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 youth and developing creativity through the arts. They are joined by a team of enthusiastic and dedicated trained and industry experienced performing arts teachers.
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 degree 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). She is a member of NEWZATS (The New Zealand Association of Teachers of Singing) and MTNZ (Musical Theatre New Zealand). Rachel has been very involved in musical theatre over the years, and has performed on stage in a number of 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 written and directed many shows and dance productions for children, and directed and trained children in singing , drama and dance for almost 3o years. 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.
Rachel teaches dance, drama, singing and musical theatre at Arts a Go Go.
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.
Irish Dancing Teacher: Emma Salzano
Emma holds a Bachelor's Degree in Musical Theatre from Te Auaha, is a performer, writer, composer, Irish Dancer and musical director around Wellington. Emma trained at Kerry School of Irish Dance from 2008-2011 and then Kildunne School of Irish Dance from 2012-2015. Highlights include being placed 5th at Nationals in 2010, and qualifying for the World Champs, which she attended in Dublin in 2011. In 2015, she was recalled at The Australian International Oireachtas. Emma is a kind and encouraging teacher and looks forward to meeting your child.
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.
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.
Intro Drama Teacher: Haydn Carter
Haydn started out performing on stage in Lower Hutt at the age of 6 and has been involved in performing arts ever since. Haydn holds a Diploma in Stage and Screen Arts, and a Bachelor of Applied Arts from Whitireia, and has gone on to receive mentoring from incredible teachers across New Zealand and Australia. Haydn's work includes various devised performances, projects alongside Nextstage Theatre Company, Stagecraft, and KidzStuff Theatre for Children. Haydn also works alongside Outstanding Performance to provide hands-on training for multiple clients in Simulated Roles. When he's not performing onstage or fixing up something in the wings, Haydn can be found reading up on historical architecture, watching football, or going for extended walks whenever there's a chance. Haydn has a passion for working in the community, strengthening bonds between people and spaces, and is excited to share that passion with anybody he encounters.
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 Dance. 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.
Intro Dance Teacher: Jess Weston
Jess Weston is a Wellington based emerging performer. They have received their diploma in Performing Arts (Musical Theatre) and are currently working towards their Bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts (Musical Theatre) with Whitireia. Jess has been playing music and dancing since she was four years old, and has achieved their level 6 Trinity College certificate in piano, and her level 8 American tap and Elementary Ballet NZAMD Certificates while training at Danzworx. They also achieved Grade 6 in Trinity Musical Theatre with Distinction while a student at Arts a Go Go. Recently she has choreographed their old high school, Heretaunga College’s 2021 original production of Freya The Bride and Treasures Of The Gods, and was an ensemble member of Te Auaha’s 2021 production of Footloose. They were a crew member for Capital Theatre Trust’s production of Les Miserables at the St James, and an ensemble and crew member of Te Auaha's 2022 production of Blood, Sweat, and Broadway. Jess trained in singing under Joanne Roelofs and achieved many awards, including winning the Voice of Upper Hutt.