Meet the WA Team

Helen Davey, B.A.Ed.
Executive Principal WA

Meet Executive Principal: Helen Davey

Helen started as a part-time teacher with the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy over 20 years ago, and has not looked back since. In 1994, Helen became the Deputy Principal of the Perth drama and acting classes, which at that time had over 1000 students in classes from Ocean Reef to Rockingham and everywhere in between!

When Perth was split into several branches in 2001, Helen became the Principal for the Eastern and Western suburbs. When it was time for Helen O’Grady, founder of the Academy, to retire, it was a natural choice for Helen Davey to be appointed Executive Principal of all of our Western Australian branches, a role to which Helen brings her many years of experience in the Helen O’Grady drama system.  In 2015, after many years of being a branch Principal, Helen is now concentrating on her role as Executive Principal in WA, leaving the running of each area to our very capable branch  Principals.

“What a privilege, with the help of my our very talented Principals and teaching staff, to be able to be involved closely in the self development of so many children throughout Perth. The positive influence which our drama and acting classes have on individual students never ceases to thrill me and I am so proud to be a part of sharing our unique program with our network here in Western Australia.

Let me introduce our four dedicated Drama Principals to you:”

Justin Lowson B.Ed
Principal Northern & Western Suburbs

Meet Northern and Western Suburbs Drama Principal: Justin Lowson

Having taught High School Drama and English for over 7 years, Justin, and his wife Janet, also a teacher, had always talked about running their own classes for children. It was very important to Justin, that he be involved with something that he was passionate about.

The Helen O’Grady Drama Academy seemed to be the perfect chance to combine Justin’s teaching talent with giving hundreds of children the opportunity to learn vital skills while experiencing the joy of drama. Justin has been Principal of our Northern suburbs branch since 2009 and in 2015 also took on the running of the Western suburbs branch.  Along with Janet, as well as some dedicated and dynamic teachers, these two branches are running wonderful classes for 3 – 17 year olds.

Justin says: “I love the difference we can make to the lives of our students through giving them a voice, enabling them to express themselves and empowering them through language. Our program is certainly something that I feel passionate about and I am thrilled to be able to bring it to so many children across the Northern suburbs”.

Merylena, B.A.Ed
Principal Eastern Suburbs

Meet Eastern Suburbs Drama Principal: Merylena Sulak

Merylena started her teaching career as a Music Specialist for many of the schools in the hills area of Perth. It was during this time that she started teaching with the Academy and became experienced in our system, having been trained by Helen O’Grady herself and teaching in the Perth branch for over 4 years! She has been a school teacher in WA for over 16 years and has held the position of School Principal during this time. Merylena has also taught in the USA but says that she prefers teaching here in Perth, one of the most amazing cities in the world! She has been actively involved in many aspects of Theatre and the Arts, from performance to holding positions such as Musical Director and Stage Manager for many Perth Theatre Companies. Merylena is delighted to be Principal of the Eastern suburbs branch of the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy.

Merylena says: “In today’s world it is such an important skill for children and young adults, to be able to be confident in communicating and to have the ability to believe in themselves and express this freely. I am so excited to be part of a program that allows children to have fun, while teaching them valuable life-skills that will enable them to become confident, happy and enthusiastic, now and in the future.”

Kerry Jones, B.Ed. B.A.Ed.
Principal Southern Suburbs

Meet Southern Suburbs Drama Principal: Kerry Jones

Kerry is an experienced teacher who has worked with many students aged from 3 to 18 years in a variety of countries during her time in the field of education. Kerry believes that the key to a happy and healthy life is a positive self-esteem and knows that the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy program helps children to achieve this. Kerry’s own daughter attended Helen O’Grady Drama classes as a child and received many wonderful benefits from her time with the Academy.

Kerry says: “The program offers wonderful opportunities for children to develop self-confidence, good communication skills and have fun. It is these aspects of the program that attracted me to becoming a part of the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy team. It is delightful to see the students grow and develop in confidence and self-esteem right before my eyes during our classes”

Kristen Matthey, B.Teach. B.C.A
Principal Rockingham & Mandurah

Meet Rockingham and Mandurah Drama Principal: Kristen Matthey

Kristen hails from Tasmania where she completed her Bachelor of Contemporary Arts in theatre and her Bachelor of Teaching. In 2012, Kristen moved to Perth and her first job was as a teacher for the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy. Even whilst having a full-time teaching position in a secondary school, Kristen still continued to dedicate her time to teaching with the Academy because she saw how well the program developed the lives and minds of her students.

After 3 years of teaching with the Academy, Kristen was offered the opportunity to become Principal of the Rockingham/Mandurah branch, which she has embraced with enthusiasm and passion! The joy the program and its classes bring to her life have helped make her new chosen state of Western Australia, feel like home.

Kristen says: “This program has brought out a love of drama in me that I didn’t know I had. I found this through the joy and happiness I see in children’s eyes and the positive feedback I receive from parents as that joy results in long term life skills for their children.”