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Who will be leading my educational experience?

Nothing is more important than ensuring students have access to the most skilled and motivated mentors. At Grace Studios, all of our teachers are highly qualified tutors with recognised teaching accreditation from Australia's leading Speech, Drama and Music institutions. 

 

As tutors qualified under the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB), our teachers can help students to obtain internationally recognised qualifications in the areas of Speech, Drama, Musical Theatre and Singing. AMEB (NSW) has been inspiring excellence and supporting students' artistic achievements for over 100 years. Overall direction of AMEB activities is the responsibility of their Federal Board consisting of representatives of educational institutions that are signatories to the AMEB constitution, namely the Universities of Melbourne, Adelaide and Western Australia, the Minister for Education, New South Wales, the Minister for Education, Training and Employment, Queensland, and the Minister for Education and Training, Tasmania, through the University of Tasmania.

In 2018 and 2019 our Studio Director, Anna Grace, was named in the top four highest ranking AMEB Speech and Drama Teachers in the state of NSW.

In the end, it all comes down to grace. It’s about how graciously you accept challenges, learn from mistakes, rise above all else and support those around you to rise too. 

Anna Grace - Director 

We've all been the student

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.  

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

Anna Grace 
Studio Director

We are only as good as our people

Our Teachers

Elizabeth Bridges 

Liz is well known for her achievements as a singing teacher, with a Professional Performers Diploma from the Australian Guild of Music (High Distinction). Liz has starred in a range of different musical societies around the Shire and beyond, including, Adelaide and Sydney Fringe Festival. In addition to her previous work as a Musical Director, Liz continues to provide adjudication for vocal eisteddfods all over Sydney and is a seasoned performer in Australia and overseas. Her past performance locations include Disneyland, Universal Studios and Knott's Berry Farm in California, as well as aboard P&O cruise ships. Liz has many years of experience as a dancer. Liz is also passionate about drama and, as part of her professional development and up-skilling, has completed her Certificate of AMEB Speech and Drama, with High Distinction. Liz intends to sit for her AMEB Associate Diploma of Teaching in 2024 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. Liz's passion for all things voice is clear as she is soon to undertake a Masters of Speech Pathology degree with Charles Sturt University. She hopes to be able to use all her skills to help people communicate and excite their passion for performing!  

Emily Smith 

Emily has multiple years of experience working in industry across film, TV and stage. She has held major credits in multiple short films, and worked as a featured extra on The Twelve (Foxtel) and Heartbreak High (Netflix). With a background in Musical Theatre, Emily has been an assistant teacher for 3+ years at her previous studio, while also completing introductory certificates for Early Childcare and Workplace Health and Safety. Emily's dancing experiences have included exciting locations such as the Disney Springs and Universal Studios Dance Tour (in Florida, USA) and NRL for the Raiders games in Canberra. Emily is currently studying a Bachelor of Performance and Theatre at the University of Wollongong. Teaching is particularly important to her as a neurodiverse performer. Emily uses performance to promote disability inclusion in her classroom, and on the stage. It is empowering to talk to young people about her personal journey, and how she is building her own young career in the entertainment industry. Emily is working under the mentorship of Anna Grace, studio Director, and the Grace Studios team, to program high action workshops that equip students with foundational skills in The Arts, as well as the confidence and communication skills they need to succeed in all areas of their lives.

Siobhan McDonnell 

Siobhan holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Theatre) from the University of Wollongong. She is currently completing her Masters of Secondary Teaching through Charles Sturt University, with a focus of Drama and English teaching. Siobhan’s area of expertise include the development of ensemble work, physical theatre creation, and performance. Siobhan is a Grace Studios alumni who also trained privately under Anna-Grace during her senior years of school, so she has experienced first hand the culture of the studio and the community's passion for excellence and inclusion. Today, Siobhan is enthusiastic about bringing her love and joy for drama to her own students. Siobhan is a strong advocate for Drama being a place that creates life skills, as well as a safe haven for all students to explore, create, and develop strong friendships, as they develop confidence in who they are as people.

Alexandra Jane

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. 

We're supporting future educators

Our Trainees

 

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 provide 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 10 students completing work placement as part of their school led careers week training can apply for work experience at Grace Studios. Students 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. 

Sarah Doyle

Sarah writes - 'Drama has always been a significant part of my life. Performances, whether on stage, screen or even at home, are created and enacted every day. That’s why I believe it is so very important for individuals, especially youth, to understand the power of speech and drama in its ability to grow new relationships and help us to express complex feelings and ideas. 

 

I have been acting since the age of seven, as part of local Sutherland Shire drama groups and later for the completion of group AMEB Drama and Communication, and solo Speech and Performance examinations. In my final years of high school I was selected to attend Newtown High School of the Performing Arts where I was also able to perform in a number of company plays. Today, I am completing a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney, where I major in Theatre and Performance Studies and English Literature. I am also a member of the Sydney University Dramatic Society through which I have been able to craft and star in a number of dramatic works with other like minded individuals. 

 

I look forward to working closely with the teaching staff and students of Grace Studios as I complete my Australian Performance Certificate and begin preparations for my AMEB Teaching Associate.'

Fletcher Scully

Fletcher is a Year 10  student completing work experience as part of his study at St John Bosco College. During this work experience, Fletcher hopes to learn more about behind the scenes work at Grace Studios and would love to gain more insight into teaching, as it is a path he is looking into for the future. 

 

Fletcher’s first exposure to the creative industries was through dancing and cheerleading in his early years at primary school. He began acting when he was eight and has loved it ever since his very first lesson. Apart from acting, Fletcher also has experience in stage management, front of house, ticket sales, ushering, communications and being a stage hand, working with The Art Umbrella, Sydney Theatre Company and NIDA. Fletcher also ran his very own volunteer drama program, teaching students in years five and six. 

 

Fletcher is currently taking elective drama in school and will continue this into his senior years. Fletcher has enjoyed working with Anna Grace at Bosco College through the Theatre Sports program and recently completed his grade 5 AMEB Speech and Drama Practical Examination with his teacher, Lauren, at Grace Studios. 

Helping students become teachers

AMEB Speech and Drama Graduation Ceremony at The University of New South Wales after 10+ years of education at Grace Studios

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