Teacher Biographies

Here is some background information on the  current Helen O’Grady drama teachers.  We’re very proud of our dedicated and talented teachers whose enthusiasm and commitment make Helen O’Grady Drama Classes so rewarding for our students and their parents.  To read some of the lovely feedback from parents and carers about our classes, visit our Testimonials page.

Ian Brown B.A. (Hons) P.G.C.E. (Principal) former Franchisee of the Year

imageIan was one of the first Principals to join the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy when it was first introduced into the UK in 1994 and is delighted to be celebrating 22 years with the organisation.

His interest in drama goes back to when he was a teenager, watching shows performed by the old boys’ drama society at his school. He joined the group as soon as he left university and has never stopped acting and directing since then, including some occasional work as a professional actor.

His degree in French and German, gained at the University of Salford, followed by a P.G.C.E. from Goldsmiths College, London, led him to teach the languages in a senior school for some years. Then Ian saw an advert in his local paper and it led to him: “….finding a job to which I was perfectly suited. It allows me to live my life exactly as I like and I love being able to help so many children develop and gain confidence. I have watched so many, many children grow in self-esteem. It is amazing seeing those who can barely speak when they arrive, later performing confidently on stage,” Ian says.

Ian teaches the classes at Purley.


Cheryl Costigan B.A. (Hons)

Cheryl Costigan

“I have worked as a teacher at Helen O Grady since January 2001 and have a BA Hons in Art and Social Sciences and a Teaching Certificate as well as many years experience of working with special needs and children on the autistic spectrum . I love the theatre and have played many different roles in local productions. In my classes, I aim to inspire and motivate all children to be the best that they can be.”

Cheryl teaches the classes at: Banstead, Sanderstead, Thornton Heath, Upper Norwood and Wallington.


Tamsin Reeve B.A. (Hons) Drama, M.A. Physical Theatre

imageTamsin started at the Academy in 2004 and after a short break returned in 2010.

Tamsin has a first class honours degree in Drama from the University of Exeter and followed this with an MA in Physical Theatre. This lead to the formation of two theatre companies, performing at the international Arts Festival in Johannesburg and also producing award winning and critically acclaimed fringe theatre in London.

Tamsin’s love of theatre started when she stepped on stage aged three and she hasn’t looked back since. It is a wonderful hobby to pursue and she thoroughly enjoys developing this love of creativity with her classes.

Tamsin teaches the classes at Norbury, Waddon and West Wickham.

Leigh Atkinson- B.A. (Hons) Performing Arts 

Leigh Atkinson teacher at Helen O'Grady CroydonI teach the Helen O’Grady classes in Reigate and Selsdon,  and I am the newest member of the teaching team having joined in January 2015. I have completed a BA honours in performing arts, learning the discipline of contemporary dance and theatre. Over the years I have trained in a variety of different dance styles. I have always had a love for drama and from a young age I attended drama classes and took LAMDA examinations in poetry, speaking of Verse and prose. Recently I have taught students for LAMDA examinations, I also work as a children’s party entertainer and a children’s workshop facilitator. Often travelling to local primary schools, delivering science workshops and assemblies in a fun, interactive way and also a camp leader running school holiday camps. My jobs have kept me motivated to work with children in creative exciting ways, and focusing on my passion for performing arts. I think it’s important to develop children’s creative imagination and give them the freedom to explore new ideas, which is what I hope to do in my classes.

Continuing my love for acting I have acted in theatre, screen and commercials and still like to find time to involve myself in new acting projects.


Stephanie Miller A.D.P.A . Associate Teaching in Performing Arts

imageStephanie has been teaching for Helen O’Grady Croydon since September 2011. She started dancing at the early age of 2 and a half at The Arnoulds School of Dance and Drama. She became a member of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and then went on to study a BTEC National Diploma in performing arts, with even further training at Cygnet Training Theatre Company, touring the South West of England. After this she worked as a dancer for 3 years with Bourne Leisure and has performed in many shows and worked in TV/Film. She performed in a Theatre tour in Italy, performing in Theatre in Education and teaching drama. In 2012 she was very excited to have danced in The Olympics Opening Ceremony, directed by Danny Boyle. She continues to perform at various events with the Olympic Dancers and with Jan Hunts Paper Moon Theatre Company, recently performing “Music Hall” at ‘The Magic Circle’ in London. Her Qualifications include A.T.C.L. in Associate Teaching from Trinity College, London and Full Diploma A.D.P.A in Teaching Performing Arts. She now teaches at many performing arts schools throughout London and Surrey. She has also started to teach L.A.M.D.A. classes. She really enjoys passing on her passion of drama to the children.

Stephanie teaches the classes at Croydon (Park Hill) and our LAMDA classes at Thornton Heath.


Chris Jacobs

Chris_JacobsI first started working with Helen O Grady when I was on school work experience.  Since then I have become a teacher for the academy teaching the Chipstead classes. I enjoy getting the most out of the young actors and giving them the opportunity to improve their acting techniques whilst having lots of fun in the process. Having studied both Theatre and Music Practice at The Brit School for Performing Arts, I have had a great platform for learning different skills and I’m happy that I can apply those same skills to my teaching. My other commitments comprise a professional music career as front man of a band and a model for Select Model Management.

Simon Long

imageSimon has had a love for drama for as long as he can remember; the very first step he ever took into drama was in fact by joining this very drama club ‘Helen O’ Grady Drama Academy’. He first started at 5 years old, originally he was a very shy and quiet boy, but as he came to the academy his confidence grew and grew into what you see at his classes today.

His interest in drama and performance increased along with his confidence and his fascination led him to take a BTEC in Performing Arts, earning a Distinction. He has been in over 40 different amateur productions so far, and has started taking roles backstage in professional productions. Now he is studying at the prestigious Rose Bruford College, learning different aspects of performance and theatre.

Simon is also the longest running Helen O’ Grady student in the world and attended his class for 16 years. He has no regrets and lots of cherished memories. He became a teaching assistant in the classes to see what it was like to teach a class, and also to learn the skills he needed to be a good and enthusiastic drama teacher. Simon is now the teacher at the very class in Beckenham he first attended all those years ago and loves every minute of it. He hopes that all the children will have the same fun, fascination and friendship as he did for all the years he attended, and that they grow into amazing people.

Simon is very proud to be a teacher with Helen O’Grady. He cannot imagine his life without drama, and he cannot imagine his life without the Helen O’ Grady Drama Academy.

Age ranges

We offer our theatre training and children's acting classes to the following age ranges:

Lower primary - 5 to 7 years old
Upper primary - 8 to 11 years old
Youth theatre - 12 to 17 years old

Find your nearest drama club today by calling 020 8667 9812 or Enrol now

Important dates

Summer Term 2018
Mo 16th April - Sat 21 July
Half-term: Mon 28th May - Sat 2nd June

Autumn Term 2018
Mon 10th Sep - Sat 15th Dec
Half-term: Mon 22nd - Sat 27th Oct

Parent Days
A chance to see your child in action during a class, usually in the last 3 weeks of term. Dates will be emailed to all parents/carers.