Musical Theatre Panel
Will Conyers - Panel Chair
WILL CONYERS has worked extensively in all branches of the entertainment industry since the age of 6 - from piano bars to opera, cabaret to opera and rock opera and from the theatre to film and T.V soap opera. A graduate of the National Theatre Drama School (1980), he returned there to be the founding Director of the Musical Theatre Course (1996-1998). He also studied with esteemed NY Acting and Music Theatre teacher, Carol-Fox Prescott.
Jamie Henson - Deputy Chair
JAMIE HENSON won the Elizabeth Scholarship in 1977 and was the resident Lighting Designer of the Queensland Theatre Company for 5 years. He designed lighting for Nimrod, Queensland and South Australian Opera companies, Melbourne, and Sydney Theatre companies. He was the technical manager for the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in 1995 and was the company/ production manager/ lighting designer of ‘TAP DOGS’ In Austral Asia. He was the Operations Manager in production at the Victorian Arts Centre from 1999 - 2006. He ventured to the middle east in the State of Qatar to be the Manager- lighting for the 15 th Asian Games. He was Lighting Designer and operator for the SEEKERS 50 th reunion tour of Australia. Jamie taught at Melbourne Polytechnic for Diploma of Theatre Arts, Production, Costume for Performance, Makeup Specialist Services and Event Management. He lectured at the National Institute Circus Arts for Cert IV and 1 st and 3 rd Year Bachelor of Circus Arts. After 48 years working in the live performance and event industries he turned to the creative development of productions, working on two of Christopher Horsey’s productions – ‘2 Hits and a Miss’ and ‘Peta and the Wolf’ and with Jeremy Davies for ‘Circus Nexus Live!’. In the past year, he was worked over 4 deferent genres: Musical Theatre ‘The Marvellous Elephant Man’, Theatre ‘Celebrity’, Opera / Circus directing ‘The Blood Vote’ and Dance ‘Tempus’, all new Australian works.
KIM BISHOP was nominated for a 2016 Green Room Award (along side Kinky Boots and Matilda) for his costume design on The Light In The Piazza. (Life Like Company). He was also Costume Designer for Jesus Christ Superstar (The Production Company) City Of Angels (Life Like Company), Doubt, A Parable (RL Productions), CrossXRoads (Chapel Off Chapel), The 39 Steps and They’re Playing Our Song (HIT Productions), Barassi – The Stage Show (Athenaeum Theatre), Singin’ In The Rain, The Producers, Kismet, The Boy From Oz, The King & I, The Boyfriend, Crazy For You, Mame, Damn Yankees, 42nd Street and Sweet Charity (The Production Company). He has also toured as Head of Wardrobe on many large scale shows including Dusty, The King & I, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, South Pacific, The Rocky Horror Show, Aida – The Spectacular, The Boy From Oz, Singin’ In The Rain, Shout and Moonshadow. Kim also toured the world for some years as Wardrobe Manager with ice dancers Torvill and Dean, playing everywhere from his home town Melbourne to Las Vegas, Madison Square Garden and Wembley. Visit his website at kimbishop.com.au
PRASHANTI MIDDLING graduated from the Australian Institute of Music with a B.Mus. in Music Theatre in 2018. She is also a recent graduate of the Music Theatre program at Associated Studios Australia (2019). She is thrilled to be the “recent graduate” representative of the GRA Music Theatre Panel and is excited to bring her youthful energy, diversity and a fresh perspective to the role.
JUDITH ROBERTS is a Green Room award nominee and veteran of Australian Musical Theatre having worked in all areas of the entertainment industry over her long successful career. She began working for J.C. Williamsons in 1961 and being a triple threat, quickly progressed from small parts to supporting roles to leading lady. She was the original Australian Nickie in ‘Sweet Charity’, Rose in ‘Bye Bye Birdie’, Adelaide in ‘Guys and Dolls’, and Panacea in ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To The Forum’. She starred as Golde opposite Topol in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ touring Australia and NZ. As well as her 40+ stage credits, Judith’s 40 varied screen credits include: starring in a Japanese Spaghetti Western, a sketch comedy series with Reg Livermore, guest role playing her real life husband’s girlfriend in the Sullivans, Hey Hey It’s Saturday sketch comedy team and a Russian dance teacher in How to stay Married. On top of all this, Judith and her actor husband Reg Gorman raised three children, while producing plays and variety shows around the country. Judith is also a respected educator and was the head of the Music Theatre courses at both BAPA and The National Theatre Drama School.
LAUREL FRANK was a member of the Australian Performing Group in Melbourne from 1973-1980. In 1978 she joined the new company Circus Oz, and continues as one of their longest serving members and designers. She learnt chorus work, acrobatics and clowning but instead became its chief costume designer and wardrobe mistress, adapting the costumes to suit the physicality required of the performers She has also designed and made costumes for other circus companies and solo performers. These include the Flying Fruit Fly Circus and the National Institute of Circus Arts. She has designed costumes for parades and events, including costumes for the Moomba parade in Melbourne.  She designed many costumes for the Light Fantastic Parade and Lunchtime Parades at World Expo 88 in Brisbane.  She has designed and produced costumes for children’s television series including L’il Horrors. Her work has been displayed in the Performing Arts Museum in Melbourne. She has also produced historic costumes for the National Museum in Canberra, Immigration Museum of Melbourne, State Museum in Carlton, Jewish Museum in Sydney, Powerhouse Museum in Sydney and the Bendigo and Ballarat Regional Museum. The University of Queensland Fryer Library holds sketches and photographs of Frank's work for World Expo 88.
RHYS VELASQUEZ (they/them) has crafted a diverse career in the arts since graduating from the Arts Academy, Ballarat in 2013. Initially a performer and choreographer, career highlights include Shrek the Musical (GFO) and Once On This Island (Altitude Theatre), as well as credits with The Production Company, Life Like Touring & StageArt. Known for their passion for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Rhys transitioned into Casting and Programming. In 2021, they founded Evolution Casting, specialising in Casting Direction, Consultancy, and Design. Their innovative approach has been celebrated with credits with National Theatre of Parramatta, Belvoir, Darlinghurst Theatre Company, Joshua Robson Productions, Antipodes Theatre Company to name just a few. Currently, Rhys serves as the Casting Associate and member of the Artistic team at Melbourne Theatre Company, shaping the industry's landscape. They are also a board member for Stage A Change and a proud member of the Casting Guild of Australia. Rhys is driven by their commitment to fostering an inclusive artistic community. Follow their journey at www.evolutioncasting.com and on Instagram @evolutioncastingau and @rhyonce___.
MATT HETHERINGTON is a multi-award-winning actor / singer. His extraordinary voice and vitality on stage has earned him exceptional reviews both from his live band appearances and his numerous award winning theatrical performances. Matt has won two Australian Green Room Awards and the prestigious Helpmann Award as lead actor in a Musical in productions such as; The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Next to Normal and Hair. He was also a live finalist in season one of The Voice – Australia. In 2022 he performed a season of ‘The Who’s – Tommy’ at the Palais in St Kilda playing Captain Walker and then followed it up with a critically acclaimed reprisal of Dan Goodman in the Broadway hit ‘Next to Normal’. Matt recently played impresario Harry M Miller in ‘Judy Australia – 1964’ as a part of Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival. Whilst in the US, Matt guest starred in the critically acclaimed TV comedy ‘The Detour’ on the TBS network. He is one of the most sought-after live acts in Australia, both as a feature solo artist and fronting his own band, The Matt Hetherington Band ‘MHB’. He spent many years regularly performing with various acts in and around New York City. Including the highly acclaimed live show ‘Shaken Not Stirred’ featuring the music of James Bond. Matt has starred in theatre productions in Australia such as: The Who’s - Tommy, North by Northwest, Next to Normal, South Pacific, Hair, Rocky Horror, Flowerchildren (The Story of the Mamas and Papas), The Last 5 Years, Sweet Charity, Damn Yankees, Sugar. Matt also played principal role ‘Eddie Starr’ in the Alliance Theatre (Atlanta) world premiere of the new Broadway bound musical ‘Becoming Nancy’. In addition to his theatre credits Matt has guest starred in numerous TV programs such as; The Detour (US – TBS) City Homicide, The Dr. Blake Murder Mysteries, Stingers, Marshall Law and Sea Change. Matt has also been featured singing at some of the biggest sporting events in Australia such as the AFL Grand Final (Australia's Super Bowl), the Cox Plate (Australia's Kentucky Derby), the 2012 National Rugby League State of Origin and the John Newcombe Medal for Tennis Australia.
OPELL ROSS is best known for his role as “Angel” in the original Australian Cast of the hit Broadway musical, “RENT”; a role that earned him a Green Room Award nomination. With 30 years of experience in the performing arts and creative industries, and a double degree in Communications and Design, Opell is a well-rounded and accomplished artist. He has performed on stage and screen as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as behind the lens as writer, director, designer, and producer, both in Australia and abroad. From acting on “Neighbours”, singing at the Sydney Opera House, to writing scripts for international corporations such as Warner Bros and Mattel, Opell’s combination of talent, skill, experience and education makes him a consummate professional, valued and admired for his work on and off screen.
ANNIE HALLIDAY trained as a classical dancer in Sydney and her performance career took her throughout Australia and Europe. She began with Victoria State Opera in 1983 as Stage Manager, responsible for five major opera productions each year as well as Regional and National tours of Opera and Musical Theatre. Her freelance career began as a Production/Stage Manager in 1989. She spent 1993/4 as Production Coordinator for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and OH&S representative for their technical department. She has worked as Operations, Production and Stage Manager for many Classical Music organisations and also spent more that 10 years as Stage Manager of Musical Theatre with ‘The Producion Company’. Annie is very experienced in the Show Calling and Stage/Floor Management of large corporate events and sporting fixtures at most large venues in Melbourne. She also has extensive experience collaborating with live Television and Radio broadcasters. In 2005 Annie was the recipient of the ‘Green Room’ award for services to Technical Theatre. She has been part of the Technical team at Arts Centre Melbourne since 1991 and as a freelance Senior Stage Manager, works regularly on events and concerts in all of their performance venues. She also works for the Monash University Performing Arts Faculty. In 2012 Annie was appointed Lecturer in Stage Management, Victorian College of the Arts, School of Production, University of Melbourne (Fine Arts and Music), a position she held for six years. She returned to freelance work in 2018.
Deone has been fortunate enough to perform on some of the world’s great stages, including London’s West End and Broadway where she was cast in the revival production of A Chorus Line at the Schoenfeld Theatre, New York. Deone’s favourite musical theatre credits include: Fun Home as Alison Bechdel (MTC), Velma Kelly in Chicago (Australasian tour), Cassie in A Chorus Line (Australian tour), Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show (Theatre Royal Hobart), Anita in West Side Story (The Production Company) and Madonna in We Will Rock You! (West End). Other favourite works include the US tour of The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Dream Lover, Lead Vocalist in Dirty Dancing – which earned her an ARIA nomination, Stephanie Mangano in Saturday Night Fever, Rusty in Footloose the Musical, Estelle in The Full Monty, Carmen Diaz in Fame and Annie in Leader of the Pack – The Ellie Greenwich Musical. Some of Deone’s Film and television appearances include Chopper (Nine Network), Bad Mothers (Nine Network), Preacher(Stan), Jack Irish (ABC), The Charlie Pickering Show (ABC), Love Me – season 2 (Binge), The Clearing (Disney +) and Promised (Feature Film).
Cherine has appeared as Mrs Corry in Mary Poppins (national tour 2022-23 for Cameron Mackintosh, The Walt Disney Company Australia & New Zealand and Michael Cassel Group) , The Witch in Into the Woods (Watch This); Shenzi in The Lion King (Disney Theatrical Productions); Gary Coleman in Avenue Q (Arts Asia Pacific);Diane in Hair (Production Company); Melpomene in Xanadu (Mark Pennell); Linelle in The Boy from Oz (Ben Gannon and Robert Fox); Chiffon in Little Shop of Horrors (David Atkins Enterprises); Lula Buffington in Violet (Blue Saint Productions); Jesus Christ Superstar(Harry M Miller); Miss Saigon (Cameron MacIntosh); Buddy the Musical (Jon Nicholls Entertainment) Cherine has been nominated for Helpmann Award for Best Supporting Actor for Shenzi in The Lion King. Green Room Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for Melpomene in Xanadu. And has won a Green Room Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for Diane in Hair. Cherine is a proud member of Actor's Equity since 1994.