After setting up the hugely successful Chippy Stage School workshops, and five workshops behind us, we were inspired to create a weekly Stage School. This would be a Stage School based around the classic Musical Theatre ‘Triple threat’ of Drama, Dance and Singing, something that currently doesn’t exist all under one roof, on a weekend, in Chipping Norton. We are keen to offer something essentially over and above what might be offered in a small town, an hour or so from London. Not only offering exceptional tutoring in the essential disciplines of Musical Theatre, but also bringing masterclasses and workshops to Chipping Norton, from industry professionals working in the West End and beyond.
Whether you are hoping to tread the boards as a West End Professional, or whether you are looking to make friends and gain confidence, we believe this is the place for you. Our ethos is one of a true performance company where ALL students take part in ALL performances, whatever level of ability.
Every student that joins the Cotswold stage school will be an important member of our family, as we help them to grow into well-rounded, self-assured individuals. Taught in a supportive, fun and creative environment, Drama, Dance and Singing will bring young people together in a vibrant and happy community to explore the magical world of performance.
We aim to bring out the very best in every student, encourage self-belief and create opportunities for aspiring young performers. Our pupils will develop life skills which will benefit them far beyond the world of theatre and performance: COMMUNICATION and PRESENTATION skills, IMPROVISATION to help develop sharpness of mind, VOICE ARTICULATION and , PHYSICAL CO-ORDINATION and FITNESS, IMAGINATION, CREATIVITY and SELF-ESTEEM.
"It’s all an adventure that comes with a breathtaking view"
The Greatest Showman
Claire Bradshaw – Singing Tutor & Director GRNCM – Mezzo Soprano
Claire studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and the National Opera Studio in London, before embarking on an almost 20 year career as a soloist in the opera world. After having children, she naturally stepped back from the performing. Claire is now a vocal tutor at the prestigious Radley College and teaches a select number of pupils privately. Her pupils have gained places at major Music and Drama Colleges and Choral scholarships at Oxbridge. Claire has always been passionate about Musical Theatre, a genre within which she has taught extensively. She has also researched the renowned Estill Voice Technique, to help inform her teaching and enhance her approach to Musical Theatre. Her singing tutoring is completely holistic, with the aim that vocalising costs the singer nothing physically, psychologically and of course, vocally.
Claire is also passionate about drama and essentially acting through singing. She absolutely loves working with children of all ages, imparting her knowledge and experience, gleaned from working with some of the top theatre and opera directors throughout her performing career.
Claire is based in Dean, near Chadlington and is thrilled to be have the opportunity to bring a weekly Stage School to Chipping Norton.
Kirsty Bundy – Operations Manager
Kirsty has a background in operational leadership & business development, working for a leading UK retailer for many years. She is experienced in events management, coordinating weddings and other large events, and in more recent years has supported smaller businesses with their operations & development. Kirsty has always had a passion for the performing arts and is your first point of contact for anything Cotswold Stage School related. Kirsty supports us with all our administration as well as running our regular Saturday Stage School sessions and Summer Workshops.
Vivi Baylis – Drama Tutor
Vivi is a director, teacher and facilitator. Her ethos centres around an individualised approach that encourages the strengths and interests of each child, supporting them in their own journey. Vivi is a first-class graduate from the University of Birmingham, where she studied Ancient and Medieval History alongside building up a practical portfolio of directing and teaching work. It was during training that she developed her multidisciplinary approach, with productions ranging from opera to sketch comedy.
Vivi spent two years as Director in Residence at Millfield School in Somerset, working across their academic and co-curricular programmes. She directed Shakespeare, musicals and contemporary drama and facilitated devised work, demonstrating her breadth of knowledge and adaptable teaching style. She also delivered one-to-one coaching to support students with industry and conservatoire auditions. Vivi has led workshops for Chipping Norton Theatre, Central Youth Theatre and Milton Keynes Theatre, with a focus on personal expression and enjoyment in learning.
As a freelance director, Vivi has created work with Birmingham Opera Company, NSDF, the Barn Theatre in Cirencester and the Hope Theatre in Islington. She seeks to find the emotional core of the piece and lead with a collaborative approach. Her previous productions have been praised as “humorous, but deeply affecting” and “innovative, engaging work.”
Maria Blundell-Palethorpe – Dance Tutor
Maria is a teacher, choreographer, dance artist and performer. Maria trained at Central School of Ballet for 6 years then London Studio Centre for 3 years followed by a year at London Contemporary Dance School and founded her dance company Pasgetti in 2002.
In September 2013 she gained an MSc in Dance Science with Distinction from The University of
Wolverhampton. Maria has taught all over the country and travelled all over the world to become the best teacher she can be and in the process has helped many young dancers get onto vocational training courses. With over 20 years’ experience Maria leads a fun fast-paced, energetic and athletically demanding technique class.
Maria has extensive experience teaching young people contemporary dance. Maria has taught both GCSE and BTEC dance and was a contemporary technique tutor on the CAT (Centre for Advanced Training) programme for several years which enables elite young dancers aged 12-18 to access further training in Contemporary dance. Maria delivered CAT classes for The DanceXchange, Laban and Dance4. Maria was course leader for ‘Making Choreographers’, teaching a select group of young people aged 12-16 the tools of choreography.
Maria is currently a visiting lecturer at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire formally known as Birmingham School of Acting a faculty of Birmingham City University teaching physical theatre and contemporary dance technique since 2008. Maria also guest lectures at The University of Wolverhampton teaching 3rd year BA dancers Ailvin Ailey repertoire.
Maria works extensively as a choreographer. Maria has been commissioned by Birmingham School of Actingto choreograph the musical ‘Spring Awakening’ which performed at The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham and a ‘A Clockwork Orange’ also performed at The Cresent Theatre. ‘A Street of Crocodiles‘ first perfomed at The Patrick Centre, Birmingham then toured to Budapest in May 2016. Maria created ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ with director Stephen Simms which was staged at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham in March and toured to Serbian and Hungary May 2017 and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire commissioned Maria in September to choreograph ‘Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson’ previously a broadway musical and the British Premier played at The Cresent Theatre, Birmingham in October 2017 and then a private viewing for Andrew Lloyd Webber in March 2018. Maria choreographed ‘Pentacost’ Directed by Aleksander Dundjerovic performed at The Patrick Centre in December 2017, ‘Rhinoceros’ Directed by John Adams performed at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham, March 2018, Maria choreographed ‘3 Winters’ Directed by Lise Olson performed at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham, October 2018. Maria choreographed a new piece of physical theatre ‘The Terror’ which premiered in Birmingham’s Cresent Theatre in March 2019 and toured to Serbia and Budapest May 2019. Maria finished choreographing ‘Nosfertu’ in March 2020 but it never saw an audience due to Covid 19 however Maria has remained active throughout the pandemic choreographing ‘A Bride of Frankenstein’ which premiered via Zoom in March 2021.