Key Staff

Company and Creative Directors

Eileen Dunn

Director

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Eileen Dunn commenced her career as a teacher before pursuing her interest in arts administration. She joined the Victorian Youth Theatre (then known as the Victorian Children’s Theatre) in 1987 which was based in a small hall in Kew and offered Drama classes for 8-12-year-olds. The success of this program and the enjoyment the children had in class has been the ongoing inspiration for the company to build young people’s performing and personal skills through the performing arts. Since then, over the past 30+ years, Eileen has overseen the growth of Stage School Australia to offering a wide range of classes for 4-18-year-olds at locations across Melbourne, while still maintaining the company as a family-run organisation. The Victorian Youth Theatre has continued to grow since its humble beginnings and is now one of the largest performance-based drama programs in Melbourne.

In 1996, a musical theatre component was introduced as part of the Victorian Youth Theatre (VYT) and three years later in 1999, the Young Australian Broadway Chorus (YABC) was born. Given her original training in education, Eileen supported the introduction of Beginners OnStage in 2003 for 5-7-year-olds. In 2017 Beginners OnStage ~

Foundation opened up to 4-year-old pre-school children. Eileen has also supported the creation of the Australian Boys Dance Academy, the Talent Company of Australia and the growth of The Costume Dept. As tour and production manager, Eileen has overseen many national and international performance tours to Asia, Europe and the USA.

Robert Coates

Artistic Director

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Robert began working for Stage School Australia in 1995. Most recently he directed the sell-out seasons of Les Misérables (2019) and Wicked (2018) at the National Theatre and The Wizard of Oz ~ Young Performers Edition at the Union Theatre (2019).

His many other directorial credits include Rags, Joseph’s Dreamcoat, Oliver!, Man of La Mancha, Star-Cross’d Lovers, Godspell and all of the Young Australian Broadway Chorus Gala Concerts at the National Theatre, Back to Bacchus (Musical Director/Associate Director – Tours of Europe ‘97 and USA ‘99, World Tour 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008), What a Circus (Adelaide Fringe ‘98), Once On This Island (Adelaide Fringe 2010), Spring Awakening (National Theatre 2011), Conference of the Birds and Seussical TYA (Adelaide Fringe 2013), Guys & Dolls 2013, The Wizard of Oz 2014, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Malthouse & Adelaide Fringe 2014), Disney Alice in Wonderland and Conference of the Birds (Melbourne Fringe 2014), This Is Australia USA Tours 2015, 2016 & 2018, Disney Aladdin Jr. 2015, Disney The Little Mermaid Jr. 2015, The Secret Garden – Spring Version 2016, Disney Alice in Wonderland Jr. 2016 and Disney Beauty and the Beast Jr. 2016 and the 2017 seasons of HONK! Jr – the musical tale of the Ugly Duckling and Chicken Licken at the Lawler Theatre, Southbank Theatres – home of the MTC, which also toured to the Adelaide Fringe Festival and Madagascar – A Musical Adventure Jr. 2018.

Robert directed the world premiere of Devil’s Snuffbox, the Victorian premiere of The World Goes Round (Victorian Music Theatre Guild nomination – Best Director) and the world premiere season of the Bryant/Frank musical, The Silver Donkey which also toured the USA.

Jacqui Green

Head of Dance

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Jacqui Green is one of Australia’s leading choreographers, adjudicators, dancers and dance teachers. Most recently she choreographed the 2018 season of Wicked at the National Theatre. As a choreographer and dancer, Jacqui’s credits include The Don Lane Show, The Ronnie Corbett Show, The Midday Show, The AFI Awards and The Logie Awards. Jacqui played the leading role of Cassie in the national tour of A Chorus Line (Mo Award Nomination), and has also featured in productions of Funny Girl, The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly and Cabaret. Directorial credits include a tour of Asia and New Zealand as the resident director of Joseph’s Dreamcoat for the Really Useful Group. She has toured internationally with numerous Stage School Australia productions including the 2015 and 2016 This Is Australia tours of the USA. Jacqui has choreographed the sell-out seasons of Stage School Australia’s productions of Seussical TYA at the Malthouse, Disney The Little Mermaid Jr., Disney Beauty and the Beast Jr. and Disney Aladdin Jr. at the Union Theatre, Disney Alice In Wonderland, The Secret Garden ~ Spring Version in 2016 at Southbank Theatre and the 2017 season of HONK! Jr – the musical tale of the Ugly Duckling at the Lawler Theatre, Southbank Theatres – home of the MTC, which also toured to the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Tony Nikolakopoulos

Head of Drama

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Tony Nikolakopoulos is a leading Australian director and actor. He has played major and leading roles in various feature films like The Legend Maker, Alex and Eve, Predestination, Wog Boy, The Wannabes, Head On. On stage Tony has worked with MTC, Malthouse, South Australian Theatre Company, Sydney Opera House, the stage play Roulette (Adelaide Festival, Company B Belvoir, Portugal and Melbourne) and was producer/director of The Last Proxy (National Tour). Some of his recent work on TV includes Here Come the Habibs, Fat Tony & Co, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Reef Doctors, The Pacific, Please Like Me (ABC), Time of Our Lives (ABC) and Wentworth Series 2, 3 and 4. He is the Director, Writer and Producer of the short film Shabd and Let Go. Tony won a performance award by the Melbourne International Film Festival for his work on the award winning short film 296 Smith St. For the last 25+ years, Tony has directed countless productions for the Victorian Youth Theatre, including the Adelaide Fringe and USA Touring production of A Well Spun Yarn, BABE: The Sheep Pig (2015 Union Theatre & 2017 Southbank Theatre) and the 2016 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Tour of Regional Victoria.

Emily Wilkinson

Head of Beginners OnStage

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Emily grew up in Tasmania where she trained in classical voice and ballet from a young age. She completed her Bachelor of Arts (Music Theatre) from the University of Ballarat in 2003 and has since performed with leading Melbourne companies; Melbourne Opera Cosi Fan Tutte / Lohengrin, Oz Opera Christina’s World, The Entertainment Store Christmas Divas at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl Carols by Candlelight, PLOS Phantom of the Opera and has received Music Theatre Guild of Victoria nominations for her role as Cinderella in Devanesen Production’s Into the Woods and for Best Junior Director and Production. Emily is a singing teacher in Melbourne. She holds a Graduate Diploma in Education (Music and Drama) from The University of Melbourne. She has also completed her Estill Voice International Training Level 1 and 2 and was awarded her Certificate in Figure Proficiency. She is currently working towards becoming an Estill Master Trainer and completing her LTCL through Trinity College. Emily has been teaching with Stage School since 2004 and Head of Beginners OnStage since 2008 and is very proud of the program’s development over the past 10 years, including the expansion to the 4-year-old Foundation classes. She loves seeing the development of skill and confidence that Performing Arts classes bring to our youngest children.