APTA Staff

Our staff across the APTA department are dedicated to delivering the best standard of education, ensuring our students are equipped with the knowledge, skills and potential to fulfill their dreams.

Tom Guest: APTA Growth and Development Manager

Tom trained at Bretton Hall and LIPA and over the past ten years has worked as an actor, director and a teacher, lecturing on the FE and HE Programmes at Newcastle College. He is the current Higher Education Course Leader for FdA Performing Arts at Stockton Riverside College.

Professionally he has assistant directed on ‘Up and Out Christmas Sprout’ at Northern Stage as a recipient of the Leverhulme Arts Bursary from the JMK Trust. He has directed Lee Mattinson’s ‘Chalet Lines’, John Godber’s ‘Shakers’ and C. P. Taylor’s ‘And a Nightingale Sang’ for less is MORE Productions. Tom is the Productions Director of the Sedgefield Players.

As an actor, he most recently toured with Northern Broadsides in their National Tour of Shakespeare’s ‘The Merry Wives’ and again for less is MORE in ‘The Lambton Worm’ by David Tuffnell and played a musician in Mike Leigh’s Feature Film ‘Peterloo’.

Sara Durkin: Creative Director

Sara Durkin is a graduate of London Studio Centre where she successfully completed a 3 year Musical Theatre Diploma. Having worked professionally in the performing arts industry since the age of 18, her professional credits include: Cruise Ships, Starlight Express on the West End and in Germany.

As well as working on various corporate films and voiceover work Sara also toured the UK in Charles Dickens' David Copperfield playing the part of Emily.

Sara has enjoyed a successful career as a professional singer with big bands, bands and as a soloist and has event performed at The Royal Albert Hall, Sadlers Wells, Alexandra Palace and all over the UK.

Liz Dixon: Course Leader for Creative Digital Media

Liz has worked as Art and Design teacher and Course Leader for 13 years and is now also Course Leader for Creative Digital Media: Games and Animation. Prior to that she worked on the Prince’s Trust Personal Development Programmes as Quality Manager.

Art and Design specialisms include Textiles, Surface Pattern, and Illustration. She worked in London for many years in the interior and fashion fabric design industry and has exhibited at Surtex in New York. She has also produced work for greeting cards, stationary and Fine art prints.

Hannah McGhee: Course Leader - Performing Arts

Hannah started her dance training at S and N Dance Centre in Billingham, focusing on Tap, Jazz and Ballet. At the age of 15, Hannah was accepted onto the Advanced Training Programme at Dance City in Newcastle, where her love from Contemporary dance started.

At the age of 18, Hannah then went onto train at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of music and dance, specialising in Contemporary dance and achieving a BA (Hons) degree in Dance Theatre. During her time at Laban, Hannah worked with some of the most renowned technicians and choreographers and was selected to perform in a commissioned piece of work in Athens, Greece.

In 2014, Hannah then went on to work with Matthew Bourne’s ‘New Adventures’, on their UK tour of Lord of the Flies. Hannah spent the next few years working as a freelance dance teacher and choreographer up and down the country, before moving to Birmingham to work at BOA Academy, the sister of ‘The Brit School’. 

Kelly Fairhurst: Film & TV Tutor

Kelly’s Film & TV career began on BBC childrens drama Byker Grove after graduating from University with a degree in Media management. During her time there she trained in production working up from runner to Assistant director. After 6 years as part of the directing team at Byker Grove  Kelly moved on to popular Channel 4 teen soap opera ‘Hollyoaks’ as an Assistant director, also moving around the team  working in the Art department and as part of the scheduling team. 

Over the last 20 years Kelly has built up a catalogue of on screen and on stage director credits and has taught hundreds of students in production and performance passing on her industry knowledge. This has seen them gain high level grades and places at a range of universities across the country and into industry, she has also helped the Film Production students at Stockton Riverside College to start their own very successful film company ‘U Films Productions.’

Nina Harper: Makeup for Production Arts Tutor

Nina currently works as a freelance media make-up artist and has been a make-up tutor at Stockton Riverside College since 2007. Nina has experience in most areas of make-up including; theatre, film & TV and editorial and has worked on films, in TV and on editorial photo shoots for various publications.

Nina's practical skills are maintained through regular make-up work, demonstrations and workshops.

Annie Game: Art & Design Tutor

Annie is a Lecturer in Art & Design across all levels. She studied at the Northern School of Art and specialises in contemporary textiles and surface pattern. Her work has been exhibited at New Designers in London.

Kieran Emerson

Kieran has worked in the live events industry for several years working on productions of all sizes in a myriad of roles and eventually progressing to work as a sound engineer on large outdoor festivals and events. While also teaching on the higher education Technical Theatre courses at Stockton Riverside College he hopes to make Stockton Riverside an industry leader in standardisation of Technical Theatre qualifications.

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