Alice Penny - Sessional worker for Infants Group - Drama
Alice is a professionally trained Actress, training at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London. She has a host of experience of working creatively with children, both as a Performer & Storyteller, Drama teacher, Theatre Practitioner, and award winning entertainer ('Netmum's' favourite entertainer in the north west award). With a huge passion to inspire children's imaginations Alice started working with kids in 2007, & later went on to set up 'Mother hen' in 2011, a small & independent, award winning children's theatre company that aims to create wonderful, multi-sensory, interactive theatre experiences for children, that are accessible to all. Alice's work with Mother hen has been varied and diverse, delivering projects in schools & nurseries & children's centres right across the north-west, regularly working on the Royal exchange theatres family friendly events, for Manchester libraries, in hospitals, community centres, theatres & art galleries, gardens, festivals, at parties, or even in people's homes. Alice strives to offer the highest quality performing arts in a nurturing environment, and her holistic approach treats every child as an individual. Alice thinks that there are a million different ways to learn about the world and have fun, and whole-heartedly believes in the power of imagination, laughter and nonsense!
Jenni Blott - Sessional worker for Juniors group - Drama
Jenni has danced from the age of 3, and went on to study ballet, tap and jazz, taking RAD and NATD examinations. Dance begun her passion for performance and she went on to complete a BTEC in Performing Arts and later a degree in Performance whilst starting a family. She has three young children who have additional needs and as a result of her own experiences, she has discovered the importance of dance and drama for children and adults with learning difficulties and additional needs.
Her degree dissertation focused on creating projects to promote ways to address barriers with communication delays. She currently works at a nursery providing one-to-one support for children in early years and also at a respite care home teaching dance, drama and cooking to adults with additional needs.
She will undertake a Masters Degree at Chester University in early years studies and aims to complete a PhD linking performing arts and autism.
Rosarie Walsh - Sessional worker for Senior Group and Project Coordinator for Ahead of His Time: John Rylands Project - Drama
Rosarie is a Project Manager, Drama Facilitator and Theatre Maker based in Stretford. Rosarie was born and raised in Cork, Ireland, where her love of theatre began at the age of 4. She has a degree in Marketing Management and an MA in Applied Theatre from the University of Manchester. Rosarie has been living in Manchester since 2009 and has over 7 years experience in community arts – specifically working with vulnerable, marginalised and socially excluded young people and adults.
In 2010 after taking part in Future Fires a yearlong mentoring programme at Contact Theatre, Rosarie along side her business partner set up and ran Tandem Theatre, a not-for-profit organisation working with vulnerable marginalised and socially excluded young people and adults. Through this she was involved in running a number of very successful projects and performances in greater Manchester.
In 2014 Rosarie was thrilled to be involved in re-establishing Stretford Children's Theatre as part of the community in Stretford and took a different path in 2016 by leaving Tandem and concentrating on growing Streford Children’s Theatre. In 2017 Rosarie secured funding by The Heritage Lottery Young Roots Programme to run a project called Ahead of His Time: John Rylands, social Investor in Stretford and The Streford Public Hall. This has been a challenging and exciting new journey.
Ella Fontaine - Sessional leader for Youth Choir group
Ella Fontaine is a singing teacher and choral conductor based in Stretford, teaching singing and piano privately, and in primary and secondary schools in Greater Manchester. Ella was born on the Isle of Man where she trained classically as a mezzo soprano taking part in her first opera aged 16. She trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and in the past has sung for local opera companies and in concerts and shows around the North West.
Ella has taught singing to students of all ages and abilities for over ten years and is passionate that everyone should be able to enjoy singing, whether it’s in the shower, in a choir or on a west end stage! As well as teaching, Ella loves both the challenges and rewards that come with conducting choirs, directing shows and group music making. She has conducted both adult and youth choirs, and previously sang in the Halle choir where she performed for the BBC proms at the Royal Albert Hall.
Ella recently studied voice and speech language therapy modules at the University of Manchester, as part of her ongoing training to be a singing rehabilitation coach, working with professional and amateur singers and actors with voice issues. She knows the voice inside and out and loves to help people improve their technique, sound, mood, wellbeing and mental health through music.
Although classically trained, Ella teaches and sings many styles of music and believes that quality tuition and singing needs to be increased in schools and become more accessible especially at the higher levels, where finances become a barrier. She hopes that Stretford Youth Choir will really blossom into a popular community activity where kids love to come and sing, begin to learn the foundations of music theory and develop a healthy singing technique and positive attitude towards all genres of music (not just pop!) maybe even inspiring some to study music and perform into adulthood.