ALRA Staff

ALRA has resident and freelance teaching staff and a team of support staff who work tirelessly to ensure the smooth running of the school and maintain high standards. Please see individual profiles below.

* Staff based at ALRA North

Patrons

ALRA South

  • Jimmy Akingbola +

    Jimmy Akingbola is an award winning actor and graduate from ALRA who has worked extensively with numerous credits in TV, film, radio and theatre. Jimmy is an inspiring figure within the British acting scene and a leading networker through the company he co-founded – TriForce Promotions.
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Patron, Industry

  • Susie Parriss +

    Susie Parriss has worked as an independent casting director for more than 25 years casting high profile projects such as Endeavour, Lewis, Poldark and many, many more. Susie brings that wealth of experience to ALRA assisting with industry showcases and providing invaluable advice and support.
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ALRA North

  • Barrie Rutter +

    Barrie Rutter OBE, actor and the founder and Artistic Director of the Northern Broadsides theatre company based in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. Barrie was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to drama and became an ALRA patron in 2010.
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Leadership:

  • Professor Adrian Hall (Principal) +

    Born in Uganda, raised in Sefton Park in Liverpool, a caravan in Southport and the leafy suburbs of Staines in Middlesex, Adrian worked as an actor in the West End, Film & TV until he was offered the opportunity to join the faculty of a drama school and changed his career to be exclusively in education. He’s worked in many areas of teaching from Primary to HE and joined ALRA in 2009. A trained Counsellor, Fellow of the RSA, Principal Fellow of the HEA and a passionate believer in equality of opportunity for all, Adrian continues to encourage students at all levels and leads on diversity and opportunity for all in actor training.
  • Sarah Double: Vice Principal (Operations) +

    Sarah studied Stage Management and Technical Theatre at LAMDA and worked for 10 years in theatres across the UK, the Middle East and Australia. On returning to the UK she was the Senior Events Manager at Kempton Park Racecourse for 2 and a half years. Missing theatre she did her PGC in Arts Management and in 2003 co-founded Youth Music Theatre: UK, where she worked for 5 years. She joined the ALRA team in September 2008.
  • Kieran Sheehan: Vice Principal (Curriculum) +

    Kieran Sheehan is Vice Principal (Curriculum) at ALRA with responsibility for overseeing the academic vision, training and partnership development. He is currently undertaking a professional doctorate exploring arts based educational research and reflective practice and regularly works as a consultant for other arts organisations. Kieran is also a movement director. Forthcoming productions and publications include: Lancastrians, directed by Liz Stevenson (National Tour, ACE: 2019), Mina, directed by Nataly Lebouleux (National Tour, ACE:2019), Presenter, Teaching and Learning Conference (Advance HE:2019)
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Academic & Production Staff:

  • Chris Hill* (Dean ALRA North) +

    Chris trained on the MFA in Theatre directing at Birkbeck and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

    He has worked as a director and assistant director with companies including The National Theatre, Opera North, Theatre Royal Bath, Headlong Theatre Company, Bolton Octagon, Birmingham REP, and West Yorkshire Playhouse, where he spent a year as resident assistant director.

    He regularly acts as a mentor for emerging theatre makers, from supervising young companies on behalf of the National Theatre as part of the Connections project, to advising the creators of a large-scale intergenerational dance theatre piece in Kani City, Japan.

  • Sophie Mensah (Dean ALRA South) +

    Sophie Mensah is the Dean and course leader of MA Professional Acting at ALRA South. Sophie currently holds an MA in Actor Training & Coaching with Distinction from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama where she researched ‘Critical Race Theory’ and ‘Intersectional Feminism’ in Actor Training. Sophie is a professional actress having trained at East15 Acting School. As a visiting lecturer Sophie has worked at St Mary’s University, East15 and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

  • Jayne Courtney* (BA Course Leader) +

    Jayne has been teaching and directing for many years across a range of Theatre courses up to HE level and is an experienced examiner and adjudicator. She has been leading the Foundation courses (Full and Part Time) at ALRA North for a number of years. Jayne is one of ALRA’s safeguarding officers, she teachers on the BA course and oversees Learning Support for ALRA North.

  • Aly Spiro (BA Course Leader) +

    Aly Spiro has been working as an actress for many years. She has worked extensively in Theatre, TV, Film and Radio and is probably best known for playing Sarah Sugden in Emmerdale. Aly has been working at drama schools for over ten years at ALRA, LAMDA, Central, Mountview and Urdang both directing and teaching. She is very happy to now be settled at ALRA as Course Leader.

  • Gary Horner* (Lead Skills Tutor) +

    Gary trained at Guildford School of Acting and then went on to The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (RCSSD) and gained an MA in Voice studies. Gary also became a Designated Linklater voice teacher in 2015. Gary has taught at RCSSD, Mountview, Arts Ed, Italia Conti, East 15 and The Brit School. Professionally, Gary has been the voice coach on shows for Headlong Theatre Company, The National Theatre London and The Royal Shakespeare Company.

  • Paloma Oakenfold (Head of Foundation) +

    Paloma trained as an actress at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and went on to work across theatre and television including the BAFTA winning TV series Chewing Gum and The Borgias (Showtime). She won the Michael Bryant Award from the National Theatre and then went on to take an MFA in Theatre Directing at Birkbeck. As a director she has worked with the Lyric Hammersmith, Access All Areas and Team Angelica. She also writes her own plays which have been performed at the Vault Festival, Merge Festival and Branoul Theatre Holland. Paloma is also an acting teacher at Arts Ed.

  • Elen Benfield* (Foundation Course leader) +

    Elen is a graduate of both ALRA North's Foundation Acing Diploma and BA Acting Course. Since studying at ALRA, Elen now works as an actor and as a member of creative teams as a movement director, assistant director and director. She also regularly teaches acting, singing and musical theatre to classes of varying ages and abilities. Elen is really excited to be able to come back to ALRA North to lead the Foundation Course as she understands first-hand what a crucial step it can be in the journeys of some individuals through their actor training.

  • Jane Jeffery (Senior Acting Tutor) +

    Jane trained at ALRA after previously working as a lawyer. She has worked extensively in TV appearing in EastEnders, Casualty, Holby City, Emmerdale, Coronation Street, Doctors, Hollyoaks, Coalition, River, Top Boy, The Gates, The Bill and Law and Order UK. She has also appeared in the West End and other London theatres and has worked for many years as a guest director and tutor at London drama schools, directing internal projects and final shows for Third Year and Post Graduate students. Jane is the co-Artistic Director of new writing theatre company, First Sight Theatre.

  • Gareth Taylor (Lead Movement Tutor) +

    After graduating from GSA, Gareth trained at the Jacques Lecoq school in Paris. Since returning he’s worked with some of the fastest growing theatre companies in the UK, including Punchdrunk, Slung Low, Rough Fiction and the award winning curious directive, of which he’s a Creative Associate. As a performance capture artist he has worked on over 30 video games as well as multiple feature films. He is Movement Associate of The Mocap Vaults who teach performance capture techniques to the new generation of actors, animators and directors, preparing them for a life in lycra.

  • Michael White* (Lead Movement Tutor) +

    Michael trained at the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris after completing a BA in Performance Theatre at York University. He is Artistic Director of Square Peg Theatre who focus on combining new writing with physical theatre to create bold, cinematic and highly choreographed stories for the stage. More info via www.squarepegtheatre.co.uk

  • Jane Vicary* (Lead Voice Tutor) +

    Jane trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Her research into voice and gender was published in the VASTA Journal of 2007 and she continued her practice research and training with Nadine George and Margaret Pikes (Roy Hart Theatre) and Kristin Linklater. Working extensively in education, at the Central School of Speech and Drama, the Royal Northern College of Music, and the School of Theatre at Manchester Metropolitan University, she has been Producer and Musical Director for Demi-Paradise, directed at Cumbria Institute of the Arts and was Senior Voice Tutor at the Arden School of Theatre before moving to ALRA.

  • Gemma Maddock (Lead Voice Tutor) +

    Gemma originally trained as an actor at the Ballarat Academy of Performing Arts, in Australia, before travelling across the globe to train as a Voice Coach at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (RCSSD) London, gaining her MFA in Voice Studies. Gemma has taught at many leading drama schools and universities in London including Rose Bruford, Arts Ed, East 15, Trinity Laban and St Mary’s University. More recently she worked as the resident voice coach for the UK and Ireland tour of Matilda the Musical. She has also worked on other West End and touring productions such as, Strictly Ballroom the Musical, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Wild Party, The Railway Children & Lin Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights. Gemma is also the co-Artistic Director of The Kindling Collective, an ensemble based Theatre Company focused on making physical, visceral, sensory rich performances.

  • John Wild (MFA Voice/Lead Mindfulness & Wellbeing Practitioner) +

    John has worked extensively as an actor, director and voice coach within theatre, TV, film and radio, both in the UK and abroad. John trained in voice at The Central School of Speech and Drama in 1994/5 and then became a Roy Hart voice teacher in 2007 and a designated Kristen Linklater teacher in 2011. John has had unique experience with the voice and continues to have a passion for awakening an individual's potential, by freeing their voice.

  • Stephen Barr* (Head of Recorded Media) +

    Stephen has worked extensively within television and film in post-production and production management roles which has taken him across the globe - working in USA, Germany, Spain, Norway and France – as well as Weatherfield, editing Coronation Street. For 10 years Stephen was co-director of award-winning production company First Take, where he produced and directed the feature documentary, Pink: Past & Present in 2010. Stephen is fluent in all aspects of the film production process – specialising in editing and post-production.

  • Billy Geraghty (Camera Acting Tutor) +

    Billy has worked as an actor for 25 years. On stage, in Regional theatres as well as the West End and internationally, his credits include leading roles in the musicals Buddy and Great Balls of Fire. For TV: regular characters in The Last Detective, London Bridge, Holly Oaks, East Enders and appearances in other high profile series such as Poldark, Poirot and Whitechapel. Film credits: No Child of Mine, Slapper and Me, and Franklyn amongst others. He has written and directed touring productions for UK and international venues.

  • Ria Tubman (Head of Productions) +

    Ria trained in Technical Theatre at Middlesex University and has been working as a Stage and Production Manager since 2000. Since starting her career as DSM at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Ria has gone on to work at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Buxton Opera House, Hackney Empire, as well as working extensively in the West End and on many touring productions, Ria has also worked at many music events and festivals such as Glastonbury.

  • David Ford* (Head of Production) +

  • Mell Bird* (Assistant Production Manager) +

  • Aidan Good (Assistant Production Manager) +

  • Andy Robinson (Resident Designer) +

  • Samantha Ackerley* (Resident Designer) +

    Sam completed her BA (Hons) degree in Design for Performance at Edge Hill University in 2013. Whilst studying there she was awarded an On-Course Excellence Scholarship in Creative Arts. Sam has designed for shows including ‘A Dybbuk’, ‘Peter Pan: The British Musical’, ‘Les Miserables: School Edition’ ‘Grease’ & 'Steel Magnolias'. Sam has also worked as Assistant Curator for exhibitions including ‘Exclaim!’ at The Lowry and ‘Critical Costume’ Symposium at Edge Hill University. Sam has been designing shows for Alra North since 2016 including 'Swallows and Amazons', 'Jerusalem', 'Once a Catholic' & 'The Last Days of Judas Iscariot'.

    Sam is a creative individual with experience in set design, model making, technical drawing, costume design and budget management.

    Sam also runs the Wardrobe department based at Alra North.

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Professional Services & Technical Staff:

  • Aaron Lowman (Academic Registrar) +

    Aaron is a Doctorate student currently researching Politics and Policy development in Higher Education. He is a School Governor, an Inspector with the British Accreditation Council and a Higher Education Consultant. Aaron was previously a TEF Subject Pilot Main Panel Member and Deputy Chair of a Subject Panel, he was also a member of the QAA’s Strategic Student Advisory Board. He joined in ALRA in 2017.

  • Dylan Stafford (Head of Admissions) +

    North East born and bred and now living in London, Dylan is well placed to advise on how best to navigate the issues faced by students at both ALRA campuses. As a recent graduate from the ALRA Postgraduate Acting course, Dylan is in prime position to lend a hand on all matters accommodation, funding and pastoral. Alongside working at ALRA, he has extensive, first-hand knowledge of acting agencies including the workings of co-operatives. And as a jobbing actor he is fully aware of the demands of the industry.

  • Lorraine Balderson* (Registry & Finance Assistant) +

  • Lynn Howes (Head of Marketing) +

    Lynn joined ALRA in March 2015 with over 20 years of professional experience, having taken a Theatre Studies degree at Brunel University, a Post-Grad Diploma in Acting at LAMDA and an MA in Applied & Participatory Theatre at Royal Holloway University. Lynn has worked as an actor, as a lecturer in actor training and contextual studies at drama schools and as a workshop leader for community drama projects. She is a published playwright and a trustee for Giants Theatre.

  • Nina Robinson (Marketing Assistant | Social Media & Digital) +

  • Eleanor Walker-Smith (Head of Academic Services) +

  • Sarah Brandon* (PA to Principal & Academic Services Assistant) +

  • Agnes Rato (Head of Finance) +

  • Melissa Thorley (Human Resources) +

  • April Sibal (Secretary to SLC) +

    Secretary to Senior Management April joined ALRA back in 2012 where she took on the role of the Secretary to the SMT. April has been supporting both the staff and the students where her organisational skills have been a great asset, ensuring that everyone gets where there need to be by booking all travel and accommodations for shows and events.

  • Jane Christie (Student Liaison Officer) +

  • Sue Watson (Administrator) +

    Sue has worked at ALRA for 12 years and is usually the first point of contact for students and visitors in the front office.

  • Lorraine Penman* (Catering Manager) +

  • Darren Penton (Facilities Manager) +

  • Greg Pearson* (Facilities Manager) +

  • David Smith* (Assistant Facilities Manager) +

  • Caroline Penton (Cleaner) +

  • Rebecca Green* (Cleaner) +

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Trustees

  • Harry Cowd - Chair (Retired Headteacher) +

    Harry became Chair of the Board at ALRA in 2010. He serves in the public, charity and voluntary sectors and was a primary Head Teacher before retirement. Harry chairs Merton Vision; The Battersea Power Station Community Forum and is a Churchwarden. He has experience of working with minority communities and is also past chair of POLKA Theatre and a Local and Health Authority
  • Luke Adamson (Actor & ALRA Graduate 2010) +

    I am a young actor, director, writer and producer from Selby in Yorkshire. I made my professional stage debut aged only nine and my professional TV debut aged sixteen. I completed a BA(Hons) in acting at the Academy of Live and Recorded arts between 2008-2011. In 2010 I founded Black Coffee Theatre with two friends, I am also Creative Associate for touring Shakespeare company Permanently Bard and the Audience Development, Outreach & Fundraising Officer for The Hope Theatre in Islington. I am working hard to create theatre for new as well as existing audiences and move away from the elitism
  • Tony Bradshaw (Retired Headteacher) +

    Tony Bradshaw is a former Wigan secondary head teacher. He is currently vice chair of Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, a trustee of the Young Persons Centre in Wigan and treasurer of his local church. He is a Paul Harris Fellow and past president of Wigan Rotary Club. He became a trustee of ALRA in 2011.
  • Ben Kernow +

    Hailing from Cornwall, Ben Kernow trained at ALRA graduating in 2013. He has worked as an actor since then. His work has ranged from national touring shows, weekly repertory theatre along with numerous film and commercial credits. He is also the artistic director of Ha-Hum-Ah Theatre.
  • Phil Hirst MBE +

  • Michael Lyle +

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Visiting Faculty

Acting

  • Kate Coogan

  • David Crowley

  • Andrew Dennis

  • Gordon House

  • Katie Lewis

  • Simon Mattacks

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Actor Voice

  • Holly Aisbitt

  • Sally Bishop

  • Tim Bond (Choral & Musicianship) *

  • Mary Cunningham *

  • Joanna Clark *

  • Natalie Grady *

  • Helen Parry *

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Actor Movement

  • Ruth Cooper-Brown (Combat)

  • Kate Engineer

  • Lucia Tong

  • True Edge (Combat)

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Film Directors

  • Neil Alderton

  • Chris Cronin

  • Samuel Dore

  • Lynne Harwood

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Foundation Course

  • Tim Bond (Choral & Musicianship) *

  • Hannah Quigley

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Directors on Public Productions:

  • Elisa Amesbury

  • Gerard Bell

  • Helena Bell

  • Lucy Bradley

  • Joyce Branagh

  • Ben Caplan

  • Neil Caple

  • James Cartwright

  • Susie Catliff

  • Darren Cheek

  • Phil Clark

  • Kate Coogan

  • Jenny Eastop

  • Dee Evans

  • Emma Gersch

  • Martin Gibbons

  • Teresa Grimsditch

  • Andrew Hall

  • Judy Holt

  • Sarah Hughes

  • Rosamunde Hutt

  • Louise Jameson

  • Martin Jameson

  • Des Kennedy

  • Titania Krimpas

  • Katie Lewis

  • Kwong Loke

  • Ewan Marshall

  • Ken McClymont

  • Laurence Mitchell

  • Chris Monks

  • Jonathan Moore

  • Kate Morton

  • Gareth Nicholls

  • Kenn Oldfield

  • Madeleine O’Reilly

  • Liz Postlethwaite

  • Paul Robinson

  • Kevin Shaw

  • Pip Short

  • Ruta Staseviciute

  • Guy Slater

  • Roman Stefanski

  • Alyx Tole

  • Sean Turner

  • George Turvey

  • Dickon Tyrrell

  • Max Webster

  • Holly Wilson

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Set & Costume Designers on Public Productions

  • Lauren Cameron

  • Nik Corall

  • Richard Foxton

  • Madeline Herbert

  • Rhyannon Richardson

  • Anna Toumanova

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Lighting Designers on Public Productions 

  • Mark Dymock

  • Douglas Kuhrt

  • Aideen Malone

  • Prema Mehta

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Stage Managers

  • Emma Hansford

  • Neil Webb

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Wardrobe

  • Xye Appleton

  • Natasha Brain

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Stage Craft

  • David Evans

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Prospectus
ALRA's Notable Alumni
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Reasons to study at ALRA
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    ALRA is a leading conservatoire drama school with a reputation for training hard working, fully-rounded professional actors.
  • ALRA’s acting training includes includes specialist instruction in stage, film, TV, audio, comedy, voice and movement and is supported with contextual studies to prepare for work.
  • ALRA is a leading conservatoire drama school with a reputation for training hard working, fully-rounded professional actors.
  • ALRA has built strong relationships within the industry and our showcases and productions are directed and attended by agents, directors, casting directors, writers, producers and our own inspiring Alumni.
  • ALRA’s resident teams are dedicated, talented professionals with a wealth of knowledge and experience and a passion for teaching. Our students are supported in all aspects of their studies.
  • ALRA’s reputation of securing opportunities for students grows each year and our Alumni are working in the West End, Regional and Touring Theatre Productions, as well as in Film, TV and Comedy both in the UK and beyond.
  • ALRA recruits a comparatively small number of students each year so that everybody has our full attention and feels part of the school from the moment they arrive.
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