Principal ~ Rosalind Williams
Holds a BA in English and Latin from Exeter University and a PGCE from Nottingham University. Taught Classics before training at CYGNET. Rosalind has appeared in many productions and created the role of Elizabeth I in The Boy Actor. She studied singing with Monica Shallis, Pamela Faulkner and Evelyn Tubb and sings regularly in recital programmes and with the Richard Roddis Singers. She also studied and taught Tai Chi for several years. Rosalind adapted Alice in Wonderland for schools and has written for BBC radio. She teaches voice, text, singing and choral singing.
Artistic Director ~ Alistair Ganley
Alistair studied English at Nottingham University before training at CYGNET, becoming Associate director in the early 90s. Since then he has helped develop the company’s movement training programme and directed many productions. Alistair is a trained Drama Therapist and lectured on Plymouth University’s MA in Drama therapy. He is a regular artistic collaborator with Jojo Spinks as Interwoven Theatre and directed ” Severance” in collaboration with Trash Dollies and “Vega” with Kayleigh Ann Crook. Other work includes acting and directing for Theatre Royal Plymouth, Men Moving Bridge with Paul Beaumont and Being In Between at Bristol Zoo, 2005.
Teacher ~ Steve Bennett
Steve trained at R.A.D.A and has worked extensively in television and theatre for nearly 30 years. Television work includes: Doctors, Broadchurch, Eastenders, Casualty, Poirot, The Bill, Down to Earth, The Passion, Mile High and The Vet. Theatre work has taken Steve to most major theatres in the country. Steve is also highly regarded as one of the country’s top pantomime dames. As well as an actor Steve is also a director and writer.
Voice Teacher ~ Stephen Copp
Stephen trained at Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art and at RADA. He has worked extensively in rep. Stephen studied under renowned voice teacher Stewart Pearce and has taught vocal technique at Cygnet for a number of years.
Voice Teacher ~ Jacquie Crago
Jacquie works as actor, director and now predominantly as a voice and dialect coach. She was a full time member of the voice and text department at the RSC and now contributes on a freelance basis. She is resident voice and dialect coach on the National Theatre’s production of War Horse (London and national tour).
Cygnet Adviser & Visting Director ~ Jemma Gross
Jemma Gross is a freelance theatre Director and Artistic Director of Epsilon Productions. Jemma is a member of the Young Vic Genesis Directors Network and an invited member of The Director’s Lab, Lincoln Centre Theatre, New York. She is one of the founding members and on the board of Stage Directors UK. For more information http://www.jemmagross.com Twitter: @jemmagross
Alexander Technique ~ Trisha Hemingway
Trained with Walter Carrington and has worked extensively throughout the UK and worldwide. Trisha has a particular interest in working with singers and performers.
Singing Teacher ~ Louisa Wilde
Louisa is a professionally trained actor, director and singer. She has been teaching singing to all ages, from 7 to 80, since 2007 and has performed Classical music, Jazz and Musical Theatre professionally. She has sung at numerous events and concerts, including the Mayor of Chelsea and Kensington’s Charity Ball in 2014. Louisa has been running Musical Theatre workshops for children aged 11-18 since 2009 and has co-written and directed a folk musical, which toured in the UK in 2013. Louisa has a flexible teaching style and believes in working on music that the student is passionate about. Having originally trained Classically, Louisa has grade 8 (distinction) in singing from ABRSM in addition to her professional theatre training.
Movement Psychology for Acting ~ Lavinia Hollands
Lavinia specialises in the acting technique of Movement Psychology developed by Yat Malmgren (Drama Centre London) and Tom Bentley-Fisher. She completed an MA in Actor Training and Coaching at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama where she continues to teach as a Visiting Lecturer in addition to Drama Centre London. Lavinia co-founded Constructive Interference theatre company in 2010 and has worked with the company and as a freelance theatre director across London and internationally for the past 10 years. She works with new writers as a Director and Dramaturge developing the stories of people living with disabilities. She has a degree in playwrighting from the University of Victoria in Canada. www.laviniahollands.com
Dance and Choreography ~ Catarina Lau
Catarina is the Artistic Director of S.E.E.D.S, a dance and exercise company that believes in empowering people through movement. Beginning her dance journey at a small theatre school in Exmouth, through which she was able to dance and train with the Ballet Russe Swansea, performing roles such as the Coppelia doll. She holds a First Class (hons) degree in Dance Theatre and was presented with the ‘Russell Maliphant Prize for Excellence’ . Catarina furthered her dance education and career when she was awarded a bursary to take residency in, ‘Inclusive Dance Practices’ with Tanz Fähig at Ufer Studios, Berlin. She has worked with a variety of artists including: Adam Benjamin, YuYu Rau, Ruth Way, Gemma Kempthorne and Erika Tan performing live & in various dance – for – film works that have toured internationally. These experiences have influenced her love for collaborative work.
Visiting Director & Acting Coach ~ Anita Parry
Anita was joint artistic director of Theatre & Beyond a Brighton based theatre company dedicated to producing new writing for the theatre. From that period she developed a collaboration with the writer Josie Melia where Anita directed two films and appeared in and toured with the production ‘What Would Helen Mirren Do? This has been developed as a screenplay and is currently in development as a potential series for T.V.
In addition to working at the Cygnet Theatre Anita also directs at E15 Acting School in London.
Productions at Cygnet Theatre include: Dancing at Lunghnasa, Strawberries in January, and the black comedy Terrorism.
Movement Teacher ~ Dr Sandra Reeve
Movement, improvisation, physical theatre and body awareness. “I met Suprapto Suryodarmo, Javanese movement artist and teacher in 1988 and studied with him for ten years” (1988 – 1998). Sandra holds a PhD in Performance Practice from the University of Exeter, at where she is also an Honorary Fellow. Sandra has taught at Cygnet for many years.
Screen Acting Tutor ~ Doug Rollins
Doug is delighted to be joining the Cygnet Company, bringing his passion and enormous industry experience from both sides of the lens to the training of emerging actors. He is currently the screen acting tutor at Court Theatre Training Company on a course that he has developed over more than ten years and also a filmmaking tutor at City Lit in London along with short courses specifically for screen directors and various acting for screen and commercials workshops.
His training began at The Welsh College of Music and Drama with his first professional engagement in rep at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1988. A successful 23 year career as an actor followed with over 55 cinema and TV commercials along with major appearances in TV productions, including Love Hurts, The Bill, Holby City, Casualty, Eastenders, The Knock, the award winning Occupation and the cult series Torchwood.
There was a creative need and a natural progression to become a film and TV director and he has made more than a dozen high end and award winning films such as Now Retired, (Best Drama) The Double Deal (recent winner of the San Diego black film festival) and The Crime, a TV pilot episode about a police interrogation.
‘You depend on trust and the collaboration of skilled personnel as a director and all too often actors arrive at a casting, or worse, a shoot, technically ill equipped and hopelessly unprepared for the discipline of acting for the screen’.
Co – Founder ~ Mary G. Evans
Has a French/Drama degree from Bristol university. A year at Georgia University and the Ashland Shakespeare Festival in the USA was followed by stage management work in rep – Dundee, Bristol Old Vic, Canterbury, Cheltenham, a season with Scottish Opera, seven years with Peter Brook as PA and company manager and then in 1974 she joined the Northcott under Geoffrey Reeves, later becoming PA to Richard Digby Day. She met Monica Shallis in 1976 and was a co-founder of CYGNET becoming its first full-time administrator in 1986.
Monica D. Shallis 1939 – 2006 Founding Artistic Director
CYGNET was founded in 1980. The Company grew out of an association between Monica Shallis, Mary Evans and the Northcott Theatre, Exeter- then under the direction of Richard Digby Day.
Cygnet has since grown into a full-time training company with its own Studio Theatre in a converted hall near to the centre of Exeter, in the Historic Quayside area of the city. It functions as a small-scale touring company, with productions regularly touring to venues around the South West. In addition, the Company takes showcase productions up to London and to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Cygnet Company members come from all over the UK and abroad to join its intensive three year ensemble theatre training programme, which combines the best of Conservatoire with the practical experience of a working Theatre Ensemble.