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 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 beautiful young son who has been attending Hive for almost a year now. Her 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.

Teya Duncan

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. 

Jessie Edmonds

Musical Theatre Teacher

With a passion for musical theatre Jessie can be seen around the Newcastle community as an actor, vocalist and teacher.

Most recently, in 2021 and now 2022 Jessie has been furthering her training, undertaking a musical theatre intensive program the “Pre-Diploma of Musical Theatre”. To name a few, you may have seen her around the Newcastle area in roles such as Feste in the Twelfth Night, Ursula in The Little Mermaid Jr, Kelsi in High School Musical 2, Featured performer in The Pre-Diploma 2021 Showcase, ensemble in Evita and featured ensemble in Aspire’s Stranger than Fiction.

Jessie has experience teaching and assisting musical theatre over the past 2 years in different formats. She has also completed accreditations towards a Cert iii in VET Entertainment at school (dipping her toe into stage management, lighting, vision and audio). Jessie is so excited to start her new journey with the passionate team here at Hive.

Matt Harper

Head of Drama
Drama Teacher

Matt holds a Bachelor of Teaching (Humanities)(Honours), specialising in Drama and English education, and has taught in secondary schools and at the university level. He is currently undertaking a PhD in the School of Education at the University of Newcastle, where he is investigating classroom teaching and learning experiences in Drama and Mathematics. Alongside Hive, Matt works at the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre, where he has contributed to school-based research projects since 2017. One of his favourite projects to work on addressed ways to understand and support young people’s aspirations for the future. 

Matt’s passion for Drama started from a young age and flourished while attending the O’Grady Drama Academy (2005-2010). He has trained extensively through Pasvolsky Actors Studio (2017-2020), developing acting fundamentals and performance skills for both film and stage. Matt has performed multiple roles, regularly participates in community theatre, and has volunteered overseas with Cambodian Living Arts. His special interest is physical theatre, and his ongoing training in Animal Flow brings an exciting new dimension to his craft.

Matt is thrilled to be a member of the Hive team. He enjoys supporting young people to discover their voice and expand their creative potential through Drama.

Danny Folpp

Drama Teacher

Danny has been performing since age 20 at various theatre stages across the globe. Studying at the Australian Institute of Music – Bachelor of Music major in Music Theatre.

His first role was Robbie Hart in The Wedding Singer Musical which projected his passion for theatre and purpose for teaching. Notable roles include The Beast (Beauty And The Beast), Roger Davis (Rent), Gaston (Beauty And The Beast), Danny Zuko (Grease), Sky Masterson (Guys And Dolls), Rapunzel’s Prince (Into The Woods), Benny (Rent), The Monster (Young Frankenstein), Sir Robin (Spamalot)

Danny has been blessed to work with some of the best professionals the industry has to offer and recently performed in Chess with David Harris, Silvie Paladino, Marty Worrall and Amy Vee. Also recently assistant directing Priscilla and Be More Chill at the Civic Theatre and Civic Playhouse. Directing for 2022 the play – Keeping Up Appearances with Metropolitan Players.

His goals and aspirations for the future are solidified by his friends and family’s support as he strives for future opportunities and has begun directing and teaching.

Leianna McCloy

Jr Drama Teacher

Leianna is an actor, vocalist and writer, recently graduated HSC student (2021) as a High Achiever recipient in both Music and Drama.

Leianna was first introduced to the world of creative and performative arts through musicianship at 3 years old learning violin and piano at Suzuki Studios, falling in love with performing on stage, and beginning a career in music, dance and drama. As a senior member of the Michael Nolan Vocal Studio, Leianna has an extensive expierence with the performance aspect of the creative arts and working with junior members, brought passionately to the Hive Creative Studios.

Leianna is also known for her work behind the scenes in directing, composition and songwriting with a keen eye for detail, having nominated and received multiple CONDA awards for script writing, lyricist and musical arrangements in ASPIRE theatrical productions.

Sascha Okenhall

Head of Performing Arts
Drama Teacher
Creative Music Teacher

Sascha is the proudest mum of three incredible little wildlings and has been bringing her babies to Hive Creative Studios since moving to Newcastle in 2017. Her family fell in love with the Hive; inspired by their dedication to bring joy to the daily lives of little people and their families.

She holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts and is currently studying a Bachelor of Psychological Science. She is passionate about mental health pursuits and support for adults, children and families.

Sascha is thrilled to be able to share her theatre making and performance passions with other passionate little people and is assured from her own experience that they are life-skills that extend far beyond the classroom.

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.

Ovania McClelland

Art Teacher
Bee-School Teacher

Ovania attended an arts-based school for 10-12 years Studying with Freelance artists. This is where her passion for the arts began, launching her journey into unique and diverse ranges of art, away from mainstream practice. Her artistic experineces are those to be admired by many an artists. She has studied marble sculpture in Italy’s famous Carrara where Michelangelo’s studio was based. In addition, she has written and Illustrated a children’s fairytale book inspired by the schumann’s Piano concerto no 2. 

Her talent has been acknowledged with a Conda nomination for costume design and manufacture for Prospero players production of Mom. 

Teaching visual arts for a year and a half at primary and highschool level, she has loved sharing her knowledge with students. Her personal favorite artforms are sculpture, and watercolor painting, focusing on the subject of ocean and water based themes to match my lifestyle of coastal beach life and animal and planet preservation.



Grace Lickley

Art Teacher

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.



Melissa Box

Director of Bee-School
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!

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.

Isabella Kefecek

Bee-School Art Teacher
Art Assistant

Isi has been apart of the Hive staff for 4 years, growing in her roles and responsibilities along the way. Isi is passionate about building strong connections with young children whilst assisting them in their creative journeys.

Isi is an artist, most commonly working with sculpture, painting, pen and ink to create an arrange detailed, expressive or abstract art forms. Isi is currently studying Branded Fashion Design at Billy Blue Design school, as she aspires to create functional, sustainable and aesthetic products for people to use each day.

Chauntelle O’Brien

Bee-School Musical Theatre Teacher
Dance Teacher

Chauntelle has been dancing for 26 years in styles such as Classical Ballet (BBO & RAD), Jazz, Tap (LGTDA & BBO), Contemporary, Show Girl and National Character. Chauntelle successfully created and operated CADA (Chauntelle Alydia Dance Academy) for 6 years and has been a dance teach for 16 years at various studios. During this time she obtained her Diploma of Musical Theatre, Diploma of Elite Performance (Dance), Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media (The Actor’s Program) and Diploma of Dance Teaching, she is currently completing her Certificate IV in Training and Assessing.

Chauntelle has appeared in TV Commercials, Short films, Music videos as well as various shows around Newcastle including Priscilla (Metropolitan Players), Young Frankenstein (Opera Hunter), Fly By Night (Regional Institute of Performing Arts), Alice in Slasherland (Regional Institute of Performing Arts )and Trevor (Regional Institute of Performing Arts) Chauntelle also had the pleasure of choreographing for the City of Newcastle Drama Association Awards Ceremony in 2021.

Gabriella Christie

Bee-School Drama Teacher

Gabby has been an assistant tutor for 3 years in drama art and musical theatre. She has been part of the drama community for several years performing in shows such as Peter pan, Into the woods, Aladdin and the Moana Jr Pilot at the Junior theatre celebration. Gabby loves working with children and is passionate about making even the smallest difference in the lives of anyone she works with.

Summer Visocchi

Creative Play Assistant

Summer is an assistant of bee-school and has been apart of this beautiful team 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”. 

She has always loved building and forming relationships with children and thrives to help and assist them in growing and developing. She has always had a passion for both dance and art, and to be able to combine her hobbies and dream, she believes, is the best combination ever!

Charli Walker

Bee-School Assistant

Charli is a singer and artist. Having grown up in a musical household it was a natural progression for her to study music, majoring in voice and achieving incredible results in her HSC performance exams. 

Charli has a natural affinity for working with young children and enjoys connecting with each child in her classes and helping them to find their voice. 

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.

Shue Yin Tan

Piano Teacher

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.

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.

Kirsty Venables

Creative Play Teacher

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

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...

Sensory Play | OCEAN

Sensory Play | OCEAN

After completing Beach Babies week in Creative Play, we have created some extra sensory play ideas you can do at home. There are so many great resources you can collect for hours of fun, especially when it comes to the exploring the ocean. You can simply take a trip...

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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.