Course Faculty

  • Robert Coates

    Artistic Director

    Robert began working for Stage School Australia in 1995. Most recently he directed sell-out seasons of Les Misérables and Wicked at the National Theatre in 2019 and 2018.  He also directed The Wizard of Oz at the Union Theatre in 2019.


    His many other directorial credits include Rags, Joseph’s Dreamcoat, Oliver!, Man of La Mancha, Star-Cross’d Lovers, Godspell and all of the Young Australian Broadway Chorus Gala Concerts at the National Theatre, Back to Bacchus (Musical Director/Associate Director - Tours of Europe ‘97 and USA ‘99, World Tour 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008), What a Circus (Adelaide Fringe ‘98), Once On This Island (Adelaide Fringe 2010), Spring Awakening (National Theatre 2011), Conference of the Birds and Seussical TYA (Adelaide Fringe 2013), Guys & Dolls 2013, The Wizard of Oz 2014, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Malthouse & Adelaide Fringe 2014), Disney Alice in Wonderland and Conference of the Birds (Melbourne Fringe 2014), This Is Australia USA Tours 2015, 2016 & 2018, Disney Aladdin Jr. 2015, Disney The Little Mermaid Jr. 2015, The Secret Garden - Spring Version 2016, Disney Alice in Wonderland Jr. 2016 and Disney Beauty and the Beast Jr. 2016 and the 2017 seasons of HONK! Jr - the musical tale of the Ugly Duckling and Chicken Licken at the Lawler Theatre, Southbank Theatres - home of the MTC, which also toured to the Adelaide Fringe Festival, and Madagascar - A Musical Adventure Jr. 2018. Robert directed the world premiere of Devil’s Snuffbox, the Victorian premiere of The World Goes Round (Victorian Music Theatre Guild nomination - Best Director) and the world premiere season of the Bryant/Frank musical, The Silver Donkey which also toured the USA.  Robert will direct a selection of the Performance Intensive productions.

  • Cara Dinley

    Course Director 

    Cara Dinley toured Australia, New Zealand, and Asia as a performer in major musical productions playing the role of Demeter in Cats and Liz in Chicago, and as ensemble/ understudy in; Beauty and the Beast, My Fair Lady, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Showboat, The Merry Widow, Singing in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, Mack and Mabel, and The Producers.

    Trained in all aspects of ‘triple threat’ performance she has also completed Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) classical ballet examinations and is a leading dance and performing arts teacher and lecturer. Cara has taught at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS), Federation University (Ballarat), Monash University and for Stage School Australia. Cara has also directed, choreographed and produced a range of festivals, theatre and events.

    Cara holds an Advanced Diploma in Creative Arts and graduated with first class honours from the Master of Directing for Performance at the VCA, University of Melbourne in 2018. Cara completed her Masters research enquiry into training methods for combining movement, text and vocalisation in Europe. She spent six months with the acclaimed Song of the Goat theatre company in Poland, learning their renowned ‘coordination technique’ based in somatic

    bodyvoice practices--which she studied further in Berlin with Grotowski collaborators. She was also introduced to the Character Based Improvisation (CBI) methods of Mike Lee by Robert Marchand in Berlin and assisted his workshops at 16th Street in early 2018. In 2019 Cara collaborated to develop a new  work commissioned by the VCA for the launch of the new Southbank Arts Precinct for the University of Melbourne.


    As Course Director, Cara, a qualified Pilates instructor

    teaches technical dance, body conditioning and a variety of theatre practices. Cara coordinates the timetable, engages guest tutors and manages the overall curriculum and assessment process.

  • Daniel Puckey

    Musical Director

    Daniel has undertaken studies at both the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and Box Hill Institute majoring in both classical and contemporary music.

    He was most recently the Musical Director for the Australian tour of Muriel’s Wedding The Musical.

    Previously, he was the Associate Musical Director and Associate Conductor on The Book of Mormon, The Wizard of Oz, The Bodyguard Musical, Disney’s The Lion King, and Hot Shoe Shuffle. He has also worked as a Keyboardist on the Melbourne seasons of Kinky Boots, We Will Rock You, Sound of Music, Lion King, and King Kong.

    He has music directed and help develop arrangements for productions of The Last Five Years, The Gathering, Dreamsong, and various works for both The VCA and Federation University of Australia. His credits also include working abroad as Music Director and Music Manager for AIDA Cruises based in Hamburg, Germany and he has worked extensively within Performing Arts Education as a Music Tutor and Accompanist for The VCA, Federation University, Victorian State Schools Spectacular.

  • Emily Wilkinson

    Head of Vocal Studies

    Emily Wilkinson trained in ballet and classical voice from an early age. She completed her Bachelor of Arts (Music Theatre) at the University of Ballarat, and a Graduate Diploma of Education (Music and Drama) at the University of Melbourne. Emily has also completed her Estill Voice International Training Level 1 and 2, and is currently studying to be an Estill Master Teacher, as well as undertaking a Licentiate of Singing Teaching through Trinity College, London. As a performer, she has worked with OzOpera (Christina’s World), Melbourne Opera (Cosi Fan Tutte, Otello, Lohengrin), Devanesen Productions (Cinderella in Into the Woods), the Entertainment Store, and PLOS (Christine in The Phantom of the Opera). A member of the Stage School Australia team since 2004, Emily is the Head of Voice & Curriculum. Emily will be an ongoing voice teacher and rehearsal director for a selection of the Performance Intensive productions.

  • Jacqui Green

    Head of Dance

    Jacqui Green is one of Australia’s leading choreographers, adjudicators, dancers, and dance teachers. As a choreographer and dancer, Jacqui’s credits include The Don Lane Show, The Ronnie Corbett Show, The Midday Show, The AFI Awards, and The Logie Awards. Jacqui played the leading role of Cassie in the national tour of A Chorus Line (Mo Award Nomination), and has also featured in productions of Funny Girl, The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly, and Cabaret. Directorial credits include a tour of Asia and New Zealand as the resident director of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for the Really Useful Group. Head of Dance for Stage School Australia since 1999, more recently Jacqui has choreographed Stage School Australia productions of Seussical and Joseph (Malthouse Theatre and Adelaide Fringe), Disney The Little Mermaid JR, Beauty and the Beast JR, Aladdin JR, Les Miserables and Wicked. Jacqui will be an ongoing dance teacher and choreographer for a selection of the Performance Intensive productions.

  • Tony Nikolakopoulas

    Consultant Head of Acting

    Tony Nikolakopoulos is a leading Australian actor and director. Film and television credits include The Wannabes, Head On, Alex and Eve, Wentworth, The Director, Kangaroo Jack, Pirate Island, and The Wog Boy. Theatre credits include Courtyard of Miracles (State Theatre Co of SA), The Wog Story (National Tour), Roulette (Adelaide Festival, Company B Belvoir, Portugal and Melbourne), August: Osage County and Hamlet (Melbourne Theatre Company), The Spook and Pompeii L.A. (Malthouse), and as producer/director The Last Proxy (National Tour). Tony taught for many years at Deakin University, Rusden, where he also completed his Bachelor of Education. Tony consults and lectures for both the theatre and film schools at the VCA, for the University of Melbourne.  As Head of Drama for Stage School Australia, Tony has directed countless productions for the Victorian Youth Theatre.  Tony will direct a selection of the Performance Intensive productions.

  • Francine Cain

    Acting and Voice

    Francine is a Helpmann Award-nominated musical theatre star. She landed not only her first professional Musical Theatre show soon after graduated from WAAPA but also she won the 2010 Rob Guest Endowment Scholarship, which took her to New York, working with some of Broadway’s greatest performing arts tutors.


    Francine’s credits include Regina in the Tony Award Winner Rock of Ages (Helpmann and Green Room Award nominations), understudying Truly Scrumptious in the Australian tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and an 18-month national tour playing Frenchy in Grease the Musical for GFO. An excellent character actress, Francine played the legendary Lucille Ball in Everybody Loves Lucy, and to critical acclaim, the role of Calliope in Xanadu The Musical. Francine toured Australia with the hit show The Play That Goes Wrong covering and playing the role of Sandra before taking over the role in the recent NZ/Australian tour of Peter Pan Goes Wrong.