Our Team

CAPTIVATE is home to a diverse and exceptional range of Australia’s leading industry professionals and specialist teachers. They know precisely how to share their passion and knowledge of techniques, style and performance expertise with our students, also showing them how to break into the creative and performing arts world. They focus on making creative and performing arts enjoyable to everyone, in a supportive and professional environment.

CAPTIVATE is committed to nurturing and developing student confidence and unlocking potential.

Mark Hopkins

Mark Hopkins - Head CAPTIVATE

Mark Hopkins comes to CAPTIVATE with over 20 years experience in secondary performing arts education. He has led large performing arts faculties at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts, The McDonald College and before coming to CEDP, as principal of the Australian International Performing Arts High School, then at Harris Park.

Mark’s background is in the commercial media and professional theatre, having worked as a radio producer, actor, dramaturge and director in Sydney and Melbourne. He remains closely involved with the professional performing arts community and has written as a theatre critic for The Sydney Morning Herald. Mark is passionate about young people in the different performing arts being given an education that provides both a head start to a career and the resilience to excel in a very competitive industry.

David Russell

David Russell - Artistic Director

David Russell completed a Bachelor of Music Performance (Voice) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. In his first and final years he was the recipient of the Horace Keats Memorial Scholarship for Singing. He also completed a Master of Music Studies (Conducting) in 2011 at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he was the recipient of the Eugene Goosens Fellowship. He has attended masterclasses and summer courses in the USA, UK and Europe.

David regularly sings with the Sydney-based vocal ensemble Cantillation as well as the Choir of Christ Church St Laurence. David has worked with the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, the Choir of Christ Church St Laurence, The Song Company, the Sydney Children’s Choir, Gondwana Voices, the Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra and Chorus (USA) and the Ochsenhausen Vocal Ensemble (Germany), was Chorusmaster for the 2008 World Youth Day choir and is frequently in demand as a conductor, vocal coach and accompanist.

Phil Rook

Phil Rooke - Music Educator

As well as a degree in Music Education, Phil Rooke has a Graduate Diploma in Film & TV Music (Composition and Music Production) from Griffith University. He has taught classroom music for over 20 years and has developed an innovative classroom string-teaching program which won a commendation in the ABC FLAME Music Education Awards in 2008. Phil, himself, was a finalist for the Golden Fiddle Awards for Best Teacher.

Currently working on his Masters in Education at the Australian Catholic University, Phil maintains his own production studio and composes music for TV documentaries and short films. As a performer Phil was violinist with MIST, a Southern Highlands jazz trio from 1998 to 2001, is a regular at various venues including the Illawarra Jazz Festival and the Thredbo International Jazz Festival and continues to make himself available as a session musician around Sydney.

Francoise Marrier d Unienville

Francoise Marrier d’Unienville - Music Educator

Marie-Francoise Marrier d’Unienville completed a Bachelor of Music education at the University of Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She been teaching for over 16 years in Australia and overseas Primary and Secondary schools. She was Head of Creative and Performing Arts at Nagle College for 6 years, where she directed 3 musicals, implemented an instrumental program and expanded their co-curricular program. She has extensive experience in HSC marking both Practical Francoise’s main instrument is cello and she performs with the Balmain Sinfonia and as part of a string trio for events. She studied under Susan Blake, founding member of the recording group, Ensemble for the Classical Era.

She oversees the Band program and creates extension and inclusive music programs for Secondary Music students under CAPTIVATE.

Peta Markham-Ward

Peta Markham-Ward - Dance

As the co-ordinator for CAPTIVATE’s commercial dance ensemble Peta Markham-Ward brings over 25 years teaching and performing experience to the role. Peta has trained in a variety of styles under the auspice of many great dancers, teachers and choreographers. Peta has taught successful and established artists over the years including Rebecca Cartwright (Home & Away), Delta Goodrem, Kathleen DeLeon (Hi5) and she has worked with Tina Arena, Jane Scali, Dennis Walter, Paul Mercurio and the late Bobby Limb and Ricky May. As a dance teacher Peta has taught at many dance studios encouraging students to reach their potential as dancers, performers and people.

Shaun Parker

Shaun Parker - Dance

Shaun Parker is an Australian award-winning choreographer whose work has toured the world. With a performance career spanning nearly two decades, Shaun is best known for Happy as Larry, which won 12 Children’s Jury Awards in Perth, a Bansky Award in New Zealand, and toured to eleven venues across the UK. Other works include The Yard, My Little Garden, Blue Love, Vamp and the award winning short films The Love Trilogy and No. Other work includes creative developments with Australian Theatre of the Deaf and the National Aboriginal & Islander Dance College (NAISDA).

Melinda Tyquin

Melinda Tyquin - Dance

Melinda Tyquin graduated from UNSW (2006) with a BA (Dance/English)/BEd. She is a CAPTIVATE Dance Program Facilitator.

Her professional dance credits include: ‘Briwyant’ (Van Hout 2011/2012), ‘Table for One’ (Van Hout 2012), ‘Game of Seven’ (Chester and Champion 2013/14), ‘Cultivate/Culminate’ (Force Majeure 2013/14), ‘In Transit’ (Vassallo 2014), 'Winds of Woerr' (Gela 2014/2015), ‘The Likes of Me (Shilcock/Walsh 2015), ‘Catalyst’ (Accessible Arts 2015), 'Tangi Wai - Spirit Tears' (Hunt 2015), ‘Mura Buai’ (Gela and Micich 2015), 'Fragments of Malungoka - Women of the Sea' (Gela 2016).

She is actively engaged with the Sydney based dance company DirtyFeet, taking on the role of Program Manager and Artist Support Worker for The Right Foot - dance workshops for artists with and without disability. Melinda is a 2015/16 Artist in Residence with the integrated dance company Murmuration, fulfilling roles of Artist/Deviser and Rehearsal Assistant.

Miranda Jefferson

Miranda Jefferson - Teaching Educator

Miranda Jefferson teaches drama and film at the University of Sydney. Miranda is a member of the Arts, English and Literacy Education Research Network. Her research specialises in the development and implementation of creative arts pedagogy in schools and she has co-written Teaching the Screen: Film Education for Generation Next (2009) with Dr Michael Anderson. Miranda has supervised HSC marking for drama in NSW, is a Board of Studies syllabus writer (Years 7–10 and HSC drama) and is also head teacher of film and drama at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts and has received an outstanding professional service award for drama education.

Lucinda Armour

Lucinda Armour - Drama

With over 20 years experience as a drama tutor, actor and producer Lucinda has also worked on both sides of the camera as an actor in productions including Home & Away, All Saints, It Goes, Petals, Walking on Water and as a casting and production coordinator for Network Ten and the ABC series Race Around The Corner. She has worked nationally with companies including Bell Shakespeare, The Sydney Theatre Company, the WA Theatre Company, Belvoir St., HTVC, Riverina Theatre Company and the Ensemble amongst others. Lucinda co-wrote, produced and performed multiple roles in The Tannii-Marie Show which had successful seasons both in Sydney and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Natasha Beaumont

Natasha Beaumont - Drama

Starting her voice career back in 2003, Natasha’s unique delivery and sharp ear ensured she quickly rose to being one of the country’s leading female talents.

Having worked with actors and directors includign Leonardo Di Caprio, Christopher Nolan, Cate Blanchett, Rowan Woods and Alex Proyas, Natasha has a wealth of acting experience and an aptitude for accents and character work. She has appeared in leading roles for both the Sydney Theatre Company and the Birmingham Stage Company in the UK and been fortunate enough to work extensively in numerous TV series, including Eastenders, Peep Show, My Spy Family, Farscape, All Saints and Water Rats.

Naree Shields

Naree Shields - Drama

Naree Shields is a drama teacher, performer and writer with over twenty years experience in drama theatre. Naree has created and performed in street/circus theatre, facilitated theatre workshops and has worked alongside performers from Cirque du Soleil. Original clown storytelling shows include Grumblebum and Goglow’s Magic Seed, Stories in a Suitcase and Gardner Growellu and the Pink Feather Boa. Naree has worked collaboratively with Theatre of Living Light to devise The Sacred Earth Spectacular as well as assistant directing and performing in a site specific performance of The Bacchae. Naree works regularly with the Q Theatre Company as a tutor and has directed theatrical pieces such as Flanno Fest 2009 and 2010. Her process encourages creative exploration that is fun as well as empowering.

Johnny Romeo

Johnny Romeo - Visual Arts

Johnny Romeo is an Australian-born painter. His work is critically acclaimed in its attempt to represent a visual type of poetic and rhythmic blending of word, symbol and image. His work centres on pop culture, cultural homogenisation, the failures of blind consumerism, media saturation, celebrity fetish and brand name heroes. He mixes pop techniques with street-art to critique some of the consumerist sentiments pervasive in society and, at times, in art, leading to him being called a colourist and a pop individualist.

His work is in numerous public and private national and international collections.



The teachers are really caring and nice to you and the rehearsals are really good as well - Sammuel, St Paul’s Catholic College


The best part of Immersion being able to work with professional choreographers and connect with others schools - Angela, Caroline Chisholm College


I especially like the teachers because they’re so experienced and they know what they’re doing and they’ve been in the industry for a very long time - Amanda, McCarthy Catholic College


I liked learning new types of songs and how to read different time signatures and just getting to know the other students - Lachlan, St Thomas Aquinas Springwood


I really enjoyed the clowning workshop we did with Naree Shields. I learnt about collaborating and taking into account everyone’s ideas and working together. - Krystal, Delany College Granville