Performing Arts Team
Our staff across the performing arts department are dedicated to delivering the best standard of education, ensuring our students are equipped with the knowledge, skills and potential fulfil their dreams.
Sonya Curle (Course Leader - BTEC Acting)
Sonya is our Course Leader for BTEC Level 3 Acting, Film & TV and Production Arts and also works alongside our Level 3 Film & TV and Production Arts tutors to create industry relevant, cross curricular projects, including music video and film productions, and live public performances.
After graduating from Leeds University with a BA Hons in Performing Arts, Sonya then went on to study at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama to achieve a Post Graduate Certificate in Applied Theatre with Young People & Directing Text (in association with The Royal National Theatre) and is working towards her MA in Applied Theatre.
She has a wide range of professional theatre and TV credits including large scale performances for the Great North Run Opening Ceremony and the Rugby World Cup Opening Ceremony as a physical theatre performer and has undertaken various acting, dance, performance and presenting roles for CBBC, BBC1, and Sky 1. Her National tours also include Aladdin and Robinson Crusoe for The Panto Company, and The Reader and Wide Sargasso Sea for Cow in the Shed Theatre Company.
She has also been associated with numerous workshops in association with The Royal National Theatre, The RSC, Frantic Assembly, The Barbican, The Unicorn Theatre, London City Ballet, Dance City, Clean Break and Northern Stage.
Sara Durkin (Course Leader - BTEC Performing Arts)
Sara is our Course Leader for our BTEC Musical Theatre course here at Stockton Riverside College.
As a Musical Theatre graduate of the London Studio Centre, Sara has a rich background in the industry spanning over twenty years. Her most notable roles have been in both the West End and German re-editions of Starlight Express, the UK tour of Charles Dickens ‘David Copperfield’ and has spent time as a backing vocalist for Tony Christie, along with taking part in various corporate films and voice-over work.
Having since returned to Teesside, Sara has enjoyed a successful career in teaching, having taught in a range of public and private establishments specializing in singing and vocal work, and has also been a choreographer for Middlesbrough Football Club.
Kristen Spitty (Lecturer - BTEC Performing Arts)
Kristen is a lecturer on our Musical Theatre course and has worked at the college for over ten years. She graduated University York St John with a BA HONS in Dance and Communication Arts and is also a Singing and Musical Theatre lecturer at Nadine’s Dance Company, Hartlepool.
Kristen has previously worked alongside Mark Hedges in the UK tour of Oliver, and has various Stage Manager credits including working at the Forum Theatre Billingham and on Sunshine on Leith at Northern Stage.
Leanne Jeffries (Instructor - BTEC Performing Arts)
Leanne is one of our BTEC Performing Arts tutors and holds a 1st class honours in Performance and Events Production.
Leanne’s experience mainly lies within choreography, having worked across the UK since 1997 in a range of dance establishments, schools and colleges. Some notable chorography roles have been with UK Motor Cross, Catwalk Model Management, Sunday Night Live at Her Majesty’s Theatre and Help the Heroes at the London Palladium.
As well as being a tutor at SRC, Leanne also teaches at her own private dance school, teaching the subjects of tap, ballet, modern, jazz, contemporary, singing, acting and acrobatics. She also has taught at various primary and secondary school establishments throughout the Tees Valley.
Michele Plews (Course Leader - BA (Hons) Performing Arts)
Michele is currently the Course Leader for our BA (Hons) Performing Arts course, and having attended our own Stockton-Billingham College (now SRC’s Bede Campus) Michele then went on to achieve an MA in Film and Media from Teesside University.
With over 30 years of professional experience in the industry, Michele has worked in numerous TV and voice-over roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her previous accolades also include directing various street-theatre and site-specific performances, along with everything from Threepenny Opera to Sister Act the musical.
Michele has been teaching at Further Education and Higher Education levels for over 25 years and was a former Creative Partnerships facilitator and mentor for the North East.
Narelle Dalton - (FDA Programme Leader) BA (Hons) Performing Arts
Narelle has been working at the college for over 15 years teaching on a range of courses across the Performing Arts spectrum. She completed her BA(Hons) in Performing Arts in 2008 and more recently gained an MA in Education from Teesside University. A qualified teacher of the BATD, Zumba and RSA, Narelle specialises in dance and dance in education. With a keen interest in community arts, Narelle also teaches a wide range of ages outside of the college including Stagecoach Theatre Arts where she has taught for nearly 20 years. Narelle has been working solely in Higher Education for the last 9 years and enjoys all the challenges that HE in FE brings.