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.

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…

Hayley Stoddart - General Manager

Hayley grew up dancing in the Newcastle area and eventually teaching for over 10 years It was this experience that saw her co-found the Musical Theatre courses here at Hunter Drama

Her theatre credits include City of Newcastle Drama nominations for Choreography for the productions Beauty and the Beast JR…

Jo Roberts - Associate Director

Jo has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Newcastle

She also has over 20 years of experience in the theatre industry; from writing and directing, to performing and producing, focusing predominantly on children’s theatre She was the Founder and General Manger of Imaginary Friends Theatre…

James Tolhurst - Associate Director

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

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

James experience across many aspects of production, while enjoying the stage as an accomplished performer His performance…

Rachael Cook

Rachael Cook has been active in the performing arts industry since she was 12 years of age She started her education at HSPA and continued on to act in musical productions of Cats, Anything Goes and Grease While she was performing on the theatrical stage she was competing in…

Lesley Coombes

Lesley has had over twenty years experience in theatre Lesley was artistic director of Maitland Jr Repertory Theatre from late 2009 – 2014, teaching drama and directing their annual productions Lesley has a passion for teaching and is a qualified primary school teacher with Masters and is currently working…

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…

Alex Mangano

Alex is an emerging actor, singer-songwriter, theatre and film maker and drama tutor from Newcastle She recently completed her BA in Communication majoring in Media Production where she directed 3 short films and a short documentary

Over the past 5 years, Alex regularly performed in local theatre productions performing in…

Harold Phipps

Harold Phipps is a Newcastle based actor and theatre creator and has been involved in theatre in Newcastle for the past 7 years.

Harold completed studying a Diploma of Musical Theatre through WEA Hunter in 2016 Over the years he has been involved with a number of shows with different theatre companies most recently he has been in shows such as Macbeth (2014, YPT) in which he was nominated for a CONDA…

Rayna Russo

Rayna has resided in the Upper Hunter for the past 5 years
During this time she has played various roles with Muswellbrook Amateur Theatrical Society From The Baroness Elsa Schrader, in The Sound Of Music, to Madame Spritzer in the French Facade, Monsieur Goes A Hunting, as well as several…

Daniel Stranger

Dan is a performing arts worker from the United Kingdom Since moving to Australia in
2009, Dan’s work as a director and theatre-maker includes Ubu Roi (2013), The Tempest
(2014), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2015 & 2018), Insert Drama Here (2015), Children’s
Stories (2016), Titus Andronicus (2016), Wild Words (2016), Journey (2017),…

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 holds a Bachelor of Music and a Graduate Diploma of Education Allison has performed in over 80 local productions in her 27 years in the Newcastle Theatre Community, where she has had numerous lead roles in musicals, cabarets, plays, and both directed and musical directed receiving  a City…

Renae Youman

Renae fell in love with the theatre as a child and has made it part of her life ever since She began dancing at age 5 which sparked her passion for all things theatrical! Renae was fortunate to travel to the USA as a teenager, where she performed at…

Allon Silove

Allon has a long history in drama and theatre He graduated from University of Newcastle with a double degree in Drama while concurrently running a much loved community theatre company with a rich history of over 15 years of producing original comedies and children’s pantomime, Footlice Theatre Co
Over the…

Madeline Baillie

Maddie has studied acting at NIDA, the Mark Piper Byron Bay Film and Television school and the Pasvolsky Studio As a Primary school teacher who is passionate about instilling a love for the performing arts in young people she teaches drama and musical theatre in Newcastle

Madeline has been singing…

Sophie Carmody

Sophie’s love of the performing arts developed from a very young age She began her dance training (RAD) at age 3 and later started training in singing Sophie currently attends Hunter School of the Performing arts in Broadmeadow and has participated in the Department of Education’s Starstruck…