Stingers, Salem's Lot, The Secret Life of Us, Blue Heelers, Lost World, Halifax fp, Something in the Air ( series 1 and 2) and Shadow Passion (Chapel off Chapel), Europe (VCA Director Season), Still (La Mama/Malthouse), Face to Face (Ensemble), The Quartet from Rigoletto (Cue/Ensemble), All Things Considered ( Marion St), Property of the Clan ( Theatre 20/20), Away (STC), Hypothalamania (STC), Danielle has also written a book Racing Against Time published by Currency Press; a manual to help actors deal with the demands of working in film and television.
Sarah is a graduate of Melbourne University (BA 1979) and the VCA (Diploma in Acting 1982) and she has been devising theatre for the last twenty six years. From 1987 to 1994 she co-wrote and performed three solo shows (The Serpent’s Fall, Walking on Sticks and Tiger Country) with writer/director Andrea Lemon, which included tours around Australia, to London, the Edinburgh Festival, Denmark and the USA. Walking on Sticks received Victorian Green Room Awards for Best Australian Play and Best Actress and Tiger Country appeared as part of the Melbourne International Arts Festival in 1996. From 1997 to 2001, Sarah was artistic director of the Women’s Circus where she co-created and directed five large scale works, including Secrets - which in 2001 received a Green Room Award. In 2006, Sarah co-wrote and performed a solo work CARGO: The True Adventures of Mary Bryant directed by Kerreen Ely Harper and commissioned by Malthouse Theatre. Sarah also works as a dramaturge and director for independent companies, the most recent being TRACY for Business Unusual and the Darwin Theatre Company in Darwin in May 2008. In 2002, Sarah was the recipient of a two year Australia Council Fellowship to study performance and composition and she is currently studying at the School for Alexander Technique.
Stephen has been a voice production specialist for 35 years as well as an accomplished actor and director. He is a specialist in voice training for adults, from beginners through to advanced level. Stephen’s was Head of Voice at the Victorian College of the Arts, School of Drama from 1996 – 2002 and his other work in voice education has encompassed associations with the University of Western Sydney, Wollongong, and Ballarat. He has been responsible for training a huge number of Australia’s distinguished young actors, including Joel Edgerton, Sybilla Budd, Angus Grant, Jane Allsop, Nikki Whelan, Patrick Brammall, Simon Stone and Steve Le Marquand. Stephen returned to the Faculty of VCA and Music in 2008 teaching Voice related courses in the Foundation program, encompassing the Acting Studio, short courses, weekend and school holiday intensives.
Karen graduated from the VCA in 1987 and has had a broad ranging artistic career, as a performer, musician, designer, director, writer, puppeteer, and visual artist/propmaker. Karen has performed in film, TV and theatre, including long running lead roles on Blue Healers and Skirts and also MDA, Stingers, Wildside, Mercury, Country Practice, House rules, The Tribe, State Coroner , and The Man From Snowy River. Feature films include, Quigley, The Ripper, Lucky Break and Ned Kelly and the miniseries Stark by Ben Elton. Karen has also trained at the Phillippe Gaulier school in London, and worked with The Phillippe Genty Company, Dogtroupe Amsterdam, and on the long running Irish television puppet series Rimini Riddle in Dublin. In late 2009 she is travelling to Cuba to teach at the film school in Havana.
Andrew is Co-Artistic Director of Melbourne Playback Theatre Company. He is currently touring (as a performer) “Spin Out” for the Victorian Arts Centre. Andrew recently performed “Eyton Road” (2009) for “Infecting the City”, Cape Town’s international Art Festival, and was nominated for a Green Room Award for Best Male Actor in an Independent Theatre Production for his role as Peter in “All My Sleep and Waking” at La Mama (2008) Andrew originally trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts and has studied at the Michael Howard Acting Studio in New York, and with Ruth Zaporah’s Action Theatre in Berkeley, California and Philippe Gaulier.
Jenny has been working as an actor in theatre, film and television for over 20 years. Jenny's classical work includes: Rex Cramphorn's production of 'MEASURE FOR MEASURE', three years working with the Bell Shakespeare Company with their Actors At Work education troupe, firstly as an actor and then as director for two years. Jenny also assisted John Dick at VCA on his production of 'COMEDY OF ERRORS'. Her classical voice and text training includes work with Rowena Baylos and workshops with Andrew Wade, head of Voice at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Jenny regularly teaches classical text in the VCA Foundation Program’s Acting Studio.
Stephanie works as an actor, presenter, voice over artist and teacher in Australia and New Zealand. Her credits include Blue Heelers, Stingers, Marlin Bay, Funny Business, All for One, Brand Power NZ and Medifacts Australia. She studied Acting for Film and Television with Linda Darlow in Vancouver before training at the VCA. She has nearly 30 years experience in the business and has taught with the Studio Program at the Faculty of VCA and Music, School of Performing Arts for 10 years.
Matt is a graduate of The University of Melbourne and the Victorian College of the Arts with extensive experience as a Director, Teacher, Writer and Performer and is the Artistic Director of independent company If Theatre.
Recent directing credits include Human Resources, The Man in the Corridor, Half & Half, Mr Kolpert, Othello, All The World's a Stage, The Crucible, Blindingly Obvious Facts, Glengarry Glen Ross, A Drop Would Be Something, Three Old Friends, Just Before The Honeymoon, This Great Gap of Time, A Slight Ache, Once Upon a Coffee Cup, Lighthouse and Europe.
Matt has had work performed at La Mama, VCA, Chapel off Chapel and in the Fringe, Short & Sweet, Midsumma and Comedy Festivals. Matt works as a Tutor at the Faculty of VCA and Music School of Performing Arts and as Freelance Teacher and Director in youth theatre and education projects. Upcoming projects include The Cove, a world premiere season of new works by Daniel Keene at The Dog Theatre and the premiere of Matt's original play about the life of Ted Whitten Mr Football in the Big West Festival.
Hallie is a director performer and writer across theatre, film and television in Australia. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies at Murdoch University in1998 and is a graduate of the NIDA acting course (2002). In 2006 she studied directing at the VCA, receiving a graduate diploma with first class honours, and directed Caryl Churchill's Far Away.
Louise has had regular roles in Australia’s most respected television shows such as Backberner, Prisoner, Bootleg and Janus for which she received a Silver Logie nomination for Most Outstanding Actress. She has also appeared in The Secret Life of Us, MDA, and Stingers to name a few. Her most recent roles in television are in the new dramas City Homicide and Valentine’s Day as well as All Saints. Louise’s theatre credits include roles in Mum’s the Word: Teenagers, playing to audiences in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, The Glory for Hothouse, Art and Soul, which earned the ensemble cast a prestigious Green Room Award nomination and The Memory of Water with the Melbourne Theatre Company. Her roles in numerous short films include the award-winning Blow and What’s the Matter? which was accepted into the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival. Louise also appeared Josh Jarman and The Book of Revelation. Louise also works as a Voice Over Artist for radio and television, and teaches at the Faculty of VCAM School of Performing Arts, the National Theatre Drama School and Deakin University.
About our tutors and courses:
"Why didn't I do this 10 years ago!"
Lara Welsh - Acting Studio
"One of the most beneficial courses I have ever done. It was thoroughly engaging at all times and I have developed enormously throughout the duration of the course." Sarah Faithfull - The Dramatic Voice
"(Andrew) is the best physical acting teacher I've come across. I really appreciated his enthusiasm and relentless efforts to try and make every individual push through their inhibitions to be open and completely present." James Plunkett - Acting 2
"(Matt) was fantastic at facilitating a positive, open learning environment. He encouraged strengths and helped us tackle weaknesses in each individual." Kahli Williams - Acting 1
"It (Shakespeare) was brilliant - do not change it!" Rupert Raineri - Shakespeare, Debunking the Bard
"Jenny) was fantastic! She is very specific in her teaching and very encouraging. She knew exactly what I needed to work on. What I've learned from her will stay with me." Chelsea Zeller - Shakespeare, Debunking the Bard
"Wonderful! I loved it and found it extremely valuable. I will certainly recommend it to everyone I know interested in drama and acting."
"I just wanted to say thank you and let you know that I have had a fabulous time this week at VCA. The tutors were brilliant and the courses were stimulating and engaging. Louise was exceptional and I thoroughly enjoyed her course."
"Thank you again for putting on such an amazing course and for your hospitality."
"My feedback is once again all positive. The reason I speak so highly of the short courses is because every tutor I have worked with at the VCA and Music, has had the utmost respect for every person in their class and their personal aspirations.
"Having a teacher who is also a professional actor, who can work with a range of people and their characters, and give amazingly detailed feedback was incredibly helpful. "