Marian St Theatre for Young People

Meet Our Teaching Artists

Our classes are taught by professional teaching artists. They work professionally in the performance industry and/or are trained drama teachers.

They specialise in working with different age groups and experience levels, tailoring their teaching to the needs of the individual classes.

Nate Gilkes - Artistic Director

Nate is an artist, director, facilitator, music director and performer and the Artistic Director at Marian Street Theatre for Young People. Before joining MSTYP, Nate presented work nationally and internationally with some of Australia’s leading companies and festivals, including, arts and social change company, Big hART (Hipbone Sticking Out; Blue Angel; The Acoustic Life of Sheds), Arena Theatre Company (Robot Song) and leading Melbourne independent outfit, Present Tense (Margaret Fulton Queen of the Dessert; Chants des Catacombes; Ricercar) and on stage at the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Ten Days on the Island and the Castlemaine State Festival.

He is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts in Directing, The Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Education and Voice and, NIDA in Music Theatre.

Nate is a passionate advocate for creative work for young people and has an extensive body of work as an arts educator and teaching artist facilitating work through the Sydney Opera House, Federation University, Monash University - Centre for Theatre and Performance, The Geelong Performing Arts Centre - GPACed, the Victorian College of the Arts, National Theatre Drama School, Wot Opera and Opera Express.

Halina Abramowicz

Halina Abramowicz was trained at the State Academy of Theatrical Arts in Wroclaw [Poland]. Her film and television credits include: The Blind ChanceSilver CityCity West, Displaced persons, Sons and DaughtersTwo in the Bush, The Edge of Power, Fragments of War, Tender Loving Care, Emma, The True Believers, Tanamera, Rafferty’s Rules, English at Work, Sky Trackers, Requiem, The Miraculous Mellops, Home and Away, Caviar Noir, All Saints, The Alice and I, Spry.

As a tutor and director she has been involved in such institutions as: MSTYP, Sydney Talent Company, Hornsby Girls’ High School, Ensemble Acting Studios, Australian College of Entertainment, Roundabout Youth Theatre, Hornsby Dance Centre, McDonald College, PLC, Pennant Hills, Epping Heights and St Ives North PS.

Halina’s students successfully entered and/or completed courses at NIDA, Ensemble Studios, VCA, Newtown PAHS, Northmead PAHS, Northolm Grammar and John Curtin College of Art. Some performed in leading parts in TV movies and miniseries.

Sher Kearney

Sher has worked as an actor for Sydney Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre Company and a number of regional and state theatre companies.

For MSTYP Sher's directing credits include co-directing with Margie McCrae the following productions: Babe, Captain Midnite, The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe and Danny in the Toybox. As a teacher at MSTYP, Sher has taught drama to young people of most age groups over a period of twelve years.

As co-founder and artistic director of outdoor theatre company, ‘Shakespeare on the Green’, Sher has directed and co-produced five Shakespeare plays.

For five years, Sher directed at Chatswood High special needs group for the 'Page to Stage' program.

In 2014 and 2015 Sher directed CROSSING for Blaxland and Daughter which toured metropolitan and NSW primary schools.

Kate Murphy

Kate graduated from the University of Southern Queensland in 2008 with a Bachelor of Theatre Arts, Majoring in Acting. Since then, she has worked as a teaching artist, director and voice over artist.

Kate is incredibly passionate about sharing her love of the arts with young people. She has worked extensively with various theatre companies including, Sydney Opera House, Shake & Stir and The Empire Theatre. She also travelled to Indonesia, to run workshops and create original theatre works with the students at the Mt Tambagapurra International School in 2016. Kate has also worked at the University of Southern Queensland, where she directed and coached theatre and acting students. She has directed productions such as Much Ado About Nothing and As You Like It for the Shakespeare in the Park Festival. ​​

Kate is also a successful voice artist and voice director. She has recorded tracks for Sesame Street and was also the primary voice artist for the popular cartoon series Shopkins. As well as the Shopkins movies Chef ClubWorld Vacation and Wild. She has also voiced various characters for the recent series Crafty Kingdom, The Strange Chores and was the voice director on Space Chickens in Space (AUS.)  

Kate is a recipient of a Second City Scholarship where she studied improvisation in Chicago 2015. She also performed with the Japanese Dance company Dairakudakan.

Lucy Watson

Lucy's work combines hand-crafted costumes, installations and soft sculptures, with performance informed by acting, clowning, dance and storytelling. She is interested in examining the expectations we humans have created of what ‘humans’ are, and how we have to behave, so we can feel safe thinking, being and expressing differently. Lucy is passionate about the role of art in community, and has been facilitating theatre-making classes and processes for a range of groups, styles and settings since 2012. 2017 highlights include co-curating Heads Will Roll, a multi-media installation exploring the mental health of artists, at 107 Projects, and presenting a solo work called Very Big Bird, for Crack Theatre Festival. In 2018 she has been working with Gosford Youth Arts Warehouse as Artist in Residence, to facilitate and co-create a theatre work with young people with disability. 

Photo courtesy of Sarah Emery


Brooke Louttit

Brooke has been teaching voice, movement, drama and dance for seven years. She has taught for many different academies and theatre companies, working with children from the ages of 5 to 18.

Brooke received her Bachelor of Creative Arts majoring in Performance in 2008 and has continued with her studies at the University of New South Wales, where she completed her Masters in Art Curating in 2017.

Since graduation Brooke has been involved in a variety of film and theatre projects. One film, The Future, directed by Venesia Taylor, has been screened in over 120 film festivals world wide and received 17 awards internationally. She was also the lead in a horror film, made by Annoula Films, which was screened at the Holly Shorts film festival in the TCL Chinese Theatre, Hollywood LA. Brooke also had the great opportunity to extra in Baz Luhrmann’s film The Great Gatsby in the role of ‘Beluga’s Girl’

Brooke is passionate about teaching and believes in the long term benefits drama has on children’s creativity and confidence.

Bosilka May

Bosilka’s drive for Drama, Theatre and Voice is based on the vision that these skills develop more confident, self -aware and contributing young adults.

Bosilka has recently completed a Master of Fine Art in Voice and theatre studies at NIDA. Her training includes London School of Contemporary Dance – Dance Ensemble, BA (Hons) Communication Film and Media (University of The Arts, London), Acting Technique and Advanced Camera Technique (Sydney Drama School), Acting Ensemble and Technique (NIDA), Masters of Fine Art in Voice and Theatre (NIDA). She has completed two international secondments; at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland at the Voice and Drama and The Copenhagen International School of Performing Arts. Prior to her recent studies, she has spent many years in performing arts, with a background in dance, movement and drama. She has a passion for classical theatre and Lecoq physical theatre performance.


Amanda Brown

Amanda Brown started dancing as a child with the Janice Breen Performance Studios and later graduated as an actor from the Ensemble Studios under the tutelage of the wonderful Hayes Gordon.

Amanda gained work as a triple threat and her theatre performances included Sesame Street Live, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as April O’Neil, Vroom Vroom for Theatre South, Grease in the role of Jan for David Atkins/Gordon Frost, the play After Dinner as well theatre restaurant and children’s shopping centre shows. 

Film and television credits include Nowhere to Land, Home and Away, All Saints, one of the first Internet serial dramas “Friday’s Beach", numerous corporate videos and television commercials including one of the first CG ads on Australian tv for Berocca.

Amanda has had some wonderful and varied opportunities with creating with young people as a choreographer, workshop director and tutor. Schools such as Coogee Boys Prep School, Hunters Hill Primary School, Ferncourt Public School, Marrickville, Sydney Grammar Junior School, Cranbrook Boys High School (in collaboration with Kambala and Ascham) . She has taught drama for Janice Breen Performance Studios and of course Marian Street Theatre for Young People.   


Bonnie Cowan

Bonnie is a concept-centric, process-driven performance artist and drama teacher. Since graduating from the University of Wollongong’s theatre course in 2015, Bonnie has created various solo performances and performative installations such as affect me (2017-2018) Do Something That Feels Good In Your Body (2017) Two Marblous Gals with Tahlee Leeson (2017), unspoken (2016), 1625 Rings (2016) and unravelling (2016). Bonnie co-curated the final PACT salon of 2018, artifice x interface, with Alex Stevenson. During 2015, she had the privilege of working as a facilitator for Marina Abramović: In Residence. Bonnie has been a teaching artist for many years now, facilitating theatrical joy with children, teens and adults with disabilities, with companies such as Kids Upfront, Shopfront Arts Co-Op, Blossom Drama, Kid A, Helen O'Grady Drama Academy and most recently Marian Street Theatre for Young People. Bonnie's fascination with human interaction and intrigue for aesthetic shapes fuels both her own creative practice and her teaching practice. 

Barnaby Neville

Barnaby joined his first drama class with Marian St at the age of twelve, and has been in love with drama ever since. Since becoming a part of the family, he has taken many classes, performed in plays, dabbled in stage management and took further study at the Actor’s College of Theatre and Television (now the Academy of Film, Theatre and Television).

Specialising in improvisation and voice work, Barnaby believes in “the power of play”, and that drama isn’t just about performing and studying scripts. Drama can help us get in touch with our emotions, bring us out of our shells, and teach us who we really are. Barnaby’s main hope as a tutor is to support and guide students through their Marian St journey, just as his tutors did for him.

Nick Burton

Accepted into NIDA straight out of high school, Nicholas knew he wanted to act from a young age, when he was practicing monologues on the soccer field instead of helping his team win. He has trained at OI West, Second City and Atlantic Theatre Company in LA.

Nicholas was the lead in Australian feature film ‘Damaged’; shot from 2012-2016 and recently starred in short film, ‘Jack-Rabbit’ (dir. Alex Feggans) which has been accepted into Clermont film festival. Nicholas is passionate about creating his own content. He and best friend Matt Castley created a youth drama series ‘NAKED’ shooting in 2019, (dir. Elissa Down). In 2016, Nicholas starred in the pilot with Susie Porter, directed by Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke. 

Based on crazy travel experiences, Nicholas recently released a comedy web series ‘Dave and Theo’, which he wrote, co-directed and starred in alongside Laurence Boxhall. The series; selected into nine elite International Festivals, is trending across social media platforms. He is also currently the voice of Nutrigrain commercials.

Nicholas is the drama recipient for 2018 BBM Youth Award. Inspired by his Mother's profession, he is committed to bringing a focus through performing arts to those affected by injury, illness and disability. Nicholas has written a feature film, TV pilot and web series that are all in development at the moment. He is also the co-founder of YouTube production company ‘Granny Flat’, where he plays a range of characters.

Influenced by his Australian and Canadian heritage, Nicholas is adventurous, passionate and unique in his creative mind.

Laura Gava

Laura Gava has been training and working within theatres for over 17 years. She holds a TAFE certificate in Entertainment and a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Performance (University of Wollongong). She is professionally trained in acting, singing, voice and movement. Laura has been teaching drama to children aged 3 to 18 years of age for the last 9 years for several creative drama companies. She has extensive experience working in early childhood, holding the roles of Childcare Assistant and Childcare Centre Administrator.
Laura has been affiliated with Marian Street Theatre for Young People (MSTYP) for many years. She has held numerous positions at MSTYP, including drama teacher, box office attendant, front of house manager, accounts and administrator. Laura has directed multiple plays for the children’s theatre, including one the companies youth productions.

Cat Martin

Cat has worked extensively in theatre and television as a teacher, actor, writer, and director.  A graduate of MSTYP herself, she has taught children’s and teenage drama classes at MSTYP for many years, as well as co-writing plays for the MSTYP children’s theatre, including Aladdin and King Arthur’s Quest. Cat has also written and directed a number of shows for the Babies Proms at the Sydney Opera House, including The Four Seasons. Cat has been the script producer for the internationally-acclaimed children’s television show, Hi-5 for 8 seasons. She has written 7 major stage shows for Hi-5, including the Helpmann award-nominated Space Magic. Other writing for children’s television incudes Toybox, Hiccup and Sneeze, Pipsqueaks, and Teddies (Channel 9). As an actor, Cat has a passion for Shakespeare. She recently appeared as ‘Beatrice’ in Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare on the Green). She has also performed with Sport for Jove, Apocalypse Theatre, Harlos, and Bakehouse Theatre and she has appeared on Home and Away, Sunday Night and Review with Myles Barlow. Other highlights include performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (2010) and the Adelaide Fringe (2011) in Shakespeare’s Mothers: Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know (Straylight Productions). Cat has trained at the Actor’s Centre and holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics. She teaches courses in Drama and Creative Arts at Macquarie University.

Anna Orchard

Over a career of 30 years, Anna has worked within a variety of disciplines including: health, drama, storytelling, education, communications and creative play; bringing a unique set of skills to the creative space.

She has worked extensively with people who have a variety of special needs including complex disabilities, learning disorders and behavioural issues, enabling them to participate in activities which hold meaning, purpose and value, and which ultimately give them a voice in their community.

Anna is passionate about using drama and creative play to facilitate: communication; confidence; critical thinking; collaboration; story building and creativity.  She also loves to use lots of props, costumes and music when working with her students to enhance the sensory nature of the classes and sense of fun.

Anna completed a degree in Behavioural Science (B App Sc OT University Sydney) in 1988.

Victoria Nicolls

Jessica Blaxland Ashby - Business Manager

Jessica is a passionate and self-motivated arts administrator with a love for new writing, puppetry, movement-based storytelling and visual art. 

Graduating with distinction from her MA in Advanced Theatre Practice at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London, she moved back to Sydney in 2013 where she began Blaxland and Daughter, a family run business with her mother Wendy Blaxland. Here she is the primary organiser of state-wide tours of five different productions, touring NSW and the ACT, many in collaboration with local Councils. Duties have included tour management, event organisation, school bookings, finances and website content management.

In her spare time, Jessica volunteers on the Save Marian Street Theatre Company committee which aims to raise the support needed to reopen the Marian Street Theatre building.