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 20 years.

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

Ben launched The Young Actors Group out of a desire to see a professionally run acting-only nationwide group that took both its responsibilities seriously whilst offering excellence at every level.

Following its launch in 2014, YAG now runs over 20 groups and will be offering a franchise model from the beginning of 2023.

Aaron Tonks

Operations Director

Aaron is a theatre and film director with over a decade’s experience working on youth productions.

As well as heading up 7 weekly groups, Aaron also looks after all of our freelancers with lesson plans, tips and tricks and general day to day operations.

Loved by kids and adults alike, Aaron is a long standing and pivotal part of YAG’s success to date.


Heather Barron-Casoni

Marketing Executive

Heather is our first ever permanent member of staff!

She is a digital specialist, who has worked in digital art, design & social media.

With a degree in makeup for Film & Television, acting and theatre is something she is incredibly passionate about and she enjoys the opportunity to encourage young people to express themselves through the arts.

Heather spent 9 years post-graduation building a career in the hospitality, events and entertainment sectors; both in London & Bournemouth, and utilises her expertise in customer service & communication to engage and educate through media.

Holly Ray Headshot

Holly Ray

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.

Georgie Walker

Branch Director

Georgie spent a lot of time as a cover director with YAG prior to joining as a fully fledged branch director.

She has been performing since the age of 6 and her love of acting inspired her to undertake a course in Popular Music Performance. But missing the acting side of things, she trained to become a Primary School teacher and now focuses on leading all of the music and drama elements in her school.

Georgie heads up our Saturday groups in Hove and is really excited to see her groups flourish in their love of drama.

Julia Mandler

Branch Director

Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Julia has worked in theater for over 15 years as a director, actor, writer, and teacher.

Julia graduated with a Masters of Arts in Film Directing from Met Film School in 2022 and has trained in theater at St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists and Whitman College.

She has had the pleasure of working in many great cities including, Wellington, Melbourne, and London. Currently, she is touring the film festival circuit with Tap Twice, a short film she wrote and directed.

Julia adores teaching and is so excited to share her love of theatre with the students of YAG!

Sam Cartwright

Branch Director

Sam is an award winning professional actor, director and writer with over 10 years of experience working in and around the performing arts.

He has performed with Jack Whitehall, Will Smith and Jess Glynne as well as working professionally across TV, musicals, commercials and theatre productions. Sam graduated three years of performance training at the Institute for Contemporary Theatre in 2021 and began his directorial career at the age of 17.

Sam teaches the Brighton Friday Group and loves teaching youth groups with his contemporary approach, aiming to create a professional, inclusive and safe environment for his students to develop in.