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THeatretrain Colchester

Get to know us

Our theatre classes take place at The Oak Tree Centre, Harwich Road, Colchester, where our students come together every Saturday to connect, learn and create in a safe and inspiring environment. Through the performing arts, we give children and young adults the tools they need, not just to reach their potential on stage, but also to thrive at school and lay the foundations for their future. 

About Theatretrain Colchester

We were established in 1997 and have created a range of exciting theatre events and productions. Our recent local shows have included Cats Jr (June 2019), A Night at the Musicals (February 2020), Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now (September 2021) and Oliver Jr (July 2022).  We also took part in the Theatretrain’s 25th Anniversary show at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017.

Photo of end of Food Glorious Food - Oliver Jr - 10th July 2022

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Meet the Theatretrain Colchester team

Learn more about our team and get to know what we’re all about.

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Meet Sue Campbell, your Centre Director

Sue first became involved in Theatretrain in 2008 when her daughter Lissy joined as a student and, after a few years of being part of the audience, took on the role of Centre Manager in 2012.  Following redundancy from her full-time job as an IT Project Manager in 2017, Sue seized the opportunity to purchase the Colchester centre and has been Centre Director since January 2018.

Although not a performer herself, Sue has spent many years watching her daughter progress through dance school, Theatretrain and a Musical Theatre degree and considers this an education in itself which leaves her very well qualified for the role of Centre Director!  Her project management and IT skills also come in very useful at show time as there’s always a need for a spreadsheet.

Sue endeavours to ensure that every student gets the opportunity to not only develop their talents in dance, acting and singing, but also to increase their confidence and self-esteem and make new friends with similar interests within the Theatretrain family!


David James

Drama Teacher

 David trained as an actor at Middlesex University and also has a Diploma in Musical Theatre Performance.  These two qualifications plus 15 years of teaching experience mean that he is very well placed to teach at Theatretrain as he can focus both on acting and the important skill of acting through song. 

David has also worked for over 20 years within the entertainment industry as a singer and a director. He is the lead singer in a band and also works as a solo artist.  He regularly directs for local musical theatre societies, and most recently directed The Sound of Music at the Civic Theatre in Chelmsford.

In David’s directing and teaching, he has always given time to developing characterisation and an understanding of narrative.  A performer needs to understand their character to be able to communicate with an audience.  As a teacher, David has always given time to help students to be able to audition well and many of his students have gone on to study at drama or musical theatre schools and work within the industry. 

David always encourages students to feel confident and to express themselves and more importantly to support each other.  He believes that the success of any performance is the teamwork of everyone involved, bringing out the best in all students and providing opportunities for everyone to shine.


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Becky Curtis

Dance Teacher

Becky studied Ballet, Modern, Jazz and Tap as a child before taking a BA Honours Degree in Dace at the University of Surrey and King Alfred’s College in Winchester where she specialised in choreography and added Contemporary, Kathak, African and Urban to her list of dance styles.

Becky has been teaching since she was 18, offering summer school workshops and festival tuition at her former dance school (Quay School of Dance in Sudbury).  She started her formal teaching career in 2006 and is currently Head of Dance at Ipswich High School where she teaches GCSE and A Level Dance as well as curriculum and enrichment dance lessons, musical theatre and trampolining.

Becky has been teaching at Theatretrain since 2010 and has choreographed for many local and national Theatretrain shows including the 25th Anniversary show at the Royal Albert Hall and Oliver! Jr at the Lakeside Theatre in Colchester.  Along with Lissy Campbell (dance teacher at Theatretrain Sudbury) she has choregraphed the choir moves for the last two national Theatretrain shows, Special Measures and Move.

Becky really looks forward to Theatretrain on Saturdays.  She feels very lucky that she gets to do what she loves pretty much every day.  Her top tips for success are ‘Smile’, ‘do what you love’, ‘find your core and use it every day’ and finally ‘You are only as good as your last class, routine and show, so bring your ‘A’ game every time’! 

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Leah Harding-Payne

Singing Teacher

Leah has moved to Colchester in 2015 to study Musical Theatre at University Centre Colchester and after graduating decided to continue living there.  She grew up in a very musical family who taught her pretty much everything she knows about music and blessed her with a love and appreciation from a young age.  

She has always had a passion for performing but especially for singing, and a love for harmonies.  During university she belonged to a harmony singing group called Singdicate Vocal Ensemble and frequently performed pieces with a 12 part harmony.

Leah also works with KYDS youth drama society as Musical Director and has worked on many shows, most recently Seussical and Elf.

Leah has a daughter, Robyn aged, approximately fifteen months and has recently returned to work as a teaching assistant.  She has developed an absolute love of teaching and seeing the improvements children make each week and how their confidence grows.

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Lucy Frost

Minis Teacher

 Lucy graduated in 2020 with a First Class Batchelors Degree (Hons) in Education Studies from the University of Reading.  She currently works as an English and Maths tutor for ages 4-14 and specialises in working with vulnerable children, students with Special Educational Needs or Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs.

Lucy has been performing since a young age, both with her Saturday drama school and with professional companies.  She was a part of the Mercury Theatre young company in their Pantomimes for seven consecutive years.

Lucy has covered several lessons at Colchester and Sudbury Theatretrain and was pleased to step into the permanent role of Minis teacher in September 2021. 

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Nicola Ashley

Centre Manager and Minis Assistant

To be added

Blog and Events

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International Summer School: Staying the Course

Our Founder and Artistic Director, Kevin Dowsett, recently went to the beautiful Royal Hospital School in Holbrook, Ipswich to see the end of week performance by the annual Theatretrain International Summer School. Here's his take on the experience.
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