Conductors and mentors


CGEN provides participating students with the opportunity to work with and learn from many leading industry professionals. Find out more about the CGEN conductors, guest artists, mentors and choreographers​.


Vanessa Scammell

Symphony orchestra conductor

Vanessa Scammell's most recent engagements include a double bill (The Dream / Marguerite and Armand) for The Australian Ballet, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 for the Melbourne Symphony and a concert version of Singin’ in the Rain. In 2021/2022, she conducted the Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland and West Australian symphony orchestras in programs such as Vera Blue; The Bamboos; Birds of Tokyo; An Evening with Anthony Warlow; Love Actually; To Barbra, With Love; and Opera in the Outback (for Opera Queensland). She enjoys a diverse portfolio of work as a conductor of ballet, musical theatre, concert repertoire and opera. Vanessa’s postgraduate study included a Masters in Conducting. She has been the recipient of the Brian Stacey Award and the Robert and Elizabeth Albert Conducting Fellowship for The Australian Ballet.

Meg Robson

Assistant symphony orchestra conductor

Meg Robson is an instrumental music teacher with the Department of Education, working in 3 Brisbane high schools. She is an experienced conductor of string orchestras and symphony orchestras, and each year, her students participate in school concerts, music festivals and combined school events. Meg has been a string orchestra conductor for the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University’s Young Conservatorium and for the Young Conservatorium’s State Honours Ensemble Program. For more than a decade, she was a cello tutor for the annual Great Public Schools Music Showcase and has conducted the symphony orchestra at this event. She holds a degree from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and a postgraduate diploma and masters degree from the University of Queensland. Meg has experience conducting a wide range of musical styles through her work as a conductor of the CGEN symphony orchestra from 2005 to 2023.

Alison Rogers

Choir director and vocal consultant

Alison Rogers is a chorus master and vocal coach who knows that directing choirs and teaching singing is her life’s calling. She is the director of the Vocal Manoeuvres Academy, a leading voice performance and education academy, which she founded to provide lovers of all types of singing with access to outstanding vocal training and choral ensemble experiences led by skilled industry experts. Alison believes everyone has a unique voice that the world deserves to hear and she knows that, through the Vocal Manoeuvres Academy, she brings to the world an extension of her personal mission to elicit the authentic voice within each and every person she comes into contact with.

A commitment Alison particularly relishes is as choir director and vocal consultant to CGEN, a role that she has undertaken since the event’s inaugural performance in 2005. Alison’s skills as a dedicated and energetic chorus master, coupled with her creative and entrepreneurial spirit, have seen her pioneer many innovative choral programs throughout Queensland and in the international arena. Alison has coordinated and trained backing vocalists for artists such as Michael Bublé, Mariah Carey, Mirusia Louwerse, Paulini, Guy Sebastian, Nick Cave, and Neil and Tim Finn, and enjoys providing backing vocalists for the Australian rock band The Angels in their Symphony of Angels show which has toured across Australia.

Alison is a strong advocate for voice performance and education, having discovered her love for music and singing at an early age, and in fact she does not know life without singing. Alison considers working in an industry about which she is passionate as one of the great privileges in her life.

Shane Purnell

The James Morrison Creative Generation big band conductor

Shane Purnell is a senior teacher with the Department of Education and is currently the instrumental coordinator at Cleveland District State High School and multi-instrumental teacher at Cleveland State School. Shane has been based at Cleveland since 1994 and in this time, he has directed the senior jazz ensemble, wind ensemble, drumline and orchestra. He has conducted the school’s tour ensembles to the USA, Singapore, New Zealand and Europe 6 times.

Shane is a freelance professional trumpeter and has been a multi-instrumentalist and arranger with the Peppers Pep Band, All Brassed Up, Alan Brown Big Band, Queensland Pops Orchestra and Brisbane Jazz Orchestra. He has backed musicians including James Morrison AM, Rhonda Burchmore OAM, Mirusia Louwerse and Monica Trapaga, and played in professional shows including The Rat Pack Show from Vegas, Beatles Classical Mystery Tour, Neil Diamond Hot August Nights, Ben Portsmouth’s Queensland tour and the Elvis Lives Spectacular.

Recently, he was a musician extra for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic. He has worked as a clinician and an adjudicator in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia. Shane has also been a director for the MOST big band and co-conductor for the CGEN symphony orchestra.

Matt Cocking

Drumline leader

Matt Cocking has a rich background in performance, teaching and organising large-scale events and currently serves as the director of culture at St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace. Matt's passion for drumline began with his membership in the Madison Drum Corps, Wisconsin USA, which propelled him into artistic teams behind prestigious events such as 2 Olympic opening ceremonies, World University Games opening ceremonies, World Cup Rugby opening ceremonies and as a co-producer for the Shanghai 2010 World Expo Music Festival.

In recent years, Matt's creative contributions have been showcased in various high-profile projects, including writing, recording and teaching the drum segments for the 2020 AFL Grand Final alongside Sheppard and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. He played a pivotal role in the 2021 State of Origin Game 2 Ball Activation and the ABC’s 90th birthday television commercial (2022). Matt's percussion ensemble clinched first place at the Australian Percussion Eisteddfod in 2021, with his drumline securing second place at the Australian Drumline Competition in 2021–22.

In 2012, he founded Drum Camp, which has been a creative partner of CGEN since 2017. Drum Camp aims to nurture the talents and passion of young drummers beyond the confines of traditional education. Matt's relationship with CGEN runs deep, from his early days playing drum kit in the orchestra (2006) and his role as a professional artist (2009), to beginning Queensland’s first state school drumline which has since become a crowd favourite of the show for 11 years and has offered countless students a platform to excel in both education and performance.

Rebecca Purnell

Assistant choir conductor

Rebecca Purnell is a senior experienced creative arts teacher at Cleveland District State High School, specialising in music, art and drama. Rebecca graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Education specialising in music and has been teaching for 29 years. She has established the vocal program at Cleveland District State High School and is the director of the senior vocal ensemble and senior C club.

Rebecca has also directed numerous international school vocal workshops from Osaka, New Zealand, Singapore, UK and the USA and has collaborated on showcase performances, musicals, eisteddfods, official ceremonies and beginner band camps. Rebecca has a passion for choral instruction and classroom teaching and in these fields, she nurtures personal student growth and empowers her students to succeed. She has been involved with CGEN since 2005 and has been an assistant choir conductor for the past 14 years.

Kirsten Drinnen

Assistant choir conductor

Kirsten Drinnen has worked with aspiring musicians for many years. Her love for music has been the driving point to her career, wanting to help young people find their true passion in music. She has been a classroom music teacher for well over a decade and shares her passion with students at Nambour State College. Kirsten holds a Bachelor of Music (Performance) and Bachelor of Education.

During her career, she has had experience with large choirs, small ensembles and soloists. Kirsten's passion for music began when she learnt to control her very first instrument – her voice. She has been singing from a young age, being involved in state level choirs, musical theatre groups and solo endeavours. She has performed various solo gigs, has participated in community group musicals and is currently singing with Vocal Manoeuvres Academy Exaudi Australis. Kirsten has been involved in CGEN since 2013 and loves to work with the wonderful choirs as assistant choir conductor.

Loreta Fin AM

Massed string orchestra conductor

Loreta Fin studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She has performed regularly in chamber music, professional Australian theatre productions and orchestral concerts and has been the principal viola player with the Queensland Pops Orchestra for over 30 years. Loreta was director of strings at Somerville House, Brisbane for 35 years. She is currently working as a freelance conductor, musician, composer and clinician. Loreta has presented at national and international music conferences. She has adjudicated at major competitions all around Australia and has composed over 100 works for string orchestra, which are distributed worldwide by Alfred Publishing. A passionate advocate of community service, Loreta has been involved with the Australian Strings Association for over 30 years, serving as both state and national president and receiving state and national awards for services to Australian Strings Association.

Loreta was appointed as a federal examiner with the AMEB and is currently the state syllabus advisor for strings. Since 2015, she has regularly conducted the State and National Honours Ensembles Programs throughout Queensland. In the 2024 Australia Day Honours, Loreta was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). She received the award for 'significant service to music, to education and to professional associations'.

Guest artists

James Morrison AM

James Morrison is, by anybody’s standard, a virtuoso in the true sense of the word. Besides the trumpet, this multi-instrumentalist also plays trombone, piano, saxophone and double bass. At the age of 6, he started on piano, at 7 he took up brass, at 9 he formed his first band and at 13 he was playing professionally in nightclubs. His international career developed just as quickly with a debut in the US at the Monterey Jazz Festival at age 16. Following this were performances at the world’s major jazz festivals, including Montreux, North Sea, Nice and the Hollywood Bowl, playing with many of the legends of jazz – Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, George Benson, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, B.B. King, Ray Brown and Wynton Marsalis to name a few.

James has been appointed a member of the Order of Australia, has won countless awards and has been inducted into the Australian Jazz Hall of Fame. He has received several honorary doctorates and was an adjunct professor at the University of South Australia, leading his own music academy.

Sheldon Riley (CGEN alumni)

Sheldon Riley's entrancing vocals and avant-garde style have firmly established him as a game-changer in the music industry. In 2022, the multifaceted singer-songwriter made a powerful impact representing Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest in Italy.​ His unique sound, style, and song writing have garnered international acclaim, appearing in leading publications such as VOGUE, Billboard and Rolling Stone.

Sheldon's talent is evident in his seamless delivery of electrifying performances on the worlds stage. Impressing audiences throughout the US and Europe, headlining the pre-game show of the NRL Grand Final alongside rock icon Jimmy Barnes and sharing the stage with pop royalty Kylie Minogue and Charli XCX whilst opening WorldPride 2023. While constantly pushing boundaries, Sheldon Riley is now focusing his efforts on his eagerly awaited debut album among other exciting ventures within television, film and fashion.​

Royston Sagigi-Baira (CGEN alumni)

​Royston Sagigi-Baira is a proud Thanakwith and Wagadagam man who grew up in the small remote community of Mapoon - right at the tip of Far North Queensland. 

Royston’s life changed when he won Australian Idol in 2023, following the TV talent show’s 14-year Australian hiatus. Prior to this, he attended the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA) in Brisbane where he worked with a voice and performance coach. It wasn't long before his stunning talent was recognised and he was invited to represent Australia as a performer in the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade. From there, he went on to compete on the Australian version of All Together Now, scoring a perfect 100.

The first in his family to attend university, Royston undertook a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Music) degree at the University of Queensland, before deferring to appear on the eighth season of Australian Idol.

Royston’s recent single Dreaming is a deeply personal song; following his mother’s diagnosis of brain cancer Royston bravely left home to pursue his dream of a career in music - doing exactly what he knew she wanted him to do.

Royston’s debut EP will be released this year. 

Chrislyn Hamilton (CGEN alumni)

Chrislyn Hamilton has made significant strides in the music industry since beginning her career at 16, performing with stars like Keith Urban and on platforms such as Australian Idol 2008 and The Voice Australia 2018. Her early success on Australian Idol, reaching the top 5, and her participation in The Voice highlight her exceptional talent and resilience. Chrislyn's music, rich in R&B, funk and pop influences, reflects her admiration for artists like Adele, Aretha Franklin and Christina Aguilera, showcasing her versatility and vocal power.

Her journey, rooted in Perth, Western Australia, transcends her performances; it's a source of inspiration shared through her social media, engaging fans and fellow artists. Chrislyn epitomizes a bridge across musical generations, her work embodying the transformative power of music. Her creativity, especially active at night, continues to flourish, promising more innovative and heartfelt contributions to the music scene.

Sarah McCreanor (CGEN alumni)

Sarah 'Smac' McCreanor is an Australian performance artist, actress, dancer and choreographer based in Los Angeles. Her signature style is reputably known for its slapstick physicality, originality and comedic charm. Training in Australia in dance, drama, musical theatre, circus and comedy, Smac landed her f​irst lead role as Astrid in the stage production of Dreamworks How To Train Your Dragon.

In 2013, she settled in the US and has since worked heavily in the entertainment industry with 60+ television commercials for major brands, numerous A-list music videos, television series and reality show appearances, and live comedy performances. Smac’s distinguishable self-produced work is continuously circulating, surging over 2 billion views across all online platforms and growing. Representing her own niche of performance art, Smac’s art exhibition debut at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia in 2024 featured her beloved video series Hydraulic Press Girl and Emoji for the acclaimed Triennial Exhibition.

Vocal coaches

Renae Suttie

Renae Suttie studied jazz at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and completed a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Japanese at The University of Queensland. She has been performing professionally for 32 years, working in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Maldives, Thailand, Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. On the local scene, Renae performs regularly at festivals, jazz clubs and events, and with her band The Kitty Kats. She has been a backing vocalist for artists including Daryl Braithwaite, Ian Moss, The Eurogliders and Kate Miller-Heidke.

Renae performed the Australian National Anthem for the Rugby League World Cup Women's Final at Suncorp Stadium in 2017. She won the Jazz Vocalist Award at the 2007 ABC Valley Jazz Festival and has an album of jazz originals. She has recorded many Australian television and radio advertisements, including Channel 7's Love You Queensland. Due to her service to the local community, Renae was awarded a Queensland Day Award 2019 (Noosa Electorate). Renae has been vocal coach with CGEN since 2009 and conducts 2 school choirs.

Luke Kennedy

Luke Kennedy shot to international attention in 2013 as Ricky Martin’s grand finalist on Season 2 of The Voice Australia. As series runner-up, Luke was the first artist from the show to secure a number 1 ​single on the iTunes charts with Time to Say Goodbye. Luke performed with Ricky Martin as a special guest on his 2013 Australian tour and released his debut album, A Time For Us, which debuted at number 6 on the ARIA charts. Luke has extensive international touring experience with The Ten Tenors and has toured Australia with Swing On This.

Luke can be regularly seen performing in The Little Red Company productions such as There's Something About Music, The IsoLate Late Show and Christmas Actually, and as a regular presenter on Channel 7 Queensland. Luke has been a vocal coach and mentor at CGEN since 2010 and his vocal coaching credits include The Voice Australia Seasons 7, 8 and 9 and the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.

Gregory Moore

Gregory Moore is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in vocal performance. His performing credits include The Ten Tenors, La Forza, The Pirates of Penzance, Scotland the Brave World Tour and Australian National Anthem performances for Australian Rugby, Cricket Australia and State of Origin. He is a regular guest with the Queensland Pops Orchestra. Greg is co-producer for the Lord Mayor's Seniors Christmas Parties, mentor for the Seniors Cabaret Showcase and was the musical director for the Brisbane City Christmas Parade, Christmas Pantomime and Queen Street Mall Christmas pop-up shows.

Greg features on the ABC TV and DVD/CD releases of the hit show Scotland the Brave. He has recorded 2 solo albums: I’ve Dreamed of You and The Christmas Gift. His television special An Intimate Evening with Gregory Moore and Friends is available as a DVD and CD, and he has been featured on Foxtel. Greg is currently head of music at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts and is thrilled to be returning as a vocal mentor for CGEN 2024 having been a special guest performer at the very first CGEN in 2005.

David Kidd

David Kidd's interest in singing developed through performances with the Queensland Youth Choir and Brisbane cabaret acts. He has toured extensively with the Queensland Arts Council and Opera Queensland's Emerging Opera Program. While studying at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, David began a 10-year engagement with The Ten Tenors. World tours followed and the international release of 7 albums, 2 of which went gold and platinum in Australia. David has performed at the Sydney Opera House, the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and London’s Royal Albert Hall. In 2014, David joined fellow retirees from The Ten Tenors to form Tenori. David regularly performs with the Queensland Pops Orchestra, the Australian Army Band and Opera Queensland, and has been a guest artist with CGEN since 2008.

Shaun Kohlman​

Shaun Kohlman is a performer, producer and arts educator proudly based in Brisbane. Shaun is currently undertaking his Master in Music Studies (Vocal Pedagogy) at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (QCGU). As an educator, Shaun's past students have seen incredible success, performing all around the world in musicals and cruise ships. Their credits include the national tours of SIX the Musical, Grease, Mamma Mia, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Girl from the North Country, Tick, Tick, Boom, Jagged Little Pill and Shrek. His students have successfully gained entry into some of the top institutions in the country including the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, the QCGU, Adelaide Conservatorium of Music, Brent Street and ED5International.

As a performer, Shaun played the title role in Daddy Long Legs at the Brisbane Powerhouse, which received a best musical nomination at the Matilda Awards. In 2018, he played the role of Peter in the Queensland premiere of Bare (Understudy/ Woodward Productions). His previous work has taken him all over the country with credits including FiZZ! (Opera Queensland/shake & stir), 35mm: A Musical Exhibition (Incubator Festival), Next to Normal (Spotlight), Blood Brothers, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease and The Wizard of Oz (Queensland Performing Arts Complex), and Into the Woods (Gold Coast Little Theatre). Within his role as Artistic Director of ROCKIT Productions, he has directed hundreds of student productions as well as corporate work for Redland City Council, Phillips Lighting and Redland Performing Arts Centre (RPAC). As a producer, Shaun's professional credits include Any Moment for Old Fashion Production Company, Not Another Love Song and Kitty Kat Doll5 for ROCKIT Productions and the RPAC. 2024 marks Shaun's 10th year at CGEN, having worked in many departments across the project including drama ensemble director, private vocal coach, ensemble vocal director, musical theatre director, choreographer, music editing, dance team and all-round cheerleader. He is thrilled to mark a decade on the project in 2024.

Claire Walters

Franky Smart (aka Claire Walters) is a multi-faceted entertainer, having performed locally, nationally and internationally. She has worked alongside some of Australia's finest talent including the late and great Bert Newton, Doug Parkinson, Patti Newton and most recently, Rhonda Burchmore, Robert Mills, Dale Pengelly and Megan Washington. Claire is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music with a Bachelor of Music majoring in jazz and was a finalist in the James Morrison Vocal Scholarship.

Claire has had over 30 years’ experience on the stage. Some recent highlights include the Private International Forum—Four Season Hotel—Sydney, Great Australian Bite Festival—Southbank, Gold Coast Tourism Gala—HOTA, Flexing Skillz—Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) – winning team, Jazz on the Green—Southbank, Brisbane Festival's Festival Friends Function, FIFA Women’s World Cup FIFA Fan Festival, A Day on the Green 'Florence and the Machine' Dance Fever Tour, Washington at the Tivoli and Bridge to Brisbane. As always, it is a huge honour and inspiration to work alongside everyone who makes CGEN what it is.


Mitchell J Nalingu Harrison-Currie (CGEN alumni)

Mitchell's journey epitomizes the profound fusion of cultural heritage and artistic expression. Descended from the Mununjali, Bundjalung/Minyungbal and Gunggari peoples, Mitchell's passion for preserving Indigenous culture led him to establish Nalingurrie Projects, a pioneering platform amplifying the voices of First Nations artists and storytellers. His trajectory in the performing arts burgeoned in 2015 with Bangarra Dance Theatre's youth program and CGEN, igniting a fervent commitment to cultural preservation. Recognized with the Order of Australia Association 2015 Queensland Secondary Schools Citizenship Award, Mitchell's dedication propelled him towards an Advanced Diploma in Performing Arts, majoring in dance.

Since graduating in 2018, Mitchell has catalysed community cohesion and intergenerational dialogue through his choreographic prowess. Noteworthy performances include Bangarra Dance Theatre's Totems at the 2018 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony and his subsequent creations like Waterholes and My Island Home for CGEN. Mitchell's impact transcends performance spaces, evident in his nomination for the 2023 National NAIDOC Youth of the Year and his collaborations with acclaimed artists in large-scale productions like the AFL Dreamtime at the G. Through his work, Mitchell champions cultural empowerment, instilling in young people the resilience to surmount generational obstacles and embrace their heritage with pride. His legacy underscores the transformative potential of the arts in preserving Indigenous culture and inspiring positive change.

Dr Nerida Matthaei

Nerida Matthaei is an award-winning choreographer and performer, and the artistic director of Phluxus2 Dance Collective. The underlying pulse of her work comes from an ingrained passion for contemporary choreographic practice as a beautifully planned anarchy of mind-body collaboration. Nerida works with companies such as Polytoxic, Briefs Factory, The Good Room, the Crackup Sisters, Queensland Theatre, Red Leap Theatre, the Gallery of Modern Art, the Royal Ballet and QPAC. Highlights include creating large-scale work in Saudi Arabia with Balich Worldwide, choreographing an activation of William Forsythe’s Fact of Matter, joining the 2018 Jack Morton Worldwide Ceremonies Choreographic Team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony and as movement director on the smash hit debut of Boy Swallows Universe with Queensland Theatre and Brisbane Festival.

Nerida completed a Doctor of Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology ​(QUT) in 2018 that sought to recontextualise the choreographic self through practice-led experimentation. Nerida most recently created award-winning dance film Proximal, collaborated with South Korean company Sadari Movement Lab on new work Bottari, is choreographer / movement director on the world premiere of Trent Dalton’s Love Stories and is touring Angel Monster nationally and internationally with many 5-star reviews.

George Canham

George Canham is a passionate arts educator, choreographer and event manager, working across South East Queensland in professional, training and school-based settings. Theatrical credits include Kinky Boots, Wicked, Legally Blonde (Empire Theatre), Guys and Dolls, Monty Python’s Spamalot (QPAC), and independent works such as the Matilda Award nominated Daddy Long Legs (NikNak Productions), The Kitty Kat Doll5 (ROCKIT Productions), Any Moment (Old Fashioned Pro Co) and over 100 youth theatre productions.

He is the proud company director and head of dance for ROCKIT Productions, a youth-focused training and production company which he co-founded alongside his husband in 2011. George has created works in theatre, film, corporate entertainment and large theatrical events across the state, with clients including Nova 106.9, The Little Red Company, Nine Network, RSPCA, Redland City Council and the Redlands Foundation. He holds vocational examinations and teaching qualifications through the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing​​ and a Graduate Certificate in Management through Australian Institute of Business. This is George’s 16th CGEN having started all the way back in 2009 with the Q150 Celebration Year at Boondall.

John Clarke

John Clarke is the co-director of Redland Dance in Cleveland. Coming from the UK, John spent the first 14 years of his career performing and working in London’s West End. He first joined the cast of Grease at the Dominion Theatre, performing as a swing. He then decided to learn a new skill and took an opportunity to roller skate in Starlight Express. Following this, he was part of the original cast of Saturday Night Fever at the London Palladium and was asked to be resident director and resident choreographer of that show’s first UK tour. He then joined the original cast of We Will Rock You as resident choreographer and as a swing. This show took John around the world as the associate choreographer for the Australian, American and German productions.

John left We Will Rock You to open a new production of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Evita in London as resident choreographer and swing before taking on the position of resident director of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. John left this production to bring his family to Australia and chase new dreams. Here, he spent over a year working on the Australasian tour of Matilda the Musical as resident choreographer.

Louise Deleur

Louise Deleur graduated from the Australian Ballet School and chose to work with West Australian Ballet Company before moving to Sydney Dance Company. Later, Louise moved to work as a freelance dancer and choreographer working in the more commercial side of dance, film, television and theatre. In 2000, Louise was offered a 2-year teaching position at Taipei National University of the Arts.

Louise now resides in Brisbane, teaching and choreographing in classical and contemporary styles. She has created works for Sydney Dance Company, Queensland Theatre Company, Australian Opera, West Australian Academy Performing Arts, Taipei National University of Arts, Queensland Ballet Professional Year, several works for Queensland Ballet including its main stage International Gala, a collaborative work with Circa and 3 full-length works for her own company, Lucid Dance Theatre. In 2015, Louise coached the young artists on 2 of her solos at the prestigious Prix de Lausanne Ballet Competition in Lausanne. In 2016, Louise was invited to work with the young artists at Houston Ballet. Louise is currently head of contemporary dance and resident choreographer at Queensland Ballet Academy and founder and artistic director of Brisbane International Contemporary Dance Prix.

Simon Lind

Simon Lind's choreography credits include Australian Idol, Australia's Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance (Australia), and artistic director​​ for X-Factor (Australia) in 2010. He has choreographed international and Australian artists including Kelly Rowland, Delta Goodrem, Jessica Mauboy, Brian McFadden, Vandalism, Paulini, Young Divas, Australian Idol winner Wes Carr and Cassie Davis. Working in television early in his career broadened his talents in staging and music production to writing, producing, choreographing and directing the Toni and Guy's 2010 Australian season launch. His television commercial clients include national and international brands, and a highlight in Simon’s career was the honour to choreograph for Chris Lilley and his smash hit television series Angry Boys.

Simon's musical theatre engagements include Essgee’s Australian production of The Mikado and The Production Company’s Singin’ in the Rain. He has performed in the Australian productions of West Side Story, The Boy from Oz, Jolson, and Grease—the Arena Spectacular (assistant choreographer for the most recent tour), and with Kelly Clarkson, Will Young, Guy Sebastian, Jessica Mauboy, Shannon Noll, Paulini, Young Divas and Katie Underwood.

Simon completed a 7-year engagement with Warner Bros working as a featured character performer in Happy Feet and a motion capture performer on Happy Feet 2 playing the role of Mumble. Now the artistic director and course coordinator at the famed Davidia Lind Dance Company in Brisbane, Simon hopes to help inspire young performers of the future to achieve their dreams.

Vanessa Friscia

Vanessa Friscia has been in the Brisbane dance scene for over 18 years and is known as a well-versed dancer whose dance style is influenced by, but not limited to, street dance, fusion, jazz and contemporary training. In 2012, Vanessa opened her own dance studio in Brisbane, V-Hub Dance,​​ and still runs and operates V-Hub Dance in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. Vanessa takes her passion for dance and shares it with like-minded kids, teens and adults. She is committed to the growth and change of the dance industry and providing correct education to dancers.

Known for baring her soul, producer and choreographer Vanessa founded Vibe Creative Brisbane in 2016, inspired by the stigmas, taboos and social injustices of mental illness. Vanessa is an energetic and passionate dancer who, although she loves teaching, is humbled and considers herself to be first and foremost a student of the art. Her style can mix from hard-hitting and highly energetic to smooth, soulful and emotional. Vanessa is humbled to be part of the Brisbane dance community and hopes to keep working locally and nationally to create more hype in the scene.

Sam Windsor

Sam Windsor has been dancing since he was 5 years old. Upon completing his full-time training with Raw Dance Company in 2010, Sam joined Raw Metal the same year. His performance credits include Project X, Western Australia; Bang, Crash Tap, Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand; Untapped, New York and Brisbane; and Raw Metal Canada Tour, Canada.

Taking a step back from his performing career to focus on his skills as a choreographer, Sam has kept himself immersed in the world of tap dance by teaching up and coming dancers across Brisbane. Being a much sought-after teacher, Sam has taught full-time courses at respected studios such as Australian Dance Performance Institute, Dynamite Studios Australia and Queensland College of Dance in addition to studios as diverse as MAD Dance House, Redland Dance and The Dance Centre— Warwick. For a number of years, Sam has also choreographed for CGEN. Sam's passion for tap is infectious and he is known both on and off-stage for his enthusiasm, positivity and professionalism.

Gina Limpus

Gina Tay Limpus is a Matilda Award winning actor, physical performer, director and theatre-maker. Hailing from Meanjin, Gina graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Drama from the Queensland University of Technology and an MPP (Performing Arts) from University of the Sunshine Coast in 2018. Her practice is grounded in a deep exploration of physical methodologies including the Suzuki Method of Actor Training, Viewpoints, Butōh Dance Theatre, harness aerials and a body-first approach to performance and devising.

As Associate Director with Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre, Gina has directed numerous productions, including SKELTER, REBIRTH, Be All//End All, Queendom AnimaliaLeonardo's Last Supper and Zen Zen Zo's The Tempest. Independently, Gina's directing credits include All Bodies Just One Body, and Tangerine Hour and Be Our Witness with NDRNCE Theatre. Gina has performed in over 15 Zen Zen Zo productions alongside working with other artists and companies including Broad Encounters, Spacefold Technology, Kin, Dairakudakan, Joey Ruigrok, Younes Bacchir, Strings Attached, Dan Evans, The Good Room and The SUI Ensemble.

Dr Lynne Bradley

Dr Lynne Bradley has worked as a leader in the arts and education sectors for the past 30 years, and has worked as a festival artistic director (Horizon Festival 2019-2021; Sunshine Coast Chamber Music Festival 2021-2023).

Lynne founded Zen Zen Zo, one of Australia's first physical theatre companies, in 1992 after living, training and performing in Japan for 5 years. Lynne's speciality areas as a director include large-scale physical and visual theatre, as well as immersive, site-specific, and transcultural work. In 2016 Lynne completed a multiple award-winning PhD in Intercultural Performance Practice and Cultural Translation.

Lynne is also a leading actor-trainer in Australia, specialising in Butōh , the Suzuki Method, Viewpoints and Ashtanga Yoga, having studied at length with the founders of these forms in Japan, the USA, and India throughout the 1980s and 90s. Lynne regularly travels nationally and internationally to direct and teach, enjoying working with artists with diverse backgrounds and worldviews.

Abbe Bradbury

Abbe Bradbury's career in the performing arts sector is marked by innovation, dedication and trailblazing achievements. As the founder and creative director of Dynamite Studios, she has established a significant presence in Australian performing arts education. Abbe began her journey after returning to the Gold Coast from Sydney, bringing a wealth of performance experience from Australia and abroad. This foundation led to the creation of Dynamite Studios in 2007, which started with just 10 weekly classes and has grown to serve nearly a thousand students, ranging from toddlers to aspiring professionals. Under Abbe's leadership, Dynamite Studios expanded into a major educational hub, offering a school for students in Years 5 to 12 and a comprehensive vocational training program aimed at helping students achieve accredited qualifications for careers in the performing arts. In 2023, the institution reached a new height by becoming the first performing arts registered training organisation in Australia to receive CRICOS accreditation, enhancing its appeal to international students and enabling partnerships with overseas performers.

Abbe also co-founded Evolution Management Co. and the Living Your Best Life mentorship program with Erin O'Flaherty, focusing on empowering women to succeed in both personal and professional spheres. Her efforts have earned her accolades such as the Young Businesswoman of the Year at the 2010 International Women in Business awards and a finalist position for Gold Coast Women of the Year in 2018. Additionally, her partnership with Village Roadshow Theme Parks has facilitated opportunities for over 200 performers, cementing Dynamite Studios' role as a leader in providing both national and international opportunities. Abbe's profound impact on the performing arts education landscape continues to inspire and shape future generations of artists.

Joel Murphy

Joel Murphy's passion for dance ignited at just 8 years old, a journey that blossomed into a distinguished career on global stages and screens. By age 12, he discovered a deep affinity for contemporary dance and choreography, shaping his future in the arts. After completing a Certificate IV in Dance at Dynamite Studios post-high school, Joel's talent and dedication catapulted him into the international spotlight. Joel's impressive repertoire includes roles in major films such as Dora and the Lost City of Gold, and Seriously Red and as the movement double for Austin Butler in Baz Luhrmann's Elvis. These roles have firmly established his stature in the global entertainment sphere.

Beyond cinema, Joel has performed as a backup dancer for well-known Australian artists like Samantha Jade, Courtney Act, and Paulini Curuenavuli, enhancing major performances across the music industry. His innovative choreography has not only defined his career but also led to the creation of his contemporary show Incarnate in 2021 and an opportunity to choreograph at the Move It Convention in London in 2023. Joel Murphy's journey from a budding dancer on the Gold Coast to an internationally celebrated choreographer and performer exemplifies his relentless dedication and unique artistic vision, making him a pioneering figure in the dance world.

Jayne Greentree-Fien

With extensive experience in both the public and private sector as a teacher, coach and tutor, Jayne Greentree-Fien is currently employed as a senior dance teacher and is the dance excellence director and choreographer at Albany Creek State High School. Trained as a senior classical ballet teacher in private studios, Jayne has also worked in the primary sector organising and implementing programs from early childhood to the upper primary school sector as a dance specialist and lead choreographer. Having directed her own ballet school for 18 years, Jayne moved to London where she completed studies at Trinity Laban, later returning to Adelaide to work in the university sector. Jayne is an educationalist who possesses a passion for teaching and the learning process. Her work within the state school system in dance is extensive and highly valued by the school community.

Nicole Marshman-Geyl

After her early dancing years at Betsy Sawyers Dance in Canberra, by 16, Nicole Marshman-Geyl had been successful in gaining a full-time training position with both The Australian Ballet School and The Royal Ballet School. Nicole opted for The Australian Ballet School, training under the directorship of Dame Margaret Scott. Nicole was performing with The Australian Ballet and was offered contracts with both Sydney Dance Company and The Australian Ballet. She decided to stay with The Australian Ballet, where she danced corps de ballet and solo roles for 5 years. Nicole's passion for teaching dance grew when she left The Australian Ballet in 1995. Having always been inspired by body mechanics, human anatomy and the mind-body connection, Nicole chose to pursue this interest further when she moved to Brisbane and taught at various full-time and part-time dance schools before eventually starting her own school which she directed for 25 years. Currently, Nicole is teaching freelance as a guest artist in residence at Albany Creek State High School.

Helena Moore​

With extensive experience in television, theatre musicals, commercials, conventions, and gala openings, Helena Moore offers an exceptional background in dance. Helena took a year off to travel through America and study with the Alvin Ailey Company. On her return, Helena joined David Atkins’ Company Electric Legs, which became the stage musical Dancin’ Man. She was contracted for numerous stage shows, television commercials and conventions in Australia and internationally. Helena established her own successful production company, which concentrated on productions in Australia and Japan for 6 years. Helena progressed from dancer to choreographer, assisted renowned choreographers with their works in The Australian Fashion Awards and The Logies, and was resident choreographer for Jupiter’s Casino productions on the Gold Coast. Helena’s most memorable job was as an assistant choreographer in a movie with a dog, Scooby Doo 1. For the Toowoomba-based Empire Theatre Company, Helena choreographed the production of Chicago and Grease; Queensland Pops Orchestra; Queensland Tourism Awards. In addition to being a freelance choreographer for hair shows and corporate functions, Helena teaches master classes nationally and internationally. Helena teaches and mentors students in dance and choreography at the Queensland Academy of Excellence in Musical Theatre.

Helen Mullins PSM

Helen Mullins PSM, a QUT graduate, has been a passionate dance educator for over 30 years. She actively facilitates arts opportunities for students and has extensive choreographic experience for large-scale school productions including musicals, the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge and CGEN. Helen's experience in curriculum development and implementation ranges from syllabus writing to her current role as Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s chief endorser for dance. Valuing strong professional networks, she has been a long-standing member of the Ausdance Educators Queensland (AEQ) and chair of the committee since 2018. In 2012, she was presented with AEQ’s Osmotherly Award for her contribution to the development of dance education in Queensland. Helen received a Public Service Medal for outstanding public service to arts education in Queensland in 2018. Helen is Head of Department, The Arts, and dance teacher at Harristown State High School in Toowoomba. Having been involved with CGEN since its inception in 2005, she looks forward to revisiting her roles as choreographer and regional dance coordinator for this year’s production.

Anna Johnston

Highly conceptual and with an undeniable zest, Anna Johnston has brought large scale productions from the drawing board to the stage, such as co-choreographing the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony 2018, musicals, television commercials and her very own successful show Coterie Cabaret which she co-directed and choreographed in 2021 with 11 shows across Brisbane. Deep in her transition, Anna has eagerly stepped in many new roles such as director, costume manager, movement director and stage manager for many corporate events such as Brisbane Fashion Week, Australian Innovative Systems Water, Brisbane Advertising and Design Club (BADC) Awards, Brisbane Broncos Champions for Charity, Water Aid, weddings, flash-mobs, galas and balls.

Anna's performing career spans for 14 years which has taken her across the world; tap dancing in India for BMW, running away with the circus for Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey in the US, and sharing the stage with Jessica Mauboy in Glasgow, Scotland for the 2014 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony. Anna has also performed in Dancing CEO's Brisbane's biggest fundraising event to help women and children suffering from domestic and family violence, rocked out onstage with the Babes of Rock in South East Queensland and fallen in love with comedy whilst performing Birds of Paradise, a comedy bird-lesque extravaganza. Anna is a jack of all trades when it comes to the vast variety of styles under her belt and continues to upskill, having trained in traditional ballroom (waltz, foxtrot and quickstep) and competed and placed in her first competition in 2022. She continues to build her reputation as a powerhouse creative director, choreographer and performer recognised for her energy, originality, professionalism and attention to detail in all her creative ventures.

Claire Owen

After studying classical/contemporary dance, Claire Owen was fortunate enough to travel Australia and the world performing and creating. Claire’s performance credits include Spiegelesque, 2021 Lord Mayor's Christmas Carols and Cabaret De Paris. She was also dance captain for Palazzo, Germany; 2018 TV Week Logies; NRL Grand Final with Guy Sebastian; Up, Up and Away! Candy Shop Tour; Grease the Arena Experience; A Very Naughty Christmas; Bonnie Lythgoe's The Adventures of Peter Pan; The IT Girls London; Princess Cruises; MSC Cruises; Lumiair China; Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat; Jesus Christ Superstar; and Paradizo Samba. Her creative credits include assistant choreographer for the AFL Grand Final 2020; co-writer/director/choreographer for The Underground Hour; and associate choreographer for Wizard of Oz Arena Spectacular tour, Grease the Arena Experience tour, Hairspray Arena Spectacular tour and OTC’s Boy and Girl. As well as being a qualified trainer/assessor for Certificate IV and Diploma in Musical Theatre and Certificate IV in Dance, Claire loves teaching/choreographing for the next generation and loves passing on her knowledge.

Julie-Anne Byster

Julie-Anne Byster's passion for learning, primarily within arts, inclusion and education, is a driving force in her life. With unwavering dedication, she relishes every chance to inspire, guide and uplift all students on their journey to be the best they can be. Her experiences in the arts as a previous dance studio owner / operator / past professional dancer / choreographer and working in education has allowed her to witness many success stories, as students work towards their goals big or small.

Working with CGEN has provided Julie-Anne with a constant source of inspiration from the talent within our state schools. With each student she encounters, she sees boundless potential waiting to be set free and she is ready to empower them to excel and embrace their full potential. Transitioning to her role as deputy principal at Dakabin State High School, she has taken with her life experiences in the arts and the artistic mindset to continue to empower all students to find their future vocations and belief in themselves that they can do whatever they put their mind too. Julie-Anne forever and always, enjoy the opportunity to work with students to assist them to be the best they can be.

Drama instructor and media crew mentor

Jack Kelly

For the past decade, Jack Kelly has developed his skill set across a diverse range of artistic platforms from stage to screen and everything in between. Professionally trained in acting and musical theatre, Jack’s credits include Machina (La Boite), BOY&GIRL (Oscar Production Company), Avenue Q (Brisbane Arts Theatre), Witches of Eastwick / Kiss Me Kate (24 Hour Musical Project), Spamalot (Prima Theatre Co), Into the Woods (Ignatians Musical Society) and Spelling Bee (Underground Theatre Company).

As a comedic writer, Jack has developed fringe festival shows including Speaking Freely (Anywhere Theatre Festival), Workout Wunderbar (Short+Sweet finalist) and Two Man Tarantino (Christopher Wayne / Brisbane Powerhouse). As a puppeteer, Jack was cast as the lead puppet character, Croc, in Network 10's preschool program Crocamole. During his 5 years at Network 10, Jack became a presenter and producer, learning much about the world of media. Jack's presenting credits include Totally Wild, Gamify, Toasted TV and Scope. His production credits include Puff: Wonders of The Reef (Netflix / Wild Bear Pacific), Dance Boss (Seven Network) and Skit This (Australian Production House). Jack is honoured to pass on his knowledge and love of the arts to the next generation of creatives in his role of drama instructor and media crew mentor for a third year.

Last updated 26 June 2024