“What makes the National great is how grounded it is. It teaches you so many things but most importantly that if you want to work in this industry, you have to work hard and really want it.” Eddie Orton Graduate 2014

Dr. Jo Loth
Director of Drama

Jo has taught voice, movement, and acting in tertiary settings for over twenty years and specialises in Linklater voice and the Suzuki actor training method. She has taught for USC, WAAPA, QUT, Griffith University, La Trobe University, The Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts and Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre. She has trained with Kristin Linklater, The Suzuki Company of Toga, Howard Fine, Shakespeare & Company, Pantheatre (France), and P3/East (Seattle). From 2013 – 2019, Jo established and led the development of the Theatre and Performance major at USC.

Jo has worked in the independent performance sector for over 25 years as an actor, director and cabaret writer/ performer and is a recipient of The Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Performing Arts Fellowship. Career highlights include performances for Tadashi Suzuki’s Theatre Festivals in Japan, The Brisbane Festival, The Brisbane Cabaret Festival and The Brisbane Powerhouse with companies including The Danger Ensemble, Oz Frank and The Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble.

Jo has a PhD in cabaret performance and a Masters on applications of the Suzuki actor training method. Since 2018, Jo has been developing ways to combine the strengths of Linklater and Suzuki techniques through practically based research projects with Associate Professor Rob Pensalfini (UQ) and Dr Jeremy Neideck (WAAPA). She is currently on the pathway to Designation as a Linklater teacher.

Danielle Carter

Danielle Carter is an acclaimed actress with over 35years experience in film, television and theatre and is also a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art. She has also trained at the Moscow Arts Theatre School, MICHA and the Michael Chekhov School in Hudson New York.

She has worked as an on set Acting tutor for various film and television productions, works with professional actors as a performance coach, has written a book for Currency Press called Racing Against Timean Actors guide for working in film and television and has directed productions for St Martins Youth Theatre and the undergraduate course at the Victorian College of the Arts.

She has a Diploma of Education from UWS and has taught in the undergraduate courses at WAPPA (Acting and Theatre Making), VCA (Film and Television, the Acting and Musical Theatre departments) Federation University, NIDA Open programme, The National Theatre Drama School, 16th Street, Film and Television International and St Martins Youth Theatre.

Rob Meldrum

Rob has worked in theatre for 40 years, as an actor , director and teacher. As an actor he was a member of the APG collective at the Pram Factory, Carlton, and went on to work as a freelance actor with all the major theatre companies, including Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Playbox, the South Australia Theatre Company and Bell Shakespeare, where he was an ensemble member for three years.

Rob’s teaching practice has developed from his training as a voice teacher with Rowena Balos, and subsequent laboratory work with Rex Cramphorn, Jenny Kemp, Renato Cuocolo, Robert Draffin and Lindy Davies, as well as 8 years as a lecturer in acting in the Drama School at The Victorian College of the Arts. He has also directed at both a collegiate and professional level, as well as devising his own work. Rob works constantly with two major focuses: One, that you are being breathed, and therefore in the moment. Two, that you are deeply engaged with the words you are speaking. The first implies release and the second, research and then receptivity, together they enable the transformative action of language to mould and shape the voice into a living breathing character, un-judged and uninhibited. The rest is play.

Vincent Crowley

Vincent has been teaching actors, dancers, office workers, mums and dads how to move better and how to perform better for the last nineteen years.  He has taught in professional dance and theatre companies in Australia and Europe, Arts training colleges, corporate workshops, boot camps and one-to-one personal training sessions.

His broad range of physical training and performance experience ranges from classical ballet through contemporary dance, contact improvisation, strength and conditioning and the Feldenkrais Method.  He has taught movement to actors, dancers and opera singers in both professional companies and tertiary institutions in Germany and Australia.  He has been teaching at the National Theatre Drama School Advanced Diploma since 2012.

Having trained as an actor Vincent has spent much of his performance career working in Dance Theatre and Physical Theatre. He has worked in Australia, the US and Europe with companies and artists such as Meryl Tankard’s Australian Dance Theatre, TanzTheater Basel, Salzburger Festwochen, Schauspiel Koeln, Steierischer Herbst, Chunky Move and Force Majeur.  He also worked with director Spike Jonze on the Warner Brothers Movie “Where the Wild Things Are”.

He is a founding member of both Splinter Group and Torque Show and has co-created a number of theatre works with these companies including “Lawn”. and “Intimacy”.   “Intimacy” was invited to London’s Southbank Centre as part of the Unlimited Festival and won the 2015 Australian Dance award for Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance. “Lawn” was the recipient multiple Green Room Awards in 2009.

His broad range of physical training and performance experience ranges from classical ballet through contemporary dance, contact improvisation, personal training and the Feldenkrais Method.  He has taught movement to actors and dancers in both professional companies and tertiary institutions in Germany and Australia.  He has been teaching at the National Theatre Drama School Advanced Diploma since 2012.

Margaret Mills

A graduate of VCA School of Drama Margaret has performed in over thirty productions with MTC, The Malthouse, La Mama, Belvoir St, STC, Black Sequin Productions, Whistling in the Theatre and Ranters Theatre with such writers and directors as Andrew Bovell, Jenny Kemp, Neil Armfield, Roger Hodgman, Marguerite Duras, Daniel Keene, Raimondo and Adriano Cortese, Melissa Reeves, and Noelle Janaczewska. Credits include The Doll’s House, Angels in America, A Cheery Soul, History of Water, Still Angela, The Black Sequin Dress, Speaking in Tongues(from which Lantana was adapted). She has co-written several produced plays. Her film work includes The Golden Braid (Paul Cox), Bachelor Girl (Rivka Hartman) and the international award winning short film The Other Days of Ruby Rae.

Katie Cawthorne

Katie began directing in 2002, producing work in Melbourne, Mexico, Darwin, Sydney and Canberra. In 2015 she completed her Masters of Fine Arts in Directing at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA), after previously qualifying at the University of Melbourne (Graduate Diploma of Education) and Flinders University (Bachelor of Arts).

She became the Artistic Director of Canberra Youth Theatre in January 2015 and has since directed SKIN, The 24 Hour Butoh Project, The Verbatim Project, The Greek Project – Antigone poem every day and Filtered with CYT. In 2016 Katie was awarded a Canberra Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Revitalising and advancing Canberra Youth Theatre.

Since graduating from NIDA, Katie has also directed short works for Warehouse Circus, The Public Theatre (Design Canberra Festival) and Aspen Island Theatre Company. Katie is co-founder of The Anchor theatre company, which produced its first show, How Are You? at The Public Theatre in 2015. The team are developing a full length version of this work to be performed in Sydney in late 2018.

Brett Adam

Brett is a graduate of Sydney University and the Victorian College of the Arts (Directing).He has worked as a freelance theatre director, dramaturg and acting teacher in Australia and New Zealand for over twenty five years, working with various organisations and artists, across a range of performance forms and styles including la mama, the Bell Shakespeare Company, Chamber Made Opera, Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company, Playbox, the Midsumma Festival, Melbourne University (Opera Studio), the Victorian College of the Arts (Drama School and Opera Studio), Victoria University of Technology, Swinburne, BATS theatre (NZ), the Sheila Wynne Shakespeare Festival (NZ), Wellington Summer Shakespeare (NZ), and Auckland Theatre Company (NZ). He was the Artistic Director of St Martin’s Youth Arts Centre (Melbourne) from 2000 to 2004, Head of Directing at Toi Whakaari, the National Drama School of New Zealand/Aotearoa from 2011 to 2014 and Artistic Director of Long Cloud Youth Theatre (Wellington) from 2015 to 2019. He has also reviewed and been on the judging panels and boards for various organisations including theatreview (NZ), Arts Victoria, Victorian Opera, TAFE Victoria, the Wellington Theatre Awards (NZ) and the New Zealand Fringe Festival (NZ).

Emma Louise Pursey

Emma Louise Pursey is a critically acclaimed stage and screen actor who has performed nationally and internationally since 1997.

The first decade of her career was with Frank Theatre, a repertory ensemble who trained exclusively in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training in Australia and Japan. Emma toured regularly to numerous Japanese and European theatre festivals playing principal roles such as Lady Macbeth, Juliet, Gertrude and Jocasta, some of which were in bi-lingual productions. Festivals include the 1999 2nd International Theatre Olympics (Shizuoka, Japan), 2000 Shizuoka Spring Arts Festival (Japan), 2002 6th International Youth Theatre Festival (Pula, Croatia), 2003 Toga Spring Arts Festival (Japan), 2003 European Regions Festival (Hradec Králové, Czech Republic), Hluboká Castle (Czech Republic), 2004 Adana International Arts Festival (Turkey), 2006 Aberystwyth University Theatre Festival (Wales), 2006 London Festival (UK). During this time, Emma was also directed by the legendary Diane Cilento in her production of Myrrah, performed alongside David Helfgott, and became co-director of her own ensemble theatre company, The Brides of Frank; one of Queensland’s most significant (and infamous) independent companies of the mid 2000s. Emma reprised her Dell’Artè award-winning role of the Medium in Rashomon for her final performance with Frank Theatre for Tadashi Suzuki’s second ever visit to Australia. She then moved into independent and mainstage work for Queensland Theatre Company, Brisbane Powerhouse, QPAC, Metro Arts Theatre and La Boite Theatre where she won her second Dell’Artè award for multiple roles in Oodgeroo, directed by Artistic Director, Sean Mee. Relocating to Melbourne, Emma expanded her screen work to include roles on NeighboursWinners and LosersUnderbelly Squizzy and numerous award-winning short films. Melbourne independent theatre highlights include playing the role of Character A in North of Eight’s Terminus, being directed by John Gauci in The Process, Prospero in Melbourne Shakespeare Company’s The Tempest, and Belinda in The Man Of Mode at Chapel Off Chapel.

Early in her career Emma was also a vinyl electronic music DJ who played in Beijing for the Millennium, and toured nationally and internationally performing a live-mixed soundscape for contemporary dancer, Lisa O’Neill’s solo work, Fugu San at Dancehouse (Melbourne), The Performance Space (Sydney), New Territories Festival (Glasgow) and the Asia Contemporary Dance Festival (Osaka). Emma also produced/assistant-directed photographer Peter Milne’s The Oddfellow’s Daughter for MICF at ACMI, award winning short-films The Last Time I Saw You and Grevillea, and Butoh artist Helen Smith’s Lady Macbeth at the Asia Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts. Emma is currently working with director Sean Mee to produce and perform Sam Shepard’s Fool For Love.

Anne O'Keeffe

Anne O’Keeffe has worked in the performing arts industry as an actor, dancer, choreographer, director and teacher for 40 years, and is a highly experienced teacher of acting and movement. She has worked in most training institutions across Victoria, including National Theatre Drama School, Victorian College of the Arts (Theatre, Music Theatre and Dance), Federation University, 16th St Actors Studio, Brave Studios and TAFTA. Anne has performed with many independent theatre and dance companies and directed large-scale multi-disciplinary works with her company: Sirensong. Anne was a Drama and Movement Coach on Neighbours (Fremantle Media) for 10 years, and in 2021 coached actors on How to Stay Married (Princess Pictures). Television directors she has collaborated with include Scott Major, Fiona Banks, Jean-Pierre Mignon, Adrian Holmes, Declan Eames, Gary Conway, Jovita O’Shaughnessy, Matt King and director/producer Laurence Wilson.

At the heart of Anne’s teaching is the sensing, feeling body. She provides a rigorous, generous learning environment, where insights into the relationship between inner life and outer expression are discovered. Her work is informed by the pedagogies of Michael Chekhov and Rudolf Laban, as well as her own embodied research across multiple fields. Anne has trained or coached Kat Stewart, Rick Davies, Claire Bowditch, Dan Spielman, Tosh Greenslade, Sachin Joab, Eve Morey, Casey Donovan and Delta Goodrem, among many others.

Charlie Cousins

A graduate of WAAPA (Acting), Charlie is an actor, director, and teacher withover 20 years experience working in theatre, film, and television for suchcompanies as STC, Bell Shakespeare, Red Stitch, Monkey Baa, Complete Works Theatre, The Old Fitz, 45 Downstairs, ABC, and Warner Brothers Studios. Alongside his acting teaching, he is also a qualified life coach and meditation teacher, mentoring and supporting practitioners and industry leaders to navigate their way with their craft and careers with more resilience, ethical authenticity, and generosity of spirit. A passionate life long learner of the craft he has also studied under Mike Alfreds, Patsy Rodenburg, Larry Moss, and Ian Rickson. He specialises in teaching Mike Alfreds and Uta Hagen’s work. And is deeply committed to carrying on their legacy and creating theatre that truly lives and is transformational.

Annie Lee

Annie Lee is a professional actor, singer, writer, director and teacher with over 30 year’s experience in the creative arts. Annie has performed in countless productions, including playing leading roles in major works of Shakespeare, Berkoff and Dario Fo. She is creator and director of several popular large scale shows and cabarets works that have performed at major festivals across Australia and Europe, and is co-creator of the multi-award-winning musical trio, The Kransky Sisters, playing elder sister Mourne. Annie is a passionate teacher, dedicated to sharing skills and developing and nurturing students of the arts in many sectors of the community. For the past seventeen years she has worked in various institutions teaching acting, clowning, physical theatre, comedy and cabaret, with a focus on creating original work.

Darcy Kent

Darcy Kent is a graduate of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in the UK, where he completed his Masters in Classical Acting, as well as the full-time program at 16th Street Actors Studio. He has over a decade of experience in the industry, and his stage work has seen him performing both locally and internationally with the Pop up Globe, La Mama, 45 Downstairs, The International Australian Opera Company, Theatreworks, The Arts Centre, as well as Red Stitch Actors Theatre, where he is an ensemble member. His most recent screen work includes Spreadsheet on Paramount+, New Gold Mountain for SBS, and the feature film The Surrogate.

He has also studied under master teachers Ian Rickson, Janet Suzman, Larry Moss, Tina Packer, and a host of others. His teaching work is focused on the methods of Uta Hagen, and the voice techniques of Kristen Linklater. He is a proud member of MEAA.

Cazz Bainbridge

Cazz Bainbridge is a two-time Green Room Award winning actor, writer and theatre-maker. She completed her actor training in the Meisner Technique at Ward Studio in New York before joining their International Graduate Company, performing in two US productions. Since returning to Melbourne she continued her tutelage under the mentorship of Carl Ford (Susan Batson Technique) and Kim Farrant (Raw Truth). She has worked extensively in theatre with credits including The Hitmen, Much Ado About Nothing, The Importance of Being Earnest and Seminar as well as being a founding member of the contemporary and experimental performance art collective Gold Satino, writing, devising and performing in their past nine shows. In 2021 Cazz began to pivot to screen work including the leading role in Go with Grace (Dir. Domini Marshall) as well as most recently Darius Devas’ latest feature film Unravelling which she also co-wrote with Devas and fellow actor Duncan Ragg. Cazz privately coaches a range of local and international actors from emerging to those working on major international television series as well for the National Theatre’s Foundations in Acting and Screen Shots classes.