Our tutors are proof that you can have a successful career in the entertainment industry, if you’re prepared to work for it.
They’ve performed at the West End, on cruise ships and at venues across the globe, as well as appearing on TV. Many still work as professional dancers or actors and all of our tutors have undertaken considerable extra training to be able to share their knowledge and skills with our students.
Lucy Oldham - Head of Department
Lucy has been working in arts education for 16 years, first as a teacher then curriculum manager. She started life as an actress and singer with 10 years touring and rep theatre which took her far and wide.
She fell in love with working with young people through that time and has specialist experience of working with students who find traditional educational environments a challenge.
Lucy is focused on ensuring equity and equality of opportunities within performing arts and music for all the communities of Greater Manchester and is dedicated to championing young artists and enabling them to forge their way in the industry.
Charlotte Swindells - Department Team Leader
Charlotte has worked as a professional dancer and choreographer for a number of companies, including Stageworks Worldwide Productions, Showstoppers Productions, Vibe UK and Princess Cruises. She’s achieved advanced dance and teaching qualifications in Cecchetti Ballet, ISTD Tap and ISTD Modern.
Helen Cheung - Tutor
Helen has worked as a professional dancer around the world. She’s performed on-board cruise ships for Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises, and been on numerous dance tours. Helen has trained in America and Italy as well as the UK, and holds teaching qualifications in ISTD Tap, ISTD Modern and ISTD Ballet. She owns three dance studios and teaches more than 300 students a week.
Ina Colizza - Tutor
Ina trained in contemporary dance and ballet at Akerusia Danza in Naples and Balletto di Toscana in Florence and also gained a Master’s degree in Teaching at the National Academy of Dance in Rome. She’s danced with numerous international companies and is now the co-artistic director of Matrafsic Dance Company.
Natalie Coverley - Tutor
Natalie has a wealth of experience in children’s theatre and Commedia dell’arte, and has performed in the West End, as well as with touring productions and for her own theatre company. Natalie has a first class Honours degree in Musical Theatre and eight years of teaching experience, including for LAMDA exams
Douglas Cowap - Tutor
Doug has had an exciting and varied career.Highlights include performing a musical theatre show in Paris for a year, and writing and directing educational shows for major museums in London. He’s also toured the UK, France and Germany as a folk musician, and the USA and Hong Kong as a choralist and soloist. He has 18 years’ teaching experience, and particularly enjoys developing students’ skills in acting for film and TV. Doug is dyslexic and left school in 1985 with no qualifications. He ended up going to university, and now does whatever he can to support his students to overcome any challenges they may be facing in their own education journeys.
Leigh Hayes - Tutor
Award winning director and playwright Leigh Hayes, has been teaching Acting at The Manchester College since 2002. He specialises in the approaches championed by Stanislavski and Brecht. Leigh has coached performers who have gone on to attend some of the top drama schools in the country and who have since appeared on television and in shows for the National Theatre. Leigh has also toured with the National Student Theatre Company himself.
Kerry Kawai - Tutor
Kerry has been acting and directing for almost 20 years. She formed her first successful theatre company at the age of 22 and ended up producing, directing and performing in numerous productions. She also formed other touring theatre companies in Japan and right here in Manchester. Kerry is a well-known face in the Manchester Fringe scene, both as an actor and as a director.
Celia Lee - Tutor
A classically trained soprano, Celia moved into teaching more than a decade ago. She’s since taught hundreds of young people, including through Vocaltutor and Mainstream Theatre Arts. Celia was part of a national government campaign to promote singing in primary schools, which saw her helping teachers to set up school choirs. She’s an RSL examiner for Performing Arts Awards (Musical Theatre) and recently began studying Estill Vocal Training to offer even more support to her students at The Manchester College.
Sonia Morris - Tutor
After graduating from the Arden School of Theatre, Sonia worked in both theatre and television. She co-founded one of the first black theatre companies in Manchester almost 20 years ago. The 50 Dolla Playas Theatre Company, helped to address the lack of roles for BAME actors and to create more opportunities for them to work with substantive text. Sonia has also promoted theatre performances in the UK and New York.
Rebecca Tonye - Tutor
Rebecca has worked in contemporary dance, jazz, Bollywood and musical theatre, and has experience of both stage and screen. Along with performing, she’s also an experienced choreographer. Rebecca has been teaching for over 15 years, including at a leading London stage school and youth groups in the UK, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Rebecca is also the co-director of The Manchester College’s contemporary dance company – Delusion.
Jake Simpson - Tutor
Jake trained at The Manchester College before moving on to university. He’s qualified to teach all aspects of Musical Theatre, and specialises in vocal anatomy and physiology, amongst other subjects. He’s a tenor and has performed at numerous venues, including The Royal Albert Hall, The ARTS theatre and East Winter Gardens at Canary Wharf. Jake has a wealth of experience in teaching both singing and dance. He’s worked with many learners who have special educational needs, and is passionate about inclusivity and equality within the arts.
Andrew Margerison - Tutor
Andrew is a regular director, choreographer and guest teacher at vocational performing arts colleges across the UK. He is also a qualified sports and remedial massage therapist.
Melissa Gumbs - Tutor
Melissa trained and gained knowledge and skills at Northern Ballet School based in Manchester, training in ballet, jazz, tap, modern and contemporary dancing, as well as acting and singing. She has had the pleasure of working on two high class ships, Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line, sailing around the Caribbean, USA, Europe and Alaska. She was also part of the West End show ‘Thriller Live’ touring around the UK, Europe and China and has recently worked with Phoenix Dance Theatre performing in London for the National Windrush monument reveal at Southbank Theatre.