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40 Extraordinary Years

40 Extraordinary Years

The Company:


Amy was a member of the Theatre Royal Plymouth Youth Music Theatre company from 1989-1996. She gained a First Class BA (Hons) degree as a Musical Theatre performer at Guildford School of Acting (GSA), and was the recipient of the GSA Musical Theatre Prize 1999. She went on to appear in several West End, Touring, Regional and International productions including Beryl in ‘Brief Encounter’ (Lyric Theatre, London), Isobel in ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ (Savoy Theatre, London), Lost Boy Twin in ‘Peter Pan-The play’ (Savoy Theatre, London), Walk with the Angels (Soho Theatre), Ensemble in ‘Anything Goes’ (National Tour), Bobbi/Gabbi in ‘City of Angels’ (International), Velma/Kimmi/Daphne in ‘Scooby Doo in Stagefright’ (UK and International), Ensemble in ‘Barnum’, and  ‘Anyone can Whistle’ (Regional).

After deciding that the performers life was no longer for her, Amy worked as a Casting Associate on television programmes such as ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Torchwood’ and ‘The Sarah-Jane Adventures’ alongside Andy Pryor CDG.

Upon meeting her husband,  Amy trained as a Secondary Drama/Performing Arts teacher and upon qualifying in 2010, became Head of Drama at Ivybridge Community College. In 2015, Amy and her sister, Leanne, founded Plymouth Performing Arts Academy. Students have appeared in West End and Touring productions of ‘Annie’, ‘School of Rock’ and ‘Matilda’  and many students have gone on to continue their Performing Arts journey at Drama school and universities.

Charlotte Eaton is performing artist, choreographer and practitioner currently based in Devon. She completed her training and postgraduate studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, where she is presently undertaking her PhD. Charlotte enjoys a versatile career performing in live works and for the camera, featuring in live performances, dance films and music videos, performing her own work and that of other choreographers or directors. Alongside teaching for theatres and in the community, she also lectures across universities, including delivering at Plymouth Conservatoire, an institution in partnership with Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Christopher Biggins

From Porridge to, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, Christopher Biggins has graced our screens for over 30 years. This multi-talented actor, humourist, writer, and general raconteur counts the world’s most glamorous stars as his best friends and brings his own inimitable sense of humour and warmth to any production.

Christopher has been seen on many popular programmes including Ant & Dec’s Saturday Takeaway, The Imitation Game, a regular on The Wright Stuff and was a judge on the Dancing on Ice tour as well as appearing on ITV’s popular series Gone to Pot. Summer 2021 saw Christopher at the Edinburgh Fringe with his sell out five-star rated show Late Lunch With Biggins.

Christopher won over a whole new audience when he was crowned King of The Jungle after winning series seven of the hit ITV1 show, I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here but his career began many years earlier.

He started his training at Salisbury Repertory Theatre and later at Bristol Old Vic as a prelude to his first West End appearance creating the role of Head Jumbly in The Owl and The Pussycat Went to Sea. Christopher has also taken part in a successful run of The Play What I Wrote, directed by Kenneth Brannagh and is a regular guest as The Narrator in the national tour of The Rocky Horror Show. Christopher has also managed to fit in a year with the Royal Shakespeare Company appearing in London Assurance with Judi Dench and Donald Sinden.

Other theatre work includes a national tour of Side By Side by SondheimBeyond the Fringe, A Touch of Spring and recently Cluedo and On Approval. In the summer of 1990, Christopher played and sang the role of Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar at London’s Barbican Theatre and appeared in the stage adaptation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang where he was teamed to great success opposite Louise Gold for eighteen months at The London Palladium.

Chris began his musical career at the age of eight as a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. Having won a scholarship to study Music at New College, Oxford, he went on to study postgraduate composition and piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he won several prestigious prizes, including the 1979 Royal Philharmonic Prize.

From 2003, he lived in India for 16 years, where for two years, he was Composer-in-Residence at the Lawrence School, Sanawar, in the Himalayan foothills, and then moved to Bangalore as a composer, pianist and teacher.

Before India, Chris lived in Devon. In 1985, he was appointed as Musician-in-Residence at the Beaford Centre and thereafter worked freelance as a composer, teacher and musical director for choirs and music theatre, especially with The Young Company and the People’s Company at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth. As well as “Korczak”, music theatre works written for TRP with Nick Stimson include “Monkey!”, “The Hot Rock”, “Brother Jacques”, “Wistman’s Drum”, and “The Lost Domain”. Other community works include “StarChild” for North Devon schools, “Abolition” for BBC Radio, “The Cornish Phoenix” for Sterts, and “The Day We Played Brazil” for the Northcott Theatre, Exeter. In 2020, he was commissioned to write “Mayflower” with Nick Stimson for Plymouth choirs and the Band of the Royal Marines to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Plymouth.

Much of his choral music is published by Stainer & Bell and children’s songs in the Singing Sherlock series by Boosey& Hawkes.

More recently, he won the 2016 Komos International Choral Composition Competition, Bologna, 2016, and the 2020 Voices of Hope Choral Composition Competition.

Chris Williams
Darren Lake

Darren started his acting career in West Side Story in 1990 playing the role of Baby John. Other early productions included Sweeney Todd, Bunthorne in G+Ss Patience (which he also directed), Freddie Trumper in Chess and King Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors. He also co-directed the south west premiere of Brilliant the Dinosaur.

For Theatre Royal Plymouth Darren has played leading roles in shows as diverse as Maggie May, Tales from the Vienna Woods, The Hired Man, The Grapes Of Wrath, Oh! What A Lovely War, Union Street, Animal Farm and Spring Awakening, whilst playing the lead roles in Sweeney Todd, Bye Bye Birdie and Cyrano De Bergerac. He also toured the UK and Poland in the groundbreaking    original production of Korczak, and sang the lead role on the Original Cast Recording.

Darren played Archibald Craven in The Secret Garden, 6 of the leading male roles in Little Me, Audrey 2 in Little Shop of Horrors and the dual roles of Jekyll & Hyde in the musical of the same name. He played The Ghost of Christmas Present and Mr Fezziwig in a national tour of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in 2015/16, Mr Bumble in Oliver!, played Freddie Trumper again in Chess in 2017 and King Arthur in Spamalot in 2018. He originated the role of Colin Dale in new musical The Secret Life Of Dads, due for a national tour in 2023. He also appeared in pantomime in Stockport in 2017/18 and Middlesbrough in 2018/19.

He has completed three summer seasons at the Babbacombe Theatre, Devon as one of the principal vocalists in Legends Of The West End (2017), West End At The Movies (2018) and Starburst (2019).

For the last 14 years Darren has also been working in the hospitality industry performing as a cabaret artiste in hotels, for holiday companies such as Haven, John Fowler, Shearings and Parkdean.

TV work has included Going Live!, BBC TVs The Vet and the documentary series Korczak. Film has included Drowned and The Hanged Man. He can be seen as Archie Bishop in Hawk(e): The Movie, released in 2014 and Lionel in Killing Lionel, released in 2020. He played The Disorientated Man in Will Ferrell movie, Holmes & Watson for Sony Pictures and is the voice of Jeffrey The Giant for The Moment’s series of educational cartoons due to be rolled out in schools across the country soon.

Darren was awarded the Individual Performance Award at the Barclays Awards at the National Theatre on London’s South Bank. He has taken part in many charity performances including Heart and Music and Over The Rainbow and has presented several charity galas, working with performers such as Brian Conley and Danny La Rue and was the MC for the Orange Festival on the Hoe for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

Voodoo Monkeys’ is a new collaboration between writer, artist & performer Jason Brownlee & director & engagement specialist Lee Hart. Their debut show, ‘ Today I Killed My Very First Bird’ a co-production with Theatre Royal Plymouth, has just completed a month long run at the Edinburgh Fringe where it was nominated for the Holden St Award, and Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence. They are a Theatre Royal Plymouth Lab Associate Company.

Voodoo Monkeys
Leah Marojević

Leah’s practice spans performance, choreography, dramaturgy, mentorship and support for other artists. Choreographic commissions include Pre-Professional Year, Sydney Dance Company (2019), London Contemporary Dance School Graduating Season (2020), Mass Hysteria Collective (2020) and Matilde Cerruti Quara, Jupiter Woods (2020). Leah collaborates regularly with Colette Sadler and has worked and performed for visual artists, companies and choreographers; Jefta Van Dinther, Megan Rooney, Paulina Olowska, Sarah Browne, Sam Williams, Holly Blakey, Candoco Dance Company, Joe Moran among others. In 2019 Leah created ‘The Elsewhen Series’ in collaboration with choreographer Theo Clinkard as well as collaborating on the creations of commissioned works for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch (2015), Danza Contemporanea de Cuba (2016) & Candoco Dance Company (2019) among others.

SONGWRITER, WRITER and ACTOR Nick Butcher is becoming one of the most exciting young creatives working in theatre, music & film. His debut musical, based on a SUNDAY TIMES best selling autobiography is aiming for production at a prestigious London theatre in 2023.

Nick is currently writing story and songs for an animated feature film and has most recently written songs for Netflix & Disney. He is the recipient of 2020 Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals; 2020 Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project residency; 2017 & 2018 finalist in the Stiles & Drewe Best New Song Award; Cameron Mackintosh Foundation Composers Grant; and an Arts Council England bursary.

As an actor, he has worked on five West End musicals including School of Rock (Gillian Lynne Theatre), Half a Sixpence (Noel Coward), Lend Me A Tenor (Gielgud Theatre); four new productions with Sir Cameron Mackintosh; performed at leading regional venues including Sheffield Crucible & Chichester Festival Theatre; worked with Oscar, Tony & Olivier Award winning writers and directors including Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julian Fellowes, Laurence Connor, Daniel Evans, Rachel Kavanaugh and many more; as well as working with leading English Opera Company, Opera North.

Nick Butcher
Samara Downs

Trained: Caroline Shaw and Pauline Kellett Dance Schools, and the Royal Ballet School

Joined: 2003; Principal, 2016

First role with Birmingham Royal Ballet: As a nine-year old ballet student, I danced in The Nutcracker party scene. Since then I have danced in around 300 performances, yet it remains for me, the best version of this Christmas delight and as I wait quietly at the back of the stage ready for Snow Fairy, it still brings a lump to my throat.


David BintleyThe Orpheus Suite (Moisturisers), E=mc² (‘Manhattan Project’), Faster and Cinderella (‘Autumn’)
Kim BrandstrupPulcinella
Ruth BrillRhapsody in Blue (lead role) and Matryoshka (lead role)
Kit Holder: 9-5 (The Boss)
Michael KopinskiDumbarton Oaks
Garry StewartThe Centre and its Opposite
Alexander WhitleyKin.

Theo was born in Calstock, Cornwall and is now based in Ashburton, Devon. His current practice spans choreography, theatre design and performing. Following 20 years dancing for some of the UK’s most celebrated choreographers (Matthew Bourne, Wayne McGregor, The Featherstonehaughs, Siobhan Davies among others), he launched his own company in 2012 and has steadily built an international reputation for creating affecting and visually arresting contemporary work. Past company productions include ‘Ordinary Courage’ (2012), ‘Chalk’ (2014), ‘Of Land & Tongue’ (2014) and ‘This Bright Field’ (2017). International choreographic commissions include new works for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch (2015), Danza Contemporanea de Cuba (2017) and Candoco Dance Company (2019).

Theo’s next large-scale company work will premiere at the new Sadler’s Wells building in East London in 2024. He is an Associate Artist at Brighton Dome & Festival and The Hall for Cornwall and is an Honorary Fellow at Plymouth University.

Theo Clinkard

The Five Performing Ushers – All trained actors who also work Front of House at Theatre Royal Plymouth

Adam Hutchin

Jessie Cooper

Kayleigh Hewitt

Ayla Moule

Philippa Gunning

40 Extraordinary Years also features the TRP Musical Theatre Academy and Plymouth Performing Arts Academy


Babs Horton

Babs is a Welsh novel writer, playwright and teacher. Her first book, A Jarful of Angels won the Pendleton May First Novel award and was shortlisted for the Authors Club Award. Other novels include: Dandelion Soup (2004); Wildcat Moon (2006); Recipes for Cherubs (2008); Holy Mackerel (2013); The Emporium of Dreams (2016); Winter Swallows (2021).

Her new play In The Lady Garden has a 3 night run in the Lab TRP 25-27th October 2022.

Babs was head of English in a CAMHS unit working with young people with acute mental health issues and it was here that she witnessed the power of literature in enhancing the experiences of fragile young people, helping them to challenge their thinking and move forward in their lives.

Laura is the current Plymouth Laureate of Words, the first playwright and woman in the role. In 2020 she wrote and produced her first film, A Summer of Birds, for Plymouth Fringe (Toast of the Fringe). Plays include: Triptych, Theatre Royal Plymouth, 2021; Labyrinth Diet; The Space Theatre (ONCOMM award), 2021; Giddy Tuppy, The Space (ONCOMM award), 2020. She was listed in The Stage 100 in 2021 for her work lobbying and campaigning with her project Theatre Stories. Laura received the Pleasance and Theatre Royal Plymouth regional partnership for her play Breathless, which won a Fringe First award at Edinburgh Fringe and was shortlisted for Holden Street and Scottish Mental Health awards, 2022. Laura was also a finalist for the Popcorn and BBC writer’s room award. Breathless will be performed at Theatre Royal Plymouth in late October 2022. Her next commission as part of the Laureateship, The Light Follows Everyone, will be at the Box this autumn.

Laura Horton