Heather Grace Gallagher Bsc (Hons), ALCM
Heather is an experienced singer, actor and dancer. She has danced since the age of four and has trained extensively in singing and acting for more than 20 years.
She has performed locally and nationally, including at The Savoy Theatre with the original London cast of Legally Blonde, as part of the BBC TV programme Tonight’s The Night with John Barrowman.
Heather studied acting at Birmingham School of Acting, KTV Actors Studio, London, and most recently as a member of The Actors TV Workshop, Nottingham.
Her many musical theatre roles have included Chris in Calendar Girls; Mari Hoff in The Rise and Fall Of Little Voice; Emma Carew in Jekyll and Hyde and Miss Berta in Acorn Antiques. She has also played Prince Charming in a UK professional tour of Sleeping Beauty with Fame Factory Spotlight.
As a singer, Heather performed for several years, as a solo cabaret artiste. She studied singing to ALCM level (musical theatre) under Anne Leatherland of VocAL Intuition and is currently studying with West End voice experts Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher as part of the Vocal Process Advanced training course.
Heather is a VocAL Intuition singing teacher who works with students of all ages and experience at studios in Burton-on-Trent and Ashby de la Zouch. Heather’s focus is on integrating acting with song for a complete performance, with a key emphasis on safe and healthy vocal technique.
In 2016, Heather completed a BSc Hons majoring in Psychological Studies and Mental Health. Alongside being StageScreen Principal and teaching private lessons, Heather is also looking forward to studying the effects of singing and mental health in various settings.
Heather says: “I am extremely proud of StageScreen and I’m looking forward to working alongside some wonderful industry professionals to provide local students with an amazing opportunity to work on a unique and complementary combination of specialist areas.
Our aim at StageScreen is to encourage students to explore new worlds, new mediums and new situations in a safe and professional environment”.
Comedy & Drama
Sam Thorogood is an experienced workshop facilitator, director and actor. For two years he ran youth theatre classes for 11 to 16-year-olds at the Warwick Arts Centre. He is currently 1623 Theatre Company’s learning assistant, focusing on bringing exciting Shakespeare workshops to schools, sixth form colleges and universities.
He was a founding member of the West Midlands-based Clown Funeral Theatre Company, which specialises in darkly comic work devised from unusual source material. He performs in the company, and has also held roles as producer and marketing manager. Clown Funeral has taken two shows to the Edinburgh Fringe, the second of which is being developed for a UK tour.
Sam worked as production assistant on 1623 Theatre Company’s critically-acclaimed experimental double bill Lear/Cordelia, which paired Shakespeare with new writing to examine the story of a man with dementia and the daughter he had driven away. The production was created through participatory workshops in care homes, and brought together health care professionals, writers, designers, actors, directors and technicians. It starred Royal Shakespeare Company actor David Henry as Lear and Gemma Paige North (Shameless, No Offence) as Cordelia. Plans are in the pipeline for a national tour in 2018.
Sam says: “I’m really looking forward to exploring theatre with a group of young performers and practitioners: teaching them some of what I know, and learning from them, too.”
Megan-Louise trained at The School of Creative Arts in Blackpool and has a BA Hons in Musical Theatre. She was a member of the UK’s prestigious national Youth Music Theatre for four years.
She has knowledge of a wide variety of musical styles and established her own company, Perfect Fifth Events with fellow graduate Keeley Harrison, which provides professional performers for charity and corporate events, weddings and other family celebrations.
Her experience includes two years of touring the Midlands with soul band, Soul Junction; performing with The City of Birmingham Young Voices; performing with the City of Birmingham Symphony Youth Chorus and undertaking a tour of cathedrals performing Born For This, a contemporary, musical depiction of the Stations of the Cross.
Since 2004 she has appeared as part of the celebrate chorus which features in the concerts of singer-songwriter duo Boyce & Stanley.
She toured the West Midlands in the Eva Long production of Mother Goose at Christmas 2012 and played the lead role of Emily in the Lichfield Garrick community musical The Hired Man in 2016.
Megan-Louise has trained in advanced vocal techniques with West End voice experts Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher as well as Zoe Tyler and Tom Pearce. She has appeared on BBC TV for Children In Need and Songs of Praise. She performed with Aled Jones on his version of No Wars Will Stop Us Singing.
In May 2005, Megan-Louise performed at Buckingham Palace and two years later at Westminster Abbey for Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and 2000 guests as part of Commonwealth Observance Day.
Megan-Louise said: “I am excited to be involved in the StageScreen journey, not only to pass on the knowledge and experience I have had working in the arts industry, but also to promote vocal health and stamina ready to implement into training for all three elements of musical theatre.”
Film & TV
Tilley is an award-winning film maker and animator based in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire. As well as working for theatre and television she founded Red Door Studios in 2007, where her team produces a wide and varied collection of film, animation and media projects.
Tilley studied at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design. Afterwards, she was offered a bursary by Light House Media Centre to make her first independent film Onions, an animated tale of daring rabbits, which was nominated for a British Animation Award.
Tilley went on to work with Tussauds Art Studios and, later, Burton-on-Trent’s Brewhouse Arts Centre, where she created animation and film for the local authority.
During her time as a director and producer, Tilley has delivered talks, workshops and master classes for the British Film Institute and at schools, colleges, film festivals and events across the UK. She taught media studies at St Peter’s Collegiate School, Wolverhampton, for a year and tutored a group of young film makers in Shropshire who won the prestigious First Light Award.
Tilley has a string of awards to her name including a D&AD Yellow Pencil, a Royal Television Society award and nominations for two British Animation Awards. Her films have been shown at the Chicago International Animation Festival, the film festival in Cannes and other international events.
Tilley said: “I’m thrilled to be a part of this new school. It’s a chance for me to work alongside some extremely talented practitioners and to pass on my knowledge to the students.
“Students will gain experience in working both in front and behind the camera lens in a range of varied roles, all requiring different skills. There will be an emphasis on teamwork and creative problem-solving as well as a chance to perform in a very different way to when they’re on stage.”
Hannah trained at The University of Hull gaining a BA (Hons) in Drama, before going on to complete a postgraduate diploma in Acting with The Bridge Theatre Training Company, London. An experienced performer and director, her on stage roles include Celia in Calendar Girls, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest and Anna in Closer. Alongside this Hannah has taken major roles in short films including ‘Cleansing’ and ‘Grimm’ by 90/10 Productions, and has performed across the country in venues such as the Buxton Opera House, the NIA, the Criterion and Her Majesty’s Theatres in London’s West End.
Since graduating Hannah has focused heavily on the arts in education, having experienced first hand the benefits of performing when she joined a local theatre company as a shy and anxious teenager. She has worked as drama, movement and voice teacher and director for many local and national performing arts schools, working with students aged two – eighteen to produces shows such as Chicago, West Side Story, The Wiz, Bugsy Malone and Oliver! Hannah has also previously worked as head of physical development for a local outstanding preschool setting, helping three and four year olds to develop their motor skills through sport, music and creative play. She currently works as a dance and drama facilitator for theatre in education company Round Midnight, and as a cover supervisor in secondary schools across Staffordshire and Derbyshire in addition to her teaching commitments.
Hannah says ‘I’m thrilled to be joining the StageScreen team as teacher for the Starlets class. It’s a privilege to work with the children, helping them to explore their creativity and find that unique spark that makes them who they are. The performing arts can provide a wonderful foundation to allow children to be confident, open and innovative in life as well as on stage, and it’s this that I aim to encourage in class through performance skills, teamwork and (most importantly) lots of fun!’
Film & TV
JO FOSTER (Cover)
Jo founded production company, Lumina Studios, which has produced a wide variety of projects including TV adverts, sitcom pilots, music videos, short documentaries and promotional videos for brands such as Dunelm, CAT, Johnstone’s Paint and the NHS.
Lumina Studios is partnered with Staffordshire University to offer valuable experience to degree level students. Jo loves to share her knowledge with, and mentor, the next generation of industry professionals.
Jo is skilled in all aspects of film making including scriptwriting, directing, camera techniques, lighting, sound design, editing and motion graphics.
Her passion for film making developed at a young age. As a child she was always playing with the family’s camcorder and experimenting with moving images. She is looking forward to inspiring this same passion within the students at StageScreen.
Jo, who has a BSc in Film Production and Technology, said: “This is such an exciting opportunity to work with the enthusiastic young people at StageScreen. There is so much opportunity to explore the creative arts of film making and performing as a complete package, which really sets the students up well if they are considering entering the industry.”