Teaching Staff

Staff

Cara Dinley

Course Director

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Cara has toured Australia, New Zealand, and Asia as a performer in major musical productions including Cats, Chicago, Beauty and the Beast, My Fair Lady, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Showboat, The Merry Widow, Singing in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, Mack and Mabel, and The Producers. She is a leading performing arts teacher and lecturer and has lectured at VCA, VCASS and The University of Ballarat.

Cara has also worked in festivals and events, as artistic director, director, choreographer, and producer. She has an Advanced Diploma in Creative Arts, and will soon complete a Masters in Directing for Performance at VCA. As Course Director, Cara will be an ongoing dance teacher for the course, as well as coordinating timetables, rehearsal schedules, and guest tutors.

Emily Wilkinson

Head of Vocal Studies

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Emily trained in ballet and classical voice from an early age. She completed her Bachelor of Arts (Music Theatre) at the University of Ballarat, and a Graduate Diploma of Education (Music and Drama) at the University of Melbourne. Emily has also completed her Estill Voice International Training Level 1 and 2 and is currently studying to be an Estill Master Teacher, as well as undertaking a Licentiate of Singing Teaching through Trinity College, London. As a performer, she has worked with OzOpera (Christina’s World), Melbourne Opera (Cosi Fan Tutte, Otello, Lohengrin), Devanesen Productions (Cinderella in Into the Woods), The Entertainment Store, and PLOS (Christine in The Phantom of the Opera). A member of the Stage School Australia team since 2004, Emily is the Curriculum Coordinator and Head of the Beginners Onstage programme.

Jacqui Green

Head of Jazz & Musical Theatre

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Jacqui is one of Australia’s leading choreographers, adjudicators, dancers, and dance teachers. 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 and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for the Really Useful Group. Head of Dance for Stage School Australia since 1999, more recently Jacqui has choreographed SSA productions of Seussical and Joseph(Malthouse Theatre and Adelaide Fringe), Disney’s The Little Mermaid JR, Beauty and the Beast JRAladdin JR, Wicked and Les Misérables.

Tony Nikolakopoulos

Consultant Head of Acting

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Tony is a leading Australian actor and director. Film and television credits include The Wannabes, Head On, Alex and Eve, Wentworth, The Director, Kangaroo Jack, Pirate Island, and The Wog Boy. Theatre credits include Courtyard of Miracles (State Theatre Co of SA), The Wog Story (National Tour), Roulette (Adelaide Festival, Company B Belvoir, Portugal and Melbourne), August: Osage County and Hamlet(Melbourne Theatre Company), The Spook and Pompeii L.A. (Malthouse), and as producer/director The Last Proxy (National Tour). Tony taught for many years at Deakin University, Rusden, where he also completed his Bachelor of Education. As Head of Drama for Stage School Australia, Tony has directed countless productions for the Victorian Youth Theatre.

James Simpson

Guest Teacher, Singing - Repertoire

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James is a Musical Director, arranger/orchestrator, accompanist and cabaret performer.  Most recently, he was the Associate Musical Director for the Australian tour of Disney’s Aladdin. Prior to that, he was the Assistant Musical Director for the Australian tour of Disney’s The Lion King. He has worked around Australia and internationally, including performances at the Adelaide and Melbourne Cabaret Festivals, the Darwin Festival, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the Melbourne Fringe Festival and the New York Musical Theatre Festival.  Musical Director credits include: the UK tour and West End return of Trevor Ashley’s Liza on an E, the world premiere of a new musical adaptation of Émile Zola’s Thérèse Raquin, which played to critical acclaim at the Finborough and Park Theatres in London, and Trevor Ashley’s Star*Struck at the Stadtsaal, Vienna. He was also the Musical Director/Orchestrator for the world premiere of Eddie Perfect’s Vivid White at Melbourne Theatre Company, as well as 2011, 2012 and 2015 Twisted Broadway concerts in Melbourne (raising money for Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights Aids). Other orchestration credits include: Trevor Ashley’s Diamonds Are For Trevor, Double Ds, Liza’s Back! (is broken) and additional orchestrations for The Production Company’s Jerry’s Girls.  James graduated with distinction from the MA Musical Theatre (Musical Directing) course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, having previously graduated with first-class honours from the BA(Hons) Musical Theatre course at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. He also holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts from Monash University, Melbourne.

Andrew Strano

Guest Teacher, Improv

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Recently accepted into the prestigious New York University (Tisch) graduate musical theatre writing program, Andrew is a Greenroom Award-winning lyricist, the recipient of the Victorian Fulbright (2019), was selected as a 2018 Mike Walsh Fellow and, with composer Lucy O’Brien, undertook the inaugural Jeanne Pratt Artistic Residency in 2017 – the largest commission of its kind in Australia. A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts’ Musical Theatre program, and the prestigious iO Theatre: Chicago, Andrew returned to the VCA to complete his M.A. in writing for performance in 2016. He has performed, taught, directed and presented theatre, film, TV, musical theatre, improvisation and cabaret nationally and internationally. Nailed It!, his work alongside Loclan Mackenzie-Spencer, has toured to 5-star reviews all over the world, including Edinburgh, London and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, earning him a theatre people nomination for Best Cabaret Performer.

Andrew is passionate about teaching, whether that be through his work for NIDA, or for tertiary institutions, high schools, privately, or Melbourne’s improvisation schools. He’s thrilled to bring his skills to bear as he joins the exciting team at Stage School Australia. Get in touch and talk all things musical theatre, brunch and yes, Harry Potter, on @andrewstrano.

Victoria Rimmington

Guest Teacher, Dance

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Victoria received her Diploma of Dance from Dance World Studios. Straight after graduating she was cast in Disney’s award-winning musical Mary Poppins produced by Cameron Mackintosh. She toured Australia and then played Auckland, New Zealand.  Most recently she was a guest artist in Derek Deane’s Strictly Gershwin with the Queensland ballet company. She worked with some of the best tappers in Australia and was privileged to take notes from Li Cunxin. Other professional shows include Westside Story with The Production Company and the Australian premiere of Nice Work If You Can Get It a George Gershwin musical.  In 2014 Victoria performed in the premiere dance show Hollywood Honky Tonk and received standout reviews from the critics. She has also worked overseas as a children’s entertainer and in 2016 appeared in Nine the musical in concert for Manilla street productions at the Melbourne Recital centre.  Victoria has also studied film and TV. Her TV credits include; Sunrise, The Today Show, Studio 10, Miss Fishers  Murder Mysteries, Worksafe, Target, Chemist Warehouse and Coles.