Performance Academy

Click here to download Performance Academy Information Pack, including term dates

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What is Theatre Royal Performance Academy? Theatre Royal Performance Academy and Performance Academy Kidz are Saturday performance training programmes for young people aged 5 - 18 years in Wakefield and Pontefract.

Performance Academy is a three-hour Saturday musical theatre programme for 7 - 18 year olds in Wakefield and Pontefract. Participants are trained for an hour each in singing, dancing and acting. Theatre Royal Wakefield hosts our annual Academy showcase, Sing! Dance! Act! Participants are also invited to audition for our summer musical, the annual panto and to take part in other opportunities.

Performance Academy Kidz! is a 1.5 hour Saturday session for 5 - 7 year olds in Wakefield and Pontefract. The sessions support the use of imagination and play using drama, dance and song. We will aim to build confidence and develop performance skills in readiness for the Performance Academy.

Performance Academy Pontefract @ Carleton Community High School

Saturdays: 10am - 1pm (terms are 12 weeks long)
£295 per term
Financial Support Available.

Performance Academy Kidz! at Pontefract @ Carleton Community High School

If you have a young child aged 5 - 7 years then sign up now.
Saturdays: 11am - 12.30pm
£150 per term
Financial Support Available.

Performance Academy Wakefield @ Wakefield College Waterton Building - NEW SUNDAY SESSIONS ADDED

Saturdays: 2.30pm - 5.30pm or Sundays: 10am - 1pm 
£295 per term
Financial Support Available.

Performance Academy Kidz! at Wakefield @ Wakefield College Waterton Building

If you have a young child aged 5 - 7 years then sign up now.
Saturdays: 2pm - 3.30pm
£150 per term
Financial Support Available.

For information about financial support please click here.

Performance Academy Wakefield is currently full but please get in touch to join the waiting list.

To register for your FREE taster session, to join a waiting list or for more information please contact Gavin or phone 01924 330 060.


Thursday 1st November
10am - 4pm
In The Walker Studio

£25 per person (limited bursaries and assisted places available)

This autumn half-term learn new devising skills and techniques that will help you use your body’s physicality to tell exciting stories. You will look at contact and impulse work, catching, lifting and trust skills and physical devising techniques, allowing you to create your own short piece of theatre without words.

Suitable for:

  • 13-18 year olds who love theatre and want to develop their skills
  • Everyone, whether or not you attend Performance Academy

For more information just contact Jenny via email or call 01924 330065

Limited places available so apply today.

More Performance Academy Bitesize sessions to be announced soon.

The Tutors

Louise Denison - Academy Principal

Louise trained in Leeds and London in all aspects of dance and the performing arts. As a professional performer she worked throughout the country in musicals, pantomimes and cabaret, before being asked out of the blue to choreograph her first show at York Theatre Royal. This led her to work on their highly successful pantomimes and with York Rep. She has since directed and choreographed hundreds of shows and has worked extensively with Theatre Royal Wakefield, choreographing our hugely popular pantomime and writing and directing for Wakefield Youth Music Theatre. A freelance dance teacher, Louise is also Artistic Director of Damuus Dance Company and Resident Choreographer at Scala Perfoming Arts.

Jim Lunt - Musical Direction

Jim spends his year working in various theatres across Yorkshire conducting musicals. He also co-wrote the music for a children’s Christmas musical The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and has written TV jingles for two well known breakfast cereals! In addition, Jim works as a musical arranger – recent work includes shows for Page & Moy cruise liners and BBC Radio Four drama. Jim is actively involved in delivering Creative Partnerships projects, and is passionate about working with young people as a resident tutor at Theatre Royal Wakefield’s Performance Academy.

Eve Headley - Dance

Eve has over 15 years experience of teaching and choreography, is an associate of the IDTA (International Dance Teachers Association) and adjudicator for dance festivals. Eve’s professional performance credits include dancing for The Ken Dodd Show, ensemble for many pantomimes (Qdos and First Family) and backing dancer for Debbie Gibson. “I have a passion for both teaching and performing. I love what I do!”.

Natalie Davies - Singing

Natalie has been involved in musical theatre for the last 10 years and in that time she has performed in over 70 musicals, working onstage, as a pit musician and as musical director. Originally from Birmingham, Natalie completed her undergraduate degree and also obtained a masters degree in Music by Research and Composition at University of Huddersfield. Natalie works as a private vocal coach as well as running group workshops and choirs. For two years she taught with Music and the Deaf in Huddersfield, teaching piano and helping out with the National Deaf Youth Orchestra. Natalie is currently studying level 1 British sign language and one day hopes to set up a sing and sign group.

Natalie Bellingham - Kidz / Drama

Natalie is a performer, deviser and Co Artistic Director of touring company Uncanny Theatre ( Natalie has trained both in Europe and the UK and enjoys making and watching visually arresting, exciting theatre. She has a wealth of experience in clowning and works frequently with companies such as Faceless Company, Tell Tale Hearts Theatre Company, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Lawrence Batley Theatre and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Tina Shuker-Abell - Drama

Tina completed her degree in Dramatic Arts at Bretton Hall University and has worked ever since as a lecturer, freelance director, writer, choreographer and workshop leader for a variety of youth theatre and community companies, in the UK and abroad.  These include Kilpeck Youth Theatre, Hereford, The Music Pool, Hereford, Dorset Youth Theatre and the Theatre Royal Wakefield Performance Academy. She has directed a vast array of full scale productions ranging from Shakespeare to modern classics and musical theatre. She also regularly writes plays for educational institutions as well as community based projects and is passionate about adapting short stories for the stage from writers who inspire her such as Angela Carter. Tina is also a keen practitioner of movement and physical work, and is skilled in working with large ensemble casts.

Jenny Jones - Learner Support Worker

Jenny Jones studied Drama at De Montfort University before graduating in 2012. Since then she has worked as a freelance workshop facilitator and teacher, working in both schools and youth theatres. She has supported work on a number of projects for the Theatre Royal Wakefield such as Show Me the Funny, Oliver! and the Performance Academy showcases.

Beth Hudson - Kidz & Drama Tutor

Beth has been a primary school teacher for four years, working with the full age range of 4-11 years old. She has a passion for music and theatre, running a successful choir at her school who have staged their own productions including Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and The Wizard of Oz. She has starred in numerous productions and has also worked with the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Lynette Pickering - Dance

Lynette trained in North Yorkshire and as a youngster travelled to many parts of the country to gain performance experience in all aspects of theatre, but predominantly dance. She delightedly accepted a place at Bird College and graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) in 2015. Credits whilst training include Music Video ‘Cold’ for Rae Morris. Lynette returned to Yorkshire to teach for two separate dance schools, and now loves spending her Sunday’s in Wakefield at Performance Academy. Whilst she still gets occasional opportunities to perform on stage, teaching has become an immense passion and is something she looks forward to continuing to expand on in the future. 

Heidi Webster - Dance

Heidi studies and teaches at the Caroline Atha School of Dance alongside her studies for a Theatre and Performance degree at the University of Leeds. She started dancing at the age of four and is extremely passionate about the arts. She is an Associate of the IDTA (International Dance Teacher’s Association) and is working towards more teaching and performance examinations. Heidi has performed in various shows at the Theatre Royal Wakefield, including the youth projects, pantomimes and the anniversary gala. Theatre has been a huge part of her life. She would love to help others achieve highly, and to enjoy performing and learning as much as she does.

If you want the opportunity to perform on our stage in the Performance Academy Showcase then you can join our Performance Academy Pontefract or Performance Academy Kidz today. If you are interested in joining our Performance Academy or need more information please email Gavin Leonard.

Please click on the document below to find out more about Performance Academy and Performance Academy Kidz:
Performance Academy Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the document below to find out more about
2018/19 Academic Year Prices and Direct Debit Form

To find out more contact Gavin Leonard on 01924 330 060. To book your place call the Box Office on 01924 211 311.

Box Office: 01924 211 311

Minicom (text-type users): 01924 215 522

Theatre Royal Wakefield, Drury Lane, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF1 2TE

Wakefield Theatre Royal and Opera House was designed by Frank Matcham and opened in 1894.