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

Bach. Education (hons) Major in Music

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 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.  

Lauren Turner

Customer Care

Lauren is the fresh new voice at Hive on the phone and happy to have a chat at reception on Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays.

A mum of a two beautiful young sons, Lauren’s passion for all things creative and imagination in little minds has come to life. Lauren has always loved being creative with dancing from a young age until she was 24. Her background is in hairdressing- hence loving to have a chat- and since having her son in 2020 decided a career change was in order.

Working at Hive is the perfect fit and loves being surrounded by such talented and creative people. She is currently studying her certificate III in business and looks forward to furthering her skills at The Hive.

Beth Aubrey

Drama Teacher

Bach. Acting, NIDA

Beth graduated from NIDA’s Acting course in 2006 and has worked extensively in all areas of the professional industry.

Her comic flair and ability to deliver edgy performances has landed her Television roles in ‘ Rake’, ‘Home and Away’, ‘Janet King’, ‘East west 101, as well as having roles in many short and feature films.
She has been the brand voice over artist for Foxtel since 2018 and has voiced many TV campaigns such as The Sunday Telegraph, Weight Watchers, Bankwest, Pork, Maggie, she has also narrated, corporate videos, Audio books starred in many TVC’s.
Beth has been a regular tutor for NIDA’s Open Program since 2010 teaching The craft of Acting to all age groups and has taught nearly every course Nida Open Program has to offer both Nationally and in Sydney.
Beth specialises in ‘Improvisation’ which gives her classes a fun blend of comedy and creativity.

Beth Peach-Robinson

Musical Theatre Program Manager

Bach. Music

Beth is a singer and actress with a passion for Creative Education.  Originally from the UK, Beth began her training at Cardiff University, obtaining a Degree in Music. She then went on to study Musical Theatre at the Royal Academy of Music in London. After graduating she went on to tour the UK and Internationally with multiple musicals.

She has previously taught Musical Theatre for the Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts, where she realised the joy in sharing her skills and love for music and performing with children.

Since moving to Australia Beth has fronted a local function band performing at weddings and music venues across the Hunter.

Beth has two beautiful children who are her inspiration, and further sparked her love for music education. Beth feels so lucky to be a part of the Hive team, getting to do what she loves everyday with such a wonderful community of families.

Francesco Bertoni

Musical Theatre

Francesco started performing at the age of 12 in Italy. He studied throughout the years singing, acting, dancing, piano and drums.
He successfully graduated in musical theatre at the Bernstein School of Musical Theatre (Bologna, Italy). He then performed in a range of shows on national tours for 2 years before moving to Paris to become a parade character performer in Disneyland Paris for 4 years.

In local theatre he appeared as Tyler in “Merrily we roll along”, Paul in “Company” and Lewis in “Pippin”. He is also a member of the Newcastle Chamber Choir since June 2022.

Shuna Mackay

Drama Teacher & Program Manager

Bach. Community Drama (hons)

Shuna was born in the UK and studied at the Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts, where she completed a degree in Community Drama (BAHons) and proudly shook Sir Paul McCartneys hand to receive her degree! After graduation Shuna worked in London, teaching performing arts within Pre schools, and enjoyed seeing shows regularly in the West End.
Shuna moved to Australia in 2014 and after traveling worked for several schools and companies in Melbourne teaching Drama and Music in education.
Shuna has always had a passion and interest in performing arts from a young age, now as a mother of two young boys the passion has grown deeper understanding the positive effect performing arts can have in young minds and in their development from a young age.
Shuna and her family recently relocated to Newcastle and love their new city and all it has to offer.
Shuna loves working at The Hive surrounded by creative people and watching children grow in their confidence and growth through the arts.


Bridget Ponman

Musical Theatre Teacher

Bridget is an HSC student at the Hunter School of Performing Arts. She has spent 10 years developing talent in drama, musical theatre, and classical singing. She has been a frequent performer in many local productions and a CONDA youth ambassador. Bridget has earned multiple nominations and won the CONDA “Excellence by a Performer 18 and Under in a Musical” award. Her notable roles include Elle Woods in ‘Legally Blonde The Musical’, SpongeBob in ‘The SpongeBob Musical’, The Baroness in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, and Ursula in ‘The Little Mermaid Jr.’ A talented visual artist, Bridget ranked in the Top 100 for the Young Archie’s 2021. At Hive, she passionately shares her arts expertise with young enthusiasts.


Amelia Accardi


Amelia has been learning piano since 5 years of age. Completing all grades of piano AMEB with high distinctions and currently working on her AMUS (Associate in music, Australia). Amelia has a focus on classical piano, however loves all styles including Jazz, Pop and Musical Theatre. Additionally, Amelia’s compositional work (songwriting) has been acknowledged in Star Struck where she performed her original song, and her songwriting is further being developed at the Talent Development Project in Sydney. Recently, Amelia has been nominated to perform at ENCORE (‘outstanding’ music performances in HSC music at the Sydney Opera House). Amelia hopes to pursue Music after school in university.
Amelia has experience working with Children at Young Peoples Theatre as a production assistant and assistant tutor as well as being an assistant musical theatre teacher at HIVE. She’s very passionate about teaching kids and has a focus on nurturing children’s creativity and passion for music; always bringing her enthusiasm, skill and passion to the classroom.


Grace Lickley


Bach. Natural History Illustration

Grace is a passionate writer and artist and is a recent graduate of a Bachelor of Natural History Illustration. Grace specialises in both digital and traditional drawing methods and has a profound love for watercolour. She also works with acrylic, polymer clay and fine liner. She has been recognised by the National Art School in Sydney where she was accepted into their Intensive Studio Program specialising in Life Drawing and has participated in multiple exhibitions. 

For 8 years Grace attended a Steiner school and grew up surrounded by eclectic and colourful people. From age 6 her creative endeavours included painting, needle felting, knitting and candle making all of which she still enjoys and works at today. 

Grace has extensive experience working with children and has taught at both primary and high school levels. She is incredibly passionate about encouraging kids to discover their creativity and develop their artistic skills.



Hannah Simonovich


Bach. Fine Art

Hannah is a contemporary abstract artist who has been painting for over ten years. She obtained a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Newcastle where she graduated with a double major in painting and photography. 

Since graduating Hannah has dedicated her time to her art making practice where she has been a part of numerous solo and group exhibitions. Hannah has also worked as a freelance photographer, conducted art lessons for primary and pre-school aged children and worked in the Interior Design Industry. 

Predominantly working with oil on canvas, Hannah paints intuitively by drawing on memory of the natural world to create abstract landscapes. She is inspired by the emotive quality of colour and the environment. 

Hannah’s passion and love for teaching children visual arts has gravitated her towards Hive Creative Studio. Not only is she thrilled to be a part of this creative and educational community but is grateful to be teaching children how to create art through different methods and techniques as well as how to express themselves and communicate through art making practices. 



Melody Suranyi


Bach. Visual Communication

Melody is a professional artist and muralist with a passion for teaching and encouraging the next generation. After graduating with distinction from Newcastle University with a Bachelor of Visual Communication Design, Melody joined an art studio where she runs her business selling paintings and creating murals. She teaches backed by a wealth of industry experience in both teaching and art making.
Specialising in painting and lino printing, Melody has been involved in many group and solo exhibitions and currently has her work for sale all over Australia. Her murals can be spotted across Newcastle inside local businesses and in public spaces. She is bursting with passion and brings a bright and fun approach to art that she can’t wait to share with all her future students.
She is excited to be sharing her passion and art experience with students at Hive and is looking forward to nurturing her student’s confidence and skills in their artistic ability.



Charli Walker


Charli is a singer and practicing artist. Having grown up in a musical and artistic family, it was a natural progression for her to study music and fine art.  Specialising in drawing and watercolour painting, Charli enjoys being part of our art program planning team alongside teaching in our art classes for preschoolers and school age children. 

Charli has a natural affinity for working with children and enjoys connecting with each child in her classes and helping them to develop their interest, skill and passion in art. 

Rosie Wilkie

Art Assistant

Rosie is a dedicated student, art teacher and emerging creative professional. She is studying a Bachelor of Visual Communication Design, majoring in Creative Arts at the University of Newcastle. Through this study, she has developed a strong technical and conceptual understanding of visual art principles, transferring these skills into her teaching practice. Attending Newtown High School of the Performing Arts in Sydney, Rosie has a broad background in performing and creative arts. She has abundant experience working with various artistic mediums, including drawing, painting and sculpture, with a special interest in print-making and fibre arts.
Nurturing her student’s artistic skills, Rosie is passionate about inspiring young minds to unlock their creative potential. By consistently seeking new ways to educate and inspire young creatives, she works to ensure art is accessible to everyone. Her extensive experience working with children of various ages and abilities allows Rosie to adjust her teaching methods, accommodating the unique learning styles of her individual students. She strives to create an inclusive and encouraging environment to support her students develop fundamental artistic skills.



Lee Seaman


Diploma in Graphic Design

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.

Rebecca Hrobat


Diploma in Performing Arts Major in Acting

Bec has spent much of her life in performing arts. She started dancing at a young age and went on to perform interstate and internationally, singing and dancing professionally.
After completing her full time diploma in performing arts at The Australian College Of Entertainment as an acting major, she worked as an actor in the television and film industry for many years.
Bec has always related and connected to children, during this time she also worked as a Fairy for kids party’s, taught tiny tots (2-5yrs) singing classes and worked as a children’s nanny. She later went on to work behind the scenes in the television industry as a full time producer and supervising producer for fifteen years.
Bec was involved in Murmuration, an integrated performing company working with a collective of multi-disciplinary artists. She has a young family and recently moved to Newcastle to take advantage of the beautiful surroundings and natural environment that it has on offer. As a mum of a two young children, Bec is made aware on a daily basis, of the different ways children learn and how that changes as they grow.
Bec loves being a part of the Hive community and enjoys watching little beings explore their potential through creativity, music and the arts.


Eloise Sheean

Bee-School, Baby & Toddler Music

Bach. Music

Eloise was born into a musical family. Both her grandparents and mother were singers and teachers at the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music.
She completed her Bachelor of Music degree through the University of Newcastle and had many performance opportunities, including being a member of University of Newcastle Chamber Choir.
She has performed in numerous concerts as lead soprano such as Mozarts Requiem & Vespers and performed in opera and theatre productions of The Magic Flute, La Bohème, Wicked, Les Misérables, Beauty and the Beast and many more. Eloise has also performed with Sydney based choral group Cantillation on the soundtrack for Happy Feet 2 and Nigel Westlake’s premiere of Requiem for Eli at the Sydney Opera House with Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
She has previously taught private singing tuition from home and Newcastle Grammar School with a variety of students ranging in age, skill level and vocal style.
After taking a break from performing to start a family, Eloise is excited to help children explore their creativity through their love of singing and music making.


Summer Visocchi

Bee-School Teacher & Play Room 

Summer teaches in our Bee-school program, co-teaches in our Play Room program, and is the organizational expert behind our incredible Play Room program.  Working at Hive since 2019 “I was gifted with the chance to make my dream come true with an amazing opportunity to do what I have always loved to do, which is working with kids”. 

Summer has always loved building and forming relationships with children and her work is always rewarded by getting to watch them thrive, grow and develop their creativity. She has always had a passion for both dance and art, and to be able to combine her interests she believes, is the best combination ever!

Melissa Saunders

Program Director for 0-5 Yrs
Baby & Toddler Music

Diploma of Early Education & Care

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.

Emily Kingsmill

Baby & Toddler Music

Bach. Psychology in Education

Emily is a pianist, singer and teacher. She grew up playing the piano then completed her Psychology in Education degree back in England. She qualified as a Primary School teacher, then as an Early Childhood educator here in Australia. She is passionate about children learning through the joy of music and is delighted to be putting both her love of music and education together at Hive.

Her two little boys share her love of music, and together they like to spend time exploring and adventuring outdoors, going to the beach, sailing, crafting, baking, plus singing, dancing and making music!

Kirsty Venables

Play Room

Bach. Education (Primary)

Kirsty completed her primary teaching degree in 2009 and has been teaching for 12 years. Nurturing young little minds is her life goal. Working with children has been a dream of mine since I was one myself. There was never any other career path for me. It truly is my ‘dream job’ to have recently joined The Hive team; as it allows me to combine my passion for engaging with children as well as my love for The Arts.

Performing has always been a big part of my life; singing and dancing all through primary as well as high school, and also majoring in Drama for my HSC and at uni. I have had the privilege of performing at many friends’ and families’ weddings as well as few informal social and charity events.
I have a 4 year old little boy, Finn, who is the love of my life. He has loved music, dancing and imaginative play from the very beginning and hopefully he is following in Mummy’s footsteps.

The Blog

The Power of “NO”

The Power of “NO”

“No” is arguably the most powerful and important word we ever learn. As adults, if our “no” is not given or taken well, it deeply affects our emotional wellbeing and social success. Adults with poor boundaries find it hard to say no to themselves and others. This can...

I’m a Big Kid Now!

I’m a Big Kid Now!

Bringing your pre-school child to drop off classes, sending your 3-year-old with a carer, or grandparent, or even just coming to classes where your child leaves you behind, swept up in the magic of the class, are all bittersweet experiences. But even the most...

What’s The Big Deal About Tummy Time?

What’s The Big Deal About Tummy Time?

It seems like every time you turn around some well-meaning person pushes us to get bub on their tummy. Why is this so important? And what if your bub HATES being on their tummy? Under 6 months, our brain first develops all the involuntary or automatic movements that...