Principal ~ Rosalind Williams
Holds a BA in English and Latin from Exeter University and a PGCE from Nottingham University. Taught Classics before training at CYGNET. Rosalind has appeared in many productions and created the role of Elizabeth I in The Boy Actor. She studied singing with Monica Shallis, Pamela Faulkner and Evelyn Tubb and sings regularly in recital programmes and with the Richard Roddis Singers. She also studied and taught Tai Chi for several years. Rosalind adapted Alice in Wonderland for schools and has written for BBC radio. She teaches voice, text, singing and choral singing.
Artistic Director ~ Alistair Ganley
Alistair studied English at Nottingham University before training at CYGNET, becoming Associate director in the early 90s. Since then he has helped develop the company’s movement training programme and directed many productions. Alistair is a trained Drama Therapist and lectured on Plymouth University’s MA in Drama therapy. He is a regular artistic collaborator with Jojo Spinks as Interwoven Theatre and directed ” Severance” in collaboration with Trash Dollies and “Vega” with Kayleigh Ann Crook. Other work includes acting and directing for Theatre Royal Plymouth, Men Moving Bridge with Paul Beaumont and Being In Between at Bristol Zoo, 2005.
Administrator ~ Mary G. Evans
Has a French/Drama degree from Bristol university. A year at Georgia University and the Ashland Shakespeare Festival in the USA was followed by stage management work in rep – Dundee, Bristol Old Vic, Canterbury, Cheltenham, a season with Scottish Opera, seven years with Peter Brook as PA and company manager and then in 1974 she joined the Northcott under Geoffrey Reeves, later becoming PA to Richard Digby Day. She met Monica Shallis in 1976 and was a co-founder of CYGNET becoming its first full-time administrator in 1986.
Voice Teacher ~ Stephen Copp
Stephen trained at Webber douglas and at RADA.
His debut was as Jimmy in “Theres a girl in my soup”,then continued in various reps at Ayr,Sidmouth and Exeter working on over 25 productions.
Favourite roles incude:Denys val Baker in “the Cornish Affair”(St.Ives festival);Duke of Bristol in “On approval;Sir Harold Raikes in “The man in grey”(Sidmouth) Wilfred Potts M.P.in “Dont just lie there say something”(Ayr).
TV includes “Sweet Inspiration”(BBC) ; presenter Al Steward in 15 episodes of a spoof security video show(live tv). Films include”suffer the children”;Lights of Santa Cruz”,and James Bond in an Austrian insurance commercial! Playstation/CDRom:”Three lions”;”Rat Attack”and “Casper”(Voices).
As director: Ayckbourn’s”Confusions”;Churchill’s “Cloud Nine;Albee’s”American Dream” and “Anthem for doomed Youth”.
Stephen studied under renowned voice teacher Stewart Pearse and has taught vocal technique at Cygnet for a number of years.
Singing Teacher ~ Adrian Hicks
GRSM(Hons) LRAM LGSM Cert. Ed.
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, Adrian studied Piano with Dennis Murdoch, Singing with John Cambourne and Bassoon with Anthony Judd. Adrian has worked extensively as pianist, singer, composer, choral director and teacher. He is also a painter, and has an avid interest in folk music, being an active member of Exeter Morris.
Movement Teacher ~ Dr Sandra Reeve
Movement, improvisation, physical theatre and body awareness. “I met Suprapto Suryodarmo, Javanese movement artist and teacher in 1988 and studied with him for ten years” (1988 – 1998). Sandra has taught at Cygnet for many years.
Dance Consultant ~ Ruth Way
Ruth is head of Theatre and Performance at the University of Plymouth. She has performed and taught internationally, being a trustee for Dance in Devon and External Examiner for Laban, London. Ruth is also a board member for ShinSomatics Training board, USA.
Dance Teacher ~ Clare Parker
Clare trained at LondonContemporaryDanceSchool, Royal Academy of Dance and California Institute of the Arts. Clare has worked extensively as a dancer, choreographer and teacher, including with Northern Ballet Theatre, and Richard Alston Dance Company / Essential Alston. She was a founding member of Out on a Limb and Soap Box dance companies. Clare has taught extensively, including on vocational training schemes for advanced dancers, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Dartington College of Arts and professional classes throughout the UK.
trained at R.A.D.A and has worked extensively in television and theatre for nearly 30 years. Television work includes: Doctors, Broadchurch, Eastenders, Casualty, Poirot, The Bill, Down to Earth, The Passion, Mile High and The Vet. Theatre work has taken Steve to most major theatres in the country. Steve is also highly regarded as one of the country’s top pantomime dames. As well as an actor Steve is also a director and writer.
Teacher ~ Melanie Drake
holds an MA in Voice Studies from the Central School of Speech and Drama.
She was awarded a BA (Hons) in English and Drama by Leicester University is a fully qualified Drama teacher and professional actress training at the University of Edinburgh and Queen Margaret College respectively. Voice work has included Cygnet Training Theatre, Central School of Speech and Drama, Edinburgh Lyceum Youth Theatre, The Centre for Performing Arts in Greenwich, The Millennium Dance Centre, Caravanserai Actor’s Studio, King’s College London, King Street College Shepherd’s Bush, Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama and A.L.R.A, teaching Vocal Technique, Voice and Text, Accent and Dialect, Presentational and Communication Skills.Mel has worked professionally in Theatre/TV and Film and has directed over 30 performances for schools and youth groups.
Teacher ~ Ruth Cooper Brown (R.C Annie Ltd)
Ruth Cooper-Brown is a an accredited Fight Teacher and Committee Member of the BADC (British Academy of Dramatic Combat) She is also the co-founder of Rc-Annie Limited (Stage Combat Company) and a Fight Arranger. She has worked on 10 Theatre shows and 5 films this year. Her most notable being: Passions at the Donmar, Archery Consultant for RSC Dunsinane at the Hampstead Theatre, Fight Director for All the Fun of the Fair at the Garrick, This Wide night for Clean Break at the Soho Theatre, Sudden Loss of Dignity and 2000 Feet Away for the Bush Theatre. Ruth advises theatre companies and organizations such as the RSC on Theatrical Handgun law and usage. Currently she is the resident Stage Combat Tutor for Redroofs Theatre School and guest tutors at various Drama school with specialist workshops.
Teacher ~ Rachel C Bown-Williams (R.C Annie Ltd)
Rachel is a British based Fight choreographer, with experience in both film and theatre, She is a Fellow of The Winston Churchill Memorial Foundation, which allowed her to travel to the US where she met and worked with many of America’s most celebrated fight professionals. She trained in Shotokan Karate from a young age and then went to London’’s Rose Buford College of Speech and Drama where she trained as an Actress. Rachel is a Fight Teacher accredited by The British Academy of Dramatic Combat (BADC) and teaches Stage Combat at Central School Of Speech and Drama, East 15, Florida State University and of course Cygnet Training Company. Rachel is Co Founder and Director of Rc-Annie Limited a Stage and Screen Combat company in London she is also a committee member and Training Officer for BADC
Monica D. Shallis
1939 – 2006
Founding Artistic Director
CYGNET was founded in 1980. The Company grew out of an association between Monica Shallis, Mary Evans and the Northcott Theatre, Exeter- then under the direction of Richard Digby Day.
Cygnet has since grown into a full-time training company with its own Studio Theatre in a converted hall near to the centre of Exeter, in the Historic Quayside area of the city. It functions as a small-scale touring company, with productions regularly touring to venues around the South West. In addition, the Company takes showcase productions up to London and to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Cygnet Company members come from all over the UK and abroad to join its intensive three year ensemble theatre training programme, which combines the best of Conservatoire with the practical experience of a working Theatre Ensemble.