Meet the Team

Ben Murray-Watson

Founder and Director

Ben has worked with young people from a number of different backgrounds and for a number of different organisations  over the last 12 years.

He is a passionate advocate of creative subjects in education and has seen 1st hand how studying drama benefits young people.

Ben has been guest directer or deputising acting tutor at, amongst others, Anna Fiorintini, Stagecoach and Theatre Workshop and he has co-run other acting groups over the course of the last 12 years.

Ben works as a film producer, director, writer and actor and has experience in the industry from all sides.

Jane Murray-Watson

Creative Director

Jane is a professional actor, roleplayer, teacher and producer with experience spanning twenty years under the name, Jane Lesley.

She co-founded MokitaGrit Productions producing 18 shows in 5 years in London, Edinburgh and Brighton.

Jane’s successes in LAMDA boast 100% pass rate with over 90% of her students gaining distinctions.

She heads up both The Young Actors Group talent agency and all LAMDA coaching.

Jane and Ben are married and have three children.

Ellie Hart

Branch Director

Ellie trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She has since worked as a practitioner for the Young Vic Theatre and Shakespeare’s Schools Foundation.

She set up her own project working internationally in East Timor leading workshops in a Primary School using process drama. She enjoys directing children’s theatre and whilst teaching Drama at a Secondary School directed a show which toured to Primary School’s across Sussex.

Ellie is excited to be a part of the Young Actors Group and is passionate about young people accessing the arts.

Aaron Tonks

Branch Director

Aaron is a theatre and film director, focussing on youth productions.

Aaron directed a youth play for National Connections called Hacktivists and his group were asked to go to Italy to perform as part of Festival Internazionale del Teatro Classico dei Giovani.

He has also written plays for large youths groups with his play ‘Youth’ being very well received during the Brighton Fringe and Starboard festivals.

Aaron heads up our Kemptown branch.

Holly Calf

Branch Director

Holly is a professional actor, singer, dancer, choreographer and teacher with experience in theatre, film, music, and dance.

Alongside performing, Holly has taught all disciplines for over a decade, and finds working with young people in the arts incredibly rewarding.

She currently teaches singing and LAMDA privately, with a 100% pass rate in all exams, as well as running her own parent and child dance classes.

Holly is passionate about teaching and is so excited to be working with The Young Actors Group.

Ross Drury

Resident Director

Ross owns Living Record Theatre Company and is a hugely experienced director.

Credits have included Reunion by Neil Smith in Edinburgh, Much Ado About Nothing (National Tour), Absent (New Wimbledon) and he has been Associate Director on shows at both Southwark Playhouse and Theatre 503.

Ross currently heads up our Brighton juniors branch on a Saturday, our seniors branch on a Friday and our BHASVIC advanced class on a Tuesday.

Eva Savage

Guest Director

Eva trained at Drama Studio London. Her credits since graduating include touring Italy in productions of Waiting for Godot and The Picture of Dorian Gray (European Arts Company) and performing in open air tours of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Jungle Book (Chapterhouse Theatre Company).

Eva is thrilled to be involved in the Young Actors Group and is passionate about building a support network for aspiring young talent.

 

Angela El-Zeind

Guest Director

Angela El-Zeind is a Brighton based actress, director and drama facilitator, who has spent many years living and creating in places including Athens, Greece, Maine, USA and Lefkosia, Cyprus.

Several years ago she created Drama Kings and Queens, the only English speaking youth theatre group in Athens and last year she founded Speak Up! Act Out! a forum theatre company which creates productions about issues affecting us as a community.

 

Pip Henderson

Guest Director

Pip is an actress, comedienne, circus performer and stunt woman with nearly 30 years professional experience in the industry.

As well as a varied career on stage, screen and in circus tent, Pip also enjoys teaching and has, over the years, taught Drama at numerous schools, colleges and youth theatres throughout the South East.

She can also occasionally be spotted teaching ‘Acting and Combat for Camera’ at Pinewood Studios, where she is a member of their resident Live Action Stunt Team!

David O’Mahony

Guest Director

David’s career spans theatre, arenas, TV, film and live TV.

David has appeared in the West End (The Bodyguard); in arenas across the USA (Batman Live); and has toured around the World as a singer with The International Magic Tenors, Gleeful: Glee Tribute Group and Saga Cruises.

He is currently the 1st cover U/S on Beautiful in the West End.

He is passionate about teaching and directing and is delighted to be invited to contribute to The Young Actors Group.

Poppy Marples

Guest Director

Poppy Marples is one of the brightest directing prospects in the country and currently works full time heading up Chichester Youth Theatre

Poppy is passionate about teaching and directing and we are extremely fortunate to have worked with her.

Poppy now occasionally comes and helps out on our showcase days.

Ellie Collyer-Bristow

Casting Advisor

Ellie has worked in casting since 2008 in Theatre, TV & Film.

Amongst other projects she has previously cast children/teens in commercials such as MarsMaltesers and Nintendo working with Anna Kennedy, TV movies Come Rain Come Shine (ITV) and Hattie (BBC), and theatre productions, A Christmas Carol (King’s Head Theatre, Islington), Playhouse Creatures (Chichester Festival Theatre), Annie Get Your Gun (UK Tour), Macbeth and Richard III (West End).

Ellie is a guaranteed hit when she guest directs for The Young Actors Group.

Ralph Hinton

Designer

Ralph Hinton has worked in the costume industry for over 30 years.

Starting his career as Student Designer for West Glamorgan Youth Theatre in Swansea, he then moved to London and took on the role of Costume Supervisor at the world famous costume house of Bermans and Nathans. Here he worked on a wide variety of productions, from Best Costume Oscar-winning films to original West-End theatre productions and ground breaking television.

Sharing his experiences in the industry has always been important and so he is delighted to be working with The Young Actors Group encouraging young people in the art of costume and set design.

Abby Warren

Group Photographer

Abby trained at The Drama Centre and has been an actress in television and theatre for 23 years.

She started her photography business four years ago purely out of passion and it has now grown so much that she splits herself between the two professions. She has taken headshots for all the top London Agents.

Being an actress means that she knows what the industry is looking for in a headshot – she knows what casting directors and agents want.

Abby’s experience as an actress helps her to put all of her actors totally at ease in front of the camera.