Our Staff

The staff of Initial Stages possess qualifications, experience and skills in both the performing arts and in working with young people. This is an ideal catalyst of skills and expertise to bring a concept such as Initial Stages to life.

Helen Janke – Director

Helen has been involved in many local theatrical productions, winning over nine awards for her performances in both Singing and Acting. With a Bachelor of Arts (Music Industry) and nine years of solo voice studies at the Melbourne Conservatorium, Helen decided to use her passion for the Theatre in educating young students. After 6 years working in child care and over ten years working in primary and secondary schools teaching music Helen’s experience with working with children is extensive.

Robert Baxter - Dance

Robert has been teaching dance for 7 years, training for many years in Shepparton as well as in Melbourne. Robert has choreographed productions for Initial Stages, Goulburn Valley Grammar School, Notre Dame College and teaches at Amy Newton Dance Studios. Robert performed in a Dance Production at the Melbourne Arts Centre, Danced and Acted in multiple music videos, and has won a Georgy award for his choreography. He looks forward to pushing students to express themselves in different ways.

Anthony Gooley - Drama

A NIDA Acting graduate, Anthony’s many theatre credits include A View from the Bridge, Death Of A Salesman (Ensemble Theatre), The Glass Menagerie (State Theatre Company of South Australia), Calamity Jane (Belvoir/The Comedy Theatre/Arts Centre Melbourne), Assassins (Sydney Opera House/Hayes Theatre Co.), Replay (Griffin Theatre Company) The Crucible, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Othello, Twelfth Night, The Comedy of Errors (Sport For Jove), Good Works, All My Sons (Eternity Playhouse) and The Lost Echo (Sydney Theatre Company). As director, Steve Martin's The Underpants (GLUG Award nominee for Most Outstanding Independent Production, Broadway World nominee for Best Professional Production and Best Director of a Professional Production), Orphans (Red Line Productions) and Gruesome Playground Injuries (The Kings Collective). In 2021, Anthony will star in the feature film Buckley’s Chance (Blacklab Entertainment) opposite Bill Nighy, and the feature Venus and Adonis (Sport for Jove). Television credits include Sheilas, Australia: The Story of Us, Underbelly, Packed to the Rafters, Tough Nuts, Satisfaction and Home and Away. Anthony is a Sydney Theatre Award winner for his performance as Rochester in The Libertine (Sport For Jove/Darlinghurst Theatre Company) and was also nominated for his performances in Inner Voices (Old Fitz Theatre), Of Mice and Men and A Doll’s House (Sport For Jove).

Jacquie Monk – Junior Drama

Jacquie has a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood and has been teaching for twenty years. She has a personal passion for Performing Arts that has led her to teach Music and Drama for the past eight years. Jacquie's' patience with younger children is second to none, and nothing gives her more satisfaction than working with the students and watching them grow in theatrically and confidence.

Grace Newman – Junior Dance

Grace has performed in various productions throughout her life with several notable roles including Dewey Finn in School of Rock, receiving a guild commendation and Uzo in Godspell receiving a Georgy Award. Grace had danced at Goulburn Valley Academy of Ballet for 13 years with styles of Classical Ballet and Jazz. Grace is also choreographer for ‘Dramarama’ from Shepparton Access. Grace looks forward to working with a variety of students this year.