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Meet the Drama Department

Published on 29/09/22

The drama department are committed to fostering a love of drama by providing opportunities to shine both on stage and behind the scenes.

Meet the team: Ms Barrell, Head of Drama and Theatre; Mrs Foote, Teacher of Drama and Theatre; Miss Albone, Teacher of Drama and Theatre; and Miss Jones, Graduate Drama Assistant.

Ms Barrell, Head of Drama and Theatre

Helene Barrell Head of Drama and TheatreI trained as a performer at drama school and after graduating I became a professional actor. When my children were very small I started running after school drama clubs and workshops for a local venue; this led to me setting up my own business and for nearly 10 years I juggled my acting career alongside working freelance as a drama facilitator and director, running workshops, clubs and courses and directing performances for children, young people and adults across Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Essex. 

In my mid thirties I had a sudden epiphany moment and realised that I far preferred teaching to performing! I left the freelance work behind and came to work at The Stephen Perse Foundation. 22 years later and I am Head of a thriving and vibrant department. I have taught students at Junior, Senior and Sixth Form level and I have directed nearly 40 full scale school productions. 

I love the challenge of directing a new play with a completely new cast of performers, I love collaborating with backstage students to create the set, costumes and props and I love watching all of the elements of a play come together. It is a real privilege to follow the progress of each cohort of students as they develop and improve their theatre skills throughout their school career, both in Drama lessons and through co-curricular theatre activities.

It may not have been part of my original career plan, but it turns out I love teaching!

Mrs Foote, Teacher of Drama and Theatre

Deborah Foote Teacher of Drama and TheatreMy career in the Arts began at ballet school; I then went on to study at drama college in London. I graduated with an agent and a full Equity card, to be cast in a television series called ’Gentlemen and Players’. From then on, I was lucky enough to work consistently as a leading actress; my first stage role was Fredrika in ‘A Little Night Music’ under the supervision of the late Steven Sondheim. I worked in the West End, TV and on major venue tours around the UK for the next 15 years. 

After taking time out to bring up my family, in 2012 I achieved a distinction for a Masters degree in contemporary theatre, and received an Arts Council award. I then produced educational media support for a dance examining board and worked in the business world as a public speaking coach. Now, I’ve spent almost four years teaching Drama and Theatre at the Stephen Perse Foundation, stirring up the creative minds of our students, and I enjoy it very much!

Miss Albone, Teacher of Drama and Theatre

Kim Albone Teacher of Drama and TheatreDrama and Theatre have always been a great interest of mine. After completing my A levels I worked as a performer at a holiday resort for two years, before returning to study Drama full time. I gained my Degree in Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies, whilst continuing to work as a performer in London. I began my teacher training 12 years ago and in my career I have worked as a Teacher of Drama, and a Head of Drama in different schools across Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. I have taught GCSE and A Level for OCR, Edexcel, and AQA, and have also been an examiner for AQA. I have expanded my skills through participation in workshops run by the National Theatre, including ‘Directing Shakespeare for Schools’, ‘The Method of Frantic Assembly’, and ‘Introduction to Commedia Dell’Arte’. In 2018 I took a sabbatical to complete my Masters in Education with Darwin College, Cambridge, where I achieved a Distinction. 

Outside of Drama and education I am a keen traveller; I spent six months in SE Asia where I volunteered for a range of projects including teaching English as an additional language, and rebuilding houses damaged by earthquakes. I joined Stephen Perse during the second lockdown and, while I met all my classes for the first time online, I was immediately impressed by their resilience and creativity. I am now entering my second year with the Foundation and I look forward to continuing to work with such an incredible department, and with such intelligent and talented students.

Miss Jones, Graduate Drama Assistant

Rebecca Jones Graduate Drama AssistantI trained in Musical Theatre at ArtsEd in London and have since acted professionally in productions at The Other Palace and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. I have also taken part in workshops for the Old Vic and for the new musical film of Matilda. In the summer of 2019 I landed my first TV job, playing the role of Martha in the hit Netflix series Sex Education. Alongside my training and acting work I have taught drama at a weekend theatre school, I also teach piano and singing privately. I feel it is incredibly important to encourage young people to express themselves creatively. When the pandemic arrived the performing industry was hit hard. I was due to start a tour of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which unfortunately could not go ahead, and I was left wondering what would become of me! I was fortunate enough to be offered a job at the Stephen Perse Foundation, initially on reception at the Sixth Form, and later transferring to the Drama department, where I can really use my performing background and skillset to assist the fabulous teachers day to day, and also provide support for the school productions. I am still auditioning for acting work but also really loving my job here at Stephen Perse. Let’s see what the future holds!