Characters was set up in November 2010 by Moira Townsend Williams to provide opportunities for children and young people to obtain a performance arts training with a creative ethos. Moira is a producer and writer living in Bradford on Avon, who has also been a professional actor, (trained at Guildford School of Acting) as well as a casting director and theatrical agent. Besides producing shows for Characters, she has produced 15 live shows of her own show The Casting Couch in London’s West End and a TV pilot for Channel 4, and various other film and theatre projects including the launch for Salisbury based Women’s Theatre JUNO.
Characters employs teachers and directors who are also working in the industry so that the experience your child receives is always relevant and up-to-date. Current members of the team include Tillie Bolton, who runs our Saturday Stage School at The Arc as well as Little Characters, and Trinity Exam groups, Emma Webb who runs our Holymead, Brislington classes, and Leanne Copley a choreographer and performance arts teacher from St Brendan’s Sixth Form College who is heading up the recent partnership with St Brendan's Performance Arts Academyl. Our Stage Company, which devises new plays for performance, was this year led by award-winning Bristol director Dave Lovatt and Musical Director Helen Temmink. Past workshops have been led by many well known industry professionals including David Bond, head of performance at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, David Lane, a leading Bristol based director and dramaturge, and Tom Wainwright, who was recently writer in residence at Bristol Old Vic.
The vision of Characters is to provide a training that as closely as possible emulates a drama school training, adapted for the various age groups. This not only gives participants a solid foundation in techniques and skills, should they wish to pursue a career in performance arts later on in life, but also develops team building, confidence and self-esteem which are all key to a child’s personal development and happiness – whatever they do in life. Because we are not a franchise, we can keep our fees affordable, and we will always work with parents to swop skills for fees so that our classes are accessible to all.