Charity Van Gameren

Academy Owner, Musical Theatre, Voice & Theory Instructor

Charity Van Gameren has been strongly rooted in the performing arts industry in the Okanagan since 1992 as a teacher, director and performer. Charity has her degree in vocal performance through the Royal Conservatory of Toronto and is a registered music teacher of British Columbia.

Charity’s vocal training spans every genre including classical, opera, musical theatre, jazz and pop. Along with being formally trained, Charity has a life time of experience in song writing and music composition.

Charity along with running a large vocal studio is the founder and director of the acclaimed musical theatre company,Lights of Broadway, one of the longest running musical theatre programs in the Okanagan. Charity’s love for musical theatre and Lights of Broadway has given her the drive to bring a full length Broadway show to the Performing Arts Centre stage each spring since 2000. Some of this company’s accalimed shows include performances of The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Hairspray, Footloose and Shrek just to name a few. 

  Charity’s musical programs have grown to capacity and she is very excited to allow for expansion in the performing arts by introducing and directing operations of Center Stage Performing Arts Academy.

Charity was born in southern California and graduated in the U.S.A but followed her heart back to the Okanagan where she is married, has raised her children and where she has dedicated her career to developing the performing arts in a place of natural and cultural beauty. 

Cherise McInnis

Dance Instructor & Choreographer

Cherise McInnis is an Okanagan girl who began dancing at the age of 4 with Backstage Dance Company. Cherise’s first love is tap dance but following her wise mother’s instruction has trained in all disciplines of dance including Royal Academy of Dance Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Musical Theatre, lyrical, Hip Hop and Tap.

Cherise along with years of intensive dance training and performing has been teaching for the past 16 years. Cherise teaches all disciplines of dance as well as being an accomplished choreographer.

Cherise’s students have competed across the province in Kiwanis festivals, Shine, Vibe and the Great Canadian Dance Challenge and have received honors for their work.

Cherise is a strong supporter of the local performing arts and has been actively involved in choreography for Powerhouse Theatre, 27th Street Theatre Company and most recently has become the resident choreographer for Lights of Broadway.

  Cherise is thrilled to be part of Center Stage Academy and intends to “dance herself silly” and take others along for the exciting ride!

Jenae Bennett

Voice, Musical Theatre & Summer Camp Instructor

Jenae Bennett completed her degree in Vocal Performance with the Royal Conservatory of Toronto in 2016. She has studied and trained vocally for 14 years. Along with finishing her voice degree, Jenae has been teaching private voice for 10 years. Jenae has been a provincial delegate for voice on three different occasions as well as a silver medalist for the Royal Conservatory of Toronto in her voice exams

Jenae has been active in musical theatre with Lights of Broadway and competitively for 20 years. To her credits she has had the roles of Leisl in the Sound of Music, the lead role in Thoroughly Modern Millie ,Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz and Sophie in Mamma Mia. Jenae was assistant to the director of all of the younger musical theatre programs in Van Gameren Studios for 6 years and has been doing choreography in the theatre programs for that length of time and onward.

Jenae is a versatile performer and teacher. Her years in vocal study and theatre have allowed for her to be proficient in teaching classical, musical theatre and pop and more.

Jenae is very pleased and honored to be a part of Center Stage Performing Arts Academy and looks forward to bringing her knowledge, training and performance skill to the studio in the vocal, musical theatre and summer camp department department.

Sarah Mori Jones

Acting Instructor & Assistant Director for Lights of Broadway

Sarah Mori Jones is a teacher, director, and performer of theatre and speech arts. She began her training in her hometown at the Vernon School of Speech and Drama in 1992. Sarah then moved to Vancouver and toured with the Vancouver Youth Theatre. From there she attended Simon Fraser University at the School for the Contemporary Arts and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre) in 1998. During which time she performed as much as possible and discovered her love for directing.

The Bolton Academy of Spoken Arts in Vancouver returned her back to her speech arts roots where she taught until 2004. There she taught drama, speech arts and public speaking skills to students of all ages with the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) and Trinity College of London curriculum. Sarah has received her Royal Conservatory of Music Performer’s ARCT in Speech and Drama.

Since moving back to Vernon in 2004, Sarah has been performing, adjudicating festivals and private coaching while raising three children with her husband, Jonathan Jones. Most recently, she has been the acting coach for Lights of Broadway. Starting 2021 Season she is now offering group classes! Check out Acting for the Stage: Junior and Senior!

Sarah looks forward to passing on the amazing life skills that speech and drama offer with Center Stage Performing Arts Academy.

Heidi Hewitt

Piano & Voice Instructor

Heidi grew up in Vancouver and doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t playing the piano!  She began piano lessons with Terry Logan at the tender age of 3 and was the accompanist for her 3 older brothers’ string trio.  She won multiple music competitions, awards and scholarships growing up, and completed her A.R.C.T. Degree in Piano Performance through the Royal Conservatory of Music earning her First Class Honours with Distinction.  She continues to play and enjoy advanced 2 piano repertoire with Roslyn Frantz.

 A strong vocalist, Heidi also loves to sing and is passionate about musical theatre.  She has starred as “Mother Abbess” in The Sound of Music with Theatre Kelowna and the “Narrator” in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Kelowna’s Actors Studio(twice.) She has been the director and accompanist for multiple stage productions throughout Vancouver and the Okanagan, she loves to compose and arrange music and recorded 6 albums.

Heidi has over 30 years teaching experience, is a member of the BC Registered Music Teachers Association, and is thrilled to join the Center Stage team!

“Step into the Light”