Born and raised in Melbourne, Wendy commenced her performing arts training at the age of 4. She has competed in countless musical eisteddfods, calisthenics competitions and performed in various concerts and productions which have allowed her to take to the stage at venues all over Victoria, including the Melbourne Arts Centre. She completed her AMEB piano and musical theory examinations at a very young age, then went on to study acting at Monash University, the CAE and with Actors’ Showcase. She has since completed a bachelor of primary teaching / arts – majoring in drama, film and photography (Deakin), and a diploma of creative writing (ACJ).
Wendy is highly driven in providing her students the best opportunities to develop their skills, and is always encouraging of school scholarship and leadership positions, and those wanting to be successful in the entertainment industry. Her award winning students have received countless accolades including a Helpman Award, several Gladys’ Benson Memorial Trophy, the Peter Spyker Encouragement Award, Kingston Senior Encouragement Award and high distinctions from the Trinity College of London.
Wendy takes great pride in both her students and the work they produce. Teaching is a calling, not an occupation. It’s a life, not just part of one.
Alice is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Music Theatre), where she was the grateful recipient of the Lionel Gell Foundation Scholarship. Working in both the musical theatre and voice over industry, her most recent credits include the title roles in both Cinderella and Snow White, Anna in Spring Awakening, You Will Be Found and Ned: A New Australian Musical In Concert, alongside numerous radio and television campaigns.
Passionate about coaching young performers, Alice’s students hold an array of professional performing credits, including the title role in Billy Elliot The Musical, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Opera Australia, ABC’s The Floor Is Yours, and multiple national competition wins including the Royal South Street Contemporary Voice Competition and Fast Track Talent.
Alice also holds her Associate Diploma of Music (AMusA), and Complete Estill Levels 1 & 2.
Originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Ms Grottoli trained at the famous Joann Chapman School of Dance where she obtained her teaching credits in Acrobatics, Jazz and Tap, while also training in RAD Ballet and competing with award winning troupes across USA and Canada. Towards the end of her youth training she won Miss Dance of America at Dance Masters of America in 1998 in New York City; where finalists attended from around North America. She continued training with teachers such as Mia Michaels and Jason Winters throughout the years in order to ensure her teaching practices are not only current but able to produce award winning dancers and choreography. Her dancers are currently Australian regional and national champions as well as globally employed performers. Her passion to help teachers develop their teaching skills has lead her to conduct teacher training workshops with individual studios in order to help them produce safe, strong and focused dancers on a larger scale with tremendous results.
In 2017 Ms. Grottoli was nominated for teaching excellence from the Australian Independent Dance Teacher Awards based on her teaching philosophy to teach habits; not steps. Ms. Grottoli believes that correctness, balance and grace can only be achieved by equipping each student with the tools necessary to be successful through coveted and globally renowned teaching techniques.
Matthew started playing the piano exactly one day after his older sister commenced. After completing his AmusA diploma at 17, he began teaching piano privately. Ever since playing for his high school’s production of Urinetown in 2012, he caught the music theatre bug, and has played for numerous high school and amateur theatre productions since. Most recently he was the music director of UMMTA’s production of Parade in April 2019.
Johnny discovered at a young age how much fun putting on voices and entertaining people can be. A humble small town boy from Bendigo, Victoria, he has since trained and studied under a number of professional industry instructors and institutes to refine and hone his passion for theatre, film, and acting. His academic credits include a bachelor of drama from Deakin University specialising in Stanislavski’s naturalistic method of acting, voice manipulation and Shakespeare. Additionally, he has successfully undertaken on-screen film and TV Acting courses from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). Johnny’s acting has been enjoyed by Melbourne theatre critics and audiences a like, and admired by peers for his dedication to performance and authenticity.
Johnny is absolutely thrilled to pass on his knowledge to students providing a creative and dynamic coaching style with students.
Alessandra is a music lover who spends most of her time composing and singing in stage productions. Her passion for performing started from a young age, ever since she was exposed to the magic of theatre. Amongst her studies throughout high school, she performed in choir and in many musicals. In Year 12 she received the honour of Music Captain, and directed several choirs, including Year 7 choir and Small House.
For 7 years Alessandra was part of the Australian Girls Choir, taught by professionals about the discipline of music and what it takes to be a great performer. During her time there she toured around Australia and America.
Alessandra has had the pleasure of performing with Wendy Samantha Productions throughout the years, including the Sound of the Music, Annie and Grease.
Alessandra hopes to continue her studies in music and theory on the side in hopes of becoming a high school music and legal teacher. She brings her passion for music and her musical knowledge with the goal of making every student/class not just about learning but creating with an element of fun.
George is an aspiring performer who has been involved in the Performing Arts from a young age. He’s passion for dance started in primary school when he joined the Victorian Ballet School, and in 2009 he won the yearly scholarship award for excellence in dance. During his high school years, George developed his vocal abilities by participating in vocal soirées, choir competitions and was even a part of the first Balwyn High School Europe tour in 2013. He also gained performance experience by being cast in a few amateur theatre productions such as Honk! Jr, Fame and The Sound of Music.
In hopes of training in dance on a serious level, George joined the Australian Boys Dance Academy where he fell in love with Street Dancing, he later moved on to study VET dance at Gay Whiteman School of Ballet focusing on such styles as Jazz and Hip Hop and is now happily training at Street Dance Studios, who’s talented crew Superhoodz are known for placing in the semi-finals on Australia’s Got Talent in 2012.
George is currently training at Kelly Akers Dance Academy, and expects to bring the students of WSP fun and exciting ways to experience street dancing in his classes this year.
Gui Griffin is a highly dedicated and passionate young woman who loved participating in her high school’s productions every year as a dancer, an actor, and as backstage crew. Through her experience there she gained great confidence and leadership ability, which allowed her to travel to China for 6 weeks in the Victorian Young Leaders to China Program in 2014.
Gui has been performing since 2006 when she first started dancing and has since branched out into acting, theatre, and musical theatre over the years. She has trained in dance styles such as jazz, contemporary, ballet, hip hop, acrobatics and many others. She started acting in year 7 with her first school musical, Captain Stirrick, and continued through high school with Footloose, Urinetown, Anything Goes, Bring It On and Guys And Dolls.
Gui has been a part of Wendy Samantha Productions since their 2018 senior show Grease and formed a close connection with everyone she worked with. She loves encouraging people break out of their comfort zone and onto the stage where they can hopefully grow into passionate and confident people on and off the stage and encourage others in turn. Her favourite part of this process is seeing the progress and the improvement and the building confidence of everyone she sees.
Kat is a vocal tutor at Wendy Samantha Productions. She is currently completing a double degree in Creative Arts and Teaching.
Some of her vocal achievements and accomplishments are Deepdene Primary Schools Festival Choir captain, vocal lessons at Balwyn High School through years 7 to 12, being a member of the Balwyn High School Europe Tour Choir, performing and placing with Balwyn Highs Senior Jazz Choir at Mt Gambier’s Generations in Jazz Festival, numerous performances and competitions with Balwyn High Schools choirs, an A+ in her Year 12 Music Investigations exam, vocally directing WSP’s Annie the Musical, playing Mother Abbess in WSP’s The Sound of Music, Miss Sherman in WSP’s Fame, a member of the Australian Girls Choir for 10 years and competing in vocal sections at the Manningham Eisteddfod and Eisteddfod By The Bay.
Kat wants nothing more than to show people how much fun and fulfilling singing and appreciating music can be. She hopes to inspire those around her to become as passionate about singing as she is. Kat’s goal is to make sure everyone she has the privilege to teach has the opportunity to excel and grow as singers and gain skills that help them become well-rounded, confident performers.
Eva’s strong passion for the performing began at a young age, being a part of many school productions throughout her childhood. Eva has pursued her love for the arts, accepted into the Film & Television studio international acting school, which she graduates from later this year. Her love of not only the stage, but also the screen, has led her to be involved with short films and work on shows such as neighbours and various student productions.
She began her journey with Wendy Samantha productions last year, being a part of the senior showtime production of Grease playing Marty, and she is also involved in the 2019 show of Catch Me If You Can, playing Brenda Strong.
Eva’s not only found a passion in just performing, but also has shown a keen interest in behind the scenes creative processes, which includes helping and inspiring others to reach their full potential.
Gabriella has been training in dance, singing and acting for 10 years, now at an elite level. She has performed on various stages in numerous amateur shows and concerts, most recently in Legally Blonde as Vivienne Kensington, and WSP’s own Catch Me If You Can as Paula Abagnale. Gabriella has taken part in numerous musical theatre intensives and studios at the Victorian College of the Arts and acting intensives at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts. She has been teaching ballet, jazz and tap to children aged between 2 and 14 for 4 years at the Australian Academy of Dance. Part of the Young Voices of Melbourne for 10 years, she has sung and toured in every state in Australia and New Zealand. She has been assistant choreographer for The Lion King Jr, assistant vocal director for Shrek Jr, and will be assistant director in WSP’s upcoming junior production The Jungle Book Kids.
It is Gabriella’s love for performing, alongside her love for teaching and creation that produces student development through a balance of fun and effort in her classes. Good rapport with students is integral to her teaching approach. New to the WSP team, Gabriella can’t wait to have fun, create, teach, and watch everyone’s confidence and abilities grow, through performance!
Kate has a love of anything to do with dance and has been dancing for 16 years with the Victorian Ballet School. She has toured the USA, performed in many concerts and school productions.
Kate has been teaching for over 3 years now. She is excited for any opportunity to help her students build their dancing abilities and watch their confidence in dance grow throughout the year. She hopes that they come away from every class feeling like they’ve accomplished something, no matter how small, and at the end of the year they look back at how much they’ve achieved and how much their skills have grown.
Kate believes that teaching at WSP this year is such an amazing opportunity for her, as she gets to work with a great team of talented people who she hopes can also inspire her.
Laura has always been a high achiever, performing consistently well throughout her school years. School captain at Deepdene Primary School, she has since graduated from Canterbury Girls’ Secondary College where she took on many leadership roles in the environmental team, Student Representative Council and Peer Support Program. Laura has received a number of awards, including Academic Achievement, School Service and The Arts. She has received distinctions in the Australian Mathematics and Science competitions. Laura is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts at Monash University in order to pursue her passion for creative writing and language and cultural studies.
Laura has been with WSP for over 10 years and during that time has taken on many lead roles on stage in productions both within and outside of the company, including Annie, City of Angels and Seussical the Musical. She has also achieved countless awards at various speech and drama eisteddfods, and completed VCE Drama whilst at Canterbury Girls’. Laura loves singing and acting, and spends her spare time reading, writing and listening to Kpop.
Meg is a graduate from Brentwood Secondary College where she spent her school years trying to achieve the best results she could, both academically and by getting involved in as many activities as possible. Being one of four School Captains in year 12, she has always been passionate about people, human rights and the impact and importance of good leadership. She loves sport and has played basketball and netball from a young age but in recent years her love for all things music and arts has surpassed many of her other passions.
Coming from a family of music lovers, she always wanted to be a part of the theatre and music community and this begun mainly from being involved in a range of productions during high school, including The Addams Family, Hairspray, Mary Poppins and In the Heights.
Alison is hard working and creative and has a has a passion for working with people. Ali is currently studying a Bachelor of Education (Primary) and a Bachelor of Business at Monash University. Alison has worked for several years in retail and enjoys problem solving and team building. In 2018, she received the Monash Education High Achievers Award in recognition of outstanding achievements leading up to tertiary studies. During high school, Ali found a passion for acting and performing and joined Wendy Samantha Productions in 2015. Drama classes helped foster her love for acting and build her confidence, where she participated in a variety of eisteddfods and concerts.
Alison has enjoyed performing in WSP productions as well as being a crew member for Junior shows. She has delighted in the experience gained from taking on a variety of leadership roles such as House Captain in her final year of school as well as taking on the role of Assistant Director for a WSP production of Alice In Wonderland in 2018. She enjoys working with younger students in the drama school. Alongside her studies in education, it is important to Ali to ensure all children have to opportunity to gain confidence and have fun while learning public speaking and drama skills. WSP has helped Ali build her confidence as a teacher and leader by providing a cohort of like-minded individuals that share experiences and growth.
Jonathan is an enthusiastic and passionate performer who is absolutely thrilled to be a part of Wendy Samantha Productions. After finishing high school at Mazenod College, Jonathan has spent most of his time working as a study skills presenter as well as holding up a job as a VCE Maths Tutor. From the young age of 5, Jonathan has been a dedicated dancer in the styles of Jazz, Tap and Hip Hop and discovered his love for musical theatre after being convinced by one of his friends to do his school musical ‘Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat’ in 2015.
Jonathan has since gone on to perform in several of Mazenod Avila Theatre Company’s productions, landing roles such as Bert in ‘Mary Poppins’, Brad in ‘Hairspray’, and Chad in ‘All Shook Up’ for which he received an official commendation from the Victorian Musical Theatre Guild Awards. Jonathan has also had the opportunity to perform in numerous variety shows including Starbound 14 and 15 with Launchpad Drama as well as Catholic Education Melbourne’s 2018 Time to Shine Gala in which Jonathan was chosen as a soloist and performed at Melbourne Arts Centre’s State Theatre. Recently, Jonathan was given the opportunity to represent VCE Drama and perform his VCE Drama Solo in the 2019 VCE Season of Excellence Top Acts Concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre.
Jonathan had the pleasure of performing in WSP’s recent production of ‘Catch Me If You Can’. This was not only Jonathan’s first show with WSP but also his first amateur music theatre production, and he plans to continue performing in musicals for many years to come. Jonathan is incredibly proud to have portrayed the role of Agent Carl Hanratty, a role that he found indeed challenging and far removed from not only all the characters he has played in the past but also, his real life personality. Despite being a new addition to the company, Jonathan has taken up the role of Musical Director for WSP’s up and coming junior production of ‘The Jungle Book’, and he hopes that his straightforward yet nurturing and fun teaching style as well as his shining passion for both performing and teaching can inspire other young people, especially those of colour, to follow their dreams and embrace their love for the stage.
In his spare time, Jonathan plays basketball in a casual league with his high school friends and often enjoys playing tabletop games. He absolutely loves to meet new people and would consider himself quite friendly, so please feel free to come up and chat to him if you see him around!
James has a strong love of performing arts and has been at WSP since it first officially opened. He has completed VCE Theatre Studies and Grade 7 Trinity Speech and Drama, obtaining countless theatrical awards over the years. As School Captain at Marcellin College, he held various leadership positions throughout his time there and was awarded with Academic Excellence Endeavours and High Achievement Certificates in Mathematics, English and Science. He is part of the management team at the Hawthorn Basketball Association and enjoys umpiring, playing indoor soccer, singing and dancing during his spare time.
In the future, James hopes to follow a path in either acting or teaching, working to help children build and reach their full potential.
Chee-Rae is a dedicated and consistently high achieving student who has a full scholarship at Fintona Girls College. She loves languages, studying both French and Japanese and has been accepted into the Almost French exchange program that took her to Paris in 2017. Chee-Rae has used her love of acting in the Alliance Francais Poetry Competition and has been a state finalist in the past two years. She has received multiple academic awards across her schooling years, placing in the top 10% in the Australian Problem Solving Mathematical Olympiads over the past 4 years. She loves working alongside others in various House competitions and taking on leadership roles, including being a part of Middle School Consul in 2015. She recently was accepted into the Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholars Program at Melbourne University.
Chee-Rae has had an immense passion for performing, starting 13 years ago with hip-hop/funk. She then found another passion when Wendy introduced her to acting when she was in year two. Chee-Rae has been a part of Wendy Samantha Productions for 11 years now and has developed into a strong and confident leader who absolutely adores working with younger children and finds great joy in watching and helping them grow.
Mia loves performing and has been part of Wendy Samantha Productions for 11 years. She has performed in all of the productions WSP has produced, including the Sound of Music, Annie, Fame and Grease. She has also participated in many Eisteddfods and speech and drama examinations. Mia was awarded the Gladys Benson Memorial Trophy as the overall winner of the Manningham Eisteddfod in 2014 and recently received a distinction for her Year 8 Speech and Drama Exam with Trinity College London.
Mia also loves singing and dancing. She toured Europe with the Balwyn High School Choir in 2015 and will tour USA with the school in March this year. A highlight of the 2017 tour will be performing in Carnegie Hall.