All children have imagination and a natural physicality. Standouts provides a fun, relaxed environment for the imagination to reign free and laughter to ring out as children explore creative expression through drama, dance and singing.


At Standouts we encourage creative expression. Through this, children develop a deeper understanding of their world and become better equipped to navigate their way through challenges that life may present. Our drama classes incorporate elements of creative drama such as mime, improvisation and storytelling aswell as the performance of poetry and plays. We have fun, relaxed performances every term – a great way to build confidence.


Dance at Standouts is a fun, creative outlet for imagination and emotion. Feelings can be expressed with immediacy through dance and movement. Through dance, children develop a greater range of movement whilst developing the ability to work within a space. Our creative dance classes guide children in the creation of choreography, developed as a result of decisions and choices they’ve made during exploration of movement.


Standouts singing classes enable all children to come together to create something special. Not only does singing build confidence and engage emotions; it helps to develop our memories too: from remembering lyrics to remembering a cue to start singing, our brains learn to handle more. At Standouts we creatively explore many different styles of music and songs. We love singing together at Standouts!

Our Saturday classes are held during term time and combine drama, dance and singing in each session. They are jam-packed with fun, creativity and plenty of opportunities to perform!

Morning Class: 4 – 6 years 11am – 12:30pm

Afternoon Class: 7 – 14 years 1pm – 4pm

Term dates 2019

Term 1 Sat 9th Feb – Sat 13th April

Term 2 Sat 4th May – Sat 6th July

Term 3 Sat 27th July – Sat 28th Sept

Term 4 Sat 19th Oct – Sat 14th Dec


Standouts Holiday Workshops are intensive but immensely fun 4 day programmes for 6-14 year olds where we get a show on the road in just 4days. No experience is necessary- just plenty of imagination, energy and enthusiasm!

Programmes 2018/2019

Christmas 2018
Tues 18th- Fri 21st Dec

Tues 15th – Fri 18th | Tues 22nd – Fri 25th

April programme is now full
Mon 15th – Thurs 18th*
*Programme is Mon-Thurs, no class Fri 19th- Good Friday

July programme is now full
Tues 9th – Fri 12th | Tues 16th – Fri 19th

Tues 1st – Fri 4th | Tues 8th – Fri 11t

Tues 17th – Fri 20th


" A huge thanks for soo many years of enormous instruction, performance and community which you and your Standouts Team have continued to deliver all the time for our daughter, helping making her into the all rounded beautiful person she is. "

— Zane, Wellington

Standout – noun, adj: A remarkable, notable or outstanding person or thing.


At Standouts we celebrate and encourage creative thinking. As Einstein said: Logic will get you from A to B but imagination will take you everywhere…


Participating in Performing Arts builds confidence. Standouts gives gives kids confidence to stand up and stand out!


Communication between peers is fostered and acclerated at Standouts as children learn to work together as a team.


We are ‘all inclusive’ at Standouts and provide a safe, happy environment for all children to explore, discover and develop positive self-esteem.


We champion individuality at Standouts. Children are free to be themselves (or whoever else they want to be!)


Standouts is fun! We have relaxed, fun, pressure free performances in the hall every term and during the holidays.

" My children love Standouts. They enjoy singing, dancing and drama, and Standouts brings it all together for them in one place. Gemma and her teaching team are fabulous and inspirational. "

— Sarah, Wellington

Why fit in when you were born to Standout! (Dr Seuss)

Gemma Shapleski


Gemma founded Standouts in 2008 with good pal and dance teacher extraordinaire Pagan Dorgan.

Gemma has taught Drama and Voice for over 15 years and is a passionate advocate of the value of arts in education. She has worked with small humans to near-grown ones from all over Wellington and has prepared hundreds of individuals and groups for Trinity College London graded exams and teaching diplomas.

Gemma loves literature and the process of going from page to stage. She has written, adapted and directed many loved books, stories and poetry for the Standouts stage.

Someone once said that Gemma is like glue: not just because she gets attached to things but because she holds everything together at Standouts. She’s sticking round too!

Lara Strong


Lara is the epitome of a ‘triple threat’ if ever there was one: she sings, dances and acts. Except she’s not a threat: she’s a talented asset to our Standouts team during our holiday workshop weeks. Recently, Lara has starred in a short film by Craft Inc Films, Christmas Eve, 1944 and was a soloist in East Meets West at the TSB Arena.

This year, while continuing her training with the Long Cloud Youth Theatre Company and Tarrant Dance Studios she is throwing all her energy into auditioning for international performing arts academies. We know it’s only a matter of time before she gets snapped up but secretly hope she’ll be with us in the Bay for a few more workshop weeks before then!

Emma Davey


Emma made her first mellifluous recording at age 2 and hasn’t stopped singing since.

She graduated from Whitieria Polytechnic in 1997 with a Diploma in Contemporary and Commercial Rock (majoring in vocals). In 2016 Emma up-graded her Diploma to a Degree.

Over the years, Emma has performed with artists as varied as David Feehan Band, Disco Divas and The Balkanistas. From private functions, to food and wine festivals; WOMAD to WOW; Emma has sung her way around the country.

In 2015 she released her first solo album The Court of Love which her friends and family said very nice things about. Not one to blow her own trumpet, we think Emma is tops and always look forward to her dulcet voice joining us on Saturday afternoons and throughout our holiday weeks.

When not gigging Emma coaches vocals privately.

Alec Katsourakis


Melburnian Alec is currently in his 3rd and final year at the New Zealand School of Dance. He is passionate about making dance an enjoyable and stress-free outlet for imagination, creativity and emotion.

Alec has worked as a performer with Chloe Loftus Dance Company (UK) as well as being the Director of Photography for a dance film by Hungarian choreographer Balazs Busa.

Alec has a keen interest in cross-disciplinary art practice and merges dance and theatre seamlessly to make his dance classes hugely fun and accessible for all our young performers at Standouts.

" Gosh we were very impressed with the play.  How fortunate the children are to have such talented, dedicated teachers.I think your drama school is the best kept secret in Wellington! "

— Paula, Wellington

Get in touch

We’re just down from Lyall Bay School and a hop, skip and a jump from the beach. Alternatively, send us a message!

St. Judes Hall
68 Freyberg St, Lyall Bay, Wellington