Faculty: Musical Theatre

Musical Theatre Staff

Luis de Abreu AISTD, MA, PGCE  Deputy Principal and Deputy CEO

Luis trained at the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts, under the direction of Doreen Bird, and then went on to train in Drama at the Poor School where his tutors included Paul Caister, Bardy Thomas, George Hall and John James. Other training has included a Script and Story Structure Course with Robert McKee, Approaches to Physical Theatre at Middlesex University a Mask Workshop with the Pleiades Company and Kasm Mask, and Commedia dell’Arte with Antonio Fava. He has also completed an MA in Physical Theatre at the University of Surrey and Royal Holloway University of London, and a PGCE at Canterbury Christ Church University College. Performing roles include Heinz in Today, Albert Parker in When We Are Married, Toby in Ways and Means, Mr Burnum in Hands Across the Sea, Gideon in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,   Read moreEnsemble in Sweet Charity and South Pacific, God Spell, Chitterlow in Half a Sixpence and Lucio in Measure for Measure. Luis was also one of the original Bird Theatre Company members. He joined the College as a Drama Tutor in 1996 and was later promoted to Head of Drama and Performance Studies. He was also Agency Manager for Bird Personnel Management from 1998 - 2005. He was appointed Deputy Principal & Artistic Director of Bird College in 2005. As a director, he has worked on Hands Across the Sea, Bouncers, Barnum, The Wiz, The Owl And The Pussycat, Line, Teechers, Infidelities!, Road, Habeas Corpus, Private Wars, Commedia dell’Arte, Children of Eden, The Life, I love you, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Fascinating Rhythms, Who Could Ask for Anything More?, Bat Boy, Kiss Me Kate, Songs for a New World, Legends, Icons and Idols, 42nd Street, Sweet Charity, Elegies, Noitamina, Crazy for You, Fame The Musical, Burlesque and Other Distractions, Hello Dolly, Footloose, Broadway Then and Now, West Side Story, Curtains, Hooray for Hollywood, Cabaret, Hot Mikado and Joie de Vivre. Other productions include choreography and direction for Dentro Da Minha Cabeça and choreography for Metamorphosis (Dance Theatre). Publications include A Career into Dance for CDET. Luis was part of an AHRB Innovation Research Project, 19th Century theatre rehearsal process, which was headed by Dr. G. Bush-Bailey & Dr. J. Bratton at Royal Holloway University of London. He wrote and designed the Foundation Degree in Creative Industries: Acting for Bird College which was successfully validated by University of Greenwich for five years as well as the Pre-Vocational Foundation programme in Dance and Musical Theatre. He was External Examiner for the BA (Hons) Physical Theatre programme at St Mary’s College, Surrey University from 2005 -2009. Luis was appointed an Executive Director and Trustee of Bird College in October 2008.

Brian Alverson B. Mus  Senior Singing Tutor & Musical Director

Brian was born in the State of Michigan in the United States and studied at Michigan State University and Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts where he obtained a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Business/Management in 1997. He has been working at Bird College since 2004 as a singing teacher and as a music director for course work and musical productions.He has worked in musical theatre as a music director and assistant music director in the United States and Europe. In 2003 Brian was the assistant music director for the European tour of Footloose. Prior to relocating to London in 2002, Brian was living in New York City where he worked on various workshops of musicals such as Robin Hood, The Musical by Martin Charnin and Uncle Broadway by Bruce Coyle. He also worked extensively as an assistant music director and keyboard player for The Goodspeed Opera House in the state of Connecticut, credits include: George M., Redhead, The Pajama Game, Summer of ’42, Lizzie Borden, Heart Land, Fanny Hill, Mirette and Just So. Brian has also worked as a synthesiser programmer and music copyist on many Broadway and Off-Broadway productions and U.S. National tours, credits include: Kiss Me Kate, Ragtime, Jekyll and Hyde, Bat Boy,The Big Time, Glimmerglass, Red, Hot and Cole, Marie Christine, Saturday Night, The Broadway Tenors and work for City Center Encores! Brian has also been music copyist for the feature films The Lord of the Rings,The Two Towers, Die Another Day, 25th Hour, Big Fish and Troy.

Dominic Haslam BA (Hons)  Musical Director

Dominic studied at Newcastle and Bretton Hall universities, obtaining a degree in Contemporary Music. He has been teaching at Bird College since 2003, firstly as a pianist and musical director then also in the singing department for the last 3 years. Dominic has worked with young people within a musical theatre context for a number of groups including: Stage 65 (Salisbury Playhouse), Youth Music Theatre UK, Stagecoach Theatre Arts, Interact and Whizz Kids Cambridge.   Read moreOutside of college, his projects as musical director include Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Peter Pan for First Family Entertainment, five consecutive pantomimes for Cambridge Arts Theatre, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Guys and Dolls, Children of Eden, Honk and The Pirates Of Penzance for various youth groups, Property (NT Studio workshop,) From Here To Eternity (Bridewell theatre/Tim Rice). He also played keyboards for Blood Brothers both in the West End and on Tour. Dominic composes music for theatre, T.V. and radio. Projects and include, most recently: The Prince of Homburg and Life Is A Dream (Donmar Warehouse), Romeo and Juliet (Ludlow Festival, Exeter Northcott), Serious Money (Birmingham Rep), The White Devil (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Elephant Man (Sheffield Lyceum and U.K. tour), The Herbal Bed (Salisbury Playhouse), Henry V (Royal Exchange), We Are History (BBC2, series 1 and 2), Danny Robins' Music Therapy and Museum of Everything (BBC Radio 4, Series 1, 2 and 3). Dominic has also written the score for a musical adaptation of Mort (the Terry Pratchett novel) with librettist/lyricist Jennifer Toksvig. Mort is currently being developed by Youth Music Theatre UK.

Nick French FISTD, Cert. Ed.  Head of Musical Theatre Department 

Nick trained at Laine Theatre Arts, whilst in training he completed a contract performing cabaret in Algiers. After completing three years training he joined the London company of ‘West Side Story’ and continued the run at the Opera House in Manchester as Jet Swing and understudy to ‘Krupke’ and ‘Glad Hand.’ West End credits include ‘42nd Street’ Theatre Royal Drury Lane, ‘Me & My Girl’ Adelphi Theatre, ‘Thin a Thon’ Piccadilly Theatre, ‘Cavalcade of Coward’ Piccadilly Theatre, ‘Mack & Mabel In Concert’ Theatre Royal Drury Lane, ‘La Cage aux Folles In Concert’ London Palladium as well as performing in two Royal Variety performance as the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Nick has also performed in numerous Pantomimes throughout the country.   Read moreAs a teacher, Nick has worked at several of the leading vocational colleges as a Tap tutor and is now Head of Tap Dance at Bird College in addition to being a member of the Musical Theatre department and co-ordinator for the ISTD Vocational and DDI Examinations. Nick has also choreographed musicals such as ‘42nd Street’, ‘Crazy for You’ and ‘Hello Dolly’ for the 3rd Year Bird College Students as well as musical numbers for the College annual showcase. Nick also lectures and examines both in the UK and internationally for the ISTD Tap Faculty as well as examines for the Modern Theatre Faculty. He is fortunate to have been included on the creative team responsible for choreographing the new Tap grades. Nick is a Committee member for the Tap Faculty in addition to the ‘Theatre Faculty Committee’ for the ISTD.

Erica Lawrence ARAD, AISTD, MA, CEr.Ed  Musical Theatre Tutor & Choreographer

Erica trained at Bird College and worked for many years as a performer in numerous national tours and repertory theatre including; Me and My Girl, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Cotton Club, and Magic of the Musicals. As well as working as a dancer/choreographer in cabaret in Germany and Portugal Erica also was Dance Captain and assistant choreographer for Royal Caribbean Cruises.   Read moreSince then she has worked as a teacher and choreographer. Choreographic credits include: Pirates of Penzance, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Epsom Theatre), Gypsy Blood, Oliver! (Thorndike Theatre). For Bird College, Erica has choreographed I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Footloose and co- choreographed (with Andrew Wilson): Children of Eden, The Life, Bat Boy, Sweet Charity and Kiss Me Kate. She has also directed Children of Eden (Leatherhead Theatre), Our Day Out (Birmingham Young Rep), Songs for a New World (with Luis de Abreu) and a Grand Night for Singing for Bird College. Erica gained an MA in Research: Dance and Musical Theatre in 2010

Matt Nicholson   Tutor

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Nick Stuart   Tutor

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