All of our tutors are qualified or are in the final year of completing qualfications here at HSPA. 
All are experienced in their field, having Directed, Choreographed or Vocal Coached for stage (many with us) and so come with experience in live performance and what is required to succeed in performing arts.  
The exception to this, being our Trainee tutors who are in their first year of teaching.  Our school gives advanced senior students the opportunity to move into a teaching role if they wish, and this is done in a structured environment to support their learning.  We believe this allows students to aim high and allows younger students to gain aspiration from fresh new teachers who have the benefit of good support structures from management.  Our trainees are excellent role models for our younger students!

Our tutors have been asked to teach at Court Theatre and elsewhere, and have performed extensively themselves.  They are all great role models and very capable in their field.

Dale Hartley-Brown
School Director
B.A. Canterbury University
L.T.C.L Teaching Speech & Drama Trinity College

Dale has been involved in theatre since her first role as Annie in 1987.  However, she began her professional career in 1993 shortly after gaining her ATCL in Speech & Drama.  Her first professional job in theatre, was as a cast member of Excalibur’s Theatre Restaurant where she performed for 5 seasons alongside Elizabeth Moody and Robert Gilbert.  In 1995 Dale graduated Canterbury University with a B.A. in Classics, enjoying studying the origins of theatre as part of her degree. Since then she has worked as a performer for Showbiz Christchurch, in touring cabaret shows and in the corporate realm and gained her LTCL degree in Speech & Drama.  Dale is also a trained classical singer and has extensive experience in theatre costuming, having worked professionally in this role also.

Dale’s love of teaching began in 1996 when she first took on students at her own school as well as teaching for St Margaret’s College. That year also heralded her first year as a director.  She has since directed more than 25 shows both at her own school and for various amateur societies and school in the district, but lately prefers to mentor others in this role.

Paul Johnson
Advanced Drama Tutor
ATCL Dip Teaching Speech & Drama Trinity College

A graduate of the Hartley School of Performing Arts, Paul has been teaching more or less for 15 years now. Earning his ATCL (Teachers) in Speech and Drama has allowed him to work extensively in the Performing Arts Industry as a Director, Lighting Designer, Touring Technician and Playwright, and he also owns an Event Management business based in Rangiora.

Previous credits include Director: Jekyll and Hyde, Disney's Beauty and the Beast (North Canterbury Musicals), Director and Playwright: Robin Hood, The Jungle Book (Hartley School of Performing Arts), Lighting Designer: Thumbellina, Hamlet: The Video Game: The Stage Show (The Court Theatre)..

He's been around long enough to be able to claim having taught nearly all of the current school's tutors and even helped renovate the building that the School is currently housed in.

Leanne O'Mahony
Singing Tutor
BA Mus., Dip Teaching (Secondary)

Leanne trained as a classical singer but has been focused more on musical theatre and choral singing in recent years. She is a secondary school teacher and her Degree in Music is from the University of Canterbury. Leanne enjoys helping others improve their technique and the teamwork involved in creating group numbers together. 

Leanne’s experience spans more than 20 years of Musical Direction and Vocal Coach work, not to mention extensive experience both in, and running top-end choirs and vocal groups through Burnside High school and other institutions. 

It would be difficult to find someone in North Canterbury with more knowledge and experience in this field, than Leanne O’Mahony.

Rachel Long
Singing Tutor and Administrator
Grade 8 Level Trinity College Pop & Rock

Rachel began at HSPA a decade ago as a Singing & Drama student.  Her aptitude and love of singing and all things musical, was soon apparent and she continues her study of music and voice until she left school and began work as a Barista. But making a good coffee was never going to be enough for Rachel and HSPA were pleased to be able to offer students the chance to learn from her.  A singer and song writer, as well as an experienced musical theatre performer, Rachel brings a host of enthusiasm and an extensive knowledge of vocal technique to her role as Junior, intermediate and private singing tutor at HSPA.  2018 saw her add the job of directing to her list of credentials along with Production Management and Assistant Directing for North Canterbury Musicals. 

Carissa Brant
Dance Tutor
ATCL Performance Mus. Theatre Trinity College

Carissa has been dancing since the age of three and hasn’t looked back since!  She now has hery diploma for NZAMD as well as a Diploma in Musical Theatre with Trinity London College, which combines her love of dance with character and acting.

Carissa is so glad she gets to pass on all of her knowledge over the years to young kids aspiring to be little star performers! 

Carissa currently also works teaching dance within North Canterbury schools.

Caitlin Constable
Dance Tutor

Caitlin began training in classical ballet from the age of 5, and over her 12 years of dancing she has gone on to study jazz, modern, lyrical and contemporary styles of dance. Over these years she has being singing in her bedroom, thus discovered her love for musical theatre and began studying drama at HSPA. This year she will be studying towards her Trinity College Diploma in Musical Theatre with HSPA.

Caitlin has been performing in Rangiora High School shows, North Canterbury Musicals' Jekyll and Hyde and helping out with ballet classes at JMSD.  Caitlin has learnt a lot about choreography and theatre and can't wait to share her passion with other dancers!

Kitty Jamison
Junior Drama Tutor
ATCL Dip Speech & Drama Trinity College

Kitty has been performing and taking lessons with HSPA since 2009. During that time she has taken leading roles in productions such as Red Riding Hood and Peter Pan, as well as performing with the NCMS and Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti High School, where she studies subjects ranging from music to chemistry. She has also supported several HSPA productions backstage, in the role of Microphone Technician. 

In 2018, Kitty gained her Trinity College ATCL Diploma in Speech & Drama. She has studied drama since the age of 9, picking up singing a few years later, and is delighted to now be sharing her love of creativity and all things theatrical with her young students at HSPA. She hopes they will gain confidence and develop a life-long love of theatre in her classes, just as she has through her time in the nurturing HSPA environment.

Elliott Andrews
Junior Drama Tutor
ATCL Dip Speech & Drama Trinity College

For several years Elliott has been working through the Trinity College performance speech and drama exams at HSPA.  He enjoys learning all he can about acting, and applying it as much as possible to his own work.  This has earned him one of only 20 places on the New Zealand National Shakespeare Society trip to London’s Globe Theatre in 2018.

In 2018, Elliott gained his Trinity College ATCL Diploma in Speech & Drama. Working as an entertainer is a path with many great obstacles, but for those who work hard it is a path with many great opportunities too. Elliott’s aim as a tutor is to hone the skills of his students and build their self-confidence, as this is what HSPA has done for him.

Maeve Burns
Dance Tutor
BAL Elementary Dist.

Maeve's passion for dance began at a young age, so music and acting naturally followed soon after.  She studied Tap, Jazz and Musical Theatre at Impact Dance and Stage School and then continued on, dancing and performing in musicals throughout high school. She holds her Elementary Tap Exam with Honours with Distinction from Ballet Australian Limited.

Her performance credits include Guys and DollsShowstoppers: An Arts Month Cabaret (MUSOC); Urinetown and Cabaret (St Andrews College), and she most recently produced the South Island premiere of Heathers: The Musical (MUSOC). She is currently rehearsing for her debut performance with 

Showbiz Christchurch in We Will Rock you.

Maeve has also attended the Christchurch International Musical Theatre Summer School (CIMTSS) since 2014 and is entering her second year studying towards a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology at the University of Canterbury in 2019.

Joshua Lees
Drama Tutor/Director
ATCL Dip Speech & Drama Trinity College

Josh had always liked the appeal of drama, but it wasn’t until high school when he really started getting into it, the was also around the time he joined the Hartley School of Performing Arts. At high school he won the Contribution to Junior Drama award, the Shakespearean Literature Cup, and the best male actor award at the regional Shakespeare Festival. He also holds his ATCL Speech and Drama from Trinity College of London.

His performance credits include, Peter Pan, Hood, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and the Arabian Nights (HSPA) He most recently was the assistant director for the junior production of The Happy Prince (HSPA). 

Kyla Forbes-Kean
Drama Tutor
ATCL Dip Speech & Drama Trinity College

Kyla first signed up for classes at HSPA 6 years ago, and has loved drama ever since.

Kyla has now performed in 6 HSPA shows, from Sleeping Beauty to Aladdin and the Arabian Nights, and been on technical Crew for The Wind in the Willows and The Happy Prince.  Enjoying all kinds of performance,  Kyla is also a skilled musician in guitar and saxophone having played since the age of 6.

She has just recently gained her ATCL in Speech and Drama from Trinity College and NCEA scholarship drama.

Trainee Tutors
Sian Hassan, Rachael McInnes & Liam Chessum

At HSPA we like to provide opportunities for our students to grow and learn. As they become qualified they get the opportunity to share their talent and skill with the younger students and learn the art of teaching Performing Arts. 

In 2020 we have two trainee Drama tutors in Liam & Sian who are all at Trinity College diploma level.  Liam has finished High school, winning Senior Drama Trophy, Contribution to Performing Arts Trophy, Contribution to Music Trophy and Principal’s Awards in his final year at school.   and Sian is Deputy Head Girl, year 13, at Marian College.

With support from Dale and the HSPA senior staff, initially they will be teaching Junior classes and building their experience base.  Both had extensive performance experience and have been studying performance arts, both at HSPA and elsewhere, for many years.  We also have a Trainee Dance tutor – Rachael McInnes.  Rachael has been dancing since primary school and most recently won the prestigious National Champion Award for DNZM for her level 10 exam in November 2019. We look forward to what the new tutors bring to our school each year. Fresh ideas and a fantastic rapport with our students.

All are highly competent performers and relatable role models for the younger students, we are confident our students will benefit from their involvement with these young adults.


Doreen Hartley

With qualifications in Accountancy, Doreen has been administrator for HSPA since it's fruition in 1996.  Over this time she has proved invaluable managing accounts, administrating class lists, selling tickets for productions, planning advertising, paying staff and much, much more.  

Doreen enjoys the challenge of new systems and automation with a fervour that belies her age bracket (Sorry Mum!) keeping HSPA up to date and able to grow. 
Always at the end of the phone or email, 
Doreen is responsible for the smooth running of HSPA on many fronts.