Our Team


When you are sending your children to an activity you ask yourself a few questions; What are the tutors like? Are they positive role models? Do they know their stuff? Will my children be safe? Will my children be inspired? We also ask these questions of all our tutors and staff. Hunter Drama has the most dynamic and inspiring team of creative artists working with young people in the Hunter region. It is our mission to inspire young people to be the best versions of themselves and our tutors practice what they preach. Every week they turn up as the best versions of themselves ready to rock the socks off our students.

Elise Martin - Artistic Director

Elise has been working as an actor for several years on both the stage and screen. She has previously performed and trained in Sydney completing courses at Sydney Theatre School, NIDA and Screenwise as well as master classes in improvisation.

Elise is a Newcastle based actor and drama teacher She has most recently appeared in Stooged Theatre’s Blood Bank, Newcastle Theatre Company’s Proof,  Someone Like You for Stooged Theatre as part of the Roald Dahl festival, The Chosen for Tantrum Youth Arts and The Female of the Species  for Newcastle Theatre…

Daniel Stoddart - Founder

Daniel is one of the Hunter’s most well established performers in our region. He is an actor, director, artist, producer, entertainer, singer, business owner, blogger, designer, entrepreneur, public figure, teacher and writer. He is a busy guy!

With credits to his name for performing, directing and producing events Daniel has over 14 years of theatrical and event experience in the Hunter, Sydney and beyond

Daniel is a Multi-City of Newcastle Drama Award winner with recent theatrical credits including The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) for Popular…

Maike Strichow

Maike Strichow has been a part of the Newcastle Theatre community since 2006 when she began her training.

Maike has been teaching at Hunter Drama since 2014 but has been involved with the company’s productions since 2008 For Hunter Drama Maike has been the costume designer of several productions including Peter Pan, The Twits, and The BFG which she was nominated for a CONDA Maike’s credits include…

James Tolhurst

James Tolhurst is a CONDA nominated choreographer, who has been dancing for more than 10 years.

A versatile dancer and teacher, James has performed throughout Australia and the world, where his credits includes 6th place at the ‘Dance Worlds’ competition in Orlando, USA, alongside performances in Disneyland and Universal Studios

He has worked closely with the Metropolitan Players as a performer and choreographer in productions of…

Charlotte De Wit

Charlotte De Wit is a local theatre creator and actor She has been involved in productions with Hunter Drama as follows Beauty and the Beast (2011), Fantastic Mr Fox (2011), Spring Awakening the musical (2012), Fractured (2012) Romeo and Juliet (2014) and the Little Mermaid (2014) and well…

Lauren Wheatley

Lauren has been performing professionally for over 10 years, singing, dancing and acting plus working within the creative realm of theatre. She has also had the pleasure of teaching in many different capacities over those years.

With a love for all things creative, and a passion for learning new skills, Lauren has also taken to choreographing shows like A Night in The Forest and There’s Something Strange About Marvin McRae for the Catholic School’s Office here in Newcastle These shows also allowed Lauren to show off…

Drew Holmes

Drew Holmes has been working in the performing arts in both professional and nonprofessional productions for over 10 years.

Having trained in Acting at The Australian Academy of Dramatic Arts, and receiving both at certification for Musical Theatre and Diploma of arts from The Regional Institute of Performing Arts, he has gone on to not only perform in many productions but also write, direct and choreograph for many…

Alison Hodge

Alison has more than 10 years of teaching experience, as well as many years of training both in Sydney and Newcastle. Alison has trained vocally with Kym Parrish in Sydney, and within this time studied the Estill Vocal Method, with a heavy focus on vocal health and anatomy.

Alison has completed her Cert IV in Performance with ED5 (Vocal Major), and a Cert IV in Performance through Urban Dance Centre (Dance Major) In between completing these courses, Alison appeared in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (RMS), Snow White: A Winter Musical (Bonnie Lythgoe Productions) at the State Theatre, and…

Angela McKeown

Angela’s career has spanned almost 30yrs! First starting out in musical theatre and as a singer with various bands around Newcastle Wanting to broaden her acting skills, Angela went on to working in many short film festivals, local commercials, educational films and featured roles in television on the series…

Allison Van Gaal

Allison is much sought after vocal coach with over 20 years experience. She is a qualified high school music teacher and is also qualified to teach VET Entertainment Industries.

Allison graduated from Newcastle  Conservatorium of Music with a Bachelor of  Music (Voice) and has achieved a Graduate Diploma of Teaching from the University of New England Allison also hold a Licentiate (LTCL) in Voice from Trinity Guildhall London

Allison has performed in over 80 local productions in her 27…

Chelsea Willis

Chelsea is a tutor at Hunter Drama and teaches our junior Musical Theatre programs. Chelsea is heavily involved in both the dance and theatre community in Newcastle.

Chelsea studied her Diploma of Arts (Acting) at the Regional Institute of Performing Arts, completed two years of full-time dance training including RAD Ballet exams at Newcastle Dance Academy and has her Associate Diploma of Performance (Musical Theatre) through Trinity College London

Most recently, Chelsea has appeared as the Dance…

Georgia Hicks-Jones

Graduating from Hunter School of the Performing Arts in 2014 with an OnStage nomination for her HSC drama individual performance, Georgia is currently in her third year of a Bachelor degree in Communication/Law Honours (Combined) at the University of Newcastle.

In 2014 Georgia travelled to New York and Los Angeles to participate in acting, dancing, and musical theatre workshops, refining her training with first class industry professionals During this time she studied at Stella Adler, Margie Haber, DANY Studios, and completed workshops under the guidance of current Broadway professionals