My Story – I tell the following because I truly believe it to be essential to the school and my teachings. The adventures I had growing up are reflected in the schools artistic growth. To be able to have grown up in two fabulous countries that speak the same language but offer different sights, sounds, smells and touch undoubtedly form and shape our school today.
I have a great interest in people and am fascinated by their history all this leading to the drama school and creating adventures every week.
Preston has been my home for some time but my original home was California, not just one place but several places and this I have my British parents Brian & Brenda to thank for being what I coin ~ ‘Conservative Boujouir Bohemians’. Their love and passion for life has definitely passed on down to my sister and I. Their great adventure and’ loving all’ was definitely a good starting point, seeing and understanding the beauty that surrounds us every day no matter how small.
Off we would go into the Californian wilderness with our VW Campervan, always exploring… A Happy Hippie indeed!!! We had the biggest playground in the world, Some things admittedly we did not wish to explore or indeed experience such as the Tarantula’s own campsite, a hungry bear or the wild cat and her cubs but the familiar echo of ‘Time To Get In The Van Girls,’ was always met with an excited calmness. It was a thrill and the adventures kept coming.
Our house was loaded with art books and this I feel influences the visuals that is my stamp in our drama schools productions. My parents decided to move back to England, a first for my sister and I, and this is where I started my theatre training at the gorgeous Preston Playhouse. They had a youth theatre that met once a week for 2 hours, and this is where I could meet like minded people with whom I am still great friends today. Then it was on to Mountview Theatre School in London. What a fabulous vibrant city, I was in love instantly. I then returned to America in the 80’s for 4 years and worked in T.V, Commercial & the Film Industry in Pennsylvania, as well as theatre. I was keen to work in all areas and lets just be honest folks … work.
A jobbing Actress is exactly that and I was eager to learn more and through sheer minded dogged determination and guts worked in various departments, from makeup, hair, costume, production assistant to casting. They were a great few years and I equally enjoyed working behind the camera as well as in front. Then it was back to England and soon after I started ‘ little players drama school’, and this is where it gets really exciting ~ there was at that time no ‘weekend’ drama school concept.
That’s right, no one was doing it, maybe down South but no one here in the North West, yes there were clubs, but not a school that offered diversity to children and teenagers that may wish to train in Acting, Singing and Dance, and around this time I was also offered work for the BBC as children’s acting coach. This not only enabled me to go back to one of my first loves filming but let me sit in the audition process and what is expected of children and teens and how to get the best out of them, besides trying to get into the minds of the directors … not easy, to give them what they wish.
Recently I took a year out to work in the West End as Costume Supervisor and Company Manager. This stands the school in good stead as I could bring back ~ up to date information on what is happening out there now, keeping us informed and at the forefront.
The children would just not stop coming ~ So there we were the 23rd of May 1994 this is when the ‘little players’ started, and what a thrilling day it was.
With just £30.00 I managed to buy enough masks for Greek Theatre and flyers for advertising. So that was it, everything in place all I needed was the pupils, the anticipation, waiting to see who would come, and how many, and if indeed ~ would they come? Well they did come, no sooner had I got out of the car, when I was met by eager faces in the car park. So there it was ~ we were on our way. The masks seemed to go down well, other than the one child that was claustrophobic.
26 pupils arrived May 23rd 1994 (of whom I am still friends with today) who wanted to grow and be creative in theatre and by the end of the year we had over 100 in the school with 200 on the waiting list, of which I eventually had to close the books ~ that shows the need of a space for children to use their imaginations and play. Naturally it was thrilling to see the school grow but it was more thrilling to see these lovely little personalities come through the theatre doors each week, so keen and happy.
Yes, we have pupils who are natural born show offs and those that have abilities but it is those that are quaking in their boots when they stand up to perform or read that you get such a delight when you see that they start to volunteer and their hand is up first to do the activity. To see pupils blossom and grow and enjoy speaking out ~ is probably the best thrill.
So this in our 25th year I would like to say a great big thank you to those pupils from the very first to the very present ~ thank you for enriching my life that much more. So many many glorious memories, much laughter, a little tears, tantrums, sulking, giggles and a plenty of friendships made.
Mountview Theatre School
B.B.C – Children’s Acting Coach.
Actress, Casting Agent, Wardrobe Assistant, Production Assistant.
More Recent ~ Costume Supervisor & Company Manager at Trafalgar Studios, Soho Theatre and Edinbugh Festival.
‘Day Of The Dead’
‘My Kid Brother’
Various including Kodak – ‘Woman carrying balloons’
Various including Prime Suspect.
Acting Teacher- 26 years
Proprietor of players drama school ~ 25 years