About Us

Arts a Go Go! is an award winning company run by Upper Hutt residents, Rachel Main and Stuart Grant. Rachel and Stu are both qualified and experienced teachers who  have a passion for working with children and developing creativity through the arts. They are joined by a team of enthusiastic and dedicated trained and industry experienced performing arts teachers.

 

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Rachel is a registered teacher and was a school teacher and performer before starting Arts a Go Go! in 2008. She has a Bachelor of Arts and Diploma of Teaching, plus a Certificate in Education Leadership. Rachel has completed Level 1 and 2 of "Estill Voice Training" and also has an advanced diploma in modern dance (jazz). Rachel has been very involved in musical theatre over the years and has performed on stage in a number of both lead and ensemble roles. She trained in drama teaching in Auckland as part of her teacher training and was Teacher in Charge of the Arts at an intermediate school before having her family. She has directed many shows and dance productions for children, and directed and trained children in singing and dance. As a performer, she has been part of a professional singing, dancing, storytelling entertainment group for young children.

In 2013, Rachel was selected as one of four finalists in the "Leadership Category" of the "Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Awards". Criteria included: outstanding leadership, building and leading teams, being passionate about their role and the people they work with, having determination and the will to succeed, having belief in achieving extraordinary things, a willingness to learn, a desire for constant improvement, the initiative to pursue an idea, to trust and empower teammates, work hard and have fun, and have leadership integrity.

Rachel teaches dance, drama, singing and musical theatre at Arts a Go Go.

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Stu was director of Capital E, an internationally recognised performance and creative technology facility for children in Wellington, where he worked passionately for 17 years. He was also the founder and director of the Capital E National Arts Festival, bringing two weeks of professional national and international theatre and performances to thousands of children and school groups every two years. Prior to that, he was head of Drama, Art and Music at a Hamilton middle school.

His own acting experience includes many years in professional improvisation theatre and various plays. Stu has created and directed a number of productions for children.

He has an honours degree in arts and the media and has been invited to speak internationally on children and creativity. In 2015 Stu travelled to Edinburgh at the request of the British Council to peer review the Edinburgh Children's Festival and was also invited to attend the International Children's festival in Okinawa, Japan, to forge relationships with Japan for New Zealand professional theatre. 

Stu teaches drama at Arts a Go Go.

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Irish Dancing Teacher: Shannon Hullett

Shannon has been an Irish Dancer since the age of 5. She has competed all over New Zealand and Australia. She has placed in the top 5 at the New Zealand Nationals multiple times which qualified her for the World Championships. In Australia, she was ranked in the top 20 which was one of her greatest achievements. Throughout her years as a dancer, she has loved taking the time to give direction and guidance to younger dancers in order to help them to grow and learn just as she did. Shannon has achieved her Bachelor of Arts degree in Classics and History at the end of 2019 and now works full time in Wellington. She looks forward to meeting your child and passing on her passion, skills and knowledge of Irish Dance.

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Music Teacher and Business Support: Joanne Roelofs

In charge of the pre-school music programme is Joanne Roelofs. Joanne has a Bachelor of Music (composition) and Diploma of Early Childhood Music Teaching from The Institute of Registered Music Teachers.

She holds Trinity College of London Grade 8 Piano and is the choral director of Upper Hutt's "Hutt Valley Singers" and "Major Minors Children's Choir". Joanne also plays the trombone and has been a member of Wellington Youth Symphonic Band, Victoria University Orchestra, Victoria University Big Band, Evening Post Wellington Brass Band (now Pelorus Trust Brass Band) and Titan Hutt City Brass Band. Joanne also runs her own music education business "Joanne Roelofs Music".

Joanne provides the piano accompaniment for our extension competition singers. 

She and her husband Marty have an eight year old son.

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Drama, Bubbles and Creative Writing Teacher: Hannah McKenzie Doornebosch

Dr Hannah McKenzie Doonebosch started performing on stage in California when she was four years old and has been performing ever since. Hannah is a playwright and scriptwriter with a background in acting, directing, and design.

She has performed in Australia, Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland and her writing work has represented New Zealand overseas. Hannah has been involved in amateur and professional productions across the country and spent many years with Canterbury Children's Theatre.

Hannah has a BA in theatre and film, an MA in creative writing, and a PhD in creative writing with a focus on scriptwriting. Hannah's plays have won the David Carson-Parker Embassy Prize in Scriptwriting, the Dominion Post Scholarship, been read as part of the Writers on Mondays festival, shortlisted for Write Out Loud Wellington and the Adam Play Awards for best New Zealand play, and have won Write Out Loud Wellington and best New Zealand play by a woman playwright. Hannah is a script supervisor and assessor and a script and performance tutor.

She also has a passion for working with young people. In addition, Hannah is a costume designer and regularly creates costumes for clients across New Zealand.

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 Drama Teacher: Lee Patrick

Lee is a successful and experienced drama teacher who also has ASD herself! Lee has been involved in theatre for 17 years, both on stage and behind the scenes, as well as in different teaching roles. She worked for, and volunteered with, various theatre groups in Canterbury and taught at the Hartley School of Performing Arts in Rangiora for several years before joining the Arts a Go Go teaching team in 2018. Lee holds a BA in education and theatre and a BSc in Psychology from the University of Canterbury. She has taught improvisation, scriptwriting and technical skills to children aged 5-15 in several different contexts. She has stage managed several productions for Nextstage Theatre Company in Lower Hutt and also works as a house technician at BATS Theatre in Wellington.

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Dance and Musical Theatre Teacher: Holly Main-Grant

Holly has her Diploma of Performing Arts in Musical Theatre from Te Auaha in Wellington. She was a student at Arts a Go Go for 10 years, including advanced drama, extension singing, creative dance and Irish Dace. She is also trained in jazz, ballet and tap, and has choreographed Arts a Go Go shows. Holly is an experienced singer and has won and been placed highly in formal competitions and performed solo at a number of public events. Her musical theatre highlights include being Mary Magdelene in Jesus Christ Superstar,  Louisa in The Sound of Music, Rapunzel in Into the Woods, Toffee in Zombie Prom and Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof. Holly loves sharing her love of performing arts with students.

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Dance Teacher: Emma Salzano

Emma is an emerging artist from Wellington, New Zealand. Having been involved in the local theatre scene since the age of eleven, she is currently studying Musical Theatre at Te Auaha NZ Institute of Creativity. Her recent performances include Te Auaha’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar in 2020, and Lift-Off! in the 2021 New Zealand Fringe Festival. With a passion for music, Emma has been involved in ensembles such as choirs, barbershop quartets, and jazz bands. Her dance background includes competitive Irish Dancing and Rock and Roll and, more recently, ballet, tap and jazz. With previous tertiary study in music and languages, Emma upholds a cultural outlook as she continues to flourish in her musical theatre journey.

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