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Meet the Team

School Of The Arts (SOTA) pupils are taught by a team of highly trained and experienced practitioners who bring a diverse variety of qualifications and professional performance experience to the training offered at SOTA.

 

Juliette-CatonsqJULIETTE CATON (CMT) – Founding Director of SOTA Schools / Principal of SOTA Reading & SOTA Bracknell / Director of Voice 

Juliette is a Certified Master Teacher in Estill Voice Training, has over 20 years experience as a professional performer, appearing in over 200 Film, Television & Theatre productions and has also coached performers for over 20 years.

Passionate about giving young people a dynamic and challenging learning experience, she co-founded SOTA in 2005.

Read Juliette’s full biog

 

© Michael Wharley Photography 2014ANNELISE ORCHARD – ISTD Dance Teacher (SOTA Reading)

Annelise began dancing at the age of three, and went on to train at the highly accredited Performers College, gaining a National Diploma in Musical Theatre. During her time there she trained in all areas of dance, as well as acting and singing.

Since graduating, Annelise has had the opportunity to travel all over the world, performing on both stage and screen.

Credits include: Glinda in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (Hammond Productions), Dancer, BRIT Awards, Dancer (P&O Cruises), Dancer ‘Puttin On The Ritz’ UK Tour (Spirit Productions), Dancer ‘Hooray For Hollywood’ China Tour (Spirit Productions) Singer/Dancer (Carnival Cruiselines), Dancer ‘Big Brother’s Bit On The Side’.  

Annelise is also a qualified ISTD teacher, and has always taught alongside her performing career; previously teaching at both The Orchard Dance Academy and Spirit Young Performers Company. Annelise is thrilled to be a part of SOTA Reading and having the chance to bring her knowledge from the stage to inspire her students in class. 

 

ALEX McWILLIAM – Drama Coach (SOTA Reading)

Alex trained at Guildford School of Acting, graduating in 2011 gaining a BA (Hons) in Acting. Whilst at GSA he trained in all forms of theatre from English Naturalism to Physical Theatre, Improvisation to Film and Radio. Alex has toured all over the UK and Europe with various productions since leaving GSA. While not acting he is a freelance Acting and LAMDA coach. He has retained a 100% pass rate for LAMDA exams, with a majority of students gaining a Merit or Distinction grade.

Theatre Credits Include: Jaques, Oliver & Charles in As You Like It, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oxford Shakespeare Company), Various Roles in Just So (Simply Theatre). Man in The List, Stephen in Mister C, Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night, Alex in Imposters (RBL Theatre Company). Sir Arthur Holmwood in Dracula (Broadway Theatre). The Numbertaker in Numberjacks: Live (UK Tour).

Film Credits Include: Awake, Sorry, The Lost Father, Sentry, Reading My Dreams, One More Kiss Dear.

Motion Capture Credits: Hercules (Paramount Pictures). Fable: The Journey (Lionhead Studios).

Alex is also the founder of Mad Monkey Improv – An improv troupe based in Berkshire.

 

Ben-Ashton

BEN ASHTON – Drama Coach (SOTA Reading)

Ben is a BA Honours Acting graduate of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (2005 – 2008) andThe Patricia Routledge Award & also Spotlight Prize Nominee 2008.

His theatre roles include Benvolio in Romeo & Juliet (Creation Theatre Company);Mercutio in the Royal Shakespeare Company and Mudlark groundbreaking multimedia production of Such Tweet Sorrow; Paris in Romeo & Juliet (Royal Shakespeare Company); Ernest in Ernest & the Pale Moon (Soho Theatre); Jerry in The Zoo Story & Gus in The Dumb Waiter (South Street Arts Centre. Ben played Mercutio in the workshop of Tweet Sorrow (RSC), was an Actor for Cicely Berry’s Directing Course (RSC), and has contributed in Shakespeare Workshops for RSC/CDS.
Ben’s screen credits include Toby Walters in Doctors (BBC); Simon in All About George(ITV); Dan in The Murder Rooms (BBC). Film Projects whilst training: Wesley in Crews(directed by Ian Barber); Bill in Tomorrow (directed by Deborah Paige); Graham Stone inPlay The Game (directed by Ian Barber); Equus (Sonia Frazer).

 

Sammy-Fonfe-Head-shotsqSAMMY FONFE – Principal of SOTA Windsor.

Sammy trained at Italia Conti and is Principal at SOTA Windsor where pupils benefit from her passion for creating an exciting and fun learning environment.

Sammy trained at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts and made her West End debut at the age of thirteen in Bernadette the Musical. Going on to perform as Pepper in Annie and in various Royal Variety Performances, Sammy’s other credits include the European tour of the Rocky Horror Show, Lola in Clandestine (Lyric Theatre Hammersmith) and Chloe in Sitting in Silence (Riverside Studios).

Sammy toured the UK in the pop group Word On The Street making numerous TV appearances and supporting Bewitched and 911 on their Arena Tours. Sammy also appeared in videos for Moloko, Back To My Roots, Rachel Stevens and Ash, making several appearances at the Docklands Arena and on Top of the Pops.

Sammy’s work as choreographer includes choreographing the UK tour of A Night At The Musicals for four years and last year she completed a UK and Asian tour dancing and choreographing for Lisa Scott Lee. This year Sammy choreographed Somewhere Over The Westway (Edinburgh Festival), Hot Mikado and she is currently choreographing for Portobello Panto.

Sammy co-wrote the sitcom Deja Vu which was made into a pilot starring Paul Nicolas and Sue Holderness.

Having taught for over ten years Sammy is delighted to be Principal of SOTA Windsor and has developed a thriving school of talent and energy.

 

Phil-Riley-Photo-SqPHIL RILEY – Musical Director & Singing Teacher (SOTA Windsor)

Phil trained at Mountview gaining a degree in Musical Theatre. He is Musical Director at SOTA Windsor teaching singing and arranging.

Phil graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in 2006 gaining a BA (hons) in Musical Theatre.

Whilst in training, Philip played various roles, such as Felix in Humble Boy, Tony/ Stephen in Copacabana, Gremio in Kiss Me Kate, Zach in A Chorus Line (Shaw Theatre) and Tony in West Side Story (Battersea Arts Centre).

Since leaving Mountview, Philip filmed with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig in The Golden Compass, before leaving to go on a world tour with The Twelve Irish Tenors.

Philip made his London debut appearing in La Cage Aux Folles at The Menier Chocolate Factory with Douglas Hodge, Philip Quast and Una Stubbs, playing the role of Etienne, where he understudied and played the role of Jean Michel.

Phil brings his outstanding vocal coaching skills to the pupils who enjoy his fun, well structured and confidence boosting classes.

 

 

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KELLIE POTTER – Dance & Musical Theatre Teacher (SOTA Windsor)

Kellie made her West-End debut at the age of  nine in Les Miserables-Palace Theatre, then toured the U.K and overseas as a soloist in the vocal group “The Les Miz Kids”, for Warner Bros, from1986-92. She represented Great Britain in The Danny Kaye Awards –Amsterdam, hosted by Audrey Hepburn and Julio Iglesius.

Television credits include: – Coast to Coast-TVS, tap dancing on Parallel Nine-BBC 1, featured singer on Entertainment Total-Portuguese T.V, a drug addict in Inspector Morse-ITV 1, soloist for Children in Need 90/91-BBC, Telethons 90/91/92-ITV 1 and soloist on The Big Breakfast -CH4. Aswell as various Commercials ranging from Pampers to Sugar Puffs!!!

Stage Credits include- Toinette Soubirous in Bernadette-Dominion Theatre, soloist in The Kids for Africa-Piccadilly Theatre, soloist in a Terrence Higgins Trust Gala- RSC Barbican, soloist in The Christmas Recital-Canterbury Cathedral and various recordings – Bernadette Concept Album, soloist on “The Christmas Album” -BBC Library recordings, soloist on the Radio Commercial “We are the Animals”, as well as a four-year voice over stint, playing the lead role Kim for Longsheit/Longman.

All whilst training at Redroofs Theatre School from 1986-1992. Where she also performed in numerous professional Musical Productions at the Schools own Professional Theatre The Novello in Sunninghill.

After graduating from Laine Theatre Arts in 1996 with Honours, she returned to the West-End as a Goddess in “Life on Earth”-Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Jonathan Cohens “Vice Versa”- New Players Theatre and Epsom Playhouse, the female lead in the preview of “Dorian” -The Actors Centre and the preview of “The Bet”- The Criterion. Also appeared in Aladdin-Theatre Royal Windsor and as The Fairy in Snow White- The Broxbourne Civic.

Recordings include- the vocal group Millennia Meridian, singing lead vocals and co-writing “Feed the Rose” a tribute track to Diana HRH-, lead vocals on “Hit the Spot”- the walk down jingle for British Darts Champion John Farrell, soloist on Radio Humberside, featured singer on BBC Radio, various White Label tracks distributed throughout Europe and sang female lead on the Concept recording of “Dorian” and again on the Concept Album of “The Bet”

Kellie has also sung female leads for P&O, Royal Caribbean-Celebrity Cruises and for “The Spirit of Broadway” which took her touring to South Africa, The United States and then back to the U.K, where Kellie created the female lead- Christine, to rave reviews playing alongside Alvin Stardust in Chris Moreno’s- Phantom of the P’Opera. Kellie was the lead female vocalist in “The Twelve Days of Christmas”- Tilbury and created the lead role “Honey” in Tim Thomas’s “A Date With Destiny”-The Oval House Theatre. Toured the U.K as lead singer in the vocal group “Flavour of Broadway” and sang lead vocals in the classical trio-“Trinity”.

From 2006 has performed in the live children’s shows at Legoland in Windsor, playing in-front of up to 20,000 guests daily from March-November and then performs in Pantomimes over the Christmas break- having played The Good Witch in “The Wizard of Oz” at The Epsom Playhouse 2006/7 and playing Dorothy in “The Wonderful World of Oz” at The Alexandra Theatre, Bognor Regis 2007/8 for Spillers Pantomimes. Then Princess Jasmine-Aladdin at The Embassy Theatre in 2008/09 for Duo Pantomimes and returned for a 2nd successful year 2009-2010 playing Princess Tamara- Jack and The Beanstalk, and returned for a third year to The Embassy 2010/11 playing the role of Wendy in Peter Pan again for Duo.

Kellie is currently in her 11th year Performing as ‘Pirate Georgie’ and the Duplo Storyteller in the live Children’s Shows at Legoland in Windsor performing daily from March to November and was delighted to return to The Novello Theatre at Christmas 2012/2013 to play Pinocchio, 20 years on from last performing there, when a day school pupil at Redroofs Theatre School, the “Greatest school on Earth!”

She was thrilled to return  the following year 2013/2014 Playing Cinderella and was so happy to return for a 3rd year in  2014/2015 playing Jack in Jack and The Beanstalk!

Kellie is a qualified Dance and Drama teacher having taught all genres of Dance, Drama, Musical Theatre and LAMDA locally for over 20 years, from pre-schoolers upwards. Alongside performing at Legoland and teaching Kellie also runs Kellies Kids Parties, creating the ultimate bespoke birthday parties for children 3 years upwards, Kellie adores working with children and is thrilled to be able to perform the shows at Legoland to them, to teach them and to create birthday parties for them too. Perfect combination!

 

 

Yasmin Yazdi YASMIN YAZDI – Dance Teacher (SOTA Windsor)

Yasmin has worked as assistant to many Choreographers since 2006.  Working on shows such as the World Music Awards as well as major events in theatre and corporate entertainment. Yasmin is currently working with Gary Lloyd on The Tina Turner Experience to be performed at the world famous Gelredome in Holland this December.

Yasmin was also involved in the creation of Thriller Live! from the birth of the project and has travelled the world as Resident Director of the show.

Yasmin is also a songwriter and producer, writing for many artists as well as working on her own material.

Shani WoodleyShani Woodley – Dance & Musical Theatre Teacher (SOTA Bracknell)

Shani has trained extensively for many years in various styles of dance, including Ballet, Tap, Modern, Contemporary and Musical Theatre. She studied Musical Theatre at The Brit School of Performing Arts for two years and then continued her studies at Chichester University graduating with a BA Hons in Dance.

Qualified in her DDI teaching qualifications in ISTD Modern Theatre and Tap, Shani is loving being a qualified ISTD teacher. She also teaches and choreographs for various schools and companies within the area. Shani has also taken her Level One and Two in the Estill Voice training programme and plans on continuing her work with Estill Voice training.

Priding herself on her keen eye for detail, high expectations and passion for the Arts, Shani loves helping young performers to blossom and grow, whilst having fun and learning new skills.

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