THE STAFF

TRUDI REES
Acting

Director Trudi Rees working with a student on text
photo credit: Sophie Wilson

Trudi trained originally in classical ballet and had a successful dance career before retraining as an actress at The Poor School, graduating in 1997. She has worked extensively in the West End, in regional theatre, television and as a Director at The Poor School for 20 years, until its closure in 2018. Recent productions include The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Tom and Viv, The Accrington Pals and The Lady from Dubuque.

Trudi is a truly inspirational director and I have loved working with her. She sets high expectations for all students and pushes everyone to their full potential. Every rehearsal with Trudi feels like a masterclass, even if you are only observing! She is great at getting students to really explore and understand the character’s motivations, emotional journey and psyche. Her attention to detail is legendary! FIONA MULVANEY, Actor

MARCELLE DAVIES
Movement/ Dance/ Animal Study

Marcelle was Head of Movement at The Poor School for 27 years. She has also worked at RADA, Rose Bruford College and London School of Theatre Studies. She has taught movement and early dance at BADA and for Florida State University in London on their Theatre Studies course. Marcelle has worked as a Movement Director on productions at Rose Bruford and for companies such as Ridiculusmus, Shady Dolls and The Canting Crew. Originally working as a clown and acrobat and in physical theatre, she toured as an actress with companies such as Trickster Theatre, Accordo Povo, South Glamorgan’s Theatre in Education Company and Actors’ Workshop Cardiff before becoming a movement teacher.

Marcelle has been a fantastic source of inspiration over the last two years. I have had the pleasure of her wonderful tuition in movement classes, period dance, animal study and clowning. Learning the art of these disciplines was a joy with Marcelle. She is able to stretch you further than you had thought possible, whilst creating an atmosphere of freedom and calm. After a career in teaching and becoming a mum, I had become detached from my physical self. The work that Marcelle did with us enabled me to become aware of my physical self again and begin using my body as an expressive tool in the rehearsal room. CHARLOTTE PEACH, Actor

CHRISTIAN FELLNER
Voice

Voice tutor Christian Fellner
photo credit: Sophie Wilson

Christian trained originally as a classical singer at Trinity College of Music in London and in Moscow, Russia. An interest in the spoken voice took him to the Central School of Speech and Drama where he graduated with distinction from the MA Voice Studies course. He has been teaching and coaching voice for twenty-five years, training people from all walks of life as well as many actors and singers. As a performer, he has worked as a soloist in opera and concert in Europe, Russia and the Middle East. He continues to perform as a recitalist and his recording of Schubert songs – Aufenthalt – was released in May 2016.

Christian only needs to glance in your direction to know whether you’re in correct alignment, holding tension or breathing correctly and he has taught me everything that I use today. From vocal warm ups, Alexander technique, Shakespeare and the treatment of text to the mechanics of the voice and vocal cords, Christian is your man! I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to train with him these past two years. CORINNA JANE, Actor
CHRISTIAN’S WEBSITE

JEN MALARKEY
Movement

Jen trained at Central School of Speech and Drama, where she gained a first class MA in the teaching of movement for actors. Teaching includes Middlesex University, Italia Conti, Central School of Speech and Drama, Birmingham School of Acting, Identity Drama School and The Poor School. She sits on the audition panel for Central School of Speech and Drama for undergraduate entries. Jen is Artistic Director of Encounter. Through Encounter she makes shows about (extra)ordinary events, ideas and people. The company is committed to creating new work with dance by working in collaboration with both trained and untrained performers from a range of communities and artistic disciplines. They have presented shows at Soho Theatre, Traverse, Lowry, Watford Palace Theatre, Northern Stage, ARC Stockton and The Yard.

Jen is so inspiring. Her uncompromising expectations and demand for commitment from her students has driven us all to achieve more than we’d ever have thought was within our reach. She showed us so many ways to feed our imaginations and to translate it into movement and performance. LINA HOWARD, Actor
ENCOUNTER’S WEBSITE

ALISON DE BURGH
Stage Combat

Stage combat expert Alison de Burgh, throwing a punch

Alison is the first female Fight Director – the first woman to gain entry to the Equity Register of Fight Directors. She has worked with the RSC, National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe and on numerous West End shows and national tours. Her work on opera includes the ENO, WNO, Scottish Opera, Glyndebourne and many more. On screen she has worked for the BBC, and for various ‘indie’ movie companies. She was not only stunt advisor but also took a part herself in the teaser for the movie Mindhorn. As a tutor, Alison was Fight Master at the Webber Douglas Academy for sixteen years. She taught regularly at The Poor School for over ten years and provided Stage Combat Classes at the Actors Centre for  nine years. Alison has a Masters in Historical Research. She is also a coach with the British Academy of Fencing and is a Long Bow Champion and coach.

I’ve worked with Alison on a few stage combat projects at drama school and every one has been both an eye opening education and so much fun. Her incredible knowledge and ability to suit the combat style to the production is amazing and there have been multiple times I’ve been in stitches on the floor over scenarios we’ve walked through. To have worked with a lady so well versed in the industry is a privilege and her vast experience always left me feeling safe and free to explore my character in any fight sequence. Whether you’re a beginner trying to nail a stage punch or a dab-hand with a broadsword, Alison can always lend an expert guiding hand and I would recommend her in a heartbeat to anyone in need of a fight director.JAKE BOTTERELL, Actor

GRANTLEY BUCK
Singing

Staff member Grantley Buck, at the piano

Grantley was Head of Musical Theatre at the Urdang Academy in Covent Garden for seven years, Head of Singing at Master’s Performing Arts for six years and Head of Musical Theatre at The Poor School for thirteen years. He has also worked for Arts Educational, The Roundhouse and the Globe Centre. He spent two years as a principal in the West End production of GREASE. Grantley obtained a BA (Hons) in Music from Leeds University.

In the two years I was taught by Grantley Buck I went from a very under-confident and technically inept singer to holding my own singing solo pieces in front of an audience. That transformation can only be attributed to Grantley’s patience, warmth, enthusiasm and constantly astounding ability as a teacher and musician.KATE GILBERT, Actor

The core staff are also joined by a number of visiting tutors and directors throughout the course of the two year training.

THE TWO YEAR TRAINING