Our Staff

Our staff are highly trained and experienced to provide you and your child with an outstanding learning experience. For us, the best element of our job is that we get to play a special part in your child’s development and watch them learn, grow and create.

Vanessa Lynch

Hive Founder & Director

Vanessa answers your calls and emails and is available to talk with at reception between 9am and 2pm most week days.

Vanessa has a B.Ed (hons) – Bachelor of Education with a major in Music and has spent several years teaching classroom music in high schools and primary schools in London. Vanessa is an accomplished pianist and flute player and has achieved an ATCL level in performance.

While studying an honours degree in Music Education, with a focus on neural research on children’s intellect and cognitive function, she discovered that music is especially powerful in shaping a child’s interests and abilities in the preschool years. Opening Hive, a creative learning studio for local families, was a natural step in her desire to give children the opportunity to develop the cognitive and musical skills that early childhood music training offers.

When she’s not buzzing at Hive, Vanessa spends her spare time being creative with cooking, baking, sewing and playing music with her kids Zara, Jayden and Brianna – they even have their own little family band!

Jessica Gavin

Customer Care

Jess answers your calls and is available to chat with on reception Monday, Tuesday and Friday. A mother to two beautiful boys, she has been a long-term client before joining the Hive team.

Alex Hussein

Director of Performing Arts
Drama Teacher

Alex graduated from University in 2011. She was awarded first class honours with the university medal and faculty medal for her double degree in Primary Teaching and Arts, majoring in drama and music. Alex has also taken courses in acting and directing at NIDA and the Urdang academy in London.

Daughter of acclaimed Australian director, the late Victor Emeljanow, Alex has a vast range of experiences working in the entertainment and media industry as well as shadowing her father’s teachings her whole life. Her stage credits include playing Geain in Henceforward, Le Beau in As You Like It (both for the University of Newcastle) and Beauty and the Beast. Having spent many years working in London’s West End, Alex was theatre supervisor for The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre, featured in the national touring production of The Mr Men and Little Miss Show and has performed in various Commedia Dell Arte troupes throughout London and Europe. In 2019, Alex debuted as a professional director for the Very Popular Theatre Company directing the award winning production of Endgame which received 8 CONDA Nominations, including Best Production and Best Director.

In media, Alex has produced for radio both in Australia and London, most notably working in radio production for Triple M and Hit106.9 here in Newcastle for 8 years. Alex is a passionate teaching artist and is currently Director of Drama for Star Struck as well as resident director for the Very Popular Theatre Company.

Charlotte De Wit

Drama Teacher
Art Teacher

Charlotte De Wit is a local creative and theatre-maker. She has worked in the theatre community over the past 9 years in the roles of acting, directing, teaching, devising and producing.  Charlotte has trained as an actor locally as well as in New York and has worked extensively with the Hunter Drama Actors Company.

Charlotte is currently a co-artistic director of the Lowbrow Outfit which was created in 2017 and has two productions under its belt earning 14 CONDA nominations and 3 wins at the 2018 awards. She is also an associate director of The Very Popular Theatre Company.  Most recent credits include Punk Rock (2016) The Lieutenant of Inishmore (2017) Neighbourhood Watch (2018), Dali (2019) and Circle Mirror Transformation (2018).

As an artist, Charlotte enjoys combining storytelling with her art making through portraiture and figurative drawing, working in mediums of watercolor paints and pencils.  She loves to enable her students to find their individual style while working in a process-based approach. Charlotte also has a background in fashion illustration and design where she can explore her passion for colour and fashion.


Matt Harper

Drama Teacher

Matt’s first experience of drama was with the O’Grady Drama Academy (2005-2010). In recent years (2017-2020) he has trained extensively through Pasvolsky Actors Studio, developing acting fundamentals and skills in film and scene work, text and improvisation, and characterisation.
He has performed multiple roles with the Studio and regularly participates in community theatre, including Newcastle Fringe, Junior Theatre Celebration and Riverlights Multicultural Festival. Matt has also volunteered overseas with Cambodian Living Arts to support their mission.

Matt is a trained secondary school teacher, specialising in English and Drama education. He has taught in secondary schools as well as at the university level.

Currently Matt also works at the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre at the University of Newcastle. Through the Centre he has worked on exciting projects about young people’s aspirations for the future and is currently undertaking a PhD.

Natasha Gibbs

Musical Theatre Teacher
Bee-School Teacher
Piano Teacher

Natasha grew up “on the stage” surrounded by music, dance, art and theatre as her Mum – Melissa Saunders – ran choirs, musical theatre shows and drama groups and both her Mum and Dad taught piano and voice lessons.

Natasha is a qualified dance teacher, has performed in many musicals as an actress and singer, and she is a qualified Simply Music Piano teacher. A ‘natural’ teacher, Tash is a firm favourite amongst the Bee-School teachers with our littlest students and she has a beautiful way of engaging young children in meaningful learning through happy structured play experiences.

Amelia Carpenter

Musical Theatre Teacher

Amelia is very passionate about musical theatre and all things performing. She began her love for performing at a young age and has been singing, dancing and acting for over 10 years. She has been apart of many shows such as A Christmas Carol, Little Mermaid Jr, Shrek Jr, Peter Pan, Seussical kids (Played Cat in the Hat), Fame Jr, Into the woods Jr, Chicago and in 2020 played Charity Hope Valentine in Sweet Charity.
Amelia was lucky enough to travel to America and perform at the Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta in 2015 and, in 2019 as part of the Aussie All Stars- winning the Excellence by a Female Performer award whilst over in the USA. In 2020 she was awarded the Victor Emeljanow Memorial Scholarship for Professionalism in Theatre and has a plethora of skills and knowledge gained throughout her performing life to share with young performers in order for them to excel in the future!

Luke Barker

Musical Theatre Teacher

Luke developed his love of Musical theatre while attending Hunter School of Performing arts.
A very active member of our local Newcastle Theatre scene, Luke has played many roles including “Captain Hook” in Hunter Drama’s production of Peter Pan, “Billy Flynn” in Chicago, “Cosmo Brown” in Singin’ in the Rain and “Cinderella’s Prince” in Into the Woods.

Luke has a natural rapport with children and gained his experience in teaching Musical Theatre while working at Hunter Drama. His aim is to share the skills he has learnt over years of performing and help the next little performers become their very best on and off the stage.

Shannon Bellamy

Art Teacher

Shannon Bellamy is a Natural History Illustrator and Artist working from Onwards Studio in Newcastle, Australia. Through her practice, Shannon explores her connection to nature, and the beauty and diversity of the natural world. Shannon specialises in highly detailed scientific illustrations, capturing the finer details and textures of her subjects.
Shannon is passionate about the environment and the potential for art to influence positive change. She is skilled in scientific illustration and botanical art, and is passionate about developing a career in textile design and children’s book illustration. Creating traditional and digital illustrations, Shannon most commonly works in pen and ink, graphite, watercolour and Photoshop. She enjoys photography in her spare time and experimenting with other mediums including gouache, acrylic, charcoal, sculpture and animation. Her favourite subjects include marine life, fungi and native Australian flora.

Rachel O’Brien

Art Teacher

Rachel is a Hunter Valley based Artist and Illustrator working in pen, watercolour or coloured pencil (sometimes all three at once!) specialising in portraiture and botanicals.
With a background in fine arts and a Bachelor of Communication Design (RMIT) Rachel has been practicing for 6 years as an artist and designer and art Educator. Rachel enjoys helping children and young people discover and grow their own artistic talent, and brings an infectious enthusiasm for creating art into every classroom.

Melissa Box

Director of Bee-School
Spanish, Music & Drama Teacher

Melissa has a background in early childhood teaching, singing, acting and performing – bringing a complete educational and creative experience to her students.  Before joining Hive, Melissa taught in local preschools and performed in Musical Theatre shows.  With her expertise in Musical Theatre and acting she brings a vibrancy to all her classes that is infectious and engaging for kids and adults!

While living in South America, Melissa developed a love for the Spanish language and brings this same enthusiasm for language to her Spanish classes which are full of songs, games, stories and fun.

Melissa is a proud mum to Mollie who shares her passion for musical theatre and performing.

Lee Seaman

Bee-School Art Teacher

Hello! My name is Lee and you could say I wear many pants. Wife, mum, Artist, Graphic Designer / Art Director and published Children’s interior stylist.

I find inspiration for my art/design from all facets of life but mostly from the sheer beauty of kids and my fondness for all things that are colourful, fresh and fun. I am beyond passionate in helping the next generation of little humans find their creative spark by providing them the tools to create projects that push their capabilities so they are continually growing and developing.

Professionally, I have worked as an art director for over 9 years, and hold qualifications in graphic design and fashion design.

Raechelle Weston

Bee-School Art Teacher

Raechelle is a local artist but studied fine arts at University in North Queensland. She also has certificates in Graphic Design and Photography from Newcastle TAFE. Her work is broad, ranging from fine detailed scientific drawings linked to her former career as a Geologist to vibrant and bold acrylic paintings for children’s bedrooms. You may recognise her colourful art from markets and venues around town.

Summer Visocchi

Bee-School Assistant

Jessica McDonald

Piano Teacher

Jess is very passionate about all things music – especially piano – and enthusiastically teaches her students the broad range of musical styles within the ‘Simply Music’ program. With having over 9 years of undergoing private piano tuition, achieving high distinctions in her ANZCA exams and just completing her HSC music course, Jess has endured much experience within her musical Journey.

She has also been entertaining the community at Lindsay Gardens Aged Care Facility with Macquarie Hills Music’s annual Christmas concert for many years – and wishes to continue sharing and teaching the joy of music to her wonderful students through the ‘Simply Music’ program.

Ovania McClelland

Creative Play Assistant
Kindermusik Teacher


Melissa Saunders

Director of Music
Kindermusik & Creative Play Teacher

Melissa has a background and qualifications in early childhood teaching and music education – giving you and your child a complete educational and creative experience. Before joining the Hive, Melissa worked as an Early Childhood Teacher and Director and also as a Voice Teacher and Choir Director. Melissa’s skills extend to the stage as well, where she has many years of experience in writing, directing and producing musicals and dramatic theatre productions.

She’s also a singer and songwriter – you might just see her wowing audiences at live performances in local venues around Newcastle.

Melissa is a proud mum to Natasha and Daniel, who share her passion for beautiful music and performance.

Maree Kearins

Creative Play Teacher

Maree has a background in piano, having played since she was 5 years old. She was on the music stage from an early age, performing in eisteddfods, before completing her 6th grade level AMEB (Australian Music Examinations Board) in piano. During her time studying the Suzuki Piano Method, Maree had the privilege of performing at the Opera House as a young piano student. Maree is passionate about creating an enriching musical experience and fostering a supportive community for those who attend her classes.

The Blog

School Stream App

School Stream App

Hive is now using the new 'School Stream' app to communicate with parents. Keep in the loop with the latest news and your Child's class updates. Simply download the App on either of the following formats: iPhone / iPad iOS From your mobile device click the DOWNLOAD...

Creative Play is Buzzing!

Creative Play is Buzzing!

We couldn't be happier with our Creative Play program which launched last year. A programme created by Hive to engage babies, toddlers and their carers in cleverly crafted educational play. With a fun new theme each week, families can look forward to original and...

COVID Safe Policy & Changes to Hive

COVID safe policy: Physical distancing measures taken No waiting inside the building: arrive on time or wait outside. Kindermusik classes: 1 adult only in building per child Bee-School: Drop off / Pickup from courtyard, Arrive exactly on time, do not wait in...

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Call Us: 1300 03 03 79
8 Frederick Street, Charlestown 2290
© 2019 Hive Creative Studios

Hive Member Enrolments:

If for any reason you wish to cancel your enrolment within your first month of classes, we will refund your remaining tuition fees and cancel your enrolment.

Please note:

1st month period applies for 30 days starting on the date of your first class

Satisfaction guarantee applies to:

  • Members who are NEW to Hive
  • NEW enrolments in Bee-School (for new and existing Hive clients)

Alternatively: you can CHANGE your enrolment to any other Hive class / program if you are unsatisfied, with no notice period.