UCC | School of Performing Arts

School of Performing Arts

Welcome to the UCC School of Performing Arts.

Your future success as a confident performer or theatre technician is central to our programmes.

We will provide you with the capacity to be adaptive, reflective and ultimately a success in your chosen career.

The School of Performing Arts is an active partner with many arts organisations in and around Essex, working in partnership with the Mercury Theatre, the Headgate Theatre and the Dance Network Association. Industry agents and West End performers are regularly invited to help develop confidence (and professional connections), and refine your skills so you stand out and flourish in the competitive creative world.

Our illustrious alumni are making waves in the industry and we look forward to the day you will do the same.

Phil Toms, Head of School

Courses Offered

BA (Hons)Musical Theatre

Matthew Morgan-Stevens is a Lecturer in Acting. Matthew combines his lecturing work with freelance work in the industry as freelance director/assistant director. Recent work includes: Rugby World Cup Skits (London Quest Company); Tom Allen - Life/Style (Assembly Rooms) and Living History (East 15 Acting School).

Matthew has a passion for theatre that has a message; that connects with an audience and makes people question their own actions and beliefs. He is a great believer in the art of ‘play’ within performance, drawing influence from practitioners such as John Wright and Philippe Gaulier.

Matthew continues to have direct links with the performing arts industry and brings this knowledge in to the rehearsal room with the students.

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Andy Edwards is the programme leader for BA (Hons) Musical Theatre. Over a number of years, Andy has built a strong repertoire of musical theatre choreography for a significant number of productions and musicals as part of the degree programme that are performed at local, regional and nationally recognised venues.

Andy has performed regionally and nationally with dance companies such as Base Dance and 28 Degrees Dance Company, as well as providing workshops to students and professionals. Andy also runs his own Colchester based dance studio.

Working with the degree students, Andy has produced and directed productions at Brighton Fringe Festival, Arts Theatre London and Leicester Square Theatre London.

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Simon Warne is Course Leader and Lecturer in Musical Theatre. He is the musical director of college choral groups, showcases and other course productions. Before joining University Centre Colchester, Simon combined his role as a lay clerk at Chelmsford Cathedral with working for Essex Music Services’ choral development and peripatetic singing team.

Simon is an experienced choral director and workshop leader, who works with a diverse range of advanced, and community based choirs including regular direction of the Essex County Youth Choirs.

He now combines his knowledge of traditional choral music with an in depth understanding of voice and physiology, through his wide experience of the Estill Model.

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Greg Turbyne is the programme leader FdA/BA (Hons) Technical Theatre. Before joining University Centre Colchester, Greg worked as technical director in the Department of Drama in Queen Mary, University of London, and as lecturer in technical theatre at the University of the Highlands. He is a member of the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD).

His professional practice in technical theatre started at Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre where he designed his first main house productions for both companies. After working at Dundee, Greg moved to Leeds where he became Head of Lighting for the then new West Yorkshire Playhouse.

While the larger part of his professional portfolio is formed of lighting, studio and learning space design, Greg’s interests lie across all performance disciplines.

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Phil Toms is the Head of Schools for Digital Media, Music & Performing Arts. A versatile musician and dedicated educator, Phil contributes to a range of academic programmes, live performances and student auditions.

After completing his studies, Phil, started a freelance career in instrumental and classroom music teaching. In 2006, Phil joined the School of Music at Colchester Institute teaching a variety of degree modules in Music Education. Following the formation of University Centre Colchester (UCC), Phil was appointed to his current post.

Phil has an eclectic musical background from classical music & jazz to prog-folk. Phil is also the film critic for BBC Essex, appearing on radio on a weekly basis.

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PlacesTo Live

David Michael Hands, BA (Hons) Musical Theatre alumni starring in Jersey Boys (International Tour, 2018)

"Just over a year from graduating, I feel so blessed with the opportunities that I’ve been given. If I hadn’t gone to UCC, I don’t think I’d be where I am today."

Karis Jack, BA (Hons) Musical Theatre graduate starring as Éponine in Les Misérables (West End, 2018)

"The feeling as I came off stage was incredible. It was as if everything I had worked for all those years at my drama school and at University Centre Colchester was being presented to me before my very eyes."

September Mead, BA (Hons) Creative Performance (Acting) alumni

"Learning how to devise our own work was exciting and fun. We also had the opportunity to work with external directors and practitioners, enabling me to learn a lot from talented industry professionals...Another huge aspect was that we got to perform our shows at many different venues including the Lakeside Theatre at the University of Essex, The Etcetera theatre in Camden and Brighton Fringe Festival!"

Katy Cirne, BA (Hons) Technical Theatre graduate

"During my studies at UCC, I was able to apply my practical skills whilst on work placement. After graduating I was immediately employed as a Junior Technician. I now enjoy working alongside other UCC students and graduates."