THE OPEN STAGE TEAM
All Open Stage practitioners work with us on a freelance basis, providing a wealth of skills and experience to teach a wide range of disciplines. Our staff are trained via accredited boards, obtaining a high level of knowledge and alongside their own experience from Disney to Broadway they guide our students young and old to fulfil their potential and dreams.
All staff members hold up to date DBS certificates and are trained professionals within their subjects, we also have qualifying staff who are able to train whilst working with us as part of our ever-growing team.
Rachael is a full teacher member with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance. She is an examiner and a registered teacher member with ‘I-Path’ International Performing Arts and Theatre and is also an Acrobatic Arts Certified Teacher with added AcroDance Pre-School teacher certification. She is currently studying ‘Dance Psychotherapy’.
Rachael trained with ISTD, RAD, BTDA, IDTA and Acrobatic Arts in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Stage Dance, Modern Theatre Dance, Acrobatics plus Drama, Acting, Directing for the Stage and Vocal training. She plays five instruments and performed as a child to adulthood.
Her theatre-based career began with Royal and Derngate in 1999. This experience combined with her studies and work within schools led her to form the ‘Open Stage Performance Group’. She later became an Associate Director for R&D theatres combining Open Stage with their youth theatre for a set period of time.
Open Stage has been a part of Rachael’s life for more than twenty years. She taught Saturday and evening classes alongside her theatre career. Original students now bring their own children along!
Rachael has directed and choreographed many stage shows, including writing and directing ‘The Divide’ (working with Chris Startup), a musical that premièred at the
Derngate. Offers of work came from theatre companies and so she became freelance. She was an artist, facilitator and performer for ‘Bamboozle Theatre Company’ for a decade and in 2006 she became Performing Arts Coordinator for Northgate School, supporting them to be the first secondary special needs school in the country to gain ‘Arts Status’. From 2008 she was Artistic Director for RIP Productions and continued performing, directing, choreographing, producing and writing plays and musicals. She was Artistic Director for Peterborough City Council's Musical Project designing and facilitating a programme that led a diverse community to perform alongside professional actors.
She completed an MA in Performance Arts in 2011.
Rachael provided theatrical workshop design and delivery for The National Theatre London. Twelve years ago she developed Open Stage further adding more accredited examinations accompanied by a move to becoming the sole occupier of permanent premises ten years ago. She studied further Early Years qualifications and developed Open Stage’s 2-4 year old dance programme. Her self-designed multi-sensory baby programme ‘Multi-Sensory Hoo-Ha’ was viewed by an ISTD Fellowship member. She also designed and created ‘Great Big Story Book’. Rachael is keeping herself busy studying for a higher ballet teacher qualification and a dance therapy training course. She believes that CPD is important for all arts facilitators.
Rachael has a very patient family that supports Open Stage. Her son Joe is a performer and her partner Steven is a writer. She is extremely proud of her staff and students and the continuous development of her positive, vibrant company.
Lillian teaches Tap, Modern Theatre Dance, Cheerleading, Musical Theatre, Adult Tap and Adult Musical Theatre Dance for Open Stage.
Lillian grew up in Scotland and graduated with a BA Hons in Musical Theatre. During her studies, and more recently with the Northampton Musical Theatre Company, she played several principal roles including parts in Sister Act, Whistle Down The Wind, Oklahoma!, Grease, Guys and Dolls, Blitz! and Little Shop of Horrors. She also performed as a dancer in the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Her professional work includes the title role in the pantomimes Dick Whittington and Aladdin, working as a dancer for Disneyland Resort Paris and being a Park Resorts Team Star running kids’ clubs and performing in the Team Star productions.
Lillian has more than 10 years teaching experience and is an ISTD qualified teacher, having attained her Diploma in Dance Education in Tap and Modern Theatre dance. She is also a qualified cheerleading coach through the UK Cheerleading Association.
Since moving to Northampton Lillian has been teaching dance in primary and theatre schools. She has choreographed for youth productions of Annie, Matilda, and The Wizard of Oz, as well as many dance and theatre school variety shows.
Lillian joined the Open Stage team in 2016, originally teaching Tap and Modern Theatre dance as well as introducing Cheerleading to the school. She has enjoyed the challenge of producing large-scale tap routines for our Derngate shows which featured more than 30 tap dancers aged 8 to 74!
Outside of Open Stage Lillian is kept busy looking after her two young boys as well as running her own dance school on Saturdays.
Harriet teaches various dance grades and classes at Open Stage and introduced Classical Greek to our pre-teen age group. She also leads early years community arts sessions alongside Miss Rachael.
At the age of three, Harriet began dancing at the ‘Kilburn School of Dance’ studying Ballet, Modern, Tap, Classical Greek, National, Musical Theatre and Jazz.
She was very successful at dance festivals, regularly reaching the finals of the All England Dance Competition and achieving places at the National Finals. Harriet performed at the 'Dance Proms' at the Royal Albert Hall on two occasions and gained further performance experience by participating in local amateur and semi-professional dramatic performances.
She gained further training at the ‘Italia Conti Arts Centre’ where she completed her ISTD DDIs in Modern Theatre, National Folk Dance and Classical Greek. It was here that she discovered her love of choreography and teaching. She has since achieved her ISTD DDEs in Classical Greek and Modern Theatre and is now working towards the advanced Licentiate qualification.
Harriet teaches at several dance schools across Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire, she has been part of the Open Stage family since 2018 and continues to love every single moment of it!
Anna teaches various grades of ISTD Modern Theatre Dance and Tap classes and leads Senior Ballet and extra Pointe preparation classes. She leads Jnr Drama and both Adult Ballet classes plus our beginner and improver adult tap classes.
Anna began her training attending ballet lessons at age three. After moving to Northamptonshire she joined the Kilburn School of Dance learning RAD Ballet, ISTD Modern, Tap, Greek and National as well as free jazz classes. She consistently qualified to the All England Dance Finals, giving her great performance experience in a competitive environment. She also recently completed her practical National and Greek DDI exams at Kilburn gaining a high distinction in both.
Anna went on to train professionally in 2007 at what is now the Trinity Laban Centre, gaining a Diploma in Dance Education. She then completed her degree at Bird College in 2011, developing skills in Musical Theatre and Commercial Jazz as well as Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Singing and Acting.
After graduation she stayed in London, appearing in music videos for Kate Nash and DJ Madeon and adverts for Burberry and The Body Shop, as well as freelance dance performances. She performed in the Hamburg Christmas Spectacular in Germany and lived in New York during 2014, training at the Broadway Dance Centre on their International Student Visa Programme, focusing on Lyrical, Contemporary and Commercial Jazz, learning from world renowned choreographers in these genres. Whilst there Anna worked with the charity Live Vest Inside, promoting their international event ‘Dance for Kindness’ as well as appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America and in Bray Entertainment’s ‘A Phony Celebration’ holiday video.
After returning from New York Anna has continued to teach in schools around the county, including at Open Stage. She is an ISTD teacher and has her DDE in Tap and Greek and is currently working towards a DDE in Modern. She has also has a DDI in National and is working towards the advanced qualification of Licentiate Greek.
Shannon is an International Performing Arts and Theatre (I-PATH) registered teacher. She is also an accredited Cheer and Dance coach with ‘BCA’ British Cheerleading and Dance. She is an Open Stage teacher and also part of the Open Stage reception and office team working with Open Stage toddlers through to pensioners! Shannon teaches our early years and pre-primary ballet, tap and modern classes plus musical theatre, AcroDance, Street Pop, Street Dance and our Junior Cheer and Street Dance classes.
She trained in ballet, tap and modern theatre dance then studied further at Northampton College in both dance and musical theatre disciplines, completing both the level 2 BTEC in Dance and progressed on to Level 3 BTEC in Musical Theatre, currently finishing her main teacher training qualification and completed a Bronze Arts Award. Shannon enjoys training and developing her skills, she completed a 'Level 2 Teaching Assistant Diploma’ whilst working towards her main teacher training qualifications and studied for an ‘Understanding Autism Diploma’ and a ‘Complete SEND Diploma’ to support our inclusive school.
Shannon competed in several Performance Awards events over the years whilst training with Open Stage, achieving various medals and first place in 2017 drama category. She has enjoyed performing in theatre shows with various groups. Her theatre credits include ‘His Dark Materials’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘The Bright Lights of Broadway’. Shannon has been cast lead roles in Open Stage Theatre Company productions many times and performed alongside ‘Collabro' at the Derngate
theatre in 2017.
Shannon thoroughly enjoys teaching for Open Stage!
Although he trained as a musical theatre performer at the London School of Musical Theatre, David has been a writer since his schooldays, one of his first compositions being sung for his year’s school graduation ceremony at St Andrew’s School, Nassau (Bahamas).
He continued to write while at Cambridge University and over the years his songs have been performed in London, New York, at the Yale Cabaret Conference, and in Los Angeles. Cabaret artist and West End star Morag McLaren performed the song he wrote for her - “As I Am” – in her show at Pizza on the Park in London. Two one-man shows have been built around his material, performed at New York’s Metropolitan Room, and in London at The Pheasantry and Crazy Coqs. David’s first musical was the 5 star two hander “Uglies Do Edinburgh” which chronicled the further adventures of Cinderella’s Ugly Sisters. In 2013 “Liberty Rides Forth” was a finalist in the Soho Theatre’s “New Musical Project” and subsequently had successful runs at the Edinburgh and Brighton Fringes, eventually transferring to the Waterloo East Theatre (London) in 2018. During 2021’s lockdown he wrote and produced the award-winning online micro-musical “Hollow”. David’s show “Soul Sisters the Musical toured the country in 2022.
He also brought the production “A Christmas Lost and Found” to Open Stage in 2022.
David works with the Open Stage Choir.
Lauren is a vocal coach providing private singing lessons at Open Stage and also teaches Ballet, Contemporary and Musical Theatre.
As well as being an experienced vocal coach and dance teacher, she has performed in many performing arts shows in Ireland, the UK and New York.
Her training began in Ireland and includes qualifications from the Royal Academy of Dance, Imperial Society Teachers of Dance, London College of Music and the Irish Board of Speech and Drama. She also completed her BA Hons in Performing Arts at the Stella Mann College of Performing Arts with distinctions.
Gymnastricks guest coach
Ellie leads our Open Stage Acrobatics Team.
Ellie found her passion for gymnastics at the age of 4, and has been training ever since, still partaking in her own classes to further her training. After joining the squads at Gymnastricks, she has performed in London twice, at Her Majesty’s Theatre and the Troxy. Ellie’s performance credits also include the Deco’s 2019 pantomime ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’.
She first began coaching with Gymnastricks and after obtaining a Level 2 coaching award with UK Gymnastics, has led her own classes for the past four years. Ellie provides gym and acrobatics coaching for various dance schools in Northamptonshire.
Lauren has been a member of the Open Stage Adult Theatre Company since 2017 and is also part of the Open Stage Choir. She is part of our admin team, on reception, at our baby and early years classes, as part of our new costume hire team and many other roles within Open Stage. She is a licensed chaperone for children’s shows.
She is experienced in both performing and working with children and young people, having worked in various roles back home in Northern Ireland. This includes time at the Northern Regional College leading workshops in drama, dance and music, working as a youth leader where she ran dance classes and activities for children and also as a choreographer at the LAPA Performing Arts School working with children aged four to 13.
Lauren also teaches I-PATH musical theatre classes.
Louise is part of the Open Stage admin team, dealing with general queries, policies and finance.
She has been part of the Open Stage Choir for several years and has taken part in many choir performances including the annual show at the Derngate Theatre.
She also regularly helps out behind the bar at Open Stage events.
Annalee has been part of Open Stage since 2013, initially joining the Open Stage Choir and then going on to join the Open Stage Theatre Company the following year and taking part in adult dance classes at Open Stage.
She has played several leading roles with the theatre company including the evil stepmother in Cinderella and the Baron in Mother Goose. She won first place for drama in the adult category at the first-ever Open Stage Performance Awards and the overal trophy for singing in 2019.
She is currently working behind the scenes looking after online course and event bookings.
There are lots of volunteers who offer support to Open Stage but Karan is probably the most familiar face, whether supporting busy Saturdays at Open Stage, organising uniform sales, chaperoning at shows or helping with Open Stage events such as our seasonal fayres or theatre productions where she can often be found running a raffle, managing the tombola or selling refreshments behind the bar.
Auntie Iris is a weekly volunteer at Open Stage doing numerous jobs from sewing and making costumes, filing, DIY and much, much more! She is also a ballet student in our Thursday adult class.