Professional training for future performers

Full Faculty

Hannah Horton

Course Director/Tap

Hannah trained in her home county of Norfolk prior to receiving a BA (Hons) Degree in Dance from the University of Bedfordshire. Hannah embarked on a professional dance career which has taken her around the world including France, USA, and South Korea. She has danced for several international corporations including Disney, Costa Cruises, Princess and P&O. After Hannah moved to Manchester she was commissioned by the Arts Council of England to choreograph for “Big Dance”. In 2013 and 2014 Hannah trained in Sweden with US Tap Masters Jason Samuels Smith, Dormeshia Sumbry- Edwards and Chloe Arnold amongst others.

Hannah received her PGCE qualification from the University of Greenwich and has been teaching dance for over a decade; eight years at Pendleton Sixth Form College in Salford. As Head of Dance there, Hannah taught A-Level Dance and BTEC Extended Diplomas in Dance and Musical Theatre. She choreographed many musical theatre and dance productions for the college and choreographed over 400 dancers in the largest ever student flash mob at the Trafford Centre. She has been instrumental in helping many young performers secure places in professional training establishments including LSCD, NSCD, London Studios Centre, Arts Ed, and GSA. Hannah’s former students are currently working in West End shows (including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and Showboat), in UK touring productions (including Guys and Dolls and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), dancing with X Factor on ITV and in the Michael Clark Company. As Course Director, Hannah looks forward to sharing her skills and enthusiasm with the students of Kings PA.

 

Hayley Pitts

Creative Director/Jazz & Modern

Hayley comes from Reading, Berkshire and trained locally until the age of sixteen. Having had the opportunity to work professionally at a young age she then went on to complete three years training at Laine Theatre Arts and achieved her Diploma in Musical Theatre. Since then she has attained her Diploma in Dance Instruction (DDI) teaching qualification in Modern and Tap with the ISTD and has benefitted from training with Barbara Evans, Graham Henderson, Sarah Wilson, Katie Morea, Theresa Theodoulou and many others.

In 2011 Hayley became the owner and principal of JLD School of Dancing, teaching Modern, Tap, Musical Theatre and Commercial Jazz, and has recently sent students to top colleges including Laine Theatre Arts, Bird College and GSA. Some of Hayley’s younger students have gained entry to Elmhurst Ballet School, The Royal Ballet, and two have starred in Billy Elliot in the West End and on tour.

Recently, Hayley has worked on a unique production of Cats for Cheam Preparatory School with special permission by Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber who attended the final performance. Since the production in March 2016, Lloyd Webber and the Really Useful Theatre Company have contacted Cheam and asked that they premiere the UK schools’ edition of School of Rock with Hayley as choreographer.

Hayley is passionate about Kings PA and looks forward to bringing her knowledge and experience to aspiring students.

Juliette Caton

Head of Voice & Musical Theatre

With a professional performance career spanning twenty years in television, film and theatre, Juliette is also a qualified voice coach, is a Certified Master Teacher in the Estill Voice Training System and has coached performers for over 20 years.  Juliette worked professionally as an actress from the age of 11, appearing in over 200 television, film and theatre productions.

Theatre 

Juliette debuted in the Original Cast of Les Miserables at both the Barbican and Palace Theatres – the ‘World’s Longest Running Musical’ – which makes her feel rather old.  Best known on stage for creating the lead role of Bertrande de Rols, playing opposite Iain Glen, in the original West End cast of Martin Guerre, produced by Cameron Mackintosh (Prince Edward Theatre) which won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical. Juliette’s other acting theatre credits include Titania in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (Derby Playhouse), Kelly in ‘Dummy Run’ – a one woman play (Orange Tree, Richmond), Miranda in The Tempest (Oxford & Edinburgh Festival) and a hugely successful run as Klara in Wedekind’s lost play Musik (Theatre Royal, Plymouth).  Other musical theatre roles include Catherine in a specially revised version of ‘Pippin’ at the Bridewell and a Stephen Shwartz revue ‘Shwartz It All About?’ (Finborough Theatre). Juliette also had the privilege of creating the role of Virginia opposite Steve Balsamo in the world premiere of Eric Wolfson’s ‘Poe’ at Abbey Road Recording Studios and played opposite Bertie Carvel and Razza Jaffrey in a three hander charity gala performance of ‘Victory’ at the Donmar Warehouse.

Film

Juliette’s film career began when she was directed by Martin Scorsese as Christ’s Guardian Angel in the controversial ‘The Last Temptation Of Christ’. She went on to star opposite Charlie Sheen in the family adventure epic ‘Courage Mountain’, produced by Michael & Joel Douglas.  Juliette played Mary in ‘Mechant Garcon’,  Ali in ‘Small Time Obsession’ directed by Piotr Skopiak and Blanche in ‘Two Nudes Bathing’ – a Cannes Film Festival award winner, written and directed by John Boorman.

TV 

On television, Juliette’s various roles include playing Alicia in the costume drama ‘Lady Audley’s Secret’ (Carlton), Helene in the epic Carlton series ‘Monsignor Renard’ with the late John Thaw (Carlton), Esme in the popular ‘Shine On Harvey Moon’ (Witzend) and Fern in the thriller ‘Murder In Mind’ opposite Charlotte Rampling & Trevor Eve and ‘Wall Of Silence’ opposite Timothy Busfield  (BBC Screen One).  Juliette played Ian Holmes’ daughter, Contessina D’Medici in ‘A Season Of Giants’ (C4) about the life of artist Michealangelo, Godith in the medieval series ‘Cadfael’ with Derek Jacobi (ITV), Anne Shanks in ‘An Exchange Of Fire’, Carla in BAFTA nominated ‘The Gemini Factor’, Louise in ‘Island’, Julie in ‘Ellington’, Andrea Gibbs & Jan in ‘Casualty’, Serena Collier & Janet Scholes in ‘The Bill’, Luce Wilkes in ‘Pie In The Sky’, Flo in ‘Shrinks’ (Euston Films) and Esme in ‘Shine On Harvey Moon’.

Since retiring from performing professionally, Juliette has dedicated herself to delivering coaching within various areas of the performing arts industry from children and young people in training to clients who work professionally in theatre, film and television.  Juliette co-founded School Of The Arts (SOTA) in 2005 to provide an outstanding training in acting, singing and dance to the community of Berkshire. SOTA Schools now run in Reading, Windsor, and Bracknell lead by Juliette’s hand picked team of qualified teachers who all have professional training, industry performance experience, and a passion for passing on their expert knowledge to the next generation. Under Juliette’s guidance and tutorship, many of her students have gone on to train at the major dance, drama and musical theatre colleges such as Arts Ed, GSA, Rose Buford, Bird College, Urdang & Laine Theatre Arts.  In her private studio in Berkshire, Juliette works with singers in all genre’s from rockers to screamers, belters to soprano’s, musical theatre performers to vocal artists within the rock and pop music industry.  Juliette also has experience in voice rehabilitation and in 2005 founded the Reading Voice Clinic with Laryngologist Rogan Corbridge at what was formerly the Capio Hospital.

Juliette was Acting and Voice Coach on the movies ‘Molly Moon’ and ‘Never Let Me Go’, and is delighted to have been invited to join the teaching team as a guest practitioner at the renowned ‘Guildford School Of Acting’ where she has enjoyed working with their actor musicians.

Ellie Verkerk

Musical Director/Ensemble Singing

A graduate of the Royal College of Music, Ellie specialises as a Musical Director, teacher and keys player. Alongside her work in theatre, she regularly gigs with rock and pop bands on keyboards and vocals. She is currently an MD / keys dep for Six:The Musical (Arts Theatre, London and UK Tour), and MD for Blackeyed Theatre’s upcoming production of Jane Eyre, which will tour the UK from Autumn 2019 to Spring 2020. As a teacher of 25 years who specialises in acting through song, vocal coaching, audition technique, musicianship and peformance, she is passionate about teaching young people healthy and sustainable wellness protocols, in addition to her work as a qualified massage therapist.

Previous work includes playing keys for Jersey Boys (Prince Edward theatre, London), MDing the Frankfürt premiere of The Last Five Years, by Jason Robert Brown, and conducting a symphony orchestra at the Shepherds Bush Empire for Buswell’s Underground Orchestra Challenge.

She plays for the Olivier Bursary Award auditions for the Society of London Theatre, and also specialises in reading orchestral scores for rock gigs. Assisting the conductor and film director for gigs at the Royal Albert Hall (Celebrating Jon Lord, and the Teenage Cancer Trust’s gig featuring Bring Me The Horizon, with Toward Infinity productions), she was responsbile for directing the film crew to record solos and musical features.

Previous collaborations include working with Cynthia Erivo, Cassidy Janson, Carrie Hope-Fletcher, Caroline Quentin, Caroline Sheen, Tony Christie, Rosemary Ashe, and Julie Atherton, composers Brian Lowdermilk and Kait Kerrigan, Robert Sherman and Sarah Travis, and enjoys spending time in the recording studio collaborating with singer-songwriters and musicians for their albums and EPs.

She has taught in a varity of settings, from Youth Theatres and choirs, to brass sections for orchestras and chamber ensembles. She currently works at Read College, in Reading, Berkshire, and is a visiting teacher for a variety of colleges and schools.

Ben Ashton

Acting

Ben has been a professional actor since graduating from the Three Year BA (Hons) Acting course at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in July 2008. He trained in all forms of theatre ranging from Classical Theatre to Contemporary Theatre, Screen, Radio & Stage Combat. Ben graduated with the Patricia Routledge Award and Spotlight Prize Nominee 2008 and has gone on to perform professionally on stage and screen for many companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company, Guildford Shakespeare Company, The Watermill Theatre, Flintlock Theatre, Reading Between the Lines, Creation Theatre, BBC & ITV.

Ben also works as a freelance Director, LAMDA and Acting Tutor & has taught acting and directed at various theatre companies, stage schools & private schools. Ben also teaches private one-to-one acting lessons and previous students have successfully gained places at RADA, LAMDA, GSA, Mountview, East 15, Rose Bruford, ALRA, Arts Educational, Laines Theatre Arts, Performers, London Studio Centre, Doreen Bird, and MTA.

Joe Evans

Acting

Joe has been a professional actor for over eleven years and has worked on both stage and screen. He has been a teacher for a similar amount of time and has a real passion for working with young people. Joe strives to give each child a professional standard of training while creating a safe and fun atmosphere. Professional Theatre work includes Emmerdale and Coronation Street for ITV, Romantics Anonymous (Shakespeare’s Globe) Three Winters (National Theatre); Les Misérables (West End); Beauty and the Beast (UK/International tour), Dirty Dancing (UK tour) and many more shows. Joe is currently an acting teacher at the UK’s most prestigious performing arts college ArtsEd.

Chris-Louise Estrada

Ballet

Chris-Louise trained at The Royal Academy of Dance where she gained her BA (Hons) in the Art and Teaching of Ballet and was also awarded the Licenciate of the Royal Academy of Dance, one of the highest accolades for excellence in teaching. Chris-Louise has also gained her Licenciate in Modern Theatre Dance and the Certificate in Dance Education for Tap with the Imperial Society of Dancing. Chris-Louise has gained Advanced 2 in all three genres. Chris-Louise has gone on to teach and choreograph in various schools throughout Berkshire, Surrey and Hampshire.  Recently she tutors both the ISTD Diploma in Dance Instruction and Diploma in Dance Education courses.

Emma Payne

Ballet & Contemporary

Emma graduated from the Ballet Rambert School in 1986. She then went on to have a long and successful career with several ballet and contemporary companies: Savidge Dance Theatre, Vienna Festival Ballet, London Ballet Theatre, Telos Tanz Theatre in Stuttgart, Ballet Creations of London and Capital Chamber Ballet. She danced the Principal roles in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Coppelia and Giselle: danced Puck in A Midsummer’s Night Dream and created the role of Marcelline in Figaro. She has also danced with many Folk dance companies – Tziganka, English National Folk Ballet and Taras Cossacks.

Emma choreographed several pieces for her own company, Ballet for Heroes, including Getting There for Battersea Arts Centre, Tossing off the Crown for a rural touring project and several pieces for the Edinburgh Festival. For the Soundbeam Project in Bristol she was asked to experiment with their Soundbeam technology, creating Leonardo’s Lists and, in conjunction with Henry Daniels, Nu for Resolution at the Place.

In 2006 Emma joined the creative team of La Folia as choreographer, working with schools to create new musical and performance pieces. So far these include Brave New World, Enchanting Voices, Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Petrushka for the Chichester Festival Theatre: Baba Yaga, Midsummer Dreaming, Travelogue, Sounds that Hurt Not, The Ring Cycle (completed over four years) and The Tempest for Salisbury Arts Centre: and 100 Years On and Gandhi in Mind for the Anvil in Basingstoke.

As well as her ongoing project work for La Folia, she has taught ballet, contemporary and Folk dance since leaving college, both in schools  – notably Graham technique at the Royal Ballet Upper School – and in workshops worldwide. In 2009 she opened, and still runs, Overton Ballet Club. She became an RAD ballet teacher in 2010 and has been teaching at JLD School of Dancing since January 2011.

Josh Barrow

Commercial

Josh has been dancing since the age of three, starting with latin and ballroom then progressing to jazz, contemporary, tap, ballet and hip hop.

At the age of 15 he became one of the youngest people ever to win the UK Hip Hop Championships and then the World Hip Hop Championships which lead to him touring different countries teaching workshops and performing at some of the greatest theatres and venues in the world.

Following this success he gained a full scholarship to attend the Urdang Academy London where he graduated with a Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre and Dance.

After working on UK tours, European tours and professional shows Josh moved into the world of teaching and found it to be his next passion.

 

GUEST TEACHERS

Paul Bayes Kitcher

Paul was born in Yorkshire and started dancing at the age of four. He trained at the Royal Ballet School and at Rambert. His first professional experience was with Scottish Ballet where he danced various principal roles, which consisted of Don Q Pas de deux, Peter Darrell’s Cheri and Balanchine’s Scotch Symphony. He was approached by the Director of the Kirov Ballet Oleg Vinagradov to perform the lead in La Vivandier. In 1990 he was accepted into Birmingham Royal Ballet as a First Artist and subsequently promoted to Soloist he performed various roles including Paul Taylor’s Airs, BlueBird Pas de deux, Benno in Swan Lake and The Principal in Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements.

He has also had the privilege of working with world-renowned choreographers such as Michael Corder, David Bintley, Sir Peter Wright and Sir Kenneth Macmillan who created roles for him.  Paul has been teaching Classical Ballet since 2003, including Northern Ballet School, and CAT Lowry. He has led creative participatory projects for The Royal Ballet School and Birmingham Royal Ballet. He has been a guest teacher to Carlos Acosta and Company, Les Ballet Trockadero and Random Dance Company.

Paul has developed a relationship with Dance for All, Outreach Programme in Cape Town South Africa where he choreographed for their Professional Dance Company. Since 2005 he has regularly received funding from Arts Council England to develop his artistic practice. He has explored his own recovery from addiction through dance theatre which led him to making strong partnerships in the North West and developing a unique participatory practice working within rehabilitation and community settings.

Combining participatory and artistic practice led to him the founding of Fallen Angels Dance Theatre www.fallenangelsdancetheatre.co.uk as the Artistic Director Paul instigates and directs professional productions. He delivers participatory projects within criminal justice, addiction/ recovery rehabilitation and community settings. The company performance credits include: The Royal Opera House- Clore Studio, The Lowry – Studio, Russell Brand’s Book Launch “Revolution”, Parliamentary Seminar. Paul was recently invited to speak on a panel discussion at the House of Commons raising awareness of FADT’s unique practice and last year was involved with Russell Maliphant in a project called “Pin pricks of light”.

“Fallen Angels Dance Theatre is looking like an important new player in contemporary dance” Reviewer: Peter Jacobs.

Sam Lathwood

Sam trained at Arts Educational Schools in London. He is currently performing in the International Tour of ‘Mary Poppins’ as Swing/ Understudy Robertson Ay.

Theatre includes: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Theatre Royal Drury Lane, West End), Disaster! (Charing Cross Theatre), Jim/ Ensemble in Elf the Musical (European Premiere), Mark/Lynch in Damn Yankees (Landor Theatre), Cinderella (Palace Theatre, Mansfield), Assistant Dance Captain/Swing in Hairspray (UK/Ireland tour), Ensemble/ Understudy Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance (Hackney Empire/ Australian Tour), Momentous Musicals (New Wimbledon Theatre), Cinderella (Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells), Christmas in New York (Prince of Wales Theatre, West End).

Workshop: Groundhog Day (Old Vic Theatre), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Pre- Broadway).

Film: Singer/ Vocalist ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ (Disney)

Choreography: Sam choreographed new musical ‘Grim: A New Musical’ which received a transfer to ‘The Charing Cross Theatre’ in London after its success at ‘The Rose Theatre’ in Kingston, London.

Jordan Bridge

Jordan trained at London Contemporary Dance School where he graduated with a First Class BA Hons in Contemporary Dance. During his training he worked with Kerry Nicholls,
Tony Adigun (Avant Garde), Richard Alston, Delphine Gaborite, Jenna Lee, Hubert Essakow to name but a few. Upon graduating, Jordan joined Alexander Whitley Dance Company where he performed ‘The Measures Taken’ nationally and internationally and was the understudy for Alex’s latest creation, ‘The Grit In The Oyster’. Shortly after AWDC, he joined Tavaziva Dance Company in summer 2015. Involved in the creation and touring of ‘Africarmen’, an evocative new work by Bawren Tavaziva. In-between contracts, Jordan joined Michael Clark Company where he landed a featured role in new work ‘LAND’, during the 5 star reviewed ‘to a simple, rock ’n’ roll. . . song.’
Jordan is also very keen in both choreographing and teaching. He has choreographed for the CAT Scheme at ThePlace during their easter intensive; was commissioned by Creative Academy to create a male trio for their graduation performance in the Lilian Baylis at Sadlers Wells; and was commissioned to choreograph on Berkshire County Dance Company Youth in which they won ‘Best Performance’ in the U.Dance awards delivered by Youth Dance England. He has delivered masterclasses/workshops for many institutions including Tring, Laban, Avant Garde, Tavaziva, ENB Youth, Watkins Associates, Studio 68.
Jordan believes that nurturing and inspiring the young creatives of today, will help build a stronger future for the arts.

Jessica Hill

Jessica trained at Tring Park school for the Performing Arts from the age of 11. Whilst at Tring Park she performed many times with English National Ballet in their productions of  The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake. In 2008 she was a featured dancer in the Cecchetti intermediate foundation syllabus DVD and in 2010 Jessica was the recipient of the National Youth Ballet Bronze Statuette award.

When she was 16 she joined Ballet Theatre UK as an apprentice and over the next five years that she worked with the company she became Principal. Whilst with the company she performed leading roles in The Little Mermaid (Little Mermaid and Sea Witch), The Nutcracker (Clara and Snow Queen), Swan Lake (Black Swan), Alice in Wonderland (Alice), A Christmas Carol (Mrs Cratchet) and Aladdin (Slave of the Ring).  After Leaving the company she performed as ‘The Doll’ in ‘The Doll Behind the curtain’ which was part of the 2015 Tete a Tete Opera Festival in King’s Cross. In 2015 Jessica joined the World Tour of The Phantom of the Opera as a Ballet Girl.

Currently she is performing in Stockholm as a Ballet Girl and understudy Meg in the Swedish production of The Phantom of the Opera.

Max Parker

Max is originally from Manchester, UK.  He is an Alumni of Pendleton College of Performing Arts graduating in 2009. After graduating from Arts Educational School London in 2013, Max has experienced an ongoing trajectory of success. He went straight into Cameron Macintosh’s production of ‘Barnum’ at Chichester Festival Theatre. He then went on to perform in the West End in Harry Hill’s ‘I Can’t Sing’ at the London Palladium. Since then he has performed for the RSC in ‘Matilda’, in ‘Guy’s and Doll’s’ covering the lead, Sky Masterson, at the Savoy Theatre, and is currently playing Paul in ‘Kiss Me Kate’ for the Welsh National Opera.

Shaun Mendum

Shaun trained at Elmhurst Ballet School, associated with the Birmingham Royal Ballet, and graduated in 2013. He danced as a soloist with Welsh ballet company, Ballet Cymru. There, he danced Puck in a Midsummer Night’s Dream, Benvolio in Romeo & Juliet, and danced with Cerys Matthews and Catrin Finch in Tir and Celtic Concerto. He was one of the first ballet dancers to work in a UK-based ballet integrated project, and has since found a keen interest merging integrated performance with commercial theatre. After working in Wales, he was assistant choreographer to Suzie Birchwood’s Conversations with Dystonia at The Place in 2014.

Shaun has toured extensively through the UK, Asia and the Caribbean, and recently played Alonzo in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS, which sailed aboard the Oasis of the Seas.

Shaun is also a keen actor, and featured in Aquilo’s music video, Calling Me, which to date has achieved over 3 million views. He has also appeared in short films Jo, Game Day, and Light it Up, and continues to extend his craft.