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Stuart Wood.

Joint Artistic Director

Stuart developed and directed the new version of Mahabharata by Nitin Sawhney, commissioned and produced by Sadler’s Wells for its London theatre and a UK tour. Other work includes a major revival of A Taste of Honey for a Number 1 National UK tour, The Shadow of a Gunman, Bulgakov’s Adam and Eve at the Gate, London, Falling Prey and Terrible Beauty at the Old Red Lion, The Emperor Jones and Passengers at Offstage. He also directed a national tour of A Christmas Carol, a European tour of Evita and productions of Noel Coward’s Star Quality at Richmond Theatre and Long Island Sound at Theatre Royal Windsor.

He directed the premiere of Paul Emelion’s hit musical When Harry Met Barry at the Venue in London’s off West End which the Evening Standard called the best new musical of the year. He became one of the go-to directors for developing new musicals, directing workshop productions of Dinner at Eight and Scheherazade, Only You Can Save Mankind and Tom Jones. He directed the Berlin production of the new musical The Lord of The Rings.

He directed the UK premiere of Ionesco’s Journeys Among the Dead at Riverside Studios in collaboration with the author and then returned there to direct a highly successful version of the Leonard Bernstein musical Candide. At Pittsburgh public Theater he directed The Winter’s Tale and for Los Angeles Theater Center, The Revengers’ Tragedy.

He has directed over 100 productions for the country’s leading drama schools including Central School, Rose Bruford College, East 15,The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, The Royal Academy of Music, Webber Douglas Academy and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

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Nancy Medina.

Joint Artistic Director

Nancy Medina is originally from Brooklyn NY. She is a freelance theatre director and Co- Artistic Director for Boomsatsuma’s The Bristol School of Acting. She is an acting tutor at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and has been a workshop facilitator for Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Tobacco Factory Theatres JMK, WoLab and Tiata Fahodzi. In New York, Nancy freelanced as an actor/teacher for the Creative Arts Team and created RISE, a youth theatre project for John Bowne High School. In Autumn 2020 she will run Masterclasses for the MSt Creative Writing and Performance courses at Cambridge University.

Nancy is passionate about creating truthful and accessible theatre. She works on a diverse range of projects and is especially interested in working on new writing, untold stories and marginalised communities.

Awards: 2019 Black British Theatre Awards Winner for Best Play (The Half God of Rainfall), 2018 RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award (Royal & Derngate/ETT), 2017 Genesis Future Director Award (Young Vic), 2014 Emerging Director’s Prize (Tobacco Factory Theatres.) 

Nominations: 2019 Broadway World UK Awards, Best Regional or Touring Production (Two Trains Running), 2019 Black British Theatre Awards, Best Director (The Half God of Rainfall.)

Directing credits include: The Laramie Project (Bristol Old Vic), Two Trains Running (Royal & Derngate/English Touring Theatre), Strange Fruit (Bush Theatre), The Half God of Rainfall (Fuel/Birmingham Rep/Kiln Theatre), Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama), When They Go Low (NT Connections/Sherman Theatre), Yellowman (Young Vic), Romeo and Juliet (GB Theatre), As You Like it (GB Theatre), Curried Goat and Fish Fingers (Bristol Old Vic), Dogtag (Theatre West), Strawberry & Chocolate (Tobacco Factory Theatres), Dutchman (Tobacco Factory Theatres) and Persistence of Memory (Rondo Theatre).

Coming up in 2021: Heart (Kiln Theatre), Choir Boy (Nottingham Playhouse/Theatre Royal Stratford East). Projects in development with Bristol Old Vic, English Touring Theatre and the National Theatre.

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Sam Bridges.

Acting Diploma Course Leader

Sam is a teacher specialising in theatre. He trained in musical theatre at The BRIT School of Performing Arts and then in Devised Theatre Acting at Bretton Hall. Sam has been working as a specialist leader in education for drama for the Cabot Learning Federation and as a teacher of drama for 9 years. His directing credits include A Letter To Lacey at the National Theatre, YOLO at The Bristol Old Vic, Alice by Heart at Latitude Festival and Welcome to the Jungle at the Tobacco Factory. He regularly writes and directs work to tour to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and around local venues. He has worked in collaboration with Frantic Assembly, Bassline Circus, Cartoon Network and Circomedia.

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Michelle Gaskell.

Head of Movement

Michelle began her career as a dancer and choreographer in the late 80s. The next decade saw her choreograph work for the theatre, new circus, opera, touring dance companies and even a stint working with legendary rock band Hawkwind. In 2000 she made her professional debut as movement director at Bristol Old Vic, working on main house shows such as The Wizard of Oz, Wind in The Willows, Beggars Opera and Antigone. She has also worked with English Touring Opera, National Youth Theatre Wales, Cirque Bijou, Sixth Sense and Wigmore Hall and most recently with Travelling Light Theatre (Ugly Duckling) and Postcard Productions (Stranger on the Bridge.)

An associate artist of Myrtle Theatre Company from 2004 to 2013, Michelle collaborated with director Heather Williams on shows including Through The Wire, Jollity Farm, Hot Air and Up Down Boy, which completed its tour at The National Theatre ”The Shed” in 2013. In 2014 Michelle joined Bristol Old Vic Theatre School movement department. She has since taught and provided movement direction for graduate shows such as London Road (Dir, Nic Bone), Trojan Women (Dir Sally Cookson), Earthquakes in London (Dir Cressida Brown) and most recently The Laramie Project directed by Nancy Medina.

Michelle has enjoyed an ongoing association with boomsatsuma providing Movement direction for the Acting Diploma’s NT Connections productions in 2018/19 and as a visiting tutor.

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Gary Owston.

Head of Voice

Gary has worked at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School since 1999 as voice & dialect coach. After gaining a B.A. in Theatre Arts at the Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama in 1985, he enjoyed a successful career as an actor appearing in West End musicals, Shakespeare at the London Old Vic, number 1 tours, regional theatres & TV. 

Gary graduated as a voice teacher in 1991 from the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama (A.D.V.S.). He then worked as a voice coach & actor in Dallas & Minneapolis.

After returning to the UK in 1992 he has taught in many leading drama schools including: RADA, LAMDA, GSA, Central, Rose Bruford, Royal Welsh, Guildhall, Mountview, East 15, Arts Ed, Webber Douglas & ALRA. Recent dialect work includes productions at Bristol Old Vic, Bath Theatre Royal, Royal Welsh National Theatre, Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory, BBC, ITV & Channel 4. Gary runs the BOVTS summer acting courses. He is the Director & Principal of Bristol Acting Academy.

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Vincenzo Pelligrino.

Acting Tutor

Vince has worked as an actor for many years. His TV credits include three series of Casualty; two series of Holby, Where the Heart Is, Tracey Beaker, MIT and he has appeared as a guest artist in many more. Films credits include Fifth Element, Peggy Su, The Adventurer and The Midas Box. He has also worked as a voice over artist on three Assassins Creeds, many television documentaries and has several radio dramas to his credit.

He has been teaching acting for camera for several years, most notably at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and also Bristol University and Weston College. He has also directed various short films over the years. More important than all this though is he thoroughly enjoys his work.

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Sasha Tyuftey.

Acting Tutor

Sasha was born in Tver (Russia), moving to Moscow when she was fourteen and graduating from Moscow International Film School in 2003. She spent four years training in acting at Shukin Theatre University, one of the most prestigious theatre schools in Russia.

After university, Sasha worked in a variety of repertory theatres across Moscow and performed in over twenty productions for cinema and national television in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Her performance in Mukha (2008) won her the Best Actress prize at the Tallinn Film Festival. Sasha is also trained in Biomechanics, a unique acting technique created by Vsevolod Meyerhold.

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Toby Hulse.

Acting Tutor

Toby is a Bristol based playwright, director and creative practitioner with twenty years professional experience, who has worked in a wide variety of theatres across the UK, and whose plays are regularly produced internationally. He is a graduate of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, where he received the Dennis Cartledge Award.

His recent work includes One Small Step for Oxford Playhouse; Beowulf and The Railway Children for Bristol Old Vic Theatre School; Medusa, Minotaur and War Game for Bristol Old Vic; The Ready Steady Colour Christmas Feast for Unicorn Theatre; and To Dream Again for Polka Theatre/Theatr Clwyd, which has won the AAET 2018 Distinguished Play Award. He is currently writing his first pantomime, Puss In Boots, for the Theatre, Chipping Norton.

Toby is a regular tutor at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, where he teaches Acting, Improvisation, Clowning and Performing for a Younger Audience, and directs touring schools’ productions. A former teacher, he also works regularly in schools in the Bristol area, leading workshops on acting, writing and directing.

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Alison Reid.

Acting Tutor

Alison trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her one woman show, An Elephant in the Garden toured to Pittsburgh,USA having been touring leading UK venues for the past five years, most recently the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Globe Theatre. Alison has worked with Robert Lepage, Tim Supple, Melly Still, Philippa Lowthorpe, David Fielding and Adrian Noble and has performed with the RSC, the National Theatre, Bristol Old Vic Theatre and Filter Theatre. She has extensive voice and acting credits in radio, TV and film. As a director her work includes: The Best of Times by Michael Morpurgo; the world première of Glutz (Cardiff and Prague for Royal Welsh College), Feast (Royal Welsh College); Icebergs for The Actor’s Playground Theatre Company; Philistines for the boomsatsuma Foundation Drama Course and R&D for Michael Morpurgo’s translation of The Little Prince for Poonamallee Productions. She also directed The Magic Vessels in Chennai, India; and was associate director on Private Peaceful (Tobacco Factory) and The Mozart Question. She regularly coaches actors for The Actors’ Workshop, Bristol and was the Acting Coach on the new TV drama mini-series The Third Day (Sky Studios/HBO).

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Aaron Parsons.

Acting Tutor

Aaron is a South West based theatre director. He has a Masters in Directing from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Since graduating he has worked as an Associate Director for Prime Theatre who are based in Swindon. He prides himself on making highly visual work, incorporating physical theatre, puppetry and text in both conventional and non-conventional theatre spaces. 

As a freelance director he has made work for: New Mutiny, Travelling Light, Light and Lark, Bristol Old Vic, Circomedia, Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival, Thimble Theatre, Rose Theatre Kingston, and The Pound Arts Centre.