Sara Cooper

Sara Cooper

Academy Director

A professional performer with 25 years experience teaching and performing, and qualified drama teacher, Sara started Cooper Screen Academy in 2010 with the aim of increasing professional training and work opportunities for Tasmanian performers. In 2014 Sara was awarded the BOFA Entrepreneurial Spirit Award for her services to the Tasmanian entertainment industry via Cooper Screen Academy.

A former Grade One teacher, Sara has worked as an actor both locally and internationally in theatre, film, and TV and voice since 1996. Her screen credits include playing Will McInnis’ daughter in the multi-award winning 2001 mini-series My Brother Jack (Channel 10), as well as roles in Rosehaven (ABC), My Place Series 2 (ABC), The Kettering Incident (BBC/Foxtel), the Canadian/Australian feature film Arctic Blast, Noirhouse (ABC iview), and multiple short films and TV commercials. Sara voices multiple characters for international animation series including; Megabites (ABC), Pixel Pinkie (Channel 9), Buzz Bumble (Channel GO!) and Fanshaw and Crudnut – the telemovie.
Sara’s 50 professional stage credits include touring to Shanghai with Terrapin’s Explosion Therapy (winner “Most Outstanding Production” – 2008 International Children’s Theatre Festival, Shanghai), It’s Partly about Love – It’s Partly about Massacre, Sick and The Berry Man for The Tasmanian Theatre Company, Dream Masons (Ten Days on the Island), the premiere season of the AWGIE winning Beyond the Neck and The Effect for Loud Mouth Theatre Company.

A versatile performer, Sara was a Clown Doctor for The Humour Foundation, performing around Australia for six years, as well as a regular performer in Big Monkey’s Botanical Gardens shows (Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Monkey Magic, Treasure Island and Alladin). Her self devised roving acts were featured over six years at many festivals including the Taste Festival.

Sara was nominated for Best Actress at The inaugural 2015 Errols for her performance in the Tasmanian Theatre Company’s The Berry Man, and in 2015 won Most Outstanding Actress at the Rome WebAwards for Noirhouse (ABC iview). Committed to professional development, Sara has continued to train in improvisation, clowning, screen acting and more, under world renowned practitioners; Ivana Chubbuck (L.A.), Aleksi Vellis, Di Drew, Improbable Theatre (U.K), Phillipe Gaulier (France), Justus Neumann (Austria), Tom Greder and Clare Bartholomew, Laura Sheedy; Rowena Balos (L.A.).  She has also completed workshops in audition technique with casting directors from The Great Gatsby, Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries and Mission Impossible 2.

Sara is a graduate of The John Bolton Theatre School (1997, Melbourne) The University of Tasmania (1992, B.Ed, Drama Major) and has been a proud member of M.E.A.A. since 1999.

Sarah-Jane McGerty

Sarah-Jane McGerty

Teacher and Consultant

An internationally accredited and trained actor, Sarah’s performance work and teaching has spanned the globe. Graduating with a Masters Degree in performance from world leading drama school, Mountview Academy, (London) and training as a Director/ Producer under Raindance film school (U.K.), Sarah went on to work as an ADR (voice) artist for Warner Bros/Dream Works/ Sony Films and Film 4. Her film and TV work includes international screen productions The Other Boleyn Girl, Sense and Sensibility, Inspector Lynley, Lost in Austen and Bleak House for the BBC, and further work for Sony Films, ITV and Mammoth Screen. Her stage work has seen her tour across Europe in leading roles including Sandy in the Linga Senza Frontire production of Grease. Sarah has taught performance for screen examinations at top London drama schools including The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Italia Conti, and ALRA, as well as across the U.K and Italy.


Danni Gilsenan

Danni Gilsenan

Teacher

Danni trained professionally at the prestigious Gaiety School in Ireland, where she was mentored by Academy and Golden Globe nominee, Michael Fassbender.
Danni has worked across Spain, Ireland and Australia in stage, TV and film. Screen credits include Ireland’s long running TV series Fair City and Channel 9’s Fanshaw and Crudnut. Danni is familiar to Tasmanian audiences both as a voice over artist and as HIT 100.9’s A-Lister, interviewing the stars across the nation with her own segment on Southern Cross television. In 2017 she can be seen on stage in TTC’s What Rhymes with Girls and Cars?


Maeve MacGregor

Maeve MacGregor

Teacher

Maeve graduated from NIDA in 2011 and has since performed professionally across the nation and toured internationally. She performs regularly with Loud Mouth Theatre Company and with Terrapin Puppet Theatre. Screen credits include: Home and Away and The Kettering Incident. Maeve has undertaken a 2012 internship with the Play Writing Australia Festival, trained with renowned American acting coach Larry Moss, and taken courses with Green Room Award winning director Anthony Skuse. Maeve has been a proud MEAA member since 2014.


 

Sarah Okenyo

Sarah Okenyo

Teacher

Sarah studied acting for film in New York City at the New York Film Academy, where she was selected for an exclusive Honours program at the Gramercy Players Club, Manhattan. A talented writer and performer, Sarah wrote, directed and starred in: The Cauliflower Homicide: A Love Story, (official selection of the Sydney Fringe Festival)
Her second play, Birthday Suit (co-written) was selected by Tamarama Rock Surfer’s Theatre Company and produced at the Old Fitzroy Theatre, Sydney, and Adelaide Fringe Festival. Sarah has privately tutored year twelve monologues at Caringbah High School, Sydney, and worked for the Sydney Story Factory in Red Fern where she performed alongside Claudia Karvan. She has recorded several radio plays, performed in TV commercials and award winning short films, and toured a writing and performance program to schools in Sydney’s western suburbs. Screen credits include: Forensic Investigators and A Grave Spot.

 

 

 

Connor Carthy

Connor Carthy

Teacher

Connor has been working and training as an actor for the past 5 years in Tasmania and interstate, including studying at Cooper Screen Academy and Screen Actors Australia in Melbourne. Connor also trained with Brendan Cowell, Elizabeth Debicki and casting directors Peter Rasmussen (Neighbours, Packed to the Rafters, Sea Patrol), Alison Telford (Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries, Summer heights High, Seachange) and Alison Barrett (The Great Gatsby, Babe, Gallipoli, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome).

In 2016 Connor appeared as Lorenzo in Loud Mouth’s The Merchant of Venice.  He can be seen currently in the ongoing locally produced web series, the Davis Brothers, and on TV in Rosehaven (ABCTV), The Kettering Incident (Foxtel/BBC), and The Outlaw: Michael Howe (ABCTV) as well as a number of television commercials locally and interstate.



 

Lisa Gormley

Lisa Gormley

Visiting Teacher

Best known for her role as Bianca Scott in the long running Home and Away, Lisa joins CSA at regular intervals to take workshops and private lessons. As well as long running stints on Home and Away, Lisa has spent pilot season in Los Angeles, performed the role of Jill in Jack and the Beanstalk for the popular London pantomime season and returned to Sydney for the lead role of Brooke Wyeth in Other Desert Cities by John Robin Baitz (Brothers and Sisters, The West Wing).

 

 

Jeff Michel

Jeff Michel

Visiting Teacher

Jeff is a performer and puppeteer who trained in Cleveland, Ohio; then later in New York at The Michael Howard Studios and the School of Russian Art Theatre Summer School at Columbia University. Jeff has worked as a performer for the Tasmanian Theatre Company, Big Monkey Theatre, Terrapin Puppet Theatre, and Blue Cow Theatre which he co-founded in 2010.  For Terrapin, he has toured nationally and internationally in Love and the 2012 Helpmann Award winning BOATS.  Other Terrapin credits include The Gatekeeper, The Falling Room and The Flying Room, and Stormchasers at the TMAG.  For Blue Cow Theatre he appeared in: Simon’s Final Sound; Terminus; 100 Reasons for War; and ‘Art’, which toured the mainland in 2013.  Jeff is the voice of Titchit in Blue Rocket’s animated series, Fanshaw & Crudnut, which airs on GO! in 2017.  Jeff has taught drama and run workshops for all ages around the state and directed musicals for Claremont College.

Sara and the CSA team have earned every star in my 5 star rating. To see my daughter so happy after every class is a testament to her teacher. The kindness shown to us by Sara is heart warming. This kindness filters through both the staff and children who attend classes. Such a passionate team with such big hearts. We love CSA!!!

Cassie Groves – CSA Parent

If you're interested in acting or looking for a fun, interesting hobby, you should definitely try Cooper Screen Academy! Such a great experience led by a lovely, talented teacher! Sara Cooper is doing some amazing things for the Tasmanian film industry and its actors. Get involved!

Bethany Smith – Adult student

It's not just for kids! I started at the beginning of last year after seeing how much my teenaged daughter was enjoying her classes. The teachers are extremely knowledgeable and skilled professionals and the curriculum is presented in such a fun a supportive way. Since joining Cooper Screen Academy, I've gained confidence, friendships and even opportunities for paid acting work! If I could award more than 5 stars, I would!

Sally Ellis – Adult student AND CSA Parent!

  I was so nervous and unsure of myself before attending CSA. I had no idea if I could even act, all I knew is that I wanted to. Maeve and Sara have helped me turn that passion into a skill set and after a whole term of their constant support and direction, I have gained so much, learnt more than I even knew I needed to and I have had the time of my life doing it.

Stephanie Priebe – Adult Student

Thank you Sara, Danni and everyone else involved for all that you do for my daughter, Petra, at Cooper Screen Academy! She has not only learned many new skills but also loves every minute of the experiences. Petra has grown from a reserved girl who, at the beginning of the year, suffered from crippling stage fright, to one who was recently confident enough to accept the challenge of the female lead in a short film. Cooper Screen Academy is AWESOME!