MEET THE STAFF

   NICK HOOTON

   FIONA JOHNSON
    GIANNI TOZZI
     SARAH LUKE
 
     CHRIS O'SHEA
          ELIZ NOYAN
       CHRIS HOGBEN
 
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT A STAFF MEMBER 'CLICK' ON THEIR PHOTOGRAPH OR NAME
 



NICK HOOTON  -  ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Nick joined Centre Stage when it opened in 1999, and in 2009 took over the position of Artistic Director of Centre Stage and Upstaged Theatre Company. 

He trained as an actor at Hertfordshire Theatre School and graduated in 2004 with a Diploma in Acting and Musical Theatre, a BADC (Stage Combat) Honours and a L.A.M.D.A. Gold Award and is also now a L.A.M.D.A examination tutor.

Nick has worked professionally since he was young, playing leading roles in television, film and commercials.  He has numerous theatre credits and remains a resident actor with the Market Theatre Company. 

In addition to teaching drama at Centre Stage, Nick also regularly directs ‘in-house’ and external productions for the school and Upstaged Theatre Company; from lavish musical productions in local theatres to classic Shakespeare and contemporary dramas, many of which transfer to the Camden and Edinburgh fringe following a London run.
 
As Artistic Director, it is Nick’s goal to develop our student’s understanding of the arts, expand their performance ability and increase their self-confidence through practice and application.  Nick is always looking for new and creative ways to generate and achieve the highest possible standards in theatrical performance.                      [Back to Top]













 
FIONA JOHNSON – Drama Tutor / Associate Director
 
Fiona graduated from Mountview Acamedy of Theatre Arts in 2006 with a first class honours degree in performing arts. Upon graduation, she was offered a role working with Michael Grandage and Jeremy Lloyd in the Really Useful Group’s 2006 revival of Evita.  After covering and playing Eva Peron at The Adelphi Theatre for more than a year, Fiona went on to join the original cast of the 2007 West End production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  She spent the next two years performing alongside Lee Meade and Gareth Gates as alternate Narrator. Fiona was then chosen to join Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) on his 2009 Moonshadow UK arena tour.

Since joining Centre Stage five years ago, Fiona has directed some outstanding productions for our Festival of Plays season, as well and our annual pantomimes. Fiona also worked as assistant director for our Camden fringe production of Killing Swine.
 
Since joining Centre Stage as a drama teacher / director, Fiona has also changed career from professional performer to full time secondary school teacher.  She is passionate about working with children and young adults and honing their skills in performing arts.  She is an advocate of the many benefits drama training has to offer, both on and off the stage.              [Back to Top]





GIANNI  TOZZI  -  Drama Tutor

Gianni is a past student of Centre Stage, beginning with us at the age of eight. Throughout his nine years at Centre Stage his credits include playing the Cowardly Lion in 'The Wizard of Oz', Corny Collins in 'Hairspray' and the Pope in 'The Pope and the Witch' to name but a few. He was also part of Upstaged Theatre Company taking 'The Penelopiad' to Edinburgh.
 
Gianni believes that Centre Stage gave him the confidence to pursue a career in Acting. This resulted in him receiving a scholarship to Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts on the acting course. Gianni recently completed his Mountview journey with a First Class Honours Degree in Acting and was the recipient of the honourable 'Gyearbuor Asante Prize' for outstanding achievement in acting throughout his time at Mountview, where he played the roles of Richard in 'Richard II', Frank Sinatra in 'Dreaming America' and Talthybius in 'Women of Troy'
 
It was during his time at drama school and through the many community outreach projects that Mountview undertook that a passion for teaching and working with young people emerged. He took a tour of Twelfth Night around Haringey Schools and lead all of the post show workshops. He then took this experience into Primary Schools by directing Year 6 productions.
 
Gianni is now delighted to bring this acting experience with him back to where it all began at Centre Stage. He hopes to show how much fun acting can be, but above all allow each pupil to shine and gain confidence through performance.


 


CHRISTOPHER HOGBEN - Guest Drama Tutor & Workshop Tutor

Chris has been teaching and directing for Centre Stage for five years and thoroughly enjoys passing on his wealth of knowledge to our students.  He has directed for our Festival of Plays for the past four years and written our last two pantomimes for the lower school.
From his roots in productions at his local theatre in Yeovil, the HTV television workshops in Bristol and touring around the country with the National Youth Music Theatre, Chris went on to train as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama.   After three years training  and a stint training at the Moscow Arts Theatre in Russia, he graduated in 2007 and now balances his thriving acting career with teaching and writing.
His theatre credits are numerous and include a recent tour with Steven Berkoff in his acclaimed production of Oedipus at Liverpool Playhouse, Nottingham Playhouse, Edinburgh Festival and the Spoleto Festival North Caroline, and in 2012, The Butterfly Lion at Leicester Curve, Derby Theatre. 
TV/Film credits includes: Casualty, How to Become A Criminal Mastermind, Trojan, A Whispered Name, The Hardest part and several Commercials.                  [Back to Top]

   

 

JONNY FREEMAN - Guest Drama Tutor & Workshop Tutor

Jonny trained at East 15. He is an experienced actor, improviser and comedian appearing on both stage and screen.

A member of London based impro troupe 'Shotgun Impro', other stage credits include 'Teechers' (Brute Farce) and 'Ashes to Ashes' (Badac Theatre Company). Among his TV credits are 'Silent Witness', 'Top Boy', 'MI High', 'Love Soup', 'The Revolution Will be Televised', 'Dalziel and Pascoe', 'Holby City' and 'Doctors'. He also appears as a panellist on Channel 5's “The Wright Stuff”.

As a stand-up, he is resident compere at the award-winning Funny Side comedy clubs where he's MC’d for the likes of Milton Jones, Reginald D. Hunter and Harry Hill and he performs all over the country both as an MC and with his very own set.

Jonny has been involved with Centre Stage since directing 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in 2006 and often returns to run improvisation, theatre sports and clowning workshops.                 [Back to Top]           

     
                                                                                                          


NICOLA BRUNTON  -  Dance Tutor / Choreographer

Nicola has been a member of the teaching staff since the school opened in 1999. Nicola focuses on Dance on the Saturday combined courses, along with The Centre Stage Dance Troupe.  Nicola is proud to be a member of the team and enjoys watching the students' development and enjoyment for something she is also passionate about; the students' achievements are very rewarding. Nicola has been Head of Dance and Drama at Mill Hill County High School, Head of Drama at Alexandra Park School and Enfield Grammar School and is now teaching on a part time basis, sings with a function band 'Deja Vu', and tutors young actors on film sets whilst pursuing her own career in the Performing Arts. Her credits in TV, Film and Commercials are numerous.

Her stage productions, as a Performer and/or choreographer include 'Fame' at the Millfield Theatre, 'A Chorus Line' (as 'Cassie') at The Intimate Theatre, and shows at venues such as The London Palladium, Wembley, Theatre Royal - Drury Lane and Her Majesty's Theatre.             [Back to Top]





ELIZ NOYAN -  Assistant Dance Tutor / Young Centre Stagers Dance Tutor

Eliz joined Centre Stage as a student at the age of four in 2000. Throughout her 14 years at Centre Stage she took part in numerous productions and shows including High School Musical, Honk, The Roses of Eyam & the head dancer in the school’s 2015 musical The Wiz.

From an early age, Eliz pursued her passion for dance, training in ballet, tap & contemporary which allowed her to compete in numerous national dance competitions such as Rock Challenge. Alongside her dance training, she felt that Centre Stage gave her the confidence to grow as a performer, tapping into other skills which she would carry with her through her school years.

In 2015, Eliz ended her time as a student of Centre Stage, winning their most prestigious award ‘The Oscar’ and was then asked to return as an assistant dance teacher. She was overjoyed to be able to work and guide students with the same knowledge and passion she received throughout her years at the school.

Eliz currently studies dance at the University of Roehampton, enjoying her time exploring new styles and genres. Her new challenges are embraced with both arms open and she will be leading dance for the Young Centre Stagers from September 2016.

 



SIMON PAYNE – Singing Tutor / Musical Director / Technical Advisor

Simon first worked with Centre Stage as musical director for the school's production of ‘Fame’ in April 2008. In addition to teaching singing at Centre Stage has since also musically directed a further six whole school productions including ‘Honk!’, ‘Hairspray’, ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Bugsy Malone’, ‘Our House’ and ’13 The Musical’.
 
Simon has been involved with performing arts in the local community from a very young age working first as a technician, then lighting designer, and more recently as a musical director.
 
As well as his day job as Head of PSHE and Citizenship in a Secondary School in West London, Simon enjoys relaxing by working with many amateur dramatics groups in North and West London.
 
 


SARAH LUKE – Dance Tutor / Dance Troupe Leader / Show Choreographer

Sarah has been a member of the teaching staff at Centre Stage since September 1999, teaching dance.

Sarah trained as a dance teacher at Harrison School of Dance and Drama, where she gained all her teaching qualifications in tap, ballet, modern, disco and national dance, along with her L.A.M.D.A. Gold Medal in Acting.
 
Her first stage appearance was at the age of 3, leading on to numerous stage performances, both amateur and professional, playing both ensemble and lead roles in several productions. Sarah also appeared in several television commercials both in the UK and Abroad.

Since leaving college she has danced professionally as well as teaching all aspects of dance. 
 
Sarah has been choreographing the Centre Stage shows for 14 years, including 'Wizard of Oz', 'Fame', 'Honk', ‘Centre Stage The Musical’, 'Hairspray', ‘Les Miserables’, ‘Bugsy Malone’ and more recently ‘13’The Musical’.                  [Back to Top]


  


MATTEO  BRAGOLI  -  Singing Tutor 

Matteo joined Centre Stage as a student at the age of seven.   His time with them proved to be an invaluable part of his life and in his final year  he was proud to be given the lead role of Jean Valjean in their epic production of ‘Les Misérables’.    He also performed at the Edinburgh fringe in  ‘Macbeth’ and ended a memorable period of his life as the Centre Stage Oscar winner. 
 
In 2011, Matteo returned to Centre Stage as a singing teacher and music assistant, passing on the valuable skills and enthusiasm he had gained from his time there.
 
Matteo’s passion for music began at a very young age and this is reflected in his impressive qualifications:  Grade 8 Distinctions in Piano, Singing & Saxophone; Grade 7 Violin; DipABRSM in Teaching Piano and Grade 8 Distinction / PCertLAM in Acting.  Matteo is currently in his final year of studying a BMus in Music at City University London.
 
In his spare time, Matteo composes scores, produces and writes songs, and performs with different groups.  He is also the voice of Fernando in the BBC’s hit children’s TV show ‘Mike The Knight’.
 
In 2012, Matteo was rehearsal & show pianist for the Centre Stage productions ‘Our House’ ‘Thirteen’ as well as assisting with singing & performance.  Matteo always listens to the suggestions of his students and integrates them into his lessons, constantly pushing their boundaries to make them more professional and diverse performers.           [Back to Top]







CHRIS O'SHEA  -  Young Centre Stager Leader / Dance Tutor
 
Chris was a student at Centre Stage for ten years before returning in 2011 to teach dance to our Sunday students and Young Centre Stagers.

In September 2013 Chris took on the role of Young Centre Stagers leader and teacher at our new Saturday morning preparatory class for children aged 4 - 6 and is one of our Dance Troupe tutors.  
 
In 2013 Chris choreographed the Upstaged Theatre Company Production of ‘Our House’ at the Arts Depot in Finchley, and he is looking forward to choreographing future shows for Centre Stage and Upstaged.
 
Chris has worked professionally in film, television, commercials, videos and stage from an early age.  His full time teaching career and Centre Stage classes occupy much of his time these days but Chris continues to perform in local amateur dramatic groups. His most recent performance being the lead role of Joe Casey in the SMP production of ‘Our House’ at the Millfield Theatre.

Chris is also a qualified primary school teacher and works at a local primary school.  

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LUCY  SARDINHA    -  Young Centre Stagers Drama Tutor / Singing Teacher

Lucy signed to CS Management in 2004 as a teenager actress, and soon after discovered the performance opportunities on offer as a student at Centre Stage.   After gaining a drama scholarship at the age of 16, she completed her academic and vocational studies with outstanding results.  Including: LAMDA Grade 8 in Acting (Distinction).
While continuing her development as an actress and singer, Lucy returned to Centre Stage as a drama assistant, and now regularly works with the Lower School students on productions, classwork, one to one performance and singing coaching.
 
Lucy’s love of performing began at a very early age, and being able to pass on her passion to the students at Centre Stage gives her a tremendous amount of satisfaction.  In the autumn of 2013, Lucy joins Chris O’Shea as drama tutor/singing teacher for the Young Centre Stagers Saturday class.  She also continues her work with the lower school students at Saturday classes.
 
Previous musical theatre credits; Eponine in Les Miserables, Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray, and Ms Bell in Fame!  Drama credits; Helen of Troy in The Penelopiad, Sophie in 100 and Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest.   TV and Film credits include; Mr Selfridge, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Trollied and Eastenders.
 
Lucy is currently pursuing a music career, and when not teaching, spends time writing and performing.                   [Back to Top]






NICOLA DEMOSTHENOUS    -  Assistant Singing Tutor

Nicola joined Centre Stage at the age of 14, a time where she was just discovering what her passions were. It was around this age where she knew she loved performing, telling a story. And most importantly she loved to sing. It wasn’t until she came to Centre Stage when she was encouraged, nurtured and found the confidence to apply to The BRIT School for performing arts.

She then spent the next two years training in Musical Theatre at the BRIT School, as well as attending weekly classes at Centre Stage, and being involved in the annual musical productions; most recently playing ‘Dorothy’ in our production of ‘The Wiz’ in 2015.

Nicola then received a scholarship award and place at Mountview Academy of Theatre arts where she is currently training a BA in Actor Musicianship. She is delighted to have joined the Centre Stage Staff family as a singing assistant and is really excited pass on the valuable industry skills she is learning from industry experts directly onto our Centre Stage students.





LINDA SARDINHA  -  Assistant to The Principal & Agent for CS Management

As Assistant to the Principal and Agent for CS Management, Linda works closely with Carole O’Shea to ensure the smooth running of the school. With a career spanning fifteen years in the music industry and sixteen years as an executive PA, Linda brings a wealth of experience to Centre Stage.  In addition to her invaluable administrative skills, Linda is also a licenced chaperone and a resourceful seamstress.  Whether looking after our student’s welfare or creating new costumes for the schools numerous productions, Linda is a valued member of the Centre Stage team.   [Back to Top]












CAROLE O'SHEA  -  SCHOOL PRINCIPAL

Carole established the School in 1999 with 50 students attending Saturday morning classes. 17 years on and now with over 250 students, Centre Stage has established itself as one of the most vibrant and respected part-time performing arts schools in London. The School is also affiliated to CS Management, a theatrical agency established by Carole in 2001 to provide professional opportunities within the industry.

Carole first became involved in performing arts in the late 1970's, initially through her own children's attendance at local classes. The next 25 years were spent building experience in established drama schools and working as a theatrical agent before opening her own school in Potters Bar in 1995.

Despite a two year scholarship to the London College of Music as a teenager, Carole has never been one for public performance herself and is much happier leaving it up to those at the school. 
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