Theatre School Team

The Team

Peter Addis

PETER ADDIS BA (Hons) Theatre Degree

Co-Principal
Head of Senior Performing Arts School

Peter received a First Class Honours degree from Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, graduating as an Actor-Musician. He initially performed in many typical Actor-Musician shows such as Return to the Forbidden Planet; From a Jack to a King and Buddy on tour and in the West End, as well as appearing in several straight plays and on TV in popular shows like EastEnders; The Bill and London’s Burning. However directing, which was always his greatest passion, very soon became the mainstay of his career and he directed The Missing Link (Quantum Theatre), The End of the World Show (Great Escape Theatre); Statements of Attainment (Bradford Playhouse) and Nativity (Soho Theatre). He also directed Love off the Shelf (Guildford Conservatoire) and Children of Eden; Cider With Rosie; HMS Pinafore; Thoroughly Modern Millie; Ruddigore; Once on this Island; Iolanthe, High School Musical and The Wedding Singer all for Arts Educational School in Chiswick. Peter was the Assistant Director on A Delicate Balance (Theatre Royal, Haymarket) with Maggie Smith and Eileen Atkins and for over seven years was the London Associate Director for the hit ABBA musical Mamma Mia!. For the last five years Peter has been Associate Director and Head of Acting at Midland’s Academy of Dance and Drama for whom he has directed Spend, Spend, Spend; Snoopy, Into The Woods, Fame, Sweet Charity, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, A Chorus Line, Sweeny Todd, Footloose, Parade, The Hired Man, Honk and Jekyll and Hyde. Future projects include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Thoroughly Modern Millie for Midlands Academy.


Jacqueline Addis

JACQUELINE ADDIS ARAD, RAD RTS

Co-Principal
Head of Junior Performing Arts School
RAD Ballet

Jacqueline trained at The Academy of Ballet in Edinburgh, during which time she became an Associate of The Royal Academy of Dance. She has enjoyed a long and successful career in theatre, appearing in productions as varied as the renowned Gaiety Whirl in Ayr to The Merry Wives of Windsor at the prestigious Chichester Festival Theatre. Along the way Jacqueline appeared in pantomimes at Stirling, Motherwell and Ayr as well as Plymouth Theatre Royal and the Birmingham Hippodrome. Having won a scholarship from The Stage she then took a Post Graduate course in acting. Her West End credits include Brigadoon (Victoria Palace); The Laurence Olivier Awards (Dominion); My One and Only (London Palladium); The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Strand); The Killing of Sister George (Ambassadors); Closer (Lyric) and Mamma Mia! (Prince Edward). Latterly Jacqueline moved into Stage Management and ultimately to production where she had the privilege to travel and work as PA to Judy Craymer MBE, the Producer and Creator of Mamma Mia!. To date the productions of which she is most proud are her two children! As an RAD Registered Teacher, Jacqueline regularly attends seminars and courses at the Royal Academy of Dance and the Royal Ballet School.


Susan Cullen

SUSAN CULLEN MA BSc PGCE

Acting - Performing Arts (7-18 years)

A postgraduate of the prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama (CSSD) with an MA in Voice Studies, Susan is a professional performer, director, voice and acting coach. She is currently Head of Voice at the Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama in Nottingham, and has been a guest lecturer at CSSD and Essex College of Performing Arts. Susan originally trained as an opera singer and made her professional principal debut as Countess Ceprano with English National Opera in the award winning mafia style Rigoletto directed by Jonathan Miller. Her international operatic career has taken her to Europe, the middle and far East and the USA. TV and radio broadcasts include appearances for Channel 4 and Thames TV. She was assistant director and vocal consultant at The Castle Theatre Wellingborough for The Princess and The Pea, and created and directed their one week summer course Acting Out. With an early training that included dance and gymnastics, Susan naturally moved into the world of cabaret and musicals. She appeared in the award winning West End musical Chess and toured the UK with The Sound of Music, combining understudying the role of Maria with the responsibility of Dance Mistress and rehearsing in each new cast of children. She also created several new roles in the field of music theatre with Babel Theatre Company. Since 2005, Susan has worked as venue director with the Shakespeare for Schools Festival, using professional venues and technical support to stage hundreds of performances by school children. Susan is also a Shakespeare Champion, one of a nationwide team working towards Shakespeare 2012. The aim is to have a nationwide celebration of Shakespeare to coincide with the London Olympics, spanning amateur, professional and youth and community settings. Working with up and coming talent has always been her passion, and in 1998 Susan launched and spearheaded a travelling Opera in Education company,The Opera Express! She has translated and rearranged several popular operas, creating inventive re-workings that include the best loved melodies, imaginatively restaged for students to perform alongside professionals over an intensive day-long experience, up to 100 children at a time would create a public performance in a local theatre. The company’s groundbreaking work with Carmen at Bow school in London’s east end was the subject of a documentary film narrated by Tom Conti.


Joantha Wood

JOANTHA WOOD

Dance - Performing Arts (7-18 years)

Joantha trained at The Hylton Bromley School of Dance and Drama, on the Wirral. Her first taste of professional work was performing as a child in pantomimes at the Floral Pavilion New Brighton. On leaving Hylton Bromleys she toured Europe for two years, with a six-member dance group, gaining what was once a much-treasured possession.... An Equity Card!! On returning to the UK, she successfully auditioned for the original touring production of Cats, playing Cassandra and Bomballurina. The tour visited Blackpool, Edinburgh and Dublin. This was the first time a long running established West End Musical had toured, and it paved the way for all tours since. She transferred from the tour into the West End production at the New London Theatre playing the same roles. After leaving Cats she performed at The London Palladium and Drury Lane in The Royal Variety and The Lawrence Olivier Awards. Her next engagement was in the musical Cabaret (Sheffield Crucible), appearing along side Andy Serkis, of Gollum fame. She was then asked to return to the West End to appear once again in Cats. Following this Joantha gained a role in the tap extravaganza Gershwin Musical, Crazy for You (Prince Edward Theatre), and stayed put for two years, then went on tour with the same production. Whilst performing in Crazy for You, Joantha appeared in various television shows including The Big Breakfast, Challenge Anneka, Talking Telephone Numbers, London Tonight and A Tribute to Gershwin (Royal Albert Hall). She also met and married her husband! Jo’s professional performing career came to an end with the arrival of the first of her three children. She now enjoys sharing her passion for the theatre with a new generation, and has taught at many theatre schools and taken master classes throughout the UK.


Melissa Taylor

MELISSA TAYLOR

Singing - Performing Arts (7-18 years)

Melissa studied Musical Theatre at London Studio Centre. Upon graduating, she was invited by Arlene Phillips, to audition for Starlight Express, she was successful and played the roles of Pearl, Dinah, Ashley and Buffy. Whilst in Starlight, Melissa was again asked to audition for an up and coming musical workshop called Whistle Down The Wind where she rehearsed and performed alongside the Hollywood actor Martin Sheen at the home of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Melissa then went on to play the role of 'Frenchy' in Grease at the Dominion Theatre London and The Cambridge Theatre London. After leaving Grease she was then successful and extremely proud to be part of the Original cast of the hit musical Mamma Mia! where she created and played the role of 'Lisa' and then a year later she went on to take over the role of 'Ali' (and of course where she was under the direction of Peter Addis). Melissa has appeared in TV adverts, TV shows, many Royal Variety Performances and is on the credits of The New Starlight Express and Mamma Mia! albums. Melissa is now a private vocal coach, passing her knowledge on to a new generation. She loves working with young voices; helping, encouraging and inspiring them to achieve their best, as their voices develop. She lives with her husband and 2 grown up children.


Jacob River

JACOB RIVER

Commercial Dance

Jacob is a graduate of the Wilkes Academy of Performing Arts where he trained in a variety of dance styles including Contemporary, Tap, Commercial and Ballet whilst also studying Musical Theatre. Jacob enjoys all styles of dancing and this has enabled him to perform in theatres, concerts, stadiums, cruise ships and even television work. He encourages a high energy, high impact atmosphere during his commercial classes to allow his students to express themselves freely, improve as dancers and become more versatile performers. Jacob loves to perform and teach and is very excited to be a part of the CentreStage team, sharing his love for performing.


Georgina Butler

GEORGINA BUTLER

Adult Ballet

Georgina Butler is a journalist, a dance writer, and a dance teacher who specialises in teaching classical ballet. Georgina began ballet classes when she was two-and-a-half years old and simply cannot imagine her life without dance. She is trained to advanced vocational level with both the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) and the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). Georgina is a First Class Honours graduate of the Royal Academy of Dance. As a student on the Academy’s BA (Hons) Dance Education Degree programme, Georgina achieved “Distinction” at both Certificate and Diploma levels and was awarded an academic scholarship bursary by the RAD’s Faculty of Education. Georgina is also a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science and trained as a journalist. Her journalism career to date has included working as a reporter for local newspapers, contributing diverse editorial to websites, and creating and editing content for global brands. Now an established dance and theatre writer, Georgina previews and reviews productions from the likes of English National Ballet, Northern Ballet and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. She works with these companies, and others, to advocate dance whenever the opportunity may arise. As a dance teacher, Georgina has experience in teaching people of all ages and abilities – from tiny tots to advanced vocational students and adults. She takes great pride in sharing her enthusiasm for learning, improving, performing and watching dance. Above all, she endeavours to help everyone in her classes recognise their strengths and progress positively. Georgina holds a Full DBS; Sport, Recreation and Leisure Liability Insurance and Level 3 qualifications in First Aid, Child Protection and Fitness. 
georginabutler.co.uk 


Holly Shiels

HOLLY SHIELS

ISTD Tap & Modern

Holly recently graduated from Momentum Performing Arts Academy having successfully completed their 3 year Diploma in Musical Theatre. Whilst studying, Holly appeared in several productions, playing a variety of roles, including Sally Bowles in Chicago and Roxie Hart in Cabaret, as well as appearing in Grand Hotel, Stage Door and Seussical. She began dancing at the young age of 3 and now lists Ballet, Tap, Modern, Jazz, Contemporary and Commercial on her CV. Whilst studying, Holly also completed the ISTD Teacher Training course, gaining her teaching qualifications in ISTD Tap, Modern and Commercial Street Dance Associate. Holly has also attended several West End workshops for shows such as Mamma Mia!, Cats, A Chorus Line, Top Hat and many more, bringing different ideas and inspiration to her choreography. Teaching has always been a passion for Holly and she loves to see her pupils enjoying themselves whilst dancing. She loves teaching good technique, whilst encouraging her pupils to grow as performers. Holly is really looking forward to becoming part of the CentreStage MK team.


Hannah Pickett

HANNAH PICKETT

Contemporary Dance

Hannah Pickett is a dance artist, choreographer and teacher based in Milton Keynes. Since graduating with a first class BA (Hons) Dance Degree from the University of Roehampton, she has taught contemporary dance to children, young people and adults of all different ages and abilities in a variety of schools, summer programmes, theatre companies, workshops and short courses. She has directed and choreographed a number of large children’s theatre productions for over 95 children with Kaleidoscope Theatre (Lewes) and organised youth dance events for Kaleidoscope Youth Dance and most recently MOTUS Youth Dance Company (MYDC). Since moving to Milton Keynes in 2019, she has taught contemporary dance in schools including Knowles Primary School, Loughton Manor First School, Wood End First School and Brooklands Farm Primary School. Hannah’s professional choreographic work and improvisational performances have been performed nationally and internationally in Brighton, Norwich, Amsterdam, Spain and across East Sussex. She works with professional dancers to showcase choreography that engages, empowers and intrigues audiences in theatre and site-specific settings.
www.hannahpickettdance.com

GEORGIA WOOD

Junior School assistant

CHARLOTTE MCKENNA

Assistant for Ballet classes

EVE BRETT

Assistant for Ballet classes

NIAMH HARVEY

Assistant for Ballet classes

CHILD PROTECTION

All our staff have had fully enhanced CRB/DBS checks.