Ben is an award winning director and performer who has been performing on stage since he was two years old. He has played a number of well-known roles on stage including Tick (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Bobby (Crazy for You), Sir Galahad & Prince Herbert (Spamalot), Edna Turnblad (Hairspray), Tom Collins (Rent), Old Deuteronomy (Cats), Mr Braithwaite (Billy Elliot) The Dentist (Little Shop of Horrors), Frederick (Pirates of Penzance) and The Lion (The Wizard of Oz) to name but a few. Ben has worked at numerous secondary schools teaching Drama and Music and directed and choreographed numerous school productions such as We Will Rock You, The Lion King, Through the Looking Glass, The Wizard of Oz and Sister Act . Ben is also on the committee for Banbury Operatic Society for whom he directed Priscilla Queen of the Desert and choreographed The Witches of Eastwick, Sister Act and Ghost the Musical. Ben was the co-director and co-choreographer for YOBOS from 2013 until 2016, during which time they twice won the NODA Flame Award for The Inspirational Contribution for the Pursuit of Excellence in Theatre - a record for such a short space of time! With YOBOS, Ben directed Seussical the Musical, 13 the Musical, Grease and Legally Blonde. Following this, he became the Production Manager and Mentor to the new production team in order ot inspire a whole new generation of young directors. In 2016, Ben won the Louise English Award, recognising his contribution to theatre and the arts. Ben joined St John's Drama Group as the lighting designer in 2009 before taking to the stage the year after. He soon became the group's director which he juggled alongside performing on stage. With the group he has played a variety of roles including a gnome, an Ugly Sister, a wise cracking Genie, Dame Trott and an Evil Queen! He has also directed and/or produced all of ATC's productions to date. He is thrilled to be the Chairman of one of Banbury's most ambitious theatre companies and looks forward to continuing to take risks that provide unique entertainment.
One of Gill’s earliest memories is of sitting under the director’s table watching her Mum perform in a local amateur operatics society. Gill found her own love of acting after doing Shirley Bassey and Frank Spencer impressions in a school assembly! She then appeared in as many school performances as she could playing James Bond, Jesus, Malvolio, Sergeant of Police – as you can tell Gill did a great line in male parts as she went to an all girls secondary school! At Warwick Uni, she joined Warwick University Drama Society, still playing men in Victoria Woods one act play talent and taking on a female monologue by Franca Rama. She also joined the Gilbert and Sullivan musical theatre group and played General Cartwright at the Warwick Arts Centre. Gill is a HR professional and then spent many years only using her acting skills to entertain in training courses until she joined St John’s Drama Group for Robin Hood. Gill has continued to take on more male roles than female with the group! She is also a leader for Bodicote Church Youth Drama group and has directed Bugsy Malone and Seussical for the group. Gill was also the magnificent winner of the ATC Committee's 2016 Christmas Day 'What’s in the Box?' competition with her Nan in a box entry as well as her spoof advert entry in 2017!
Ian is honoured to be one of the many people who make Avocet Theatre Company a success. Originally, Ian's only credit was one of the Wise Men in his Primary School Nativity. However, since joining the Company, Ian soon fell in love with performing and entertaining audiences and has been a key player in the group. With ATC (and St John's Drama Group), Ian has played roles including The King/Father (Rapunzel), Baron Hardup (Cinderella: A Musical-Pantomime), The Giant/Pigeon (Jack & the Beanstalk: A Musical-Pantomime), the 'stand-in dwarf' Tiny (Snow White: A Musical-Pantomime) and has performed in sketches and musical numbers in the group's numerous variety shows. One of Ian's highlights however was playing Ping, one of the Chinese policemen in Aladdin: A Musical-Pantomime, opposite Jennie Healy's Pong. Ian was a key member in organising Winter Wonderland, which ATC held in partnership with Banbury Academy, and even played Santa amongst his other duties! Ian is pleased to be part of a company that is so encouraging as well as giving him the opportunity to tread the boards despite being one of ATC's more 'senior' members.
As a teenager Jennie attended The London Contemporary Dance School, and also participated in many school productions; Sandy (Grease), Blousey (Bugsy Malone) Nellie (South Pacific). Family and work commitments over 25 years prevented performing opportunities until Jennie joined the original St John’s Drama Group in 2011 having been introduced by good friend Emma, daughter of founder Tom Greening. The initial intention was help out with the first One Night Only Show. However, with the passion to perform reignited Jennie went on to appear as The Queen of Hearts in Crock of Gold. Other pantomime roles include Simon the Gnome (the unlikely twin to Ben Coleman’s Arthur in Rapunzel), Buttons (Cinderella), Pong the Chinese policeman (Aladdin), opposite Ian Keeffe’s Ping, Baroness Wasteland (Jack & the Beanstalk: A Musical-Pantomime) and Justice Quill (Snow White: A Musical-Pantomime). She has also performed in many sketches and musical numbers in the groups numerous variety shows and oversees costumes, hair and make up for the productions. She has also taken on the role of Leader at Bodicote Church Youth Drama Group and recently choreographed their production of Spamalot Jr. Jennie’s ATC committee role ensures the smooth running of the group membership process and she has knowledge of child protection policies and procedures. She is delighted with the achievements of ATC and is proud of the great friends she has made being a part of it.
Fundraising Officer & Dance Practitioner
Debbie choreographs most of the group numbers for ATC's performances, alongside Amelia, and is a qualified dance teacher in Ballet, Tap and Modern Jazz having been dancing since the age of 3. As well as choreographing, Debbie also helps with sourcing props for productions. She is the current Box Office Manager for Banbury Operatic Society and a committee member of YOBOS. When not choreographing numbers, sourcing props or fundraising for the Group, Debbie works as a PA at a local secondary school, where she sees many ATC members on a daily basis. She is extremely proud of what ATC has achieved, the friendships that have been formed and looks forward to the future with this amazing, versatile and talented group.
LEAD MUSIC PRACTITIONER
Louise is thrilled to be on the committee for Avocet Theatre Company. Her love for music and theatre started at school when she landed the role of Sandy in her schools production of Grease. From then on she took every opportunity to perform and take part in theatre. This continued in her own teaching career, teaching music in secondary schools. Louise has been the musical director for numerous schools productions such as; Oliver, Grease, We Will Rock You, The Lion King and Through the Looking Glass. Her first role with ATC was in their 2019 panto Snow White. After a break of 14 years, she took to the stage as Fairy Fortune and loved every second of being part of such a fantastic show and amazing company. Louise can’t wait to work with all the very talented members of the group and feels privileged to be the lead vocal and music practitioner.
Sam is thrilled to be on the committee for Avocet Theatre Company, a group who is pushing the boundaries and is unique to Banbury. Sam has performed in a number of productions around the area and has played roles such as Captain Tempest (Return to the Forbidden Planet), Link Larkin (Hairspray), Roger (Rent), Prince Charming (Rapunzel), The King (Cinderella: A Musical-Pantomime), Slave of the Ring (Aladdin: A Musical-Pantomime), Jack (Jack & the Beanstalk: A Musical-Pantomime) and Slurp (Snow White: A Musical-Pantomime) as well as performing solo in a number of concerts and variety shows. As well as performing Sam designs the posters and artwork that advertises the company and it's productions.
Amelia has been performing from a young age and attended Joanne Mills School of Dance training in Ballet, Tap, Modern and Commercial. She has previously studied at East 15 Acting School where she had the opportunity to choreograph and devise theatre for industry professionals. Amelia has enjoyed being on stage with numerous theatre groups in the local area with previous roles including Snow White (Snow White A Musical-Pantomime), Sherrie (Rock of Ages), Julia (The Wedding Singer), Angie (Our House), Frenchie (Grease) and many more. Recently Amelia has worked on the production team for shows such as Elf The Musical (Avocet Theatre Company) and 42nd Street (YOBOS). Amelia is very excited to work will the talented people in this company in current and future shows.
General Committee Member
Luke is honoured to be on the committee for such an innovative group as ATC. Luke is currently studying acting at the prestigious Performance Preparation Academy in Guildford with whom he performed as part of the opening routine for Move It - the country's biggest dance and drama convention. Before heading off to PPA, Luke studied at the prestigious Oxford School of Drama and began performing when he was cast as the lead role of Galileo in Banbury Academy's production of We Will Rock You. Following that, Luke took any opportunity he could to perform and further his passion for the arts. He has played a number of well known roles including Timon (The Lion King), Archie (13 the Musical), Kenickie (Grease), Professor Callahan (Legally Blonde), Aladdin (Aladdin: A Musical-Pantomime), TJ (Sister Act), the Red King (Through the Looking Glass), Captain Pugsley (Jack & the Beanstalk: A Musical-Pantomime) and Pearce (Half a Sixpence). He has also performed solo and as part of an ensemble at numerous variety shows and concerts. Luke is the current director for YOBOS, having directed their 2017 show of The Wedding Singe, their 2018 production of Rock of Ages and their 2019 production of 42nd Street. He is gearing up to direct their 2020 production of In the Heights.