Meet our teachers
Principal - Julia Howson - ALCM
Julia is a singer/actress/dancer having trained at the Kathleen Grist School of Dance and the Guildford School of Acting. Carrying on the theatrical tradition of her family it was also the inspiration of a wonderful drama teacher and like minded friends at school that made her mind up about the path she would take in life. Julia has played many leading roles in professional musical theatre including CATS (Hamburg), LES MISERABLES (London), THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW(UK tour) and THE SOUND OF MUSIC (Plymouth & UK tour), plus many pantomimes, TV appearances and concerts. Julia is a member of Equity and the British Voice Association and gives private vocal coaching sessions in Abingdon. Julia had several years experience as a manager and singing teacher for Stagecoach before becoming Principal of the Abingdon centre in 2001 and Wantage in 2006. She has seen many wonderful children blossom and grow into confident young adults through Stagecoach and looks forward to every weekend working with them.
Dance Coach - Jenna Newby
Jenna joined the Friday team as dance teacher in January. Jenna has grown up locally but dances all over the world! Since training at Swindon College and then the renowned Bodywork, Cambridge Performing Arts dance course, Jenna has been Dance Captain and lead dancer for P & O Cruises Headliners Theatre Company. Other work includes the UK tour of Spirit Of The Dance with choreographer Alan Harding, and Blue Peter. Whilst at Bodyworks she gained the awards for Best Choreography 2006 and Best Jazz Dancer 2007. Jenna is looking forward to being on dry land again and passing on her enthusiasm for dance to our young students.
Dance Coach - Lauren O'Day - BA hons, MA
Lauren is Dance Teacher for our Saturday schools and choreographer for our Dance Troupe who perform at local and London events. Lauren is passionate about many aspects of dance. She is an Associate Member of the UKA in Stage Dance and has also trained in ballet, tap, street, modern, belly and ballroom dance. She was a fine art student at Oxford Brookes University as well as President of the Fortune Players there, and gained her MA in Visual Language of Performance at the Wimbledon College of Art. Lauren now runs her own dance school for adults in Oxford and has worked for several years as a dance teacher for children in her home city of Manchester taking them through exams and choreographing shows.
Singing Coach - Derry Pope
Derry is an accomplished singer, musician, and musical arranger. He is highly knowledgeable in all things musical and theatrical and teaches a variety of styles from the popular, musical theatre and light classical repertoire with an emphasis on safe vocal technique. Derry trained in the performing arts at Redroofs Theatre School, Maidenhead, and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He has sung at the Royal Festival Hall and Cardiff Millennium Centre for the Singer of the Year competition and has performed in various productions on the London Fringe. Derry performs in pantomime each year at the Novello Theatre, Ascot and is developing a career as a solo cabaret artist and composer.
Drama Coach - Gavin Moore - BA(Hons), MA
Gavin has quickly established himself as a popular and inventive teacher at Stagecoach Abingdon. He trained at East 15 drama school, University of Essex, where he studied Acting for TV, Film and Radio. Prior to this he was at Oxford Brookes University studying performing arts in the community and education with sports and coaching. He also holds a BTEC in Performance from Abingdon & Witney College. Gavin has been working as a drama workshop leader for Creation Theatre, Oxford, producing and directing Shakespeare plays with children and running drama clubs in schools, and has extensive experience in entertaining and organizing children having worked as a Red Coat for Butlins and as a dancer/character for Disneyland Paris!
Drama Coach - Andrea Mardon - BA
Andrea works extensively as a drama teacher, workshop leader and director here in the UK and internationally. She is the founder and artistic director of the company Acting Abroad which provides summer acting programmes for young people in France and, whilst in the UK, she currently works with the Abingdon Drama Club and several afterschool drama clubs in south Oxfordshire. She originally trained as an actress with the Old Globe Theatre Education Dept. and has a BA in Apparel and Costume Design from the Ryerson University, Toronto. Andrea is also one of our LAMDA acting exam coaches and will be working with the Further Stages class on performance technique in the summer term.
Early Stages Coach - Nicolle Nyazika - BSc
Nicolle teaches the 6 YEAR OLDS' Early Stages class on Saturday afternoons. This is a preparation class for moving on to the Main School when they approach age 7. All the children do singing, dance and drama with Nicolle who has been a long term student at Stagecoach Oxford, progressing to a teaching assistant and now a workshop leader herself. She continues her dance training in contemporary, street, ballet, jazz and funk fusion at Pineapple Dance Studios, London. Nicolle is also an instructor for the Oxford School of Martial Arts and combines dance and martial arts whilst working with the dance society at the University of East London.
Early Stages Coach - Sarah Martin
Sarah teaches singing, dance, and drama for the under 7s, Early Stages, at Stagecoach on a Saturday morning and for our summer holiday workshops. She trained in Musical Theatre at Millennium Performing Arts, London. After graduating, she began teaching dance in Berkshire and Oxfordshire to children and adults whilst continuing to perform in pantomimes, most recently as Cinderella, and professional dance shows. She also had the wonderful experience last year of working for 3 months in New York as an Assistant Choreographer at the renowned Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center. Sarah regularly teaches Contemporary, Jazz, Street, Ballet, Tap and Musical Theatre dance, as well as Drama and Singing with younger children. She is also Artistic Director of the Junior and Senior West Berkshire Youth Dance Company, the first of its kind in Newbury.