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!
Jess is the friendly voice of Hive and answers your calls. She is available to chat with on reception Monday, Thursday and Friday. A mother to two beautiful boys, she has been a long-term client before joining the Hive team and her sons still love coming to Hive each week.
Attending the Hunter School of Performing Arts, Jess completed 6th grade level AMEB (Australian Music Examinations Board) in Trumpet and played in concert, marching and stage bands. From there she has achieved a Bachelor of Sience (Biotechnology) (Hons) and a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration from the University of Newcastle. After working as a Research Scientist and Laboratory Manager at Westmead Hospital, she relocated back to Newcastle and is now enjoying a child-friendly position, being surrounded by Creative People.
Director of Performing Arts
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.
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.
Head of Musical Theatre
Teya is an actor and director, recently returned to Newcastle after a 3 year stint in the USA.
A graduate of the Professional Conservatory at Stella Adler Art of Acting Studio in Los Angeles, Teya as been involved in number of stage and film productions across Australia and the USA.
After graduating from Stella Adler, she moved to New York and starred in two Off-Broadway musicals, as The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland and the Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol. She was a featured vocalist at Mondays in the Pub (Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre, NYC), ensemble in More Guns! (Second City, Hollywood) and starred as Eva Braun in her one woman show Eva at Hollywood Fringe Festival.
Other favourite credits include Nessarose in Wicked (Free Rain Theatre Co.), Ellen in Miss Saigon, (ANU Musical Theatre Co). and Polina in A Winters Tale (Stella Adler, Los Angeles).
Teya is also a human rights and social impact specialist and loves to play soccer, guitar and hike.
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.
Musical Theatre 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.
Charlotte De Wit
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shue Yin Tan
Hello! I’m Yin. I’ve completed my ATCL (Associate of Trinity College London) in piano performance and have been playing the piano for 16 years. I’ve played in a gospel band for about 10 years and have also founded a children’s band in KL.
My teaching experiences include private and group classes consisting of all ages and at all stages. I’m very passionate about all aspects of music, especially teaching. I enjoy teaching my students a variety of musical styles through the ‘Simply Music’ program. I look forward to make learning piano enjoyable and fulfilling through the ‘Simply Music’ program.
Creative Play Assistant
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.
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.
Creative Play Teacher
Bring a simple jar to life with this cute DIY. You can either use it as a vase or pop a tea light candle in it. You will need: • Different colours of oven-bake clay. We used a variety of 7 different colours • Skewer • Preserving Jar (so it can be set in oven) STEP 1:...
This project kept our kids amused for hours! First designing the town buildings and offering them an invitation to play with their very own creation. First, just gather any bits of craft objects you can get your hands on. We used paint, oil pastels, glue, material...
LEGO has long been a fantastic resource to practice some creativity. Our Art Teacher 'Lee' shares an inspiring way to transform LEGO into a fun piece of room decor. Lee runs her own creative business 'You Give Me Grace' when she isn't teaching at the Hive. Check her...
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8 Frederick Street, Charlestown 2290