Hello there! Thanks for checking out Grace Studios. My name is Anna Grace and I am the proud director of this niche creative hub. More than just my own business, Grace Studios is an extension of my values and goals, so talking about the studio also requires a short story about myself…
Starting drama at the age of five, I soon found it to be a passionate and inspiring part of my life. I attribute much of my confidence, sense of self, academic achievement, communication skills, love of learning, and of course accomplishment in the performing arts arena, to the classes I began so very long ago. A dyslexic child, I did not take to reading and writing as quickly as others, so my mother decided I needed a more flexible learning environment that would allow me to communicate in other ways.
It was in my Speech and Drama lessons that I began to love language. Although struggling with my literacy at school, I had no trouble remembering the obscure words in Roald Dahl’s poems or memorising lines from my favourite prose texts. I found I learnt differently by listening and speaking, rather than simply reading and writing. The spontaneity of improvisation allowed me to take risks in a non-judgmental environment and my success hinged only on my willingness to ‘have a go’. This experience changed my whole outlook on life and my relationship with education. I transformed from a child who lacked confidence and never wanted to go to school into a passionate public speaker and debater, a regular on the stage and a lover of literature.
We are only as good as our people...
It is because I can’t imagine my own life without drama (only the good kind) that I was inspired to become an AMEB Speech and Drama teacher and to open up my own studio.
I believe the skills which speech and drama offers are interdisciplinary and are some of the most valuable gifts that can be given to a child. Communication is central to all of the roles we play in both our professional and private lives. Whether students are joining us as mature aged professionals looking to enhance their public speaking abilities, as young people searching for a gateway into a career in the arts, or as children wanting to extend their support network and make new friends, there are important life skills that every student can take away from our lessons. I hope to pass on the same inspiration, passion, self-discipline and support that my teacher gave to me. It is wonderful to know that already some of my students are passing on these gifts to students of their own.
Each year the Grace Studios network extends a little wider. It is a great privilege to offer this kind of educational service to the Sutherland Shire community and I am committed to expanding and strengthening creative arts opportunities in the Southern Sydney region
Who will be leading my creative experience?
But there's more. . .
Lauren is a passionate and dedicated teacher who exhibits a high level of skill directing large ensembles as well as coaching individual students. Lauren has completed her certificate of Drama and Performance Australia, and holds an Associate Diploma of Teaching (AMEB). Having trained under Anna Grace for the past ten years, and taught at the studio for the last three years, Lauren strongly contributes to the culture of the studio and its community values of creativity, kindness and excellence. Lauren has performance experience in both the digital world and upon the stage, including improvisation competitions, Shakespearian festivals, theatre appearances, radio ads, digital ads and billboard campaigns. Lauren's academic background includes marketing and communications and she is also qualified as a mindset coach, helping clients to work through personal roadblocks and develop positive habits.
Liz is well known for her achievements as a singing teacher, with a Professional Performers Diploma from the Australian Guild of Music (High Distinction). Lizzy has stared in a range of different musical societies around the Shire and beyond, including, Adelaide and Sydney Fringe Festival. Liz was Musical Director for SMT's 2018 Production of Miracle on 34th Street and has recently started providing adjudication for vocal eisteddfods. Liz also has many years of experience as a dancer and, as part of her professional development and upskilling, has also completed up to grade eight in AMEB Speech and Drama, with High Distinction. Liz intends to sit for her Certificate of Drama and Performance Australia next year and draws on her AMEB theoretical knowledge of phonetics, voice production and accent to assist with students' classical training and character development in voice classes.
As well as being a top mechatronics and computer science student currently studying and teaching in the Department of Engineering at UNSW, Steven holds a Certificate of Drama and Performance Australia and an Associate Diploma of Teaching (AMEB). Steven has been recognised by the AMEB as an outstanding performer, showcasing his work at the annual AMEB Speech and Drama State Conference. Steven has starred in a range of youth theatre productions in Australia and internationally, and more recently as a lead in the UNSW CSE Review, an annual sketch comedy. In his free time, Steven is highly involved in the Scouting movement, and has directed large management teams for Scouts. Steven is process driven and loves to bring technology into his creative arts and communications classes. Steven previously worked at JAR Aerospace developing STEM programs that will feature in the new education system for the Australian Airforce Cadets. Recently, Steven built a robot that is responsive to sound to help drama students improve their vocal modulation, as well as an artificial intelligence system (AI) that composes poetry.
Emma has been studying AMEB Speech and Drama for the past ten years and holds a Certificate of Drama and Performance Australia and an Associate Diploma of teaching (AMEB). When finishing school in 2016, Emma was placed on the Distinguished Achievers list for HSC Drama Studies and received an ‘On Stage’ nomination. That same year, Emma was also the recipient of the annual Grace Studios Rising Stars Showcase award for her performance of her self devised HSC monologue, featuring mastery of four different accents - a skill she is now known for. As a student teacher currently on prac for her Bachelor of Primary Education (Notre Dame), and as a before and after school care educational Leader, Emma is always thinking about her role as an educator and is passionate about working with children. Emma enjoys programming and designs engaging classes that closely map students' needs and interests.
Nikola Taylor holds a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts from Excelsia College and is currently undertaking her Masters of Teaching (Secondary) at the same institute. Training at The Acting Corps in Los Angeles has been a highlight of Nicola’s creative arts education. It was here that she developed her passion for physical theatre - specialising in styles such as Commedia dell’ Arte. Nikola’s focus on the body also stems from her dedication to dance. With more than nineteen years of dance experience, Nikola competed professionally before becoming a dance instructor herself. Nikola works with students in both drama and musical theatre to help them to refine their sense of body and movement.
Alexandra graduated from Melbourne University with a Bachelor of Creative Arts and a Diploma of Arts, majoring in Theatre, Creative Writing and English Literature. Alexandra also holds a Masters in Primary Teaching from the University of Sydney. For Alexandra, drama has always been as much about creative writing as it is about acting. Alexandra's areas of expertise include scripting and the study of theatrical literature. Today Alex is a keen poet and an innovative playwright. Alexandra is currently undertaking her second Masters, a degree in gifted education.
Students who have completed all of their AMEB Drama and Performance grades may be eligible to attempt their Certificate of Drama and Performance Australia and, following this, the Associate Diploma of Teaching. These are rigorous courses which require many years of preparation and dedication. Prior to attempting the completion these qualifications, students may have undergone up to ten years of study with an additional 2-3 years training required for the final certifications. To help candidates to transition from the role of the ‘student’ into that of the ‘teacher’ the studio offers traineeships which provde an opportunity for candidates to put their work into practice, build rapport with the students whom they will come to instruct, and learn from existing class teachers. Candidates not only assist with the teaching of Stage One classes, they also spend time constructing lesson plans and writing teaching evaluations that help them to correctly assess the students’ needs as well as their own.
Additionally, year ten students completing work placement as part of their school led careers week training can apply for work experience at Grace Studios. Student's accepted into this program will explore various components of teaching in the arts, programming and the day-to-day operations of managing a studio and staging productions.