Our Instructors

Rachel Cushnie Portrait

Rachel Cushnie

Principal & Artistic Director

Camp Director (drama)

Rachel, a native of Salisbury England, has been involved in Musical Theatre since the age of 4, having starred in many performances with Uk theatre companies and dance schools. She made her first television appearance at the age of 9. After extensive vocational training and many examinations leading to qualifications with, The Royal Academy of Drama, Royal Academy of Dance and singing exams with The Royal Academy of Music, she then went on to professional training with several drama schools in England, including the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and Hertfordshire Theatre School.

This led to her starring in many performances across the UK including the Edinburgh Festival and the Shakespeare Festival. Among her favourite UK stage highlights are Sandy in Grease, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Victoria in Cats and Potiphers wife in Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Rachel appeared in two well-known British series, Eastenders and The Bill, and also had roles in two major motion pictures, Judge Dredd, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Recently, Rachel had been performing in various productions around Vancouver, e.g.Don’t Dress For Dinner, Me and My Girl to name a few.

As a teacher in the Uk, Rachel worked for various dance schools and Britain’s biggest children’s theatre school as a dance instructor and choreographer. In 2001 Rachel and her husband Blake emigrated to Vancouver, British Columbia, where she opened and successfully ran for 12 years StageCraft Theatre School, in various locations around greater Vancouver, Kelowna and Whistler BC.

2013 brought Rachel and her family across the country to a new home in beautiful Ottawa, where with much excitement she now brings all this experience and passion, both on and off stage, to your young performers in the opening of Stagecraft Children’s Theatre School, Ottawa.

However Rachel’s biggest achievement to date was the birth of her beautiful daughter Poppy in 2010, being a mummy is the most rewarding, exhausting and hardest role of her life!


Wendy Portrait

 

 

Wendy Berkelaar

Musical Director – Singing Coach

Camp Musical Director

 

 

 

Originally from Nova Scotia, Wendy moved to Ottawa nineteen years ago to pursue a Masters degree in classical piano performance. She side-stepped into musical theatre in 1998 for a production with Orpheus Musical Theatre Society and has since gone on to work nationally and internationally as a musical director and pianist. Favourite credits include the Australian premiere of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” (Spotlight Theatre), “Little Shop of Horrors” (Okanagan Stage), The Centre Stage Cabaret Series (Zucchini Grotto), and “Grease – Das Musical” (European Tour.) Wendy’s is the Ottawa Franchise Musical director for The Confidential Musical Theatre Project in Ottawa.

 


Alex Portrait

 

Alex Forster

Head of Dance and Choreographer

Camp Choreographer

Alex was born and raised in London England . His first professional role was at the early age of 12, where he worked with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber on the show “Young Apollo”. Alex then went on to train at the prestigious Arts Educational School in London where he was awarded the Andrew Lloyd Webber scholarship for Musical Theatre. During his time at college Alex performed at the Royal Variety Performance and the Brit Awards working for Arlene Phillips.

After graduating Alex went straight into professional theatre landing a role in Sir Andrew LloydWebber’s ‘Sunset Boulevard’, working with Sir Trevor Nunn and the legendary Bob Avion. Alex was the youngest cast member in the history of the show. His next show was ‘Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ again teaming up with Andrew Lloyd Webber and again becoming the youngest person in the history of the show to play the title role of Joseph on stage.
Many shows followed including ‘Les Miserables’ ‘RENT’ and ‘WE WILL ROCK YOU’ which he made his home for 6 years, performing and acting as Dance Captain working alongside Ben Elton, the legendary Brian May and reunited again with Arlene Phillips.

Alex has taught at many of the top Performing Arts colleges in the UK including RADA, BRISTOL OLD VIC, GUILDHALL, PINEAPPLE STUDIOS and was Head Of Dance at the American Musical Theatre Academy of London for 5 years.
A newcomer to Canada Alex is thrilled to be working with such an amazing creative team at Stagecraft and looks forward to sharing his experience and energy with the students!

It will be a lot of hard work, and a lot of fun!


Chris Lucas Portrait

Chris Lucas

Musical Director – Singing Coach

Chris has a BMus (Hons) in Music from the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester, as well as The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) in Cardiff.

His masters is an MMus in Conducting from Leeds College of Music in the UK. His principal study was Classical Singing and later Conducting; under the baton and tutelage of Clare Hogan-Taylor and Dr Howard Evans respectively. In the last 5 years, Chris has held positions with a variety of ensembles including: LUUMS, Heswall Symphonia, Salford Singers and Liverpool’s “Big-Phat” Band. He has a wide ranging repertoire, some highlights being Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, all nine Beethoven symphonies, Tchaikovsky’s fifth and sixth symphonies and a vast amount of Music Theatre. He is currently working on two Musical Theatre orchestration projects and also as Resident Musical Supervisor for Sir Andrew LloydWebber’s, London based production company “ Really Useful Group”. He very much enjoys inspiring and encouraging new and developing talent at all ages: Most pertinently, imparting unto students his love for the art.


Louise Clatney Portrait

Louise Clatney

Dance Instructor and Choreographer

Born, raised and trained in the UK, performing was a passion for Louise from an early age. After training vocationally at White Lodge, The Royal Ballet School and the prestigious Bush Davies School of Theatre Arts, in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Tap, Vocal, Drama and Musical Theatre, Louise went on to a professional career in the UK, performing on TV and theatre.

After emigrating to Canada, Louise decided to take things full circle and become a qualified dance teacher. With her Cecchetti Associate Diploma and MRT from The Royal Academy of Dancing, Louise has taught in Ottawa for over 12 years. With such respect, admiration and gratitude for the amazing teachers that inspired her, she continues the line, and teaches students, young and young at heart, to be passionate about music and dance and to follow their dreams in their desire to perform.

With Musical Theatre Louise’s primary love, her students have performed Annie, Oliver, Grease, The Boyfriend and Mary Poppins, to name a few. Louise’s students perform regularly at the National Arts Centre and Algonquin Theatre. Many have gone on to train at Canada’s National Ballet School, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Alberta Ballet and many other incredible school’s in Europe and the US.

Becoming that ‘triple-threat’ gives students such versatility in the world of dance and Louise is thrilled and excited to be a part of such an incredible school that offers top notch training, Stagecraft Children’s Theatre School.


Sarah

 

Sarah Olberg

Assistant Instructor 

 

 

 

Sarah recently graduated from Canterbury High School and was in the drama program. There, she was involved in many productions as either a producer, director or actor. She has performed in 3 productions with the Orpheus Musical Theatre Society and most recently played Josie Pye in their production of Anne of Green Gables. She also completed the summer conservatory program at AMDA in New York City. She is so happy to be working with StageCraft!


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Charlotte Cain

Assistant Instructor 

 

 

Charlotte has been dancing ballet since the age of 6 with National Capital Dance Educators, studying the Vaganova syllabus. Charlotte recently completed the pre-elementary examination by the Society of Russian Ballet with a grade of Highly Commended. She was also awarded her recipient of the Nesta Toumine Award of 2016. Charlotte studies jazz, contemporary and modern. Presently, Charlotte attends De La Salle high school. Here, she is enrolled in the dance program in the Centre d’Excellence Artistique (Artistic Excellence Centre). Passionate for the performing arts, Charlotte wants to make dance her career in the future.


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Mallory Hayes

Assistant  

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Mallory is currently a student at Canterbury High School as part of the dance program. She has been dancing since the age of 2 and attended the Greta Leeming Studio of Dance for the past 6 years. She has studied modern, ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary and hip hop. Mallory has been performing all her life and really enjoys being on the stage. She loves to sing and act among the dance that she has always been apart of. She has also worked behind the scenes at dance productions at her school. Mallory loves working with children especially dancing with them at Stagecraft.

 

 

 


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Katherine Colbert

Assistant  

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Katherine is currently a student at Canterbury High School in the Drama programme. She has been performing since the age of 3 and has worked with a number of local theatre companies including The Greely Players, Russell Association for the Performing Arts, Ain’t Seen Nuthin’ Yet and Suzart Productions. Most recently she played the role of Paulette in Stagecraft’s production of “Legally Blonde Jr.”. When not rehearsing, you can find her singing the national anthem at a local sports event or working on a political campaign.

 

 

 

 

 


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Mia Weekes

Assistant  

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McKenna Mellon

Assistant  

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McKenna started singing, dancing and acting at the age of 8. She first fell in love with musical theatre when she landed the role of Molly in Annie. Since then, McKenna has performed in many musicals such as Fiddler on the Roof, In the Heights and Beauty and the Beast. Recently, she had the opportunity to perform on the National Arts Centre stage in Anne and Gilbert. McKenna is thrilled to be assisting at Stagecraft and excited to share her passion for musical theatre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Heather Hardy

School Administrator

 


Be a part of this dedicated team

Do you have a passion for teaching and Musical Theatre? We would love to hear from you!

Contact the Artistic Director with your resume and information, look forward to connecting.

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