About Us

We teach classes in Speech, Acting, and Drama to children aged 7-18. Meet the creatives:

REBEKAH O’DOWD Principal

Rebekah completed her BA (Hons) in English/Drama and Theatre Studies at Royal Holloway College, University of London. She worked in many state schools as a secondary teacher if both English and Drama, including being head of Drama at King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls for five years before opening CENTRESTAGE School of Speech and Drama in Sutton Coldfield in January 2002.

ELLA MAY MCGRAIL B.A (Hons) Drama, M.A Shakespeare and Creativity, PCertLam. Deputy Principal

Ella has been a part of CENTRESTAGE since she attended as a pupil. In 2012, Ella left us to obtain BA (Hons) in Drama but returned from De Montfort University to join the team as a full-time teacher. In 2016, Ella achieved a Distinction in her PCertLAM Level 3 in Speech and Drama Performance Studies. Ella has recently completed an MA in Shakespeare and Creativity (2019) and is now working towards a PhD in Shakespeare Studies

BETH BROWN B.A (Hons) Theatre and Performance, P.G.C.E, QTS. Lead Teacher.

Beth joined our team as a full-time teacher in September 2017, after graduating from the University of Leeds with a degree in Theatre and performance. She taught at CENTRESTAGE for two years before moving on to complete a PGCE at Canterbury University.

Lily-May Allcock B.A (Hons) Drama and English Literature. Teacher

This is Lily-May’s first year with us at CENTRESTAGE. Lily-May is a recent graduate, having obtained a first class degree in Drama and English Literature from the University of Birmingham. Last year she performed in Comment is Free at the George Cadbury Hall as part of her final piece.

AOIFE O’DOWD Assosciate Teacher (part-time)

Aoife has also been a part of CENTRESTAGE since she attended as a pupil. In 2019, Aoife graduated from the University of Edinburgh with Religious Studies and English Literature MA (Hons). She continued to work for CENTRESTAGE during her holidays but has now returned as a full-time teacher. In 2016, Aoife also achieved a Distinction in her PCertLAM Level 3 in Speech and Drama Performance Studies.

SIMON GARRINGTON Director (part-time)

Simon has worked for CENTRESTAGE as both a teacher and director since 2013. He studied a Postgraduate Acting course at Drama Studio London (2013) and is now a professional actor, currently pursuing work in a variety of contexts. He recently played the titular role in Macbeth at the Sutton Coldfield Town Hall. CENTRESTAGE are really lucky to have Simon’s support when constructing our performances.

KIERAN JENKINS Publicity Assistant (part-time)

Kieran graduated from CENTRESTAGE after ten years of performing with us. In September 2015, he began working with us on Saturdays, and became responsible for our social media, website, and box office. He left us in July 2017 to study English Language and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield, where he is well-established in the Performing Arts Society, but continues to support CENTRESTAGE as our digital publicity assistant.

THE ARCHIVE

ELEANOR TALBOT Administrator

Eleanor has been a part of CENTRESTAGE since primary school. Eleanor graduated from CENTRESTAGE in 2019 after her final performance in Girls Like That and Bouncers and completing her PCertLAM. We are delighted that Eleanor has chosen to spend her gap year working with CENTRESTAGE 2019-20 before going on to study Speech and Language Therapy next year.

LILY MANNION Assistant Teacher, 2018-2019

Lily graduated from Upstage in March 2018 after her final performance in A Mother’s Voice/Second Person Narrative. We were delighted that Lily spent her gap year working with CENTRESTAGE before going on to study at the University of Exeter.

ALESSANDRA DAVISON  Teacher, 2015-2017

Alessandra worked for CENTRESTAGE having reached the end of her time as a pupil of the school. Well established into the National Youth Theatre, she then studied at the prestigious LAMDA institution before going on to become an Assistant Director for plays performed at the Turbine Theatre and Young Vic in London.

HATTIE WARREN  Teacher, 2013-2015

Hattie joined the CENTRESTAGE team in 2013 as a teacher and director on Saturdays and Thursdays, alongside her studies at the University of Birmingham. She moved on in 2015 to complete her PGCE, and now works as a drama teacher in a state secondary school.

SHAUN CORCORAN  Teacher, 2009-2011

Shaun taught at CENTRESTAGE whilst studying BA (Hons) in Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham (2011). Always hoping to pursue a career in Stage Management, Shaun is now excelling in that field, having worked as an ASM for the London 2012 Olympics, and more recently as the SM of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical in London’s West End.

LAURA SHAW  Teacher, 2009-2011

Laura became part of the CENTRESTAGE family whilst studying for a BA (Hons) in Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham. After leaving CENTRESTAGE, Laura moved to London to pursue a career in the Arts and Television industry, and now works as Production Manager for BBC Studios.

CHRISSY JONES  Teacher, 2010-2012

Chrissy joined CENTRESTAGE in October 2010, whilst studying for a Drama and Classics degree at the University of Birmingham. She had previously trained on a six month Acting Foundation Course at The Oxford School of Acting, and now teaches drama at a state secondary school.

LAUREN BARNES Teacher, 2009-2011

Lauren joined the CENTRESTAGE team in 2009, with a lot of previous dramatic experience and her LAMDA Gold Medal. She stayed with us for three years, whilst studying for a degree in Business and Communications at the University of Birmingham. The travel bug has since led Lauren to travel all over the world.

FIONA PATERSON  Teacher, 2007-2009

Fiona’s time at CENTRESTAGE began in 2007, working as a speech and drama teacher alongside her studies at the University of Birmingham. Fiona left us in 2009 to complete a Masters in Broadcast Journalism at London’s City University, and is now based in Cumbria as an accomplished news reporter for ITV Border.

BECKY OWEN Teacher, 2005-2008

Becky was part of the teaching team at CENTRESTAGE from 2005-2008, during which time she directed and production-managed many fabulous plays. She graduated with a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham (2008) and has since made a successful career for herself in the digital marketing industry.

JANE PRYER-SMITH Teacher

Jane taught Saturday classes at CENTRESTAGE for several years, offering considerable skill as a longstanding speech teacher, sharing her expertise as as a speech teacher at the Shrubbery School in Sutton Coldfield.