MGA teaching team A to Z

Alex Risbridger

Dance tutor

Bio coming soon

All or Nothing

Aerial Training

All or Nothing are Scotland’s leading aerial dance company. Based in Edinburgh they have been blending breathtaking aerial acrobatics with dance, theatre and contemporary circus since 2006.

The company’s creative work has seen them take on everything from large-scale outdoor spectacle to small scale theatre. They have hung from boats, abseiled down buildings and flown through trees at the Enchanted Forest. In 2015 they will be touring their new work for theatre, Three’s A Crowd.

All or Nothing create greater opportunities to experience aerial dance and theatre, running classes, workshops and training programmes, spanning both the professional and community sectors across Scotland.
The training at MGA is delivered by an experienced team of aerialists and performers including Andrew Green, Jennifer Paterson, Sharisse Tindell and Marie Williamson.

Andrew Gowland

Postgraduate Course Coordinator & Resident Director

Andrew Gowland is a professional Actor, Musical Theatre Performer and
Director, having trained at The Royal Academy of Music, London, The Birmingham School of Acting and the College of Visual and Performing Arts in the USA. He has maintained a career in Performing Arts for over the last 14 years since graduating in 2003.

In 2005 he co-founded The MGA Academy of Performing Arts including MGA Management and MGA Casting with Murray Grant and remains MGA’s Managing Director.

As Managing Director and Producer for Beyond Broadway Productions Ltd, Andrew has, over the last 12 months, had the pleasure to work with Kerry Ellis, Adam Garcia, Christina Bianco, Ruthie Henshall, Natalie Weiss, Louise Dearman, Shoshana Bean, Scott Alan, Scott Morgan and Jonathan Reid Gealt and Jon Lee.

Finally, Drew is also a serving member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces as a fully-qualified Royal Air Force Regiment Gunner Reservist for 603 Squadron. / @drewgowland

Ashley Jack

Hip Hop tutor

Bio coming soon

Bekki Black

Academic Coodinator and Dance Tutor

Bio coming soon

David Bailey

Alexander Technique

Bio coming soon

David Winter

Stage Combat tutor

Bio coming soon

Dean Pirrie

Dance tutor

Bio coming soon

Derek McGhie

Acting/Voice tutor

Bio coming soon

Gerard Bentall

Head of Singing & Singing Tutor

Gerard taught at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and also worked as Vocal Consultant for Paul Spyker Management. Over the years he has employed his services as a Vocal Coach for several Leading West End Artists including, Kerry Ellis, Louise Dearman, Matthew Rawle, Rufus Hound, Samantha Bond and Dean Collinson.

He has effectively instructed and mentored through the rehabilitation of voice problems.

Gillian McLaren Scott

Master Teacher Estil Voice International, Singing Tutor

Bio coming soon

Jill Rennie

Ballet tutor

Bio coming soon

John Burlington

Prevocational Coordinator, Dance tutor

Bio coming soon

John P. Arnold

Acting Tutor

John P. Arnold is a professional actor, singer and voiceover artist who hails from the United States of America.

Since graduating from the University of Georgia with a Bachelors of Arts, he has continued his professional training at The Royal National Theatre, London; Advanced Scene Study – Peter Kelly Studios, Boston; Acting and Stage Combat – Cultural Arts Studio, City Lights Theatre Company, Savannah, GA; Advanced on Camera Acting – Tighe Doyle Casting Agency, Boston; Voice Training – Paul Fisher Studios & Jeannie Deva Studios; Audition and Monologue Skills, Michael Shurtleff Technique – Speakeasy Stage Company, Boston.

John has extensive theatre, film, television, commercial and voiceover credits in both the US and UK. Some of his UK credits include: The Citizens Theatre, Glasgow; The Traverse Theatre Company, Edinburgh; Bard in the Botanics, Glasgow; Taggart; River City; The Angel’s Share; CBBC’s Dani’s House and A Long, Long Crime Ago; BBC Four Radio Dramas, London and Scotland; and The Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

He also has performed and written for ACTING UP of Edinburgh, which brings theatrical arts to the corporate world. John presently serves as guest artistic director for Indelible Arts and The Drama Mill theatre companies, where he writes, teaches, and directs. He is a recurring tutor at Screen Academy Scotland, Napier University and also teaches private students at Prora Studios in East Lothian.

Kate McWilliam

Gymnatics coach

Bio coming soon

Kristofer Harding

Student Welfare Coordinator & Musical Theatre Tutor

Bio coming soon

Lainie Baird

Dance tutor

Bio coming soon

Lesley Wood

Dance Tutor

Lesley is a Fellow and Examiner of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) and as such she is one of the most experienced and respected teachers in the country. She is also an External Verifier with the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and was for ten years a faculty member of the Performing Arts Department at Motherwell College. She is Principal of the Dance Factory in Glasgow and is a renowned choreographer, working with the BBC, Scottish Television and Scottish Opera.

Her skills also include an ability to work with musical theatre students with little experience up to ISTD Advanced 2 and professional dancers in modern and tap well as construct routines for student audition pieces and choreograph student showcases.

She has worked with both acting, musical theatre and dance students up to degree level, many of whom are now professionally employed. She also teaches ISTD Diploma in Dance Instruction and Diploma in Dance Education.

Lisa Nicoll

Acting/Voice tutor

Bio coming soon

Louise Ferrier

Junior School Creative Director & Dance tutor

Louise Ferrier has a Diploma in Professional Stage Dance and the ISTD Diploma in Dance Education.

Studying in Edinburgh and furthering her training in London she was fortunate enough to gain a vast amount of teaching and performing before joining Costa Cruise Lines. Here Louise travelled the globe dancing in a number of Musical Theatre shows in the position of Production Manager and Dance Captain.

Other credits include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (American Ballet Company), Nutcracker (Ballet West), UK tour with Bags Of Rock, UK tour Smirnoff Vodka Promotion, Model/Dancer Hatwalk. Louise was recently invited to dance at Stirling’s Fashion Designer of the Year and has performed in an immense amount of cabaret shows, events and flashmobs throughout the UK.

As well as performing Louise has managed to secure a wide range of teaching experience with all ages, abilities and styles.

Lynn Bains

Accents Coach & Guest Director

Lynn has worked as an actor and acting teacher, writer and director, since she moved to Scotland from the USA over forty years ago. And as Scotland’s foremost American accent coach she has worked regularly at Piltochry Festival Theatre, The Royal Lyceum Edinburgh, Dundee Rep Theatre and Perth Theatre, and other companies around Scotland.

She was a founder of Stellar Quines Theatre Company and directed its first production, Night Sky. For many years, Lynn was an assessor for the National Council for Drama Training and has been an adjudicator for the Scottish Community Drama Association.

Lynn has taught acting to the likes of Ewan McGregor, Shirley Henderson, Dougray Scott, Kevin McKidd and Sharon Small and many others.

After ten years as Head of Acting at Kirkcaldy College (now Fife College) and 15 years as Head of Acting at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Lynn retired from full-time teaching to pursue her freelance career. Since then, she has directed and taught acting at Ohio Northern University and has been much in demand for acting and American accent workshops in Scotland, England and Wales with community and amateur companies, youth theatres, schools and professional theatres including The Citizens Theatre, The Royal Lyceum and PFT.

Lynn has been accent coach for every American play at Pitlochry Festival Theatre since 1989, most recently Carousel in 2016 and High Society in 2017. In addition, she has worked regularly at The Royal Lyceum, most recently The Crucible and the series of Arthur Miller productions; Dundee Rep, Steel Magnolias; and Perth Theatre, most recently Death of a Salesman, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, Moonlight and Magnolias and The Female Version of The Odd Couple.

Marcella Macdonald


Marcella trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama on the BA Music course and at the Royal Academy of Music, London on the post-graduate musical theatre course where she received the Ian Fleming Musical Theatre Award and the Musicians Benevolent Fund Award.

Theatre Works: A Little Night Music (Jack Lyons Theatre), Evita (Zouk Amphitheatre, Beirut), Richard Rogers Centenary Celebrations (with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall), Les Dialogues Des Carmelites (Edinburgh Festival Theatre), Manon (New Athenaeum). Marcella has also worked as a backing singer for Elton John, performing at Birmingham NEC, The Royal Albert Hall, The Royal Opera House and Wembley, and appearing on BBC 1. Other works include session singing and New Music Theatre Writers workshop.

As a musical director, Marcella’s professional credits include Ragtime (Edinburgh Fringe 2009) and Musical Starlights (World Wide Events). Marcella has been musical supervisor for Montage Theatre Arts, London, vocal coach for Forth Children’s Theatre and musical director for Edinburgh Council’s Musical Theatre Summer School.

Martyn Dempsey

Acting Coordinator

Bio coming soon

Molly Innes

Acting tutor

Bio coming soon

Murray Grant

Resident Choreographer

Graduating in 2001 from Bird College, Murray Grant immediately won a contract to tour the USA with Columbia Artist Management Inc. and enjoyed several years dancing around the globe before undertaking contracts as a choreographer.

Murray has performed as a dancer all over the world and most notably Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Sydney and Vienna in musical theatre, opera & cabaret productions.

In addition to a lengthy performance career, Murray’s directorial and choreographic credits include: touring China and Europe with Musical Starlights, European tour of Best of Musicals, Twelve International Tenors tours of Europe and China, Moulin Rouge (German TV Production), The Phantom of the Opera and Carnaby Street Capers for P&O World Cruises, Macphersons Rant (World Premiere, Scotland), Union Square Opening Ceremony (Scotland), Bat Boy, The Producers, Flashdance and The Addams Family for MGA Productions.

Numerous choreography contracts and World Premiers followed prior to teaching contracts as well as producing credits for his own company MGA Productions based in Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh. Murray is also Guest Tutor for the Institute of the Arts, Barcelona and Creative Director and Founder of Beyond Broadway Productions.

Neil Metcalfe

Head of Music & Singing Tutor

Neil Metcalfe read music at Edinburgh University, before training as a Répétiteur, Vocal Coach and Conductor in the Opera School of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Subsequently, after some time as Répétiteur/Music Staff at Scottish Opera, he pursued a freelance career in Australia, Germany, the United States and Northern Ireland.

Neil currently works across a wide number of genres as a vocal coach, solo pianist, accompanist, continuo player and conductor, and is equally happy in Musical Theatre, Opera, Baroque music and as a solo/chamber and session musician. He has recorded for the BBC and on the Linn Records label (with Dunedin Consort – Scotland’s international award-winning Baroque ensemble with whom he was Concerts Director), has appeared as a Guest Artist on the Fred Olsen cruise line, and has performed with many diverse groups across a number of genres, including the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Chorus, Ludus Baroque, Consort of Voices, and the National Youth Choirs of Scotland. He regularly appears as an accompanist at Masterclasses and in cabaret, and as a Choral Animateur at Come & Sing events across the country. He has also appeared at both the Edinburgh International Festival and at the Edinburgh Fringe (in over 200 performances).

As a conductor, recent engagements have included Verdi’s Macbeth and Bizet’s Carmen (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), and the British premiere of Ricci’s La Prigione di Edimburgo (Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh). As a pianist/Musical Director, recent engagements include the Scottish premiere of Adam Gwon’s Ordinary Days, Scottish tours of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years and Songs For A New World, and as MD/co-arranger of the world premiere of Steve Potters’ Farewell My Son. Neil also has a keen interest in music education, and as such has held posts as Director of Music in a number of independent schools (latterly at Strathallan School), in the FE sector (as Lecturer in Performance at Edinburgh College), is Chairman of the Scottish Schools Orchestra, and works as an examiner and adjudicator.

He currently holds the post of Faculty Leader (Music) at The MGA Academy of Performing Arts, and is Musical Director of The Maltings Theatre (Berwick-upon-Tweed), Greenroom Musical Theatre, Edinburgh Music Theatre Company and Edinburgh University Chorus.

Nicola Dobiecka

Alexander Technique

Bio coming soon

Rachel Barlow

Anatomy tutor

Bio coming soon

Sarah Pirrie

Dance tutor

Bio coming soon

Simon Hanson

Music tutor

Bio coming soon

Sup Dhanasunthorn

Dance Coordinator

Bio coming soon

Terry Ram

Guest Director

Terry has a long background in community and educational theatre. She trained at the Workshop Theatre, University of Leeds under Professor Martin Banham and returned there for her M.A. in Theatre Arts.

She has worked as actor and stage manager for many projects and her particular love of the out doors and Shakespeare led to a lengthy relationship with Abbey Shakespeare Players in West Wales. Among other roles she played Lady Macbeth, Katerina in Taming of the Shrew and Ariel in The Tempest.

Alongside her acting and directing Terry was Head of Peforming Arts at a large comprehensive school in Leeds where she was fortunate in being able to work alongside many young people who developed a love and appreciation of theatre and who are going on to make a substantial mark in the profession.

She has directed regularly with Musical Theatre and Acting students at MGA on stand-alone acting projects at the Church Hill, Pleasance and Roxy Theatres.

Tom Duncan

tom duncan edinburgh

Acting Tutor

Tom is the owner of photography and video production company Twin City Pictures, working as a director and cinematographer across Scotland producing media for theatre shows and marketing. Twin City Pictures is also one of the leading providers of actor services: headshots, showreels, selftapes and private coaching.

Tom trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Acting. Since graduating he has worked consistently for over a decade in theatre, film, television and commercials.

Theatre credits include: Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Hamlet, Much Ado about Nothing, Comedy of Errors, Winter’s Tale, Mid Summer Night’s Dream, Henry IV, The Tempest, Merchant of Venice, Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, This Fearful Country, Queen Margaret (for Bard in the Botanics); Coma (Arches); Romeo and Juliet (Erasmus Theatre Company); Jack and the Beanstalk, Snow White, Cinderella (The Byre Theatre); Jack and the Beanstalk, Beauty and the Beast (MA Productions); Aladdin (PACE); Mother Goose (MacRobert); Last of the Dragons (Manhattan Children’s Theatre).

Film and Television credits include: Sunset Song (Terence Davies); Scrotal Recall (Elliot Hegarty); Meet Me on the Southbank (Adam Rolston); Joyeux Noel (Christian Carion); The Celebrity (Simon Whyte). Commercial work for Sony, Real Radio and Channel 4.

Summer School 2018 for 7-15s

Coming Summer 2018!

Published 3/11/17   3:03PM

Lighting up the winter evenings!

MGA students have had a fabulous start to the new year here at MGA, and it only gets better as next week our students take to the stage to begin MGA’s Winter Season of productions. Full details of each show in production can be found on the Production pages. MGA’s… » Read more

Published 16/8/17   11:36AM

It's MGA's Edinburgh this summer…

The MGA Academy of Performing Arts are taking the streets of Edinburgh by storm this month after a fabulous end to the year and a busy July. We had an amazing two weeks with our ‘Stage to Screen’ Summer School, welcoming lots of talented young people to MGA to work… » Read more

Published 4/7/17   7:40PM

Congratulations, Class of 2017!

Last month we were thrilled to send out another generation of fabulous students into the professional world of Performing Arts – particularly because 2017 marks the first year of MGA graduates from all three course streams. So huge congratulations to all our students: graduating in Musical Theatre, in Dance, and,… » Read more

Published 8/6/17   6:55PM

Make a change - take the next step

Take control of your future with The MGA Academy of Performing Arts! Our final set of ‪auditions‬ for entry in 2017 are coming up in August. As summer gets under way it’s definitely time to think about what you next step is to achieve the career of your dreams! With… » Read more

Published 15/5/17   3:44PM

Spring Season of shows open tonight!

The Spring season of performances by Acting, Dance and Musical Theatre students opens tonight and we couldn’t be more excited! Join us for three very special shows starting tonight, May 15th, and running through until Saturday 20th May, at the Church Hill Theatre in Morningside, Edinburgh. The third-year Acting students have… » Read more

Coming soon

A Christmas Wish 2017

18th December, Usher Hall

New York Trip 2018

January 2018 *FULLY BOOKED*