Karen Binks - Artistic Director and Academy principal
Initially trained as a classical ballet dancer, Karen went on to train in Musical Theatre at The Italia Conti Academy at the Barbican, London. She has been teaching, directing and working with young people in schools and community theatre projects in London, Essex and Suffolk since the early 1990's. Karen set up Theatre Arts Academy (initially called Theatre Fun Academy) in October 1999 to provide affordable part time theatre training for children and young adults.
Karen also works to deliver bespoke workshops to schools and offers private audition coaching for young people auditioning for drama school or performance scholarships. Recent students have gained places at Sylvia Young, Italia Conti Academy, Arts Ed (Tring) Central School of Acting, East 15, and Guildhall. Students have also gained Drama Scholarships for St. Josephs's College, St. Mary's School for Girls and The Ipswich School.
In 2010, Karen created 'Subtext Theatre' a professional adult theatre company based in South East London primarily supporting new writing.
In 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Karen formed Al Fresco Theatre Company to provide performance experiences for and with children and young people. Al Fresco Theatre aim to take shows to school fields, parks and beaches and keep up enthusiasm for theatre and performance whilst honouring all necessary social distancing regulation through challenging times
AS well as the scripts she writes for Theatre Arts Academy, including ' 3 Cheers For Maisy' (With WAde Ablitt) 'Chekhov With Cherries' (With Scott Morgan) and no less than 12 Pantomimes, Karen also writes plays using an established pseudonym.
Karen is also a licenced theatre chaperone.
Dave Norton - Acting Coach
Dave trained on the BA acting course at East 15 Acting School and works as an actor and freelance theatre practitioner. His practitioner work includes work for Mercury Theatre, Colchester where he has delivered drama projects in Youth Theatres, Homeless Shelters, Care Homes, Pupil Referral Units, Nurseries, and schools.
Directorial work includes ISLAND and Peer Divided ( Mercury Youth Theatre.)
Dave's acting work includes Kulygin and Natasha in Chekhov With Cherries (Subtext Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe) and Buttons in Cinderella (Dennis Lowe Company @ Spa Pavilion Felixstowe)
Rosy Cornish - Dance Coach
Rosy trained as a professional dancer at Performers College in Corringham.
Since graduating in 2011 Rosy has worked as a dancer all over the world with Celebrity Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Azura Cruises.
Here in the UK Rosy has performed as a dancer in a number of well known TV shows including Britain's Got Talent as one of Simon Cowell's Show Girls. Rosy has also danced with a number of well known pop stars, including Katy Perry
Rosy is a qualified ISTD dance teacher and is now based in Colchester.
Rosy is also a licenced Chaperone.
Wade Ablitt - Singing coach
Based in Suffolk, Wade has been writing music for theatre since 2005.
Wade can often be seen performing in local productions with The Dennis Lowe Theatre Company, Mad Hatter Productions and with The Gallery Players.
In 2019 Wade successfully wrote and produced a full length musical called 'Tunswick'.
Wade is also lead singer and keyboard player with local Rock and Roll band 'The Craze' who are available for hire for weddings, parties and corporate events!
Millie Binks - LAMDA & Musical Theatre coach
Millie's studied Theatre Arts (BA honours) at Goldsmith's and teaches alongside heracting career. Acting credits include The History Of Briton Tour 2018 (Hobgoblin) Dick Whittington 2016/17 (Mercury Theatre Colchester) Timon Of Athen's (Factory Theatre @ The Willow Globe) Romeo And Juliet (Vault's Theatre Festival, London) Calm Down Dear (Women at RADA Arts Theatre, London)Fantastic Mr Fox (Regents Park Open Air Theatre),Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - (London Palladium)The Shadow Master (Kings Head Theatre, London) The Roman Mysteries (CBBC) The Loliness of A Long Distance Runner (BBC Radio 4) Angel Pavement (BBC radio 4) Buddenbrooks (BBC) Mrs. Mabb (BBC Radio 4)
In 2020 Millie became Artist Director of Subtext-at-the Earl based in South East London.
Millie has also taught Music and Shakespeare at the ALRA Summer School in 2015 and 2016
and LAMDA Acting and Musical Theatre exams at St. Mary's School Colchester.
Millie is also a licenced chaperone.
Jonathan Prestney - Musical Theatre coach
Jonathon trained with a full scholarship at the prestigious Urdang Academy and is an accomplished Musical Theatre performer. Since graduating, Jonathan has worked on predominately stage in the West End, playing leads roles in Pantomimes and toured Europe. Theatre credits include: Bodies - (Apollo Theatre, London) The Best Of Musicals (European Tour) Grease (Royal Caribbean Productions) West Side Story (The Royal Shakespeare Company for BBC2) Dick, in Dick Whittington (King George Theatre) Sebastian in Jack & The Beanstalk (The Hackney Empire) and The Golden Kite (The Lyceum Theatre) Jonathan has also appeared in a number of commercial including Little Mix/McDonald’s.
Caroline Shaw - LAMDA and early years coach
Caroline re-joins Theatre Arts Academy after almost ten years . Caroline has many years of theatre practitioner experience, including four years as drama practitioner, audio describer and community and education co-ordinator at The Mercury Theatre, Colchester. Caroline performed in a number of shows as a child, including Joseph with Jason Donavan at The London Palladium.
Caroline, who now has a young daughter, is a qualified primary school teacher and works as a special educational needs coordinated in a local primary school.