About

Teachers & Staff

Headshot of Wendy Finch

Wendy Finch - Co-Principal

Wendy Finch (nee Newman and formerly Gill) is school's lead teacher. She holds the Associate status of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and is a fully qualified teacher of the Royal Academy of Dancing.

Wendy started dancing at a very early age, taught by her mother - and the school's founder - Patricia Newman. She developed a deep passion for dance and the performing arts, and later found a true love in teaching young children and helping them to achieve their full potential. This led initially to a career as a primary school teacher and, later, a combination of dance teacher, reception teacher and full-time mother.

She opened the The Richard Pate School branch of the school, and her involvement at the main studio increased, until she became manager and full-time teacher in 2013 after her father and school co-founder, Ken Newman, passed away.

Over the years Wendy has enjoyed being involved in amateur productions with Cheltenham Operatic and Dramatic Society (CODS), performing at Everyman Theatre in 42nd Street, Crazy for You, and Oliver, also Summer Holiday and A Chorus Line at The Playhouse. She also choreographed Sweet Charity and Jesus Christ Superstar for CODS, and has choreographed many productions in her role as a school teacher at The Richard Pate School and Christ Church Primary School. She also teaches voluntarily as leader of dance clubs in several local schools. Wendy is on the dance committee for Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts, and has previously sat on the committee for Bristol Dance festival and Pershore Dance Festival.

Headshot of Isobel Powell

Isobel Powell (BA Hons, ARAD, FDI) - Senior Teacher

Isobel began her vocational training at the Arts Educational School Tring and then went on to complete her professional training at the prestigious Bird College. At a young age she was an associate with the Royal Ballet and also performed as a soloist with the National Youth Ballet. Isobel’s passion for music and choreography began at an early age where she was awarded the Barbara Geoghan choreographic award twice and her pieces were then performed at Sadlers Wells, London. In addition to being awarded the ISTD Young Dancer of the Year Isobel’s choreography won The Creation Choreography Award from UK’s leading dance school principal Luis D’Abreu.

Isobel is now an international performer and choreographer. She is responsible for choreographing large scale cirque productions and dance acts for prestigious contracts that are performed worldwide. She has also performed and worked alongside several UK dance companies, credits including Louise in Carousel, ensemble Hooray for Hollywood, dancer in Cinderella, QDOS Entertainment, Cirque Show (Dubai 2016), and work with Hofesh Shechter Company. She has recently been fortunate enough to choreograph two large scale productions at the Bristol Hippodrome, Singing in the Rain and Bugsy Malone. She currently teaches her own professional tap and jazz workshops for dance students and professionals throughout the South West as well as teaching at leading vocational colleges. She has a wealth of experience teaching children of all ages ranging from junior theatre school work, coaching children for ISTD and RAD exams as well as competitions and eisteddfod dances. Many of Isobel’s students have gone on to either land major West End roles or continue their professional training at top London vocational colleges.

Headshot of Lisa-Marie Crowhurst

Lisa-Marie Crowhurst - Teacher

Taking a fervent interest in all aspects of performance from a young age, Lisa has trained in a variety of styles including ballet, jazz, modern and tap. Her passion for dancing has seen her perform in numerous theatres and venues around the UK, train with West-End dance captains and teach dance to children and adults. Having become increasingly involved in choreography with local theatrical companies, she has recently choreographed productions of Anything Goes and The Pirates of Penzance at Cheltenham's Everyman Theatre.

Lisa has performed across the country as a dancer, musical theatre performer and singer - both as a soloist and as part of groups. Her experiences include singing in Canterbury Cathedral, directing and producing a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods at the Playhouse Theatre (Whitstable), performing at the Everyman and Playhouse (Cheltenham) theatres in a variety of roles (including Chastity in Anything Goes, Sacharissa in Princess Ida, Edith in Pirates of Penzance and Young Heidi in Follies), and appearing in a handful of films and television productions (including Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, Thunderpants and Killing Me Softly) while studying at Redroofs Theatre School.

Lisa took her first foray into dance teaching when she was 15, working part time as a dance teaching assistant at Linda Sweetzer School of Dance and Redroofs Theatre School. Over the years she has taken every opportunity to get involved with dancing and the community; teaching classes to students throughout her time at university, dancing as part of the City Academy adult dance troupe, working with a variety of ages and abilities within The Cotswold Savoyards theatre society, and as choreographer for a number of productions at numerous local theatres. Lisa is also a Zumba Fitness instructor, running classes in and around the Gloucester area.

Headshot of Claire Tracey

Claire Tracey - Teacher

Claire believes passionately that ballet is for everyone. She specialises in teaching adults of all abilities, body shapes and ages - her youngest dancer is 18 and her oldest is 85!

After studying ballet, tap and modern Claire completed her professional dance training at The London Contemporary Dance School and went on to dance with two contemporary companies as well as teaching the dance element of a college performing arts course in London. She began teaching adults after training to be a fitness instructor where the dance elements she introduced in her classes were very popular. This inspired Claire to train to become a ballet teacher and she holds the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance DDI and DDE qualifications.

Adult ballet is growing in popularity. Many people are looking for a fitness programme that is more danced based than can be found in a gym. Ballet is great for core strength, flexibility, coordination and balance. Claire's classes aim to improve all of these elements but are also artistic, use great music and are fun.

Claire teaches all abilities from beginners to advanced. Her classes cost £35 for 5 classes or £8 for a drop-in.

Headshot of Emily Samways

Emily Samways - Theatre Arts Teacher

Emily completed her vocational training at The MTA in London, achieving a diploma in Musical Theatre. From an early age Emily has danced and performed, being a regular competitor at the Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts and other competitions. She performed in pantomimes at The Everyman and Bacon Theatre and, during her teen years, branched into extra training as part of the Laine Theatre Arts Junior Squad and attended summer courses at Mountview and other colleges.

Emily has several professional credits from her time after college. Most recently she performed in the brand new show, Forest of Enchantment, at Disneyland Paris, singing the role of Rapunzel. She has played characters such as Dorothy (TAG), Belle (PMA Productions), Cinders (Bourne Leisure) as well as performing as a dancer on board the Costa Fortuna Cruise Ship.

Emily has been teaching alongside her performing work for 7 years running her own theatre school, Theatrics Performance Group. She has successfully entered her students for LAMDA examinations and achieved Distinctions and medals at the Cheltenham Festival. Theatrics students have put on several shows and performed at charity events and concerts. She hopes to build on these achievements and bring a high standard of singing and drama training to budding young performers.
Theatrics Performance Group on Facebook

Headshot of Stephanie Reid

Stephanie Reid - Assistant Teacher

Stephanie Started dancing at the age of 5 at Mandy Goddings Theatre Arts in Gloucester. At the age of sixteen she moved to London to start her three year training course at Millennium Performing arts. In 2011 she graduated with a National Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre.

Since then she has gone on to work professionally all over the world.

Credits including: 'Got To Dance Semi Finals' Dancer, Tap Attack; 'United We Tap' Dancer, Boston Massachusetts USA 2011; 'Jean Ann Ryan Productions' Dancer/Singer/Aerialist, Regent Seven Seas Cruise Line 2012; '42 St Charity Gala' Singer/Dancer, London Palladium 2013; 'West End Heroes' Ensemble Dancer/Singer, The Dominion Theatre London 2013/2014; 'Benidorm Palace' Dancer, Spain 2013/2014; 'The Royals' Dancer/Extra, Channel E! 2014; 'Adidas Commercial' Extra, Adidas; 'Palazzo' Dancer, Germany 2014/2015/2016/2017; 'Birkenstock Fashion Show' Dancer/Model, 2015; 'BBC's A Midsummer Night's Dream' Dancer/Extra, Arlene Phillips 2015; 'Affiange Hair Show' Dancer/Model, TSE Productions 2016; 'The Today Show' Dancer, The Today Show (Australian TV) 2017; 'Affinage Hair Conference' Model, TSE Productions 2017; 'Mother Goose' Ensemble Dancer/Singer, Sheffield Lyceum Theatre 2017/18; 'Saks Gathering' Dancer/Model, TSE Productions 2018.

She also represented England as part of the national team at the IDO World Tap Championships from 2009-2011.

Stephanie is thrilled to be teaching at Patricia Newman School and hopes her love and passion for dance and performance is widely spread throughout the school.

History

Patricia Newman started her career in dance at The Phyllis Elston School of Dancing, Cheltenham achieving her diploma in DTA and BBO and later becoming a member of ISTD.

Patricia began teaching in 1946, in various venues around Cheltenham and Gloucester. With her husband Ken Newman as her pianist and manager, she established her own dancing school in 1964. She was extremely well respected and her team of performers – ‘The Pat Newman Dancers’ were in popular demand as entertainers at The Town Hall, The Everyman Theatre and other prestigious venues for many years.

Several of her pupils have gained scholarships to The Royal Ballet School and many pupils have  become professional dancers and teachers around UK and beyond.