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The Team

Ros Johnson (Founder)
When not running Theatresaurus courses and workshops, Ros is engaged by the RSC as an Associate Education Practitioner. She trained at Central School of Speech and Drama as a teacher and voice coach and spent 15 years working for the Royal Shakespeare Company where she worked with Cecely Berry, National Theatre and in the West End of London as an Assistant Director and Director. She has worked with Internationally renowned artists, performers and directors such as Dame Maggie Smith, Madonna, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Richard Eyre and Ewan McGregor. She worked as a producer for Clarke Peters (5 Guys Named Moe) and Joan Rivers (Broke and Alone).

Neil Johnson (Founder)
Neil originally trained as an actor and has worked in the West End, on tour and in television for 10 years. He co-founded a theatre in Greenwich, producing and directing a variety of plays, including Hitler Dances and Women of No Importance. As well as working as a Theatre Producer/Director on numerous productions in London and around the UK, Neil also works as a Communications and Presentation Consultant to  corporate clients and other diverse groups such as teachers, chefs and students. In recent years he has tour managed many productions in Europe, Asia and the USA.

Louise Merrifield
Louise trained as an actress at The Drama Centre, London, and worked professionally for 14 years. She has acted in television (including roles in Eastenders, Chancer, Grange Hill and Crazy Like A Fox), theatre and radio, and has recorded voiceovers for TV and radio commercials as well as talking books. She has been a Children’s TV presenter for the BBC, and owned her own theatre company for 2 years. Locally, Louise has directed productions including Cinderella at Churchill Secondary School and Stephen Sondheim’s musical ‘Into The Woods’ at The Playhouse in Weston. Louise and Ros first met when they were 16 and studied drama together at Stratford upon Avon College.

Ian Embleton
Starting at the age of 19 in West Side Story in London’s West End, Ian’s career has encompassed: Two Royal Command Performances, the musicals Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Gypsy, The Wizard of Oz and Bless the Bride. Classical Theatre includes Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet. Three seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company including The Man of Mode, Macbeth, The Man Who Came to Dinner, The Master Builder, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Clockwork Orange 2004 (with U2), A Comedy of Errors, Edward II, The Seagull, Curse of the Starving Class and Orphans. His TV and Film credits include the BAFTA award-winning drama An Ungentlemanly Act, Head Over Heels, Coronation Street, Game On, Doctor Finlay’s Casebook, EastEnders, The Bill, Casualty, Frost, Colour Blind, Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Doctors, Reps and Calendar Girls. His directing credits include Hess, Hamlet, Orphans, A Bomber’s Tale, On your Bike and a Chalky White Substance.

Katy Weir
Since graduating from Bretton Hall in 2005 Katy has worked as an actor, director and facilitator. As an actor theatre credits include, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Charlotte’s Web at The Dukes, Lancaster, The Yellow Wallpaper at The Royal Exchange Studio, Manchester, and Romeo and Juliet for The Young Shakespeare Company. Most recently Katy has worked as a drama facilitator with a diverse range of companies. She ran Theatresaurus’ Easter Shakespeare course and taught on their Speech and Drama Summer course, She is an associate artist with National Youth Theatre and Shakespeare Schools Festival, and also works with the prison service

Ali Handscomb
A nurse with a background in personal and organisational development, Ali has led National leadership programmes for the NHS Leadership Centre and won an Institute of IT award for e-learning programmes on Leadership. She has worked in both the UK and Ireland developing teams and people for organisations and is an International and National speaker on leadership. Ali is Director of GTR Coaching Ltd, a company using coaching techniques to help leaders in business and healthcare to maximise their potential. She is a business coach and guardian angel with the North West Development Agency. A keen blogger and social media user, Ali also currently advises companies on using social media for marketing.

Sue Jennings
Sue started life as a professional dancer from the age of three and graduated into musicals, repertory theatre and Shakespeare for Schools by the time she reached adulthood. Since that time she has developed a unique approach to working through theatre with children and adults with special needs. ‘Theatre of Resilience’ (ToR) has been developed in Nazareth with children suffering trauma, in Romania with boys sleeping on the railway station, and with children on the autistic spectrum in Malaysia. Sue has now established her methods with people who are elderly and those with dementia in the UK. She continues to work in the professional theatre and theatre-in-education; her new one-woman play is based on the life of Elizabeth Fry. Sue has published extensively including the acclaimed ‘Healthy Attachments and Neuro-Dramatic-Play, a set text on many play and drama course.

Violetta Gyra
Violetta is an actress working and residing in Los Angeles, California and Athens, a graduate of the Greek National Theatre and a lifetime member of the Actors Studio. She is credited on film, television and theatre productions in Europe and the Americas. Her theatre credits include ‘Superheroes’ with Patrick Morris, founder of Menagerie Theatre Company in Cambridge, ‘Electra The Rewrite’ a collaboration with Edward Pomeranz from Columbia University, ‘Spike Heels,’ at “Circle in the Square” in NY, ‘Waxing West,’ ‘Death of a Salesman,’ ‘Viva la Compagnia,’ ‘Tejas Verdes,’ ‘EXTRAordinary’ one woman show, ‘Why Madonna and not me?’ and many more. Over the past season she has had guest starring roles on prime-time television dramas in Greece. During 2010 she worked at IFFP 2010 (International Film Festival of Patmos) and The Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico and many productions in Europe, Asia and the USA.

Antigone Gyra
In Greece, Antigone is Artistic Director of KINITIRAS dance spectacle. Antigone graduated from the Laban Centre in London with first class Honours and gained the Graduates’ Choreographic Award in 1993. She has attended intensive workshops on dance, choreography and theatre in New York, Amsterdam, London, Athens and Paris. Since 1993 she has been teaching movement to actors and choreography to dancers at professional dance and theatre schools of Athens and has choreographed many productions of ancient drama and modern repertory (Lysistrata, Eleni, Pressure Points, Skriker, Cyclops, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Helectra).