'One of Kate’s phenomenal gifts is that she sees the power within everyone, and guides you to find it for yourself so that it is realized and stays with you forever'.
Kate Ellis brings her students into a 'full-bodied' experience of acting, and life. She shows her students how to enter their scenes with child-like openness and play... yet she also brings the depth and intelligence required to breathe ancient wisdom to the work. Kate coached me on my first two TV Series, Lightning Point and Mako Mermaids, and as a young student she encouraged me to approach the work with all senses available, to be fully present in the scenes with my whole body. To trust my instincts. One of Kate’s phenomenal gifts is that she sees the power within everyone, and guides you to find it for yourself so that it is realized and stays with you forever.
One of the rules in Kate’s classes is to ‘Never say No.’ This created a supportive environment amongst the cast where we felt safe to try all the possibilities of the scene, and the exercises Kate guided us through always generated surprising, visceral, embodied discoveries. I think Kate is like Mary Poppins- she has a way of guiding her actors that is so fun and joyous that we don’t even realize we are working and growing, until we look back and see how far we have come.
Lucy Fry is a film and television actress. She features in Netflixs Bright starring Will Smith, Joel Edgerton and Noomi Rapace. She has starred in Mr Church with Eddie Murphy, in 11.22.63, The Preppie Connection, Vampire Academy, Now Add Honey and Australian series Wolf Creek.
Kate worked with Daisy during her time on Mirrah Foulkes debut film (starring Mia Wasikowska) Judy and Punch. During her 5 week shoot in Melbourne, Kate tutored Daisy in Maths, English, History, Geography and Religious studies so she could stay up to date with her schoolwork whilst filming.
This was Daisy’s first professional production and Kate found a calming and joyous way of approaching school studies around a long weeks shoot. Given that she also has a long standing career as an Acting coach, she understood what Daisy’s weeks were like and could help her find balance between the elation and challenges of such an exciting life event.
She played Drama games at the beginning of some of their sessions and talked through Daisy’s experiences on set answering any questions she might have (any questions I might have too as a parent navigating the film industry for the first time); and always found a way of approaching one of Daisy’s most challenging school subjects, Maths is a fun and creative way.
We would have no hesitation in asking for Kate’s mentorship on any future production Daisy might work on. Kate is a lovely, inspirational soul with such a calming presence. She has a very positive mind and approaches every new aspect of life enthusiastically. Forever grateful that our paths have crossed.
Until next time...
Nicola Axon. Mother of Daisy.
'...she has always been an incredible soundboard for me as I’ve navigated the relationship I’ve had with connecting the full body to dialogue and intention'.
Kate and I first met back in 2007, when I was fortunate enough to work alongside her on the Australian children’s television show, ‘The Saddle Club’. Kate was not only our drama coach and a fellow actress on the series, but an incredibly intuitive, intelligent and insightful mentor throughout the duration of the shoot. Ten years later, and she is still very much a mentor to me, as well as a dear friend. Kate has dedicated so much of her time and knowledge over the years to help me put down self-tapes for American projects, as well as offered detailed script analysis’ for projects that I’ve felt particularly passionate about. I remember sending a script to her whilst I was living in Los Angeles, and within an hour she had sent back a detailed emotional understanding of the character’s motivations, which I was then able to then apply to my audition. Over the years, Kate and I have had extensive discussions about the power of the body within our work and lives, and she has always been an incredible soundboard for me as I’ve navigated the relationship I’ve had with connecting the full body to dialogue and intention. Through the example of our ten year relationship, it is clear that Kate has the ability to seamlessly adapt to her client’s age when communicating her ideas, too. Regardless of what age she is working with, she maintains a sensitivity that allows her to adjust to any demographic, when teaching.
Marny Kennedy is an Australian actress. She was nominated and awarded the AFI Award for 'Best Young Actress' Award for Mortified in 2006, starred in Australian/ Canadian production The Saddle Club and most recently can be seen in Underbelly Files: Chopper,Janet King, Top of the Lake and Hoges for which she has been nominated for a Logie.
Photo credit Jody Pachniuk
'Kate will always have that special place in my heart. Her teachings will never be forgotten'.
I started my acting career as one of the lead actresses on television series, Lightning point. Kate Ellis was my wonderful acting coach. We worked solidly for a month every day prior to the commencement of filming. Kate helped build confidence and brought to life the character that I was set to play, Kiki. More than this- she mentored me through the 8 months of filming, always there with her wonderful, kind guidance. Her patience and knowledge of the acting craft brought out the best in me personally and my first performance. Kate will always have that special place in my heart. Her teachings will never be forgotten.
Jessica Green is an Australian. She was the lead in Jonathan M. Shiff Productions "Lightning Point" ( a co-production between Nickelodeon Network Ten Australia and Germany's ZDF Productions). In 2015 she played a Lead role in the Australian Feature film Red Billabong. In 2018 she began filming US TV show The Outpost where she will star in the lead role.
'...she pulled me out of my head and into my body, and into a new respect for acting, a new understanding of technique, and a new confidence in myself'.
I first met Kate when I was thirteen. I'd only been acting for a couple years; I didn’t know what the job was, or how to think about it, and I had less than no idea about how to do it. For me, it was just an expression of restlessness, boredom, and childhood conceit. I was full to the eyes with tics, terrors and assumptions. I had never had any sort of training, and the gulf between what I thought I was doing and what I was actually doing was vast, especially when it came to my body. Kate helped free me from all that, and gave me my first glimpse of what acting can be. With endless fun and patience, she loosened me up, made me aware of my breath, my movement, my focus. Little by little, she pulled me out of my head and into my body, and into a new respect for acting, a new understanding of technique, and a new confidence in myself.
Connor Jessup has starred in US TV series Falling Skies and American Crime, in films such as Closet Monster and in Australian/Canadian production The Saddle Club. He has written and directed two shorts entitled Boy and Lira's Forest. In 2016, Jessup was included in FilmmakerMagazine's annual list of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film.
'Kate’s passion for the arts is gleeful, infectious, and clearly reflected in her work'.
It was on one of my first jobs that I had the good fortune to work with Kate Ellis. Film sets are notoriously high pressure and intimidating environments, especially as a young actor. Throughout the six month shoot, Kate’s support was ceaseless and her guidance invaluable to me. As a performer herself, Kate has a truly insightful understanding of actors. In working with Kate, I learned that there is always something more to be discovered, no matter how diligently you think you’ve dissected the material. She has a wonderful ability to make all those around her feel safe and supported. I think that because of this, she is able to push her students further from their comfort zones than they ever thought possible. Kate’s passion for the arts is gleeful, infectious, and clearly reflected in her work. I simply cannot recommend her highly enough and I certainly hope to work with her again in the future.
Philippa Coulthard is an Australian actress known for her roles in series Howards End, The Catch, Secrets and Lies and Lightning Point. She stars in films Now Add Honey and Annabelle: Creation.
Photo credit Ori Jones Photography
'This individualised approach really allowed me to discover a deeper meaning and depth to my characters because she new exactly what techniques I needed to bring out the best in my work'.
The Beautiful Kate! I was so incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to be coached by Kate in my first ever series regular role on Channel Tens "Reef Doctors." Kate is an incredibly nurturing and giving drama coach who provided me with all the necessary tools I needed to survive on set! She has this amazing ability to allow you to discover your sense of play, to stay open and truthful in every scene you approach. She's very good at tapping into each individual actors needs. This individualised approach really allowed me to discover a deeper meaning and depth to my characters because she new exactly what techniques I needed to bring out the best in my work. She without a doubt goes above and beyond for her students. She has given me a wealth of knowledge and many invaluable acting tools that I continue to use today. She has such a gorgeous soul and love for what she does that every actor should feel blessed to work with her.
Chloe Bayliss is an Australian actress starring in film Backtrack with Adrien Brody. She is best known for her role in Australian series Doctor Doctor and for her roles in Love Child and Reef Drs.
Photo credit Luke Stambouliah
'She gave me the confidence to approach scenes openly and ready to respond organically in the moment'.
I had the pleasure of working with Kate Ellis in the lead-up to my performance in the feature film That’s Not Me. As it was my first leading role in a feature, I was feeling all the nerves and performance anxiety one would expect. Kate helped alleviate my nerves by focusing on the work. Together we dissected scenes to discover core character motivations, and explored a variety options. She taught me how to prepare – and most importantly how to prepare to let go on the day. She gave me the confidence to approach scenes openly and ready to respond organically in the moment. As a drama coach, Kate has genuine gift. I have no hesitation in recommending her, and hope that I personally get to work with her on many more projects in the future.
Alice Foulcher is an Australian actress and filmmaker. Her writing credits include film That's Not Me (in which she also starred in two roles) and shorts Picking up at Auschwitz and Paris Syndrome.
Photo creditLachlan Woods Photography
Playing a character in another language was challenging enough, but somehow Kate made it happen... It didn't feel like teaching at all, it was more like searching through little exercises for the real truth and needs of the character and scenes! I just loved it. She developed a beautiful "playground" for all of us on the series.
'Her insight into human nature and what really makes us tick, is food for the soul'.
I have been blessed to know and work with Kate for almost ten years. We first met when I was fourteen years old and terrified, just about to start my first job as an actor. Not only did she teach me the fundamentals and what it means to collaborate, she also gave me the confidence to trust my instincts, and inspired me to fall in love with the creative process. Her insight into human nature and what really makes us tick, is food for the soul.
Aisha Dee is an Australian/ America actress known for her roles in US series The Bold Type, Channel Zero, Sweet Vicious and Chasing Life. She also starred in Australian/ Canadian series The Saddle Club.
‘I have never felt so confident going onto a set before an emotional scene...'
I first met the beautiful Kate around 10 years ago while working on the third series of ‘The Saddle Club’. To this day it was one of the best experiences of my life, and I can wholeheartedly say Kate’s presence was a huge part of that. The cast were a group of 12-14 year olds who were going through some of the hardest years of our lives, whilst balancing school and a full time job. For me personally, I don’t know if I would have got through it all without Kate. She taught me the importance of being in the moment and connecting with fellow actors, instead of being inside my head and planning out each step. I remember one day so fondly - we were in the recording studio and I had my biggest scene of the entire series coming up the next day - I had to practically have a break down on screen and Kate could tell how stressed as I was about it. She pulled me aside and had me write down everything I was scared of - as a perfectionist, I have always hated admitting that there are somethings I worry I can’t do right. But as I sat there and wrote down my thoughts, the tears quickly came flooding down and before I had the chance to get embarrassed, Kate said ‘there you go, it’s all already inside you’. I have never felt so confident going onto a set before an emotional scene then I did the next day, and this circumstance happened time and time again in different ways, all thanks to Kate. She is more than just an acting coach, she is an older sister, a wise soul, a life long friend and someone I feel privileged to have come across so early on in my life. I have seen Kate have the same effect on so many others around me - from children to full grown adults, and this is an ability I have seen very few master. She is a true angel in every sense of the word, and I only hope we get to work together again one day.
Ariel Kaplan is an Australian actress, singer and dancer best known for her roles in Neighbors and The Saddle Club.
Photo credit Kurt Sneddon
'As a coach she made me feel comfortable to express myself and taught me how to mold my highly energetic child energy into a creative and productive attitude, fit for the professional acting industry'.
Kate Ellis is one of those rare gems that enriches those around her. I have had the pleasure of knowing Kate for the past decade, meeting her on my first acting role in the television series ‘The Saddle Club Series 3’ where she was my drama coach and co-actor. As a coach she made me feel comfortable to express myself and taught me how to mold my highly energetic child energy into a creative and productive attitude, fit for the professional acting industry. She inspires not only through her teachings, but by openly being herself. She is a compassionate, grounded and driven individual who motivates myself and everyone she meets with her abilities and genuine love for all things creative. I have the upmost respect and appreciation for this wonderful coach and friend.
Kaiya Jones in an Australian actress known for her roles in The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Footballer Wants a Wife, Party Tricks, Neighbors, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and The Saddle Club. She is also a Writer and Director of shorts such as Jolly Roger and Coping.