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.

Beginning her career as an infant teacher (1992-1995), Sara went on to work as an actor both locally and internationally in theatre, film, and TV and voice, with a career spanning over 22 years. 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), The Gloaming (STAN), My Place Series 2 (ABC), The Kettering Incident (BBC/Foxtel), the Canadian/Australian feature film Arctic Blast, Noirhouse (ABC iview), and over 40 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, The Effect for Loud Mouth Theatre Company and the 2019 international premiere of The Mares by Kate Mulvany for Ten Days on the Island.

A versatile performer, Sara was a Clown Doctor for The Humour Foundation, performing in hospitals 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.

In 2015 Sara won Best Supporting Actress and Best Dramedy Supporting Actress at the Rome WebAwards for Noirhouse (ABC iview) and was nominated for Best Actress at The inaugural 2015 Errols for her performance in the Tasmanian Theatre Company’s The Berry Man. 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.

Lisa Gormley

Lisa Gormley

Visiting Teacher

Lisa Gormley is best known for her role as ‘Bianca Scott’ in the long running Australian serial drama, ‘Home & Away’. Previous to this Lisa studied at Sydney’s National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) providing her with the skills and knowledge to work proficiently across theatre, film and television. Lisa regularly returns to the stage at Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre in roles such as “Brooke” in Jon Robin Baitz “Other Desert Cities” and most recently “Alice” in the World Premier for David Williamson’s Odd man Out, also to the big screen as Claudia in the feature film “Extremis” shot in her homeland of Yorkshire UK. Lisa has adored teaching drama to all ages for the past 12 years.

 

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?


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.
Sarah recently worked for ten weeks on set as the stand in for the lead in the feature film The Nightingale opposite The Hunger Games’ Sam Claflin.


Cooper Screen Academy is finally a group taking a genuine interest in young Tasmanian actors and is providing priceless opportunities.  I’m so grateful for all Sara is doing.

Georgia Blizzard – 2010 CSA student. Accepted into NIDA at 17yrs.

What an awesome family the Cooper Screen Academy is. It embodies everything you could hope for; positive, encouraging, engaging, fun and providing the expertise to develop and inspire all ages. Katie has always had an interest in drama and Sara and her proficient teachers have motivated her even more. Thank you for all the hard work you all put in, and all the benefits provided. Although I can't begin to imagine the amount of effort it takes, it is very much appreciated.

Lisa Clapham – CSA Parent

Cooper Screen Academy has taken my skills and ambition as an actor to the next level. I went from waiting and wishing to being in control of my career. If you want to take the next step in Tasmania, then this is the way!

Jasper Brown – Adult student

Cooper Screen Academy is so very valuable and beneficial for young budding actors. Sara is an incredible role model and with her experience and contacts is doing the crucial job of training and connecting Hobart to the rest of the Australian industry. I wish I had this opportunity before I left for NIDA.

Brett Rogers – 2009 NIDA Graduate

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!