Meet the Academy Team

 Sarah Ellis BA PGCE

Sarah Ellis BA PGCE

Principal and Artistic Director

Sarah is an Artistic Director, Actor, Teacher, and Facilitator and has been working in the industry for over 25 years. Sarah trained at Rose Bruford Drama School (BA Community Theatre) & Middlesex University (PGCE Drama). She is Artistic Director of professional touring company which specialises in forum and immersive theatre.
Directorial play credits inc: over 14 plays: inc BURN, THE TRIAL, SHAKERS, MIRAD A BOY FROM BOSNIA, THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, STUFF I BURIED IN A SMALL TOWN.
Directorial musical theatre credits - Over 18 musicals: inc GREASE, CHILDREN OF EDEN, ANNIE, WEST SIDE STORY, WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND, CHALK AND CHEESE, FAME, WALTZING IN THE DARK, HAIR, SWEET CHARITY, England’s debut performance of PARADE, WE WILL ROCK YOU, FOOTLOOSE, THE FULL MONTY, 13.
Devising credits include: 10 MINUTES IN THE FUTURE, LAUGH AND YOU’RE PART OF IT, IT WON’T HAPPEN TO ME, BURN, LOVE, LIES AND LULLABIES, IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE, BILLY, WHO AM I? THE BRUISE YOU CAN’T SEE.
Random credits: TESTIMONIAL (QPR Football team), SHOCKWAVES AD CAMPAIGN (Wella Haircare). Corporate/training credits: LAS VEGAS (Grosvenor Park Lane), WINDOWS OF THE WORLD (Hilton, Park Lane.)
Writing credits include PETER PAN.
Performing credits include SHAKERS, ROCKY HORROR SHOW, WEST SIDE STORY, THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, VINEGAR TOM, FANSHEN, THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG, STEPPING OUT, BAZAAR AND RUMMAGE, GREASE, THE ODD COUPLE, YERMA, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW.

Rachel Yates

Rachel Yates

Movement Director

Rachel trained in theatre in her home town of Liverpool. Growing up watching the vibrant and ground breaking ensemble company at The Liverpool Everyman inspired and encouraged her to move to London to study further in performing arts.
After spending some years lecturing in dance at Middlesex University and working as a freelance theatre practitioner she was introduced to Chickenshed Theatre Company, where she was appointed Associate Director in 1998.
At Chickenshed, Rachel’s ensemble style developed while working with large and small casts of often diverse, exciting groups of young people and adults. Her work is immediate and arresting using text and movement with clear story-telling and strong imagery. She often draws on the personal history of her actors for inspiration and has devised and written plays that have gone on to tour.
In 2013 Rachel directed and wrote All I’ve Known using verbatim and physical theatre styles combined to produce a successful touring piece for Chickenshed that received wide praise.
“Rachel Yates has researched, written, directed and designed with passion and skill….an extraordinary piece of theatre.” One Stop Arts.
More recently she directed and acted in Two by Jim Cartwright, Worked at The Finborough Theatre on Spokesong, leads the Actor’s Ensemble company at the Arts Depot, directed alongside Chris Bond at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and continues her creative relationship with the acclaimed director Dougal Wilson on award winning adverts and music videos.
Rachel makes every session stimulating, open and friendly.

Joanna Eden

Joanna Eden

Singing coach

Joanna is a singer/songwriter. She has released 3 albums and is due to release her 4th ‘Falling out of Grace’ this summer.
Joanna has performed her jazz influenced original music all over the world and supported world-class artists including Jamie Cullum, the Buena Vista Social Club and the Blockheads. This summer her Joanna Eden Band will support Ronan Keating at her 3rd Audley End Picnic Concert.
Joanna is a JazzFM favourite and her music has also been featured regularly on BBC Radio 2 where her music has been championed by Sir Michael Parkinson and jazz legend Courtney Pine. She performed live on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour Mojo Magazine have given both her original albums rave reviews stating that her songs have “melody, mystery and bite!”.
Joanna has been a singing teacher for nearly 10 years and is so proud that her first student Sam Smith has been recognised at The Brits. She now teaches for the popular music and performing arts degree courses at Anglia Ruskin University.

Spencer James

Spencer James

Choreographer

Spencer trained as an actor at GSA Conservatoire and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts (B A Honours.)
Professional theatre credits in London include The Scarecrow in THE WIZ, Conrad Birdie in
BYE BYE BIRDIE, Genie of The Lamp in ALADDIN and Pontius Pilate in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. Spencer created the role of Shere Khan in a new musical adaptation of JUNGLE BOOK and Billy Flynn in CHICAGO.
Television credits include CASUALTY, DOCTORS, DIRTY WORK, BERKELY SQUARE, Archie in LOVE IN A COLD CLIMATE, backing vocals for Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins on STRICTLY COME DANCING and GMTV.
Spencer has taught at many schools throughout London, teaching all disciplines of dance and drama. He has worked as a Director and Choreographer of GREASE, OLIVER, BUGSY MALONE, WE WILL ROCK YOU, CHILDREN OF EDEN and SEUSSICAL.
More recently Spencer is the Founder and Director of South London Youth Theatre and the Director of ToneAcity, a vocal harmony group that are well established in the corporate entertainment world, performing gigs throughout the UK and Europe.

David O’Mahony

David O’Mahony

Singing Coach

David trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama culminating with a performance in their 2006 Centenary concert at the Old Vic. Prior to that he read Drama and History at Brunel University.

2013 saw David’s debut on the West End in ‘The Bodyguard’ with the roles of ‘Douglas’ and ‘Skip’ and covering ‘The Stalker’ (35+ performances), ‘Ray Court’ (50+ performances) and ‘Frank Farmer’ (The Bodyguard). The cast included Beverley Knight, Alexandra Burke, Tristan Gemmill, Debbie Kurup, and Stephen Marcus.

In between theatre contracts David has appeared in over 10 short films in the last three years, with many being entered in to film festivals; these can be seen featured in his show-reel. Characters have included a lover (inept and adept!), a drug addict, a zombie, an alien and a hit man.

Prior to ‘The Bodyguard’, David toured the USA with ‘Batman Live’ in sell out performances at Arenas across the USA including the Staples Centre in LA, the American Airlines Centre in Dallas, and cities including Kansas City, Anaheim, St Paul and Las Vegas.

He has performed all over the World: From Florida State Television to Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific.

In the UK, he has performed in the West End, filmed at Pinewood Studios, appeared on TV dramas (being killed in 2/3 of them) and on live TV. He has appeared at theatres up and down the country in plays, musicals and variety shows. Most recently he played the ‘Prince’ in ‘Snow White’ at the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford for Michael Harrison and Qdos Entertainment.

David continues to develop his skill set by regularly attending workshops at the Actors Guild and Actors Centre working with Directors and Casting Directors and in 2015 he is learning to horse ride! He has a long running association with Leontine Hass’s Associated Studios programme as a student and workshop leader and trains with Emma Trow, Nikki Laurence, Leontine Hass and Stuart Barr.

Dylan Tate BA Hons

Dylan Tate BA Hons

Puppetry director

Dylan graduated from East 15 Acting School in 2008. Dylan has been working as a professional actor since.
TIE credits include: LISTEN, 10 MINUTES INTO THE FUTURE, A TRUSTING GAME SHOW.
Theatre Credits LUCIFER HELMUT VAGINIS, LAST ORDERS, LOVE LIES AND LULLABIES, Fire Performer (Various); SWEET LOVE).
Film Credits SWEET THAMES RUN SOFTLY, SAVAGE DAZE, ALBINA SAKAEVA, MY LITTLE MONSTER
Television Presenter YOUR SHOUT.
Dylan also runs his own Theatre Company Purple Goat Theatre specialises in creating bespoke projects and is co Director at Flabbergast Theatre currently touring Australia.