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Our Teachers

Imagine Theatre's staff is comprised of a small group of highly experienced professionals that we believe young people will find stimulating, interesting and inspiring. The staff listed on this page are all permanent staff but Imagine Theatre will also facilitate workshops with visiting staff and experts in their field. For a full list of professionals lined up to work with our students visit the workshop page.

James Rushbrooke

   Artistic Director

James Rushbrooke is the Artistic Director and founder of the Imagine Theatre School and will be overseeing most of the senior and junior school classes. James has a Bsc in Psychology and Drama specialising in the social and developmental psychology of children. He has been teaching drama for a decade with an emphasis on understanding characters, living in the moment, improvisation and story telling. In the past he has been a professional advocate for looked after children, coordinated a Children in Care Council in Bristol and has written award winning training (that children deliver to adults).

James is also an award-winning published playwright. In 2015, his play Tomcat was awarded the PapaTango prize and had a four-week run at the Southwark Playhouse in London. You can now buy the play on Amazon, as well as in most reputable theatre bookshops including at the National Theatre. James is now working with production companies with a view to writing a series for TV, and is continuing with his love of theatre in many other writing projects. He is currently on a three year attachment as a playwright with the Old Vic community company.

James has always had a passion for performance and still performs as a professional improviser both in corporate role play work and more lighthearted comedy roles. He was a leading cast member of 'Closer Each Day', Britain's only entirely improvised soap opera. His ability to generate stories and invent plot lines have made his classes fun for children of all ages and over the last few years he has written and staged a number of plays for children.

Emily-Claire Thomson

Contemporary Drama Tutor

Emily Thomson is an integral part of our teaching team. Working as Flora Thomson, she is a professional actor and theatre producer living and working in London. Emily trained at Regent's College, with American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and with the Fourth Monkey Theatre Company in London. Emily has her finger on the pulse of contemporary theatre and is a prolific theatrephile well placed to expertly guide young people in who to watch, what's happening in performance world and give her own insights about the audition process. As well as being the main point of call for most people getting in touch with Imagine Theatre, the powerhouse behind the paperwork and the voice of our office answer machine; Emily is also an accomplished singer and will be leading sessions on voice and work as a musical director for all performances

Emily is a working actor blending a busy schedule of corporate work with producing her own productions. Emily can be seen in 'Suspects' which was shown in September 2014, and has also taken on roles such as the titular role in House of Bernada Alba at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Olivia in Twelfth Night at Middle Temple Hall and many others.

Roxana Haines


Roxana Haines is the Administrator of the school. She is responsible for all the behind-the-scenes paperwork that goes into keeping Imagine Theatre running smoothly.

As well as keeping us all in check, Roxana works as a producer, and is Co-Director of her own performance and production company, Indomitable Productions. Roxy studied for her MA in Advanced Theatre Practice at Central School of Speech and Drama and now works freelance as a producer and director.

Helen Rose Cooper

Shakespeare Tutor

Helen assists with tutoring Shakespeare and also maintains our website. Helen trained as an Actor with Emily at Regents College, has just graduated from a BA in Drama and Theatre Arts at Goldsmiths University, and is now studying for her MA in Shakespeare Studies at Kings College and Shakespeare's Globe.

Helen has extensive experience working with the verse and pentameter of Shakespeare's plays and unlocking what can sometimes be very difficult and confusing language. She wrote her dissertation on gender studies in Shakespeare, and has studied the bard so much she can now write almost fluently in pentameter! Back in London, Helen works as a photographer, shooting for theatre productions as well as actors headshots, and will be available to take headshots for Imagine students in the near future.

Catherine Herring

Associate Pedagog

Catherine Herring is currently studying for a doctorate in the philosophy of education at the London Institute of Education and lives and works in Bristol. She has been actively involved in education for her entire working life and is currently one of the most sought after personal tutors in the South West for both English and Drama at GCSE and A-level. Catherine has been a GCSE and IGCSE examiner for the last eight years and is now a team leader responsible for a team of less experienced markers. Catherine is also a prolific writer and with her own youth theatre group 'Sidetrack' has penned twenty original productions for 6 - 11 year olds over the last ten years.

As well as providing huge insight into how children learn, Catherine has been helping to shape the Imagine Theatre curriculum and will be assisting in classes focussed on textual analysis, play approach and Dramaturgy. Catherine in conversation with the other staff and with insight into the direction of the education system will consistently help Imagine Theatre remain at the cutting edge of contemporary alternative education.

Andrew Christie


Andy Christie is a pianist and composer based in Bristol. He is a leading voice in the thriving South West jazz scene, has worked with the BBC and teaches piano and advanced music theory to both adults and children from his home studio. Andy will be working with Imagine Theatre as our resident composer and soundscape engineer where his thirty years of expertise at tinkling with the ivories will be invaluable.

For more information about Andy, to listen to his piano compositions, orchestal scores or to enquire about booking him please visit his website

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