The Theatre Arts Academy Team

Karen Binks -  Artistic Director


Initially trained as a classical ballet dancer, Karen went on to train in Musical Theatre at The Italia Conti Academy at the Barbican, London.
Karen 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 and founded Theatre Arts Academy when she moved out of London to re-locate in Colchester in 1999. Karen has built the Academy from an initial 12 students to a thriving community of almost 200 students aged from 4 to 19 years.  

Karen has developed an outreach programme delivering bespoke acting and musical theatre workshops in local schools, with a number of repeat annual bookings directing school productions. 
Working in partnership with schools, freelance practitioners and arts organisations, Karen has established a number of scholarship opportunities and bursary awards as part of an' opportunities for all' initiative.

Individual  coaching for young people auditioning for drama school or performance scholarships is also available. 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. Joseph's College, St. Mary's School for Girls and The Ipswich School. 


 In 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Karen formed Al Fresco Theatre Company, 'taking professional theatre outside'  to school fields, parks and beaches, ensuring actors keep up their craft and offering audiences a live theatre experience in a covid-secure  environment. 

Karen Writes many of the scripts for Theatre Arts Academy and Al Fresco Theatre  including '3 Cheers For Maisy'  (With Wade Ablitt)  Venue 40 Edinburgh fringe 2018 - (5 stars -sell out run)
'Chekhov With Cherries' (With Scott Morgan) Venue 40 Edinburgh Fringe 2015
' Broken' (with Oliver Wood) Merchants Hall, Edingburgh Fringe 2012
'Milenka' (with Scott Morgan and Adam Henrickson) 'Lights Up' Season at Mercury Theatre Colchester.
Karen has also written and directed 12 Pantomimes for Theatre Arts Academy at Lakeside Theatre, Essex University.  

Karen is also a licenced children's theatre chaperone.

Pete Ashmore -  theatre practitioner

Pete is an actor and musician, who trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland . He joined TAA in 2020 as  practitioner ,
with a focus on exploration of classical text. 

Theatre credits includes:
The Provoked Wife (Royal Shakespeare Company)    Macbeth (National Theatre)
Mansfield Park (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds)  Hamlet (Actors From The London Stage)
Private Lives, A View from the Bridge, Treasure Island, The Wind in the Willows,
James and the Giant Peach, The Winter’s Tale, Under Milk Wood, David Copperfield, Beauty and the Beast (all Mercury Theatre Colchester)  A Christmas Carol (Theatre by the Lake)
Venice Preserved,  The Lovely Bones, Treasure Island (Birmingham Rep & tour)
Vernon God Little, The Ruffian on the Stair, The Queen of Spades, The Lady Aoi, La Musica, Venice Preserved, Nothing (the Citizens Theatre & E59E59 Off Broadway)
Arms and the Man, Knight - The Canterbury Tales (Watford Palace Theatre)
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Arabian Nights (Sherman Cymru)
The Emperor’s New Clothes, House and Garden(Harrogate Theatre)
The Itinerant Music Hall (Lyric Hammersmith) The Dog Beneath the Skin (Jermyn Street Theatre); Manchester Sound: The Massacre, Grimm Tales (Library Theatre) 
The Jungle Book (Lyric Theatre, Belfast) Public Property (Hampstead Theatre)
Tom’s Midnight Garden, Jemima Puddle-Duck (Unicorn Theatre)
Cutlery Wars (Soho Theatre); One Snowy Night (Chichester Minerva Theatre).


Television & film credits include: Silent Witness, Holby City, The Bill,  Sanditon (Aura Films), Powdered (Team Works)

Pete also offers individual violin lessons. to students 

Nathan Ryles - Musical Theatre & LAMDA practitioner

Originally from County Durham, Nathan trained in Musical Theatre Performance at Laine Theatre Arts in Epson and performs extensively in musical theatre productions alongside  teaching
Theatre Credits Include: 
Miranda' Such Fun Celebration' (London Palladium & BBC one)
Julian Clary Live (Palace Theatre, West End & Shepards Bush Empire and UK tour)

West Side Story (UK Tour) Saturday Night Fever (UK tour)
The Wedding Singer (Wembley Toubadour Park)  Robin Hood (Qdos Entertainment),
Peter Pan , Dick Whittington, Cinderella (Qdos Entertainment)

Further Credits Include: Mary Poppins Returns (BAFTA), Tui Internal Film (Y&R London), Quintessentially British (SkyNet TV Asia), Magnifique - Red Carpet Cabaret (Belfast)


Suzie Lowe - Musical Theatre & LAMDA practitioner

Born in Felixstowe, Suzie trained at Sylvia Young Theatre School and London Studio Centre 


Theatre credits: Cosette, Les Miserables (Palace theatre, west end) Bet/Ensemble Oliver (London palladium, west end) Phantom/1st cover Janet and Columbia, Rocky horror show (European tour) Ensemble, Boogie Nights (Wimbledon Theatre) Lambchops/1st cover Serena, Fame (European tour) Princess Jasmine, Aladdin (Stoke on Trent) Fairy/ Dancer, Jack and the beanstalk (Northhampton) Dance Captain, Understudy princess jasmine, Aladdin (Brighton) Masha, Chekov with Cherries (Edinburgh fringe Festival) Dancer, Royal Variety Performance (London Palladium) Songs for a new world (Jerwood house) 


Film and Television: Ruthie Abraham, The governess. Jane Eyre (Directed by Franco Zefferelli) Barbie (voice for BBC adverts, series) Backing dancer for Robbie williams, Spice girls and Eternal. 


Choreography:For the New Wolsey Theatre (Oklahoma, 9to5, Little Women, Happy Days, Gypsy, Drowsy Chaperone. For the Spa Pavilion Theatre, Director and Choreographer (Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Dick Whittington, Jack and the beanstalk)
Suzie is also a licenced children's Theatre Chaperone and mummy to  3 year old Mila!


Millie Binks -  Musical Theatre coach & LAMDA practitioner


Millie starting her acting career as a child with The Sylvia Young Agency and went on to study studied Theatre Arts (BA honours) at Goldsmith's. Millie teaches alongside her alongside her acting career. 
n 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.
Theatre credits include:
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - (London Palladium) The Shadow Master (Kings Head Theatre, London)
Fantastic Mr Fox  (Regents Park Open Air Theatre    A Midsummer Night's Dream (Al fresco Theatre)
The History Of Briton Tour (Hobgoblin) Dick Whittington (Mercury Theatre ) 
Timon Of Athen's (Factory Theatre @ The Willow Globe)
Romeo And Juliet (Vault's Theatre Festival, London) 

 Calm Down Dear (Women at RARDA Arts Theatre, London)
TV /Film/Radio credits: The Roman Mysteries Series 1 & 2 (CBBC) The Loliness of A Long Distance Runner (BBC Radio 4) Angel Pavement (BBC radio 4) Buddenbrooks (BBC) Mrs. Mabb (BBC Radio 4)
Rottonchops Revenge (4 episode) Durham Gala

Millie is also a licenced Children's theatre chaperone.


Jonathan  Prestney -  Musical Theatre practitioner

Jonathon trained in Musical Theatre Performance at The Urdang Academy, London with
a full scholarship.
Theatre Credits incude:
Jack & The Beanstalk (The Hackney Empire)   
The Golden Kite (The Lyceum Theatre)
West Side Story (The Royal Shakespeare Company)
Bodies - (Apollo Theatre, London) The Best Of Musicals (European Tour)
Grease (Royal Caribbean Productions) Dick Whittington (King George Theatre) 
A Midsummer Night's Dream (Al Fresco Theatre)
Commercial dance credits include:
Little Mix and McDonald’s. 

As well as teaching at Theatre Arts Academy, Johnathon runs his own company, Creative Space, offering a supportive and safe space for adults to express themselves through dance regardless of age, ability or self-identity working alongside Outhouse the LGBTQ+  community.

 Rosy Cornish - Dance Coach

Rosy trained as a professional dancer at Performers College in Corringham.  
Rosy has worked as a dancer all over the world with Celebrity Cruise Line,  Princess Cruises and Azura Cruises for six years. 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 also a qualified ISTD dance teacher and has now put down roots in Colchester, where alongside teaching Ballet, Tap and Commercial dance, She also continues to dance at commercial events.
Rosy has also worked teaching the benefits of dance for all . Rosy has studied how to teach wheelchair dance and has completed an autism awareness, understanding  and support course. 


Rosy is also a licenced Children's Theatre Chaperone and mummy to 1 year old Oakley.