Our trusted drama teachers are well-trained, highly experienced and know the Helen O’Grady curriculum inside out.

They’re also experts in bringing kids out of their shells. Here’s a bit about them…

Nicola Davin | Principal & drama teacher

As a former drama teacher at prestigious Brighton College, our Nicky has high teaching and production standards. She also has a penchant for silly costumes. Here she is in her own words…

As a shy, skinny, ginger kid growing up in working-class Liverpool, drama classes saved me. They gave me the confidence to achieve my potential – all the way through to becoming a teacher. A drama teacher, funnily enough. But more importantly, they taught me to make real friends, to express myself, and to never stop having fun.

In Liverpool, home of the fantastic Everyman theatre, I felt I was really in the thick of it. In drama I found my own kind, and I loved the freedom afforded by playing real characters. I was cast in all sorts of roles, from the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland to Fagan in Oliver. At 17, while many other girls were caught up in their self-image, I found blacking out my teeth and wearing hideous rags to be a truly liberating experience.

This was my vision when I started my own drama school with Helen O’Grady. For me, drama has been so positive and full of purpose, with lots of great role models. So I want to make sure it has for others too.

Michael Burnie | Drama teacher

Michael is an intuitive, energetic teacher who’s been nurturing Helen O’Grady students into confident performers since 2005.

He’s also an accomplished actor and director. When he’s not in mentor mode, Michael directs for the Brighton Theatre Group and has led productions of Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, West Side Story, Hairspray, and Legally Blonde. You could say he’s a bit of a musicals fan. He also choreographed the European tour of Hairspray.

But our favourite of Michael’s roles has to be his stint as Mr Bump in TV’s The Mr Men.

Helen Hollingdale | Drama teacher

With 10 years of teaching experience and a degree in performing arts under her belt, Helen knows how valuable drama skills can be for children. She’s truly passionate about her job.

“I feel privileged to be able to help and watch children grow in confidence and do things they didn't think they could do – all while having a great time,” she says.

Nina Bhirangi | Drama teacher

Nina is a seasoned youth arts worker, helping children and teenagers develop through theatre all over Brighton and West Sussex.

As an actor, she’s been treading the boards since 2006 – touring the UK with companies such as Nottingham Playhouse, The Mercury Theatre, Red Ladder, The Half Moon, and Polka Theatre. She’s also appeared in TV roles for the BBC and Thames Television.

What people say about us

My son’s drama teacher at Helen O’ Grady has been a huge inspiration to him. The lesson has benefited him in countless ways and he enjoys and looks forward to every lesson. He would go every day if he could!

Natasha, George’s mum

I would highly recommend both the drama classes and the summer school. Nicky is great with the kids – they love her – and she works hard with them to put on shows they are proud to be part of.

Julie-Anne, Noah’s mum

Eva has loved coming to Nicky’s classes. She is always keen and reports that she has had fun. Nicky is really warm and friendly and has a great rapport with both the children and the parents.

Jon, Eva’s dad

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