Lesley Suzanne Banks was born in South Wales. She won a scholarship at 16 to study at the Welsh College of music and Drama then a further scholarship from the South Wales young musicians fund to study classical singing and piano at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Lesley has performed all over the UK Canada and Sweden. She has also performed for the Duchess of York and Prince Charles as well as performing on ice alongside Torvill and Dean. She is a highly experienced singing coach. Her inspirational style of teaching has won her many accolades, and has led to many of her pupils reaching particularly high standards,including West End lead roles. She has taught the Winslet sisters,Tyler Fagan and Juliet Caton.
Mairi trained at the Dance School of Scotland in Glasgow, then in London at Arts Educational. Most recently Mairi appeared in Let The Right One In at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesberry Avenue.
Her other West End and Uk Tour theatre credits include: Starlight Express, Eurobeat, Fame, A Chorus Line, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Its a Wonderful Life and South Pacific, where Mairi was also Children’s Director and played the part of nurse Dinah as well as understudying the lead, Nellie Forbush (Barbican and UK Tour). Mairi has directed Pantomime at Christmas for Imagine Theatre company at Newark Palace Theatre for 2 years and also directed Beauty and the Beast, at the Reading Hexagon, staring CBBC’s star Justin Fletcher MBE.
She also runs her own company providing Singing, Dance and Drama parties for children of all ages and musical theatre classes for parents and babies. Visit Showstopper Uk for more information.
After graduating from Guildford School of Acting she went straight into the West End in Zorro the musical, understudying and playing the lead. This was quickly followed by a world tour as principal singer on board Cunard’s renowned Queen Victoria. More recently Sarah has toured with Phantom of the Opera covering and playing Madame Giry, and the London Palladium production of “Scrooge”, starring Tommy Steele where she played Mrs Cratchit.
She has performed with the National Youth Music Theatre and in some of London’s most renowned venues including The Royal Albert Hall and St Paul’s Cathedral and was honoured to appear at the London Palladium as part of the 2008 Royal Variety Performance before HRH Prince Charles and Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall. She also gigs around the country with various groups and teaches private singing lessons.
Infectious enthusiasm and bountiful golden curls: two things the vivacious Ruth Sanders has in abundance. Life on stage started early for the 22-year-old; a 10-year love affair with tap and ballet began at the age of five and has continued since.
Though short on years – and stature – Ruth has wasted little time exercising the drama-focused training she received at Winchester. She continued to perform wherever the chance arose throughout and beyond her time at University; be it in musical theatre, cabaret nights, or busking on the high street. She describes herself as ‘overjoyed’ to be on the group’s roster, and looks forward to ‘Going South’ for many shows to come.
Andrea Cooper is a co-writer for Going South.
Andrea hails from the swamps of the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. She trained at The New College of Speech and Drama in Hampstead and the University of London and has a Diploma in Dramatic Art from the Royal Academy of Music in Speech and Drama and the Certificate of the International Phonetic Association hanging in her lavatory! Andrea says that her experience at Drama School required a good ear, a butterfly mind and an ability to improvise, which has helped her as one of the co-writers for Going South.
Andrea worked in a specialist Theatre History and Drama Library and, amongst her many duties, used to help Drama Students find their audition pieces. She did not excel at being a librarian as spent more time coaching the aspiring actors than stamping the books.
Andrea ‘s other professional interests are language and communication skills. She continues to work in the field of drama in education helping staff to deliver “Rhyme, Song and Story Time” which is a programme of lessons she herself is developing.