1st Workshop Cast
Chris Cowley was born in Bury, Greater Manchester, and graduated from The Royal Conservatoire of Glasgow in 2013. His theatre credits include: Enjolras – Les Miserables (Queens Theatre London), Jamie – The Last 5 Years (New Wolsey, Ipswich), U/S Fiyero – Wicked (Apollo Victoria London), Tony Manero – Saturday Night Fever (English Theatre Frankfurt)
Amie Giselle-Ward is extremely excited to join the company of Vanara after recently graduating from the Guildford School of Acting with a first class honours in Musical Theatre. Credits during training include Cabaret, The Wild Party (LaChuisa), Catch Me If You Can, Guys and Dolls and the world premiere of Speak Low.
Training: Royal Academy of Music (Ronald White Prize for Acting Through Song)
Theatre includes: Leda Fox-Cotton in I Capture the Castle (Watford Palace/Bolton Octagon), Woman in The World Goes Around (Stephen Joseph Theatre), Alternate Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia (Novello Theatre), Principal Vocalist in Sunny Side Of The Street (Jermyn Street Theatre, Florence Vassy in Craig Revel Horwood’s award-winning production of Chess (UK tour and Toronto), standby and played Elphaba in Wicked (Apollo, Victoria), Betty in Shout (UK tour and Arts), All the Fun of the Fair with David Essex (Garrick), Usherette/ Magenta in The Rocky Horror Show (UK tour and Playhouse), Lisa and Sophie Sheridan in MAMMA MIA! (Prince Edward), Miss Gordon in Michael Grandage’s award-winning production of Merrily We Roll Along (Donmar Warehouse) and understudying and playing Eponine and Cosette in Les Misérables (UK tour).
Other work includes: Solo cabaret and concert artist appearances at the Pheasantry, Pizza on the Park, Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Royal Albert Hall in an Elton John concert, and guest performer on Friday Night Is Music Night (BBC Radio 2).
Recordings include: When Midnight Strikes, Zipp! and All the Fun of the Fair cast recordings and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy soundtrack. Shona’s debut
Samantha Mercer studied at Cambridge University and The Royal Academy of Music. Theatre credits include Les Misérables (Queen’s Theatre), Jerry Springer the Opera (Royal National Theatre & Cambridge Theatre), A Homage Behind (The Criterion), Merrily We Roll Along and Forbidden Broadway (The Menier Chocolate Factory), Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Concert (O2 Arena), Little Voice in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (National Tour), The Witches of Eastwick (National Tour), Girl in the Frame (The Bridewell Theatre), Aspects of Love (Theatre Royal, Lincoln) and Henry VI part III at HMP Pentonville.
TV credits include Casualty and Doctors (BBC Television). Samantha has toured the UK and abroad as the singer in a 20 piece jazz band. She also has a one-woman show which she performs internationally.
Training: Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts
Theatre Includes: Heavenly Friend in CAROUSEL (English National Opera, London Coliseum), Shelly Berger in MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL (Original West End Cast, Shaftesbury Theatre, London); Father Alexander/understudy and playing ‘Dad’ roles in MAMMA MIA! (International Tour); Student/understudied and played Javert in LES MISERABLES (Queen’s Theatre, London); Ensemble/understudied and played Bill Sykes in OLIVER! (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London); Rooster in ANNIE and Sammy in BLOOD BROTHERS (both Madinat Theatre, Dubai)
Recordings Include: Vocals for Les Miserables Feature Film 2012; Oliver! (Live Cast Recording); Chess In Concert (Royal Albert Hall); Children First (Unicef); Only The Brave (World Premier Cast Recording)
Television and Film Includes: Bishop’s Constable and Ensemble in Les Miserables: 25th Anniversary Concert (O2 Arena);Chess in Concert (Royal Albert Hall); Dancer in Motown: The Musical on Children In Need (BBC), Britain’s Got Talent (ITV), Let It Shine (BBC) and Diversity Presents Steal The Show (ITV)
Chilean actor and singer, trained at his home country and in the UK (Central School of Speech and Drama).
UK Credits include Lead Singer in the touring show One Night of Rock; Joseph in a concert version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat; Zevron (Doomwatch Castle); Gonzalo (The Tempest). He’s also recorded for Disney Imagineering and London Cantamusica Choir at Abbey Road Studios.
In Chile he has played Judas and Simon Zealotes (Jesus Christ Superstar); various solo roles in the revue show Broadway in Concert and Bartolomé in the Chilean musical Tirana, show for which he also wrote the book and lyrics.
Eleanor was a member of YMT:UK performing at the Lyric in Belfast and later moved to NYMT for their production of Fiddler on the Roof (Bridewell Theatre). She then went on to train at East 15 acting school.
Eleanor’s credits include lead vocalist onboard Seabourn Sojourn (Belinda King Creative Productions), Pepper in I Sing (Drayton Arms), Dance Captain and cover Jennifer, Maeve & Leanne in Godspell (UK Tour), Robin Hood in Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood (The Grove, Dunstable), Harriet Piper in The Hatpin (UK Premier Blue Elephant Theatre), Madison in Lady Luck (Joseph Round Tree Theatre, York), From Stage and Screen and Back Again (Leicester Square Theatre), An Evening of Tim Rice (The Pheasantry) and Suzanne in The Tale of Beauty and The Tail of The Beast (Dugdale Centre).
Jessie trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts graduating with a first-class (Hons) degree in Musical Theatre. Theatre credits include: Fiona in Blondel (The New Union); Lascivia in Bumblescratch (Adelphi Theatre); The Great Jewish American Songbook (Upstairs at the Gatehouse); Regina in Rock of Ages (UK Tour); Lydia Bennett in Pride and Prejudice (Lyric Theatre Belfast and Everyman Cork); Young Sally in Follies (Opera du Toulon); Anja/Mags/Jill/Emma/Georgina/Dominique in new play Impotent (Lion and Unicorn Theatre); Sheila in Hair (European Tour); Sophie Sheridan in MAMMA MIA! (Prince of Wales Theatre and International Tour); Darlene in Raindogs (Trafalgar Studios); The Sound of Music (Larnica International Festival) and Make Me A Song (Charing Cross Theatre). Jessie has also been part of the workshop process for musical productions, Lia’s Guide To Winning The Lottery, ODD, Defect, From Here To Eternity and Dusty. Jessie acted in Awkward Turtle which played in the short film corner at Cannes Film Festival and on SBTV Comedy. Jessie also does regular voice over work and can be heard as Humfs Mum in the Nickleodeon Junior animation Humf (King Rollo Films).
Grant is a 2017 graduate of Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts and is looking forward to joining the workshop cast of Origins in his professional debut. His credits whilst training include ‘Alexander Hamilton’ in Hamilton, ‘Jason’ in Bare and most recently ‘Tooley’ in Made in Dagenham. He was also a leading cast member and guitarist in the 2016 Creative Vocal Company
Training: Arts Educational Schools, London.
Theatre includes: Swing/ Understudy Robertson Ay in Mary Poppins (International Tour Zurich and Dubai), Swing in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Theatre Royal Drury Lane, West End), Disaster! (Charing Cross Theatre), Jim/ Ensemble in Elf the Musical (European Premiere), Mark/Lynch in Damn Yankees (Landor Theatre), Cinderella (Palace Theatre, Mansfield), Assistant Dance Captain/Swing in Hairspray (UK/Ireland Tour), Ensemble/ Understudy Samuel in The Pirates of Penzance (Hackney Empire/ Australian Tour), Momentous Musicals (New Wimbledon Theatre), Cinderella (Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells), Christmas in New York (Prince of Wales Theatre, West End),
Workshop: Groundhog Day (Old Vic Theatre), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Pre- Broadway).
Other: Singer/ Vocalist ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ (Disney Movie and Soundtrack), Backing Vocalist for Adele at Wembley Arena.
Choreography: Sam choreographed new musical ‘Grim: A New Musical’ which received a transfer to ‘The Charing Cross Theatre’ in London after its success at ‘The Rose Theatre’ in Kingston, London.
Jamie is a recent graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where his theatre credits included; Cabaret (New Atheneum Theatre), Soul Food (Bridge Week), Brigadoon (Chandler Studio Theatre), Chess (New Atheneum Theatre/ Edinburgh Festival Theatre), Transatlanticism (Chandler Studio Theatre), Women on The Verge of A Nervous Breakdown (Scottish Youth Theatre), Raintown (workshop – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland/ Dundee Rep), At The Barbers (workshop – National Theatre of Scotland).
Jamie is also an accomplished musician, specialising in trumpet. His instrumental credits include; Royal Variety Gala Performance (Theatre Royal Glasgow), Dick McWhittington (New Atheneum Theatre).
Ben was offered a scholarship to Tring Park School for the Performing Arts at the age of 12 and while training performed with English National Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem and American Ballet Theatre. He gained invaluable experience on summer intensives around the world including in New York and Hong Kong. After touring the Mediterranean and the Caribbean he decided to return to London to further his career in dance. Ben has recently featured in several films and music videos for artists including Jennifer Hudson.
ALANA EVERETT, originally from Australia, recently moved to London to continue her work in the dance industry.
She graduated from Newtown High School of the Performing Arts in Sydney and completed a Bachelor Degree in Contemporary dance at The Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. She has performed with the Stephanie Lake Company for Melbourne International Arts Festival, Sydney Arts Festival, APAM in Brisbane, and toured to Glasgow, performing in the Youth Olympics Opening Ceremony Festival. Alana has also been part of TasDance Company, working with Graeme Murphy, Leisel Zink, Gabrielle Nankivell and Stephanie Lake. Recently, Alana has completed a contract with Sydney Showboats, a Channel 4 production with the IT Girls, and has featured as a dancer in Alt J’s new video ‘DeadCrush’.
Aaron first started dancing when he was 7 years old at Footlights Dance Studio in Kings Lynn, Norfolk. He then went on to play Billy Elliot in the world renown musical at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre, West End from 2010-2011. From here Aaron would continue his dance training at the famous Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Hertfordshire from 2011-2017. At only 19 years old Aaron has recently graduated from college and is looking forward to a prosperous performing career within the industry.
Jemima Brown, originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland trained at London Contemporary Dance School, graduating in 2015 with a 1st class BA(Hons). Before moving to London, Jemima worked with Hofesh Shechter as part of U.Dance 2012 performing his work ‘Tank’ at The Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank.
Throughout her professional career so far she has gone on to work with various artists and companies including Joss Arnott Dance alongside Dame Evelyn Glennie, Avant Garde Dance Company, Tom Dale Company and James Cousins Company.
Other projects include work with Sally Marie, Didy Veldmon, Bittersuite.
Alongside this she has had the opportunity to work with Plan B for his new album release with Atlantic Records and has performed for SWATCH Ltd. at the launch event of their new collection ‘SKIN’ with Arts & Movements.
Chris graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 2012 having also spent time studying at Purchase College in New York, USA, he then went on to complete his MA through LDCS in 2014. After graduating Chris went to National Dance Company Wales and continued to tour nationally and internationally with the company for three years, working with choreographers such as; Christopher Bruce, Alexander Ekman, Angelin Perljocaj, Stephen Petronio and Johan Inger. Since returning to London Chris has toured three original works with Corey Baker Dance, including performances at The Roundhouse, London. He has also danced for Ben Wright and Otto Pilcher appearing in two operas at The Royal Opera House. Last year Chris worked with KneeHigh Theatre, under the direction of Tom Greaves. Chris has worked on two separate musical theatre workshops for Peter Darling and Ellen Kane, including the workshops for Groundhog Day the musical. Chris has recently finished filming for Mary Poppins Returns, appearing as a dancer in two musical numbers within the film under the direction of Rob Marshall, as well as recently appearing at Wembley Stadium with Adele.
Originally from Manchester, Kayleigh trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance graduating with a First class Honours in 2013, also being awarded the performer of the year award. During her time at NSCD, as a student she worked with choreographers, Alexander Whitley, Jose Agudo, Rita Marcalo and Deborah Johnson. She then went onto train with Verve ‘14 with choreography by Gemma Nixon & Jonathan Goddard, Lea Anderson, Ben Duke and Jamaal Burkmar. Kayleigh is now a freelance dance artist and is currently a company member with Rees Dance (Gavin Rees) ,Nathan Johnston and Daniel Phung. Other credits include; Jamaal Burkmar, Tino Sehgal and Balbir Singh. Kayleigh has also choreographed her own work called ‘Two’, in collaboration with Daniel Phung, that was performed at the ‘Young Minds Matter’ festival in Lisbon, Portugal. Whilst Kayleigh’s passion is in performing, she also guest lectures at Leeds Beckett University, teaching the technique class, ‘Body Work’, that is influenced from her dance practice and her take in, Cunningham, Graham and her experiences working as a professional.
Born in Portugal 29 years ago, Bruno Morais’ first approach to dance was in tribal African dance in Oporto. In 2009, he studied at Ginasiano Escola de Dança also in Oporto and later in the Modern Theatre Dance department of de Theaterschool in Amsterdam from 2010 to 2014. During this period, he has done various internships with several dance companies in Brazil, with The Forsythe Company, Anoukvandijk DC, Netherlands Dans Theatre II and with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. In addition, he has been dancing for different choreographers, such as Heidi Vierthaler, Liat Waysbort, Giulia Mureddu, Chris Leuenberger, Ugo Dehaes, Quan Bui Ngoc, Eyal Dadon, Nir Shoam, Martin Harriague and Ángels Margarit. After graduating, he has worked with Lonneke van Leth in The Netherlands, Kale Companhia de Dança in Portugal, several operas in Amsterdam and is currently a dancer in Compagnie Thor in Brussels.
Merry has worked extensively as a dancer with leading opera companies in productions including: Candide (Opera National de Lorraine); Medea; Parsifal; Turandot (ENO / London Coliseum); Robert le diable; Onegin (Royal Opera House); The Fairy Queen; Saul (Glyndebourne Festival & Tour). In 2015 Merry was Revival Choreographer for Saul in the Glyndebourne tour and 2017 for the Adelaide Festival.
Her live music and performance history also include: The Merchant of Venice (Almeida Theatre); Betrayal (I Fagiolini / London & UK Tour); Whiteout (Barrowland Ballet / Edinburgh Fringe Festival) Nutcracker! (New Adventures / Sadler’s Wells & U.K. tour); Electric (Pet Shop Boys / World Tour / Hogmanay New Year’s Eve Concert at Edinburgh Castle); Museum of the Future (Icon Dance / British Museum); Plunge (NDCWales); Interwoven (LamatDance / Spain & Bulgaria)
Film and music videos include: Elemental (Newport Festival); E.N.D. (The Magic Numbers); Thursday (Pet Shop Boys); Lordly(Feder)
Trained at the Paris Conservatoire, Mathieu Geffré has danced accross Europe for the past 10 years. As a full member of companies such as Dansgroep Amsterdam and National Dance Company Wales he collaborated with number of internationally recognised choreographers : Itzik Galili, Johan Inger Mark Baldwin, Angelin Preljocaj and Caroline Finn among others. Now based in London, Mathieu is involved in projects with Didy Veldman, Theo Clinkard, and Eleesha Drennan. Awarded 3rd Prize Choreography during the Copenhagen International Choreography Competition in 2016 Mathieu has also been commissionned as a choreographer by Nationaltheatre Mannheim, Monmouthshire Youth Dance Company and National Dance Company Wales.
Aleksandra Krajewska is a Polish dancer. In 2017 she graduated from Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD) with a major in contemporary dance, where she was working with internationally acknowledged teachers and choreographers. Alongside her studies, she has been working in the Opera production of ‘Faust’ in 2016 Salzburg Festival, completed an internship at Theatre Companie Achimowicz and joined SEAD’s postgraduate company BODHI project as a guest dancer for ‘Exstesia’, choreographed by Iratxe Ansa and Igor Bacovich. She continues to teach in various dance styles, as well as perform at events as a commercial dancer.
Originally from Norfolk, Oliver began his training on the Centre for Advanced Training Scheme at Laban Conservatoire before beginning his professional training with Bodywork Company in Cambridge. Since graduating Oliver has worked with ICON Dance and Chrysalis London, on various projects with The British Museum and SOHO House & Co, and with artists Take That and Miel de Botton. Oliver joined National Dance Company Wales in 2016 as an Apprentice, performing works by Alexander Ekman, Roy Assaf and the company’s Artistic Director Caroline Finn. More recently, Oliver worked with Henri Oguike creating a new piece for IGNITION Dance in partnership with Dance West.