Current Student & Staff Login


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North and South


Jimmy Akingbola

Patron South

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.

Susie Parriss

Patron Industry

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.

Barrie Rutter

Patron North

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.


Adrian Hall


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)


Aaron Lowman

Academic Registrar

Aaron is a Doctorate student currently researching Politics and Policy development in Higher Education. He is a member of QAA’s Advisory Committee on Degree Awarding Powers, a School Governor and an Inspector with the British Accreditation Council. 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.

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.


Dean ALRA South

Academic & Production Staff

Jayne Courtney

Course Leader BA & Wellbeing Practitioner

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

Course Leader BA

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

Course Leader MA

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.

Jane Jeffery

Lead 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

Gemma Maddock

Lead Voice Tutor and Co-Course Leader MA Acting

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.

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.

Stephen Barr

Head of Film

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

Film 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.

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

Head of Foundation

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.

Ria Tubman

Head of Production

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

Aidan Good

Assistant Production Manager

Mell Bird

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.

Professional Services

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

Lorraine has been at ALRA since October 2015 where she assists the Head of Admissions with the admissions process for both campuses. She is also the main contact for our Dance and Drama Award and assists students through the process.

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

Sarah was born and raised in Wigan and worked in Early Years Education for 12 years before joining ALRA in 2015. She supports staff and students with administration and is usually the first point of call for visitors and students at ALRA North.

Agnes Rato

Head of Finance

Rosalind Kenyon

Human Resources Manager

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


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

Sarah Ward


Lorraine Penman

Catering Manager

Darren Penton

Facilities Manager

Greg Pearson

Facilities Manager

David Smith

Assistant Facilities Manager & Carpenter

Caroline Penton


Rebecca Green



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…

Jane Anderson

Casting Director

Jane Anderson is a Casting Director for TV and Film, and has cast for BAFTA & Award winning productions. She has extensive knowledge of many aspects of the industry, having grown up with family and friends in the performing arts, specialising in performance photography in her Contemporary Media degree, as well as working in production for over 3 years; covering feature films, commercials and an animation series. She is passionate about fair representation within the industry, and as she works extensively with young performers, is keen to give support and opportunities to many starting out. She is a Londoner, but moved to the North for a better life, and has immersed herself in the North West’s cultural scene. She is also a Trustee of 53Two Arts Venue in Manchester.

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.

Harry Cowd


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

Harriet Dyer

Comedian, Writer and Mental Health Advocate

Phil Hirst MBE

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.

Michael Lyle

Michael Lyle trained at ALRA and has had extensive work in theatre, including at The National Theatre and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

Michelle Nicholson


Kevin Shaw

Former Oldham Coliseum Artistic Director

Kevin recently became the Chief Executive and Artistic Director of The Albany Theatre in Coventry, with a brief to further develop the company and oversee the refurbishment and extension of the beautiful Art Deco Theatre. He previously spent 17 years as Chief Executive and Artistic Director at Oldham Coliseum Theatre where he directed more than 70 productions, including 15 pantomimes (which he co-wrote). He also founded the Coliseum’s thriving learning and engagement department giving thousands of participants opportunities to engage with theatre. Before this he spent 7 years in the New Forest as Artistic Director of Forest Forge, a rural touring theatre company and 4 years as Associate Director at Salisbury Playhouse. Kevin has a strong commitment to developing creative talent, providing a platform and professional support for work from emerging theatre companies and artists and is delighted to be a Trustee of ALRA.