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RADA Faculty

The following list represents the core faculty of Shakespeare in Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Since the faculty are working artists, the faculty that are available to teach vary from semester to semester.

Katya Benjamin – Physical Performance

Katya Benjamin graduated in 1965 in Chinese, Russian and French from Cambridge University where she acted in plays and revues. She then became an actress in repertory and community theatre where she performed in a variety of revues: theatres, streets, schools, hospitals and top of a London bus. She then gained a qualification as a TEFL teacher. In 1983 she qualified in the Alexander technique and since then has taught the technique and movement to individuals and groups, at home, at RADA, the Guildhall School of Drama, The Royal College of Music and Trinity College of Music, focussing on the  particular needs of actors, instrumentalists and singers. For the last three years she has also been touring with the London Theatre Exchange giving Shakespeare workshops in New York, Buenos Aires, Milan and Atlanta, mostly in English but sometimes in French and Spanish. In 1997, she played Hecate in Marie Hayward Siegel’s compilation of Verdi and Shakespeare’s Macbeth at the Edinburgh Festival and in 1998 read poems in English, German and Russian to accompany Schubert duet recitals. She lives in London and has a daughter.

Geoff Bullen – Course Director

Geoff Bullen is RADA's Associate Director and Course Director of the RADA/New York University Shakespeare in Performance Course. Recent productions include : CHAPLIN (Edinburgh Festival 2007), CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA and TOSCA (Magdala Opera), ON THE BLACK HILL for AJTC Theatre Company, and INTO THE WOODS, ASSASSINS and LITTLE WOMEN at RADA. His varied career includes work in commercial and regional theatre, theatre in schools and in adult education.

Andrew Charity - Group Singing

Andrew Charity studied at the Royal College of Music/London University/London Opera Centre, and has since pursued a freelance career as conductor, composer, pianist and singing coach/teacher.  He has taught at RADA for 25 years, and also more recently at the Arts Educational Drama Department, as well as pursuing various freelance conducting engagements and activities, including opera, orchestral, choral and show business events.  He has recently run a very successful series of workshops for people who think that they can't sing, or who think that they are tone deaf.

Andrew Cuthbert — Voice Into Text

Trained at RADA.  Has worked extensively in theatre: in repertory, on tour, at the National Theatre and in the West End.  Recently appeared in two plays at London’s Finborough Theatre and as Herod in a production of Salome for the RADA Directors’Course.   Has also worked in film,TV, radio and voiceover.  He recently performed in an acted reading of his new play, ‘Tokyo Joe’ on local radio.   Has worked at RADA for fifteen years, teaching voice and text on the core course and on the short courses, including three three-week workshops in Tokyo.  He is an examiner for the RADA Shakespeare Certificates.

Gregory de Polnay  - Language & Style

Gregory de Polnay has been an actor, director and voice teacher for the past thirty five years.  He has worked in all aspects of the theatre with several West End credits to his name. He has appeared at the RSC in his own production of You Can't Shut Out The Human Voice with Sir Ben Kingsley and the late Dame Peggy Ashcroft. His career has included over 100 TV appearances and 350 Radio broadcasts.  Due to an accident sustained while playing Malvolio in Twelfth Night at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Springs, USA in 1987 Gregory retrained as a voice teacher at the Central School of Speech and Drama.  Whilst there he gained the Advanced Diploma in Voice Studies (ADVS) followed by an MA from King’s College, London University, in Text and Performance Studies.  He has been Head of Voice at the Drama Centre, London and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) as well as having been a prominent member of staff at several eminent London drama schools.  He has lectured on Language and Style in the USA, Canada and South Africa.  At present he is a Classical Acting director at RADA with over 30 Jacobean and Restoration productions to date. He was dialogue coach for The Peter Hall Company and the film Mansfield Park.  Gregory has worked for several organisations in the field of public speaking and communication skills in the worlds of business and education.  He coaches several top TV and sports presenters.  He created the RADA Shakespeare Certificate Scheme and was its first Director.

Caroline Eves - Director

Caroline Eves has been an Associate Director of several major English repertory theatres, including Lincoln, Watford, The Liverpool Everyman and the Victoria Theatre - Stoke on Trent.  She has also served as guest director for numerous other theatre companies and worked closely with Joan Littlewood, later helping to run the Theatre Workshop when Littlewood retired.  She has directed Pantomimes, Revues, Cabarets, Children's Plays, Improvised Documentaries and has been a leading Director of new plays by women including the premieres of "Guinevere" and "Dusa Fish Stas and Vi" by Pam Gems.  She was part of the original team which produced, directed and ran the first ever full season of plays by, with and for women in London at The Almost Free in 1972.  Recent Productions include Edward Bond's "The Fool" at the Huntingdon Theatre, Boston and Dutch and German tour of "The Taming of the Shrew", which went to Moscow where it won the prize for the best Production at the Podium Festival.  She has also directed five productions in the last three years at Theatre Clwyd including, "A Taste of Honey" - Delaney, "The Rivals" - Sheridan and "Abigail's Party" - Leigh.  During the last two years work has ranged from a new adaptation of "The Jungle Book" as a Christmas Show, to a tour of "Mrs Warren's Profession".  She has lectured, taught and directed extensively at major drama schools here and in the United States of America and is currently Head of Acting at East 15 Acting School.

Diane Favell

Educated at Southgate and London College of Fashion, Diane has worked both as Supervisor and costume maker at such places as Watford (several shows), The Royal Opera House(Falstaff & Rosenkavalier), National Theatre(Peer Gynt), Almeida(Dorian Grey), Brave New World Productions(Pterodactyl Island) Terra Film(Bride of the wind), Korean Lido. Diane has worked at Rada since 1995, introducing new wardrobe courses in 1997 and 2007.

Hugh Fraser – Director

Hugh Fraser is a well known figure on stage, television and film. He is perhaps best known for playing Captain Hastings in the television series “Agatha Chritsie’s Poirot” and  appearing as the Duke of Wellington in “Sharpe”.  Other TV work has included “Edge of Darkness”, “Edward and Mrs Simplson” and Alan Bennett’s “The Insurance Man”. Amongst his film credits are roles in Patriot Games, The Draughtman’s Contract, 101 Dalmations and Clint Eastwood’s Firefox.  Hugh has a wealth of theatre experience, appearing at the Royal Court in “Cloud Nine”, “Traps” and “The Genius”, at the Lyric Theatre in “Filumena”, at Wyndhams Theatre in David Hare’s “Teeth ‘n’ Smiles” and in various roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Neil Fraser – Head of Lighting

Neil’s career started at Contact Theatre in Manchester designing Light and Sound, working extensively with Artistic Directors Richard Williams and Anthony Clark. He has since designed lighting for numerous projects, including: To Kill A Mockingbird (Greenwich); The Snowman (Leicester Haymarket); The Wizard of Oz (Everyman, Liverpool); Afterbirth & Carver (Arcola) for William Gaskill, for whom he has also lit over ten productions at RADA.

Neil has also worked extensively for Polka Theatre (Wimbledon). Productions include: Yoshi & The Tea Kettle and Dreams of Anne Frank, both of which won London Fringe awards for Best Children’s Theatre two consecutive years running.

London credits include: Songs for Stray Cats for Paines Plough (Donmar); and Galileo (Young Vic). Bloody Poetry for the New York Theatre Exchange Co. at the CSC theatre (Off Broadway, NY).

Neil joined RADA as Head of Lighting in 1985 and was appointed theatre Technical Arts (TTA) Course Leader in 2002. Neil has also taught freelance for the Universities Manchester, London and Loughborough, the Metropolitan University of Manchester, Middlesex Polytechnic, the Central School of Art and Design, and the Inchbald School of Interior Design. For Selecon Lighting he has spoken at conferences and seminars in Arnhem, Apeldoorn, Kazan, Saratov, Beijing and Cardiff.

Tim Hardy

Tim trained at RADA and has worked extensively as an actor in theatre, TV and film.  His work in London includes seasons with the RSC, "Lysistrata" (Peter Hall Co.); "Melon" by Simon Gray; "Mary Barnes" by David Edgar; and playing bass roles in many operas with Music Theatre London.  Other credits include: “The Merchant” by Arnold Wesker, “Redevelopment” by Vaclav Havel, “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour”, by Stoppard, the title role in Macbeth.  Over the last few years Tim has directed various plays and projects including "Royal Hunt of the Sun" at Michigan Tech. University, "Merchant of Venice" at Bloomington, Illinois and an all-female "Troilus and Cressida" at the Guildford School of Acting. He is a member of RADA's audition panel, tutors the third year and teaches on many of the RADA Short Courses including the intensive 8 week Acting Shakespeare course and the New York University course on which he recently directed “Romeo and Juliet” and “Troilus and Cressida”. Tim also held classes and workshops in many US universities whilst on two ACTER tours (“Winter's Tale” and “Romeo and Juliet”). He has toured in many productions including "Romeo and Juliet" and a stage version of P G Wodehouse's "Summer Lightning".  The past year alone has seen him working all over the globe: touring the U.S. as Shylock in “Merchant of Venice”, playing The Governor of Georgia in the musical “Parade” at the Edinburgh Festival and taking the lead in Charles Smee’s “Big Love” at Notting Hill Gate.  He also appeared as Picasso in the European Premier of “A Picasso” a two-hander by Jeffrey Hatcher, a role that is to be repeated in Frankfurt in 2008 where he will also direct two productions – “The Lion In Winter” and ”Rebecca”.

Lorna Marshall – Physical Performance

Lorna Marshall has worked in theatre for many years as a teacher, director and performance consultant. She has trained with Jacques LeCoq and Etienne Decroux in Paris, and then studied the Japanese theatre forms of Noh, Kabuki and Butoh. In recent years she has worked closely with Yoshi Oida (from Peter Brook’s company) and has collaborated with him on several productions and two books (‘The Invisible Actor’ and ‘An Actor Adrift’). She has also published her own work : ‘The Body Speaks’. Lorna runs workshops on creative process across the globe for performers, singers, directors and teachers and is Honorary Research Fellow at RADA. In 2002, she was awarded a three year Creative Research Fellowship by the AHRB/Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, in order to continue her investigations into creative process. Three further books have been commissioned by Metheun and Routledge. Her professional experience includes Assistant Director for ‘La Frontiere’, Scene Nationale D’Orleans & D’Orleans and Bouffes du Nord (Paris) and European tour, 2003; Movement Director for ‘Coriolanus’, RSC; Performance Trainer for ‘Central Show’, Millennium Dome; Movement Consultant for Theatre de Complicite; Workshop Leader at The Royal National Theatre (Education Department); Movement Consultant for Theatre de Complicite; Movement Director for ‘The Judgement of Paris’, BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, 1989; Movement Director for ‘The Bacchae’, Shared Experience Theatre Company, Edinburgh Theatre Festival and Tour, 1998.

Dewi Matthews – Alexander Technique

Dewi trained as a Teacher of the Alexander Technique from 1983-1986 and is a member of The Society of Teachers of The Alexander Technique.  He has a small private practice in Highbury and The City, and does weekly evening classes at the BBC.  He has taught group Alexander classes at the Drama Studio and has taught at RADA since 1986 as well as at other leading drama schools in London, including the Central School of Speech and Drama and the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts.  He taught Adult Education evening classes for three years at the Quintin Kynaston School in London.

Ellen Newman 

Ellen Newman is Head of Voice at Rada, where she has taught voice for the past 13 years, on the three year Acting Course, the RADA MA, the Acting Shakespeare course, the Summer School and the Western Classical Acting course for Japanese actors. She was trained as an actress at The Central School of Speech and Drama and holds an MA in Theatre History from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She has performed on Broadway, off Broadway and in London's West End as well as in US regional theatre. Ms. Newman has been a voice coach with The Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre, and in theatres in the UK and in London's West End. She's also taught or coached in Japan, Iceland, and in the US, where she was a tenured Associate Professor of Theatre at The Ohio State University; she's been on the faculty at Cornell University and Ithaca College, where she taught voice, speech, acting and movement. In addition she teaches privately, for actors and clients from business and government.

Brigid Panet - Sonnets Teacher & Director

Brigid acted professionally in theatre and TV for 15 years before starting to teach and direct, mostly in Drama Schools.  She also trained as a dancer and has studied and taught Laban Movement for actors for many years.  Brigid has taught and directed in Canada, the USA and Brazil and devised and directed three Shakespeare tours for the Royal National Theatre Education Department. She has been working at RADA for over 20 years and has taught and directed plays at most of the major London drama schools. Brigid has now completed her book, ‘Essential Acting’, on her working method which combines Stanislavsky’s Method of Physical Action with Laban’s analysis of movement which will be published by Rutledge in the spring of 2009'

Darren Royston - Dance

Darren has recently been appointed Artistic Director of NONSUCH History and Dance, an educational charity supporting research and performance of historical dances. He currently works freelance as a choreographer & movement director in theatre, opera, and television including pop promos for Rufus Wainwright. He received a MA (Distinction) from the Laban Centre, London and read English Literature (including Shakespeare in Performance option) at Cambridge University. In 1997, Darren was awarded the Bonnie Bird Choreography Award. He has worked as the assistant to Sue Lefton (RSC Movement Director) and Terry John Bates (International Opera & Theatre Choreographer) and he has choreographed several plays and operas throughout the UK and worldwide including open air Shakespeare festivals (Tempest, Romeo & Juliet), The Cherry Orchard (ETT Tour with Prunella Scales), Miss Julie (Royal Swedish production) and appeared as the renaissance dance choreographer on Carlton TV and for the BBC. His UK musical theatre work includes the UK premiere of Sondheim’s Anyone Can Whistle and, in September 2007, the World Premier of a new rock musical in Norway and a production of Honk! With 140 children. At RADA Darren has choreographed numerous Shakespeare productions and musicals that include Guys and Dolls, Into The Woods and Assassin. www.darrenroyston.com

Alison Skilbeck - Director

Alison Skilbeck is an actor, director, and teacher who has been closely associated with RADA for over 15 years. She is one of the directors of the annual Shakespeare Summer School, teaches regularly on the Acting Shakespeare and NYU courses, and is a long-standing member of the Admissions Panel. Her productions for the core course include 'All's Well That Ends Well' and Tony Harrison's 'The Passion', while each year she coaches finalists for their challenging 'Tree' evening, when they perform for agents and producers. She has taught and directed at many other Drama Schools. The Guildhall School of Music and Drama awarded her the Hon GSM for her work there in the '80s; productions for the Guildford School of Acting include 'Road' and 'Macbeth'; for Drama Studio London Granville Barker's 'The Madras House'. She has directed at the world-famous Stephen Joseph Theatre in the Round in Scarborough, and on the London Fringe at the King's Head, The Finborough, and The Attic, Wimbledon. For Shakespeare's Globe she has directed staged readings of other 17th century plays for their Education department's 'Read Not Dead' series.

As an actor for over 25 years Alison has played lead roles in the West End (Steaming, Little Lies, Judy) and in many major UK Repertory theatres. She created roles in six Ayckbourn premieres at Scarborough, and in the UK premieres of A.R.Gurney Jr's 'The Dining Room' and 'The Perfect Party' at London's Greenwich Theatre. For Actors From The London Stage (formerly ACTER), of which she is an Associate Director, she has toured the US as Rosalind (et al) in 'As You Like It', and Paulina (et al) in 'The Winter's Tale', and given classes and workshops at many US universities. For the British Council she has toured Spain, Morocco, and Hong Kong, in Shakespeare, Pinter,and Vaclav Havel.

Her most recent peformance for the London-based Godot Company was Beckett's extraodinary half hour monologue 'Enough'. She has written her own one-woman show 'Are There More of You?', directed by Jeremy Stockwell, and performed it over the last year-most recently to a packed house in RADA's John Gielgud Theatre.

Extensive television work includes lead roles in Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, The Beiderbecke Affair, and series leads in Soldier Soldier and Head Over Heels. Most recent appearances have been in the adaptation of Trollope's 'He Knew He Was Right', and the series 'New Tricks'. Her latest film is 'Phantom of The Opera'.

Her work for Radio includes the long-running soap 'The Archers', plays and serials by Ellen Dryden and the late Don Taylor, and comedy series by Simon Brett.

Brian Stirner – Director

Brian Stirner trained as an actor at RADA, and worked in theatre, television and film before turning to direction. He has been Associate Director of the Soho Theatre and Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre, two of London’s leading new writing venues. He has also directed at the Royal Court, Riverside Studios and in the West End. His production of “Holy Days” by Sally Nemeth won awards for Best Director and Best Ensemble Acting.

On film, Brian’s first feature “A Kind of Hush” - which he wrote and directed - won three awards at European film festivals, including one for Best Screenplay. He has also directed three films for television in the BBC Television series “The Inspector Lynley Mysteries”.

As an acting teacher and director, Brian has worked in extensively in Britain, the U.S. and Brazil, as well as directing many productions at RADA, where he is an Associate.

Jeremy Stockwell - Clown

Early appearances in classical theatre, including Shakespeare at the Old Vic, lead eventually to stand-up routines at the Comedy Store.  In the eighties, as a founder member of impro group Late at the Gate, Jeremy devised and co-produced "Not the Edinburgh Festival" for the Gate Theatre.  He was directed by Ken Campbell at the Royal National Theatre, where he went on to produce, devise and appear in Theatre Unstuck and other events in aid of Comic Relief.

Writing credits: a stage play about Stuart Sutcliffe, the artist and former Beatles bass player and another in which he played Stan Laurel.  He has variously written, presented or appeared in many British TV series, including "Spitting Image".  In the States: "Young Charlie Chaplin" (HBO); "Gophers" (HBO); and "Get The Picture" (Nickelodeon).

In the early nineties, with ex-members of Keith Johnstone's Theatre Machine, he formed Alice's Diner, with whom he has devised shows for Shakespeare's Globe, Battersea Arts Centre, The Bush, White Bear, and The Roxy-Prague.  As well as teaching Action classes at RADA, he has also lead improvisation, mime and physical theatre workshops for actors, students, prisoners, therapists, for the RNT Studio and Education Department, Webber Douglas and Oxford University Drama Society.

Adrienne Thomas  - Speech

Adrienne Thomas gained an MA in Modern History from Oxford University, after which she trained as an actress at The Central School of Speech and Drama.  She has appeared in a wide variety of modern and classical plays in the West End, at the Royal Court Theatre and in numerous regional theatres.  She was also in Charlton Heston’s film of ‘A Man For All Seasons’ for US Television.

She has been teaching voice since 1996 and now divides her time between RADA, The British American Drama Academy and Fordham University’s London Dramatic Academy. For the last five years she has been teaching on a Shakespeare Conference at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. She has been a leading examiner for the RADA Shakespeare Certificates for four years. She is also involved in corporate training, bringing her vocal and performance expertise to helping business people improve their communication and presentation skills.  She has a particular interest in applying practical voice work to the needs of classical text.

Jessica Turner – Sonnets & Director

Jessica trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, leaving in 1975. She has since worked extensively in theatre, television and radio. Her career began in weekly rep in Frinton on Sea but soon after she joined the National theatre where she stayed for some years playing in a wide range of productions including Equus, Hiawatha, Animal Farm, Martine, Neaptide, Mrs Warren’s Profession, The Beaux’ Stratagem The White Chameleon and Speer. She has played in many of the classics including Much Ado About Nothing (Chichester) Romeo and Juliet (Tour) Othello (Australian tour) Richard II (American tour) and King Lear (Old Vic).  She is about to start rehearsals for Waste at the Almeida Theatre London.

TV work includes Prime Suspect, Dr Finlay (3 seasons Dr Napier), Midsomer Murders, Mill on the Floss, The Cazalets, The Line of Beauty, Spooks, Waking the Dead, The Murder of Princess Diana, Tess of the D’Urbervilles (out in the autumn)

Jessica teaches and directs at the Mountview Theatre Academy and is on the RADA audition panel.

Bret Yount – Stage Combat & Combat for Camera

Trained at the Guildford School of Acting and the University of Arkansas.  Bret is a member of the British Academy of Stage & Screen Combat, The Society of American Fight Directors and The Equity Theatre Fight Directors Register.  Bret is the Master of Combat at RADA and also teaches at Central School of Speech & Drama, The City Literary Institute, and Italia Conti (BA Acting).