Now in its 14th year, this school offers year round curriculum to its students interested in learning about musical theatre. Experienced, qualified, professional performers and teachers run the program.


Susie Keating

Susie Keating  Director, drama instructor, Dance instructor/Choreographer has been involved with professional and community theatre for over 40 years; she has experience with both stage and film. She has taught ballet, Jazz, hip-hop and Broadway dancing throughout the Halifax/Dartmouth area for the last 20 years. Susie has been choreographing and performing in Musical like The Best Little Whore House in Texas, Chicago, Me and My girl, Little Shop of Horrors, Newsies, Annie and High school Musical for both community and professional theatre . Susie has always dreamed of starting her own school and is so excited by how well received Youth Performing Arts Program has been in this community


Jim Petrie

–‐B.A.,  B,ED and a graduate of the Banff School of Fine Arts.   Jim is  an Actor, Director,teacher, choreographer  and playwright, He has worked as a performer and director for over thirty years. Jim is semi–‐retired and substitutes for the Halifax School Board and works as a freelance voice teacher and festival adjudicator. He has performed in many shows at Neptune Theater including Les Mis, Man of LaMancha, and Evita. Jim is very excited to be joining upstage studios

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Maya Read is a bilingual grade 12 student and has been a student of Upstage Studio since the age of 8.  She is proud to be stepping up to the role of teacher.  Maya has been in two of Neptune Theatre’s main stage productions (The Wizard of Oz and A Christmas Carol: The Musical) and is the recipient of two RCM gold medals for voice, Eastern Canada region.  Maya has been training in classical voice with Andrea Jeffrey for 8 years.  She has trained in several styles of dance including tap, jazz, hip hop and ballet and is self taught in piano and guitar.


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Jackie Hanlin is actor proudly hailing from Dartmouth Nova Scotia. She has been studying acting for 10 years and has been teaching with Upstage Studios for over 4 years. Jackie has a B.A from the Bishops University Drama program and has also studied in Halifax and Germany with the Halifax based theatre group Dapopo Theatre. She is excited to return again and work with the wonderful youth to share her love of creation, education and performance.

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Stephanie Higgins


Soprano Stephanie Higgins is honoured to come home to Nova Scotia to première the role of Elsie Bell Grosvenor this summer in The Bells of Baddeck.  Stephanie has created the role of Juliet in the world premiere of George Rideout’s The Ballad of Romeo and Juliet, and Puck, in A Beatle’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Most recently she has been heard at Carnegie Hall with Quebec’s renowned Choeur de Chambre du Quebec, in Toronto with Against the Grain Theatre, and she performed the role of Zerlina in Don Giovanni in Italy. In May she performs “The Daughter of Capulet” by Thomas Pasatieri while pursuing her DMA in Voice Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Professor Lorna MacDonald.

Stephanie is the recipient of the 2014 Faculty of Music Vocal Pedagogy Award at the University of Toronto.  Her work with singers and performers ranges from private instruction, to show choir coaching and choreography, from ages 6 to 76. Stephanie is an in demand voice teacher as she manages her private voice studio, along with students at two of Toronto’s most unique music academies.


Mary Martell

Mary Martell

A native of Dartmouth; Pianist, Choral Director and Vocal Coach, Mary Clare Martell, has returned to HRM bringing her love of music and teaching experience to her home town. Ms. Martell is a graduate of Mount Allison University (B. Mus) and the University of Calgary (M. Mus). Mary has taught in Calgary, AB; Nice, France and most recently Chicago, IL. Mary’s experiences in Chicago ranged from teaching in South-Side Chicago area schools bringing choral programs to the lowest scoring schools in the ‘No Child Left Behind Act’ to coaching professional singers at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Most recently she was choir director, voice teacher and piano teacher at ChiArts – the Chicago High School for the Performing Arts. Mary is thrilled to return to Dartmouth, after a long time away from home, and is excited to be involved with bringing this next generation of music theatre students to the ‘next level’ here at Upstage Studios!

Chris Pelrine

Chris returned to Halifax after graduating Cum Laude from Oklahoma City University with a degree in Dance Management. He has performed professionally with Freezone Dance Co., Synergy Dance Co., and The American Spirit Dance Co. Chris has worked as Costume Shop Foreman for OCU, where he got the chance to choreograph for The American Spirit Dance Co. With 20 years of dance experience Chris is well versed in Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Ballroom, Ballet and Hip Hop.

Clara Bullock

Clara Bullock

Clara is so happy to be working with the talented youth in Dartmouth. This past year she graduated from Neptune Theater’s Musical Theater Foundation Program. She has also attended Ryerson University for Acting. She is excited to apply the skills she has learned through her training to help future performers excel in their craft.



Sherry Lee

Founding member, performer and Artistic Director of Jest In Time Theatre ( an award winning Theatre Company that toured nationally and internationally for over 18 years), has over 30 years of experience performing and teaching. She has taught adults nationally and internationally with Jest in Time, Neptune Theatre, Dalhousie and Acadia Universities, the National Theatre School, Perform NS, and privately. She has a solid history and reputation as a master teacher. Sherry Lee introduces children and teens to the thrill of expressing without words using mime, Physical Theatre, and improvisation, to find their own performance style. Engaging body and mind, this work will inspire and awaken the imagination, build confidence and get the body moving in new and spontaneous ways.
“My son really came out of his shell in Sherry Lee’s class and his confidence has blossomed.”-pleased Parent


Join us today!


upstage cast and crew