Marian St Theatre for Young People

Meet Our Teaching Artists

Our classes are taught by professional teaching artists. All have professional training at a tertiary level. 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

BMus(MusEd) (Sydney Conservatorium of Music). PGradDip(PerfCr) - Directing (Victorian College of the Arts)

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.

Bosilka May

BA in Photography and Media Studies at London College of Communication. Master of Fine Arts in Voice and Theatre at NIDA

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.

Victoria Nicolls

BA (Hons) Flinders University Drama Centre

Victoria has maintained a professional career spanning 40 years as an Actor, Director, Writer and Presenter. 

Armed with her training, BA (Hons) Flinders University Drama Centre, Victoria launched herself into The Entertainment Industry which proved to be a successful journey through Theatre, Television, and Film, not stopping to draw breath, until she took time out in the 90’s to have her two children.

Keeping her professional work close to home Victoria balanced her Professional acting with Tutoring, Directing and Writing Children’s Plays; working primarily with Children’s Theatre Companies such as NIDA Open Programme, Scene and Heard, Drama In The Cove and Marian St Theatre For Young People(MSTYP).

The professional stage lured her back in the 2000’s with two national tours of Mum’s The Word 2: Teenagers, and Menopause The Musical, revisiting her love of treading the boards and making Australia laugh.

Victoria continues to work with MSTYP Children’s Theatre while balancing her professional acting career.

Clare Ellen O'Connor

Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre at The Arts Academy, Ballarat

Clare has always loved to perform, her first memory of this being when she was 4 and would perform Hanson concerts (her students would be too young to remember those guys!) for her family in their lounge room. 

After singing and dancing her way through her childhood, Clare completed a Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre at The Arts Academy in Ballarat. Clare’s highlight from her time at university was playing the lead female role of Lucille Frank in Parade, directed by Bryce Ives and Nate Gilkes. Soon after graduating university she was hired as the lead vocalist for PEEL Entertainment in the UK and spent 14 months traveling the globe in her dream job. After returning to Aus, she quickly established herself in Sydney as a talented backing vocalist; she often performs alongside Bobby Fox, Marney McQueen and Catherine Alcorn in both The Divine Miss Bette and Go Your Own Way. She is also amongst the group of talented vocalists that perform Rock Rhapsody (Good Egg Productions), thrilling audiences with the hits of Queen on both land and sea.

Clare loves performing theatre for young people; she has toured with Echelon, Poetry In Action and was lucky enough to play the lead role in the smash hit Room On The Broom (CDP Theatre Producers) in 2017. In early 2019 Clare premiered her debut solo show Plucked!, a show which she wrote, produced and starred in, alongside musical director and guitarist Glenn Moorhouse. Plucked! has been hugely successful, with Clare being awarded a Weekly Emerging Artist Award from Adelaide Fringe Festival as well as Runner Up in The Sydney Cabaret Competition.

In 2019, Clare launched her own production company, Rhinestone Rebel Presents. This allows her to bring the creative dreams of other artists to life as a producer. Clare is extremely excited to be involved with Marian Street Theatre for Young People. Children have imaginations that adults have long lost… That means they are perfect for making theatre!

Kate Murphy

BA Theatre Arts, Majoring Acting (University of Southern Queensland 2008)

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.

Laura Gava

Bachelor Creative Arts Performance, University of Wollongong 

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.

Bonnie Cowan

Bachelor of Creative Arts (Dean's Scholar) - University of Wollongong

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. 

Anna Orchard

Bachelor of Applied Science (OT) University Sydney 

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.

Lucy Watson

Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English and Drama, from Australian National University.
Master of Art majoring in Sculpture, Performance and Installation, from UNSW Art and Design.

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

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.

Halina Abramowicz

State Academy of Theatrical Arts -Wroclaw - Poland, Zaglebia State Theatre Company - Sosnowiec - Poland

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.

Cat Martin

PhD (Linguistics/Drama, Macquarie University), Power of Acting (Actors Centre)

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 AwaySunday 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.

Chelsea Zeller - Teaching Artist

Chelsea Zeller is a comedian, actor and theatre maker. She has devised and performed new works for The Malthouse Theatre, The Butterfly Club, Melbourne and Adelaide Fringe Festivals, and has toured with Regional Arts Victoria. Her recent solo shows at Melbourne and Sydney Comedy Festival had sold out runs. She is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts and The Second City Chicago and regularly teaches and performs with Improv Theatre Sydney. She tutors for Belvoir Education and the Foundation for Young Australians and is the co-artistic director of Fairfax Youth Initiative - a program offering young people living in regional and remote areas access to the arts. Chelsea is delighted to be working with Marian St Theatre for Young People for the first time. 

Jessica Blaxland Ashby - General Manager

BA Creative Arts (Macquarie University, Sydney), MA Advanced Theatre Practice (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London)

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.