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Nick Furlong & Gemma Hextall

0121 2850919 / 07505013160

Nick Furlong and Gemma Hextall are delighted to be the new joint Principals and Franchisee’s of Razzamataz Sutton Coldfield.

Joint Principal & Franchisee & Drama Teacher

Nick Furlong BA (Hons) Applied Performance (Community & Education)

Nicholas has recently completed training at Birmingham School of Acting studying applied performance (community and education), graduating with a First Class BA (Hons) degree. He originally trained at The Melton Academy of Arts, completing a National Diploma in Acting followed by a HNC in Performing Arts, specialising in acting technique, professional practice, theatre marketing and scriptwriting. This time also included freelance theatre marketing work, in which time Nicholas is proud to have broke some box office records. Having been acting and performing from a very early age Nicholas has also built up a wealth of experience teaching drama, including time spent teaching in the U.S.A. He has taught in various schools in the region and ran workshops for a number of clients.

Nicholas is additionally trained and experienced in working with Special educational needs and has utilised this in a number of roles and projects. He has extensive experience of acting for both stage and screen in both an amateur and professional capacity. He has applied his trade as an Actor, Musical Theatre performer, Director, Writer and Musician to notable success, having previously ran a youth theatre and managed children's holiday activity clubs, on top of practiced child safeguarding experience as a professional children’s chaperone.
Nicholas is currently also Drama teacher for two separate part time performing arts schools in Leicestershire, as well as Head of Drama and Drama Teacher for a Dance and Theatre Academy in Derby. Nicholas also has experience as a project co-ordinator and administrator, as well as a number of technical theatre roles including production management, stage management, sound and LX operating and show calling.

Joint Principal & Franchisee

Gemma Hextall BA (Hons) Applied Performance (Community & Education)

Gemma is a graduate Birmingham school of acting having studied BA (Hons) Applied Performance (community and education). She originally trained at The Melton Academy of Arts, completing a National Diploma in Musical Theatre, specialising in Singing, Musical Theatre, Theatre History.Gemma is a young practitioner who is passionate about educating the community. Having worked creatively with a range of community groups including Dorothy Goodman special school in Hinckley Leicestershire delivery life skills workshops, Birmingham Headway brain injury unit and a number of elderly care homes in Birmingham specializing in arts therapies for Dementia care. Gemma has also worked as site manager leading young people’s activities for clubszone activity clubs. Gemma also has experience as a project administrator and lead facilitator across multiple disciplines and age groups, including drama teaching for the National Citizen Service.

Gemma is also a professional musician, who pursues a solo career as a singer / songwriter and has worked professionally as a guitarist and singer.
Outside of the arts is a keen sportsperson having previously competed in a range of team sports and having represented England in the GKR Karate world cup as a multiple gold medal winner at national level; a sport she has achieved her 1st Dan black belt in and has experience as a teacher of.

Singing Teacher & Minis Teacher

Laura Spencer LTCL LLCM

Laura has trained professionally with the London College of Music and Trinity College London at Licentiate level and is continuing studying to achieve her fellowship. Having initially trained as a dancer from the age of 3 she has a passion for performing and thrives on bringing contrasting styles and genres of music to her lessons.
Laura's performance career has included numerous recording sessions and she has performed at prestigious venues all over the UK, such as the Nottingham Playhouse and Broadway Theatre in London. In addition to her current performing and teaching commitments, she also fronts two bands of professional musicians and can often be found on the local music scene.

Dance Teacher & Minis Class Teacher

Shekinah McFarlane

Since a very early age Shekinah has been working towards a goal of performing professionally. From Training in London to New York at the American Musical Theatre Academy of London and with this she is now eager to pass on her knowledge to young students. Whilst offering them dance confidence also eager to challenge all aspects of their movement performance.
She has been able to progress into the industry in such shows professionally as RENT, Seussical the Musical, Godspell and the most recent being Lion King UK and International Tour, playing and covering principle roles whilst playing a strong hand within the ensemble, alongside that undertaking vocal and dance work for community projects and shows in the process. Shekinah is looking forward to working at Razzamataz Sutton Coldfield and bringing the individuality of each student to the stage.

Juniors 2 dance, drama and singing teacher

Claire Tothill

Claire started dancing at the age of 4, training in Ballet, Tap, Modern, Jazz in ISTD and disco freestyle, rock n roll, Latin/Ballroom and Street Dance in IDST, this all alongside musical theatre, singing and drama training.
Claire then went on to train at the D&B School of performing arts for 3 years where she was trained by top names in the business including Nicola Dawn (Original Lola in Copa Cabana) and Scott Marshell (Top commercial dancer). Claire Graduated with a Musical Theatre diploma after leaving College and began working in Disney Land Paris where she worked with Craig Revel-Horwood, Roger Wright (original Simba in the West End) and various other west end stars.
Claire has also worked as an entertainer abroad, in between teaching for a number of dance and performing arts schools back home in England, during which time, being the teacher of Marvin from JLS!
Claire is very excited to be a part of the teaching team at Razzamataz Sutton Coldfield. “Musical Theatre is my passion which I hope I can pass over to all of the students.”

Drama Teacher & Tots Teacher

Nicole Matthews BA (Hons) Acting

Nicole graduated from The University of Central Lancashire with a degree in Acting.
Nicole has recently returned from a tour of Italy working on a Theatre In Education project, combining both her performance and education skills. Nicole also has experience teaching drama and dance across a number of childrens activity clubs across the midlands. Nicole is also proud to bring to Razz her experience as a professional actor, having featured on stage and screen with credits including channel 4 and sky comedy.
Nicole is passionate about working with young people and is looking forward to sharing her experience as an actor.

Minis Teacher & School Assistant

Georgia Gilby

Georgia has been a part of the Razz Sutton family for around ten years now! Having been a student from a very early age, she is now proud to be a member of the teaching team as Minis Teacher. Georgia is also school assistant and classroom assistant for Juniors. Georgia has experienced assisting in the minis class for three years and is looking forward to leading her own class having demonstrated her abilities to be an excellent teacher. She has a wealth of performing experience and has also attended the young leaders training day with Razz recently and is excited to pass on all her experience and knowledge to the next generation of young performers!

Singing Teacher

Amy Willock

Amy is a composer and musician who started writing and playing music at a young age. She plays clarinet, piano, saxophone and steel pans. Singing classical, jazz, world and popular styles with various bands, choirs and orchestras in Leicestershire.
Amy studied classical composition at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, graduating with a first class honours degree. Amy has written for ensembles ranging from full orchestra to soloists, as well as pieces using music technology – these included the soundtrack for a short film aired on BBC Wales, an aria for a project with Music Theatre Wales, and a song for Bath Abbey's children's choir. Amy is a keen concert organiser, having co-created the Stretto New Music concert series that showcases new music in Cardiff. Amy composed, organised, marketed and hosted an hour-long theatre show that was performed in the Richard Burton Theatre, in which she enjoyed conducting a small orchestra, several singers, and live technology.
Amy works as a music teacher in the Midlands, both privately and with local music services, teaching in classical, pop, rock, jazz and contemporary styles. She also loves creative writing, portrait painting, jewellery making and walking.

Minis Teacher & Dance Teacher

Susie Cox

Susie started dancing at a young age at the Orwell School of Dance and progressed to take her Advanced 1 Ballet and Modern, as well as studying other disciplines such as the Chantraine method in Paris, jazz, contemporary, singing and drama. She competed in the All England National Dance Finals and alongside her degree she has taken lead roles in University dance productions. She has performed in and choreographed for a variety of musical theatre shows including Fame! The Musical (Iris), Guys and Dolls and Kiss Me, Kate! in the Gala Theatre, Durham, the last of which was also chosen to perform at the National Student Drama Festival. She has taught Zumba fitness, baby ballet and now currently teaches Advanced Contemporary at the University of Birmingham alongside her Masters studies. Susie loves being part of the Razzamataz family and seeing the students grow in confidence and ability!

School Assistant

Bethany Mallett

Bethany is currently studying both Performing Arts and Media Studies. She is a keen actor is has also developed and demonstrated strong leadership and community skills as Head girl at school as well as having participated in the National Citizen Service ‘Challenge’. Bethany is keen to help develop the talents of other young people in the arts.

School Assistant

Jodie Hall

Jodie has been with Razz Sutton as a student for 2 years and has been selected as dance captain on numerous occasions as well as playing lead roles within shows. Jodie is passionate about helping young people within the arts and also attended the young leaders training day with Razz in summer 2016. Jodie cannot wait to assist our Minis and Juniors and pass on her skills and knowledge.