"One must never forget that the purpose of the journey is the journey itself." Jaques Lecoq
I am a theatre director, acting coach and teacher with a mission to make theatre and actor training diverse, accessible and representative of the society we live in. With an MA in Actor Training and Coaching, as well as a decade of experience I have a broad theoretical and practical perspective. I believe fundamentally whether teaching, coaching, or directing, that it is my job to facilitate actors in uncovering what suppresses their creativity. This may be the ability to commit, take creative risks, live moment to moment, make necessary lifestyle choices for their career or communicate openly and positively. I believe I am responsible, for enhancing their technical ability and achieving the best creative outcome possible, but also for their personal development and well-being. Within this ethos, I encourage students and actors to consider their role as an artist in society; What do you stand for?
Actors must not be passive, but acknowledge and take responsibility for their craft as the embodiment of the past, present and future.
I began my training at Manchester Metropolitan University with a BA in Creative Writing and Drama. This is where I discovered my love of directing, with the support of some wonderful tutors. I spent many years after that, learning my craft, working backstage in fringe productions as costume assistant, assistant stage manager, general helper-outer and eventually assistant director. However, without a drama-school education I had no professional network, 'industry connections' or like-minded young creatives to keep me inspired. My journey towards directing my own productions felt like a dead-end. During this time I did a lot of soul-searching. Why am I doing this? What do I want? Am I good enough? Who will give me a chance?
I spent a lot of time teaching. Some jobs were great and some were awful but I learned a whole lot. I taught at every saturday school and after school club I could find. I worked with special needs children in a mainstream school which gave me time to learn about education practice and socio-cultural aspects of learning and teaching. I taught workhops in schools about communications skills, tolerance, cyber bullying and healthy relationships. I travelled all around the world, as and when I could afford it, which widened my perspective of people, education and world politics. I also had time to figure out what my next steps were going to be. These experiences lit a fire inside of me. I wanted to to make right the wrongs that I witnessed. I raised money to support an entire orphanage that I had found in Kenya, completely overwhelmed by how little the children had. I desperately tried to implement changes to help the students in the institutions I worked in, but I couldn't get past the red tape. I wrote plays, diaries and poems about the things that made me angry and how things should be. I had to make people listen. This frustration pushed me to take the risk of doing an MA. I knew that would give me the platform and reputation to make a real difference. I wanted to make theatre with meaning, with a strong voice and help people somehow. Now I know that I am, at heart, a political artist.
I studied MA Actor training and coaching at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. During these two years I was able to train with some wonderful practitioners and combine my love of teaching, learning and directing. As a student again, I developed an understanding of the vulnerability of my students. This enabled me to develop more compassion and respect for the bravery of actors in training, and allowed me to consider the place of psychology and communications within my practice. I learned completely new acting techniques and modes of training, as well as a deep understanding of pedagogic practices. I was finally able to direct my first full length show in a theatre, with a paying audience, to critical acclaim. I said yes to every teaching placement and directed all the short-plays and student-plays that I could get my hands on. This course helped me realise my own skill as an educator but also how much I love communication, psychology and storytelling; The reasons I work in theatre. During this time, seeking a wider, international training, I also travelled to LA. I spent every penny I had to train with some of the best coaches and practitioners. I did workshops all day, everyday. I reluctantly took part in a self development workshop called The Mastery of Self Expression, which completely changed my life. It opened my eyes to my personal obstacles, empowering me as an artist and as a woman. I still see new results from those three days, even now. I also spent four days with the great Larry Moss as he coached actors, one duologue at a time. I laughed, I cried and took notes on absolutely everything. Watching him work validated the aims of my practice and taught me so much that I could include in my own work. Finally I could see I wasn't the only person who believed that voice, body, lifestyle and the past are all factors of an actors ability. This trip left me with a sense of hope and a whole heap of possibilities for my future.
Since my training I have worked for some wonderful institutions, I coach unbelievably talented actors and I get to direct new writing in the best fringe theatre's in London! I truly love what I do and invite you to join me.