Meet the Team

 

Kat Stephens
Director Aspire Arts Academy, Vocal Coach, Drama Teacher
Musical Director – Songbirds

 

Kat Stephens has been singing, dancing and acting from a very tender age.  It has always been her passion, her focus and her dream. Kat has been teaching Singing & Drama at various locations throughout the UK for over a decade. She is a trained Speech Level Singing Teacher, and has travelled internationally in the pursuit of voice education. Kat is completely passionate about Aspire Arts Academy, which she founded in September 2014.  She truly believes that Performing Arts Education has so many benefits for young people and adults alike.  It is her mission to help people improve their confidence, self-esteem and self-belief through the medium of the dramatic arts. She is an inspiring and motivational individual, who encourages and coaches her pupils to be the very best they can be

 

Mark Goff
Commercial Dance Teacher

 

Mark was brought up in a performing family, with Magicians, artists, singers and musicians.  Even though he had performed from a young age in local shows and attended a drama school for a year or so, his life changed when he met 2 Filipino boys at the age of 13.  These 2 boys could do all kinds of amazing dance moves, from spinning on their heads, to moonwalking and doing flips off of all kinds of objects.  This would be where the Passion began to dance. After years of training Mark went on to work with the X factor, Footloose, Nickelodeon and many many others, also choreographing shows at the London Palladium, Royal Albert Hall and countless theatres across the UK.

Even though dance was where it all started, there have been plenty of other Ventures for Mark, from having music pieces he created on the Xfactor to Touring America playing a guitar, also winning many competitions whilst part of vocal group The Shures.

Mark

 

Keba Diedhiou

African Drumming Teacher

 

Keba joined the Aspire team in April 2016 to work with Aspire on their very first production of ‘The Lion King Junior’.  Keba and all of his students enjoyed their involvement with Aspire so much, they have become a permanent fixture of the school.  The ensemble transported our audiences to the African Savannah, and gave the entire show a completely authentic feel and emotion.  You should have seen the students dancing back stage!
Originally from a family of professional artists in Senegal, West Africa, a country with a rich culture of art, music and dance, Keba has been playing the djembe and dun dung drums since his youth.

 

Workshops and teaching experience include: various nurseries and schools in Northamptonshire and Rutland, St. Andrew’s Healthcare, Rainsbrook centre with NMPAT (Northampton Music and Performing Arts Trust) and with local charities such as NCT, Action for Children, Olympia residential centre working with young people and adults.

 

James Driver
Drama Teacher

 

James was born into a family of musicians and spent his childhood learning a variety of instruments and (believe it or not) singing in the local church choir. He later gained a place in the Southern Cathedral  Singers choir, performing in Cathedrals throughout the South of England and was fortunate enough to sing with them as part of the massed choir at the 90th Birthday celebrations of the Queen Mother.  At the age of 11 he decided to have a go at treading the boards and played Oliver in the local amateur dramatics society’s production of the musical by Lional Bart.  For the next few years, James continued to perform with several local societies and appeared in numerous shows from Jesus Christ Superstar and West Side Story to The King and I and Kismet, plus many others.

 

James

At the age of 19, James successfully gained a place at the Mountview Academy of Performing Arts in London, where he spent three years training as a professional actor. During his time there he was fortunate enough to work with and be trained by some of the best actors, directors and voice coaches from around the world and perform in a diverse array of plays and musicals.

After graduating in 2001, James made his professional debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the premier of Philip Ridley’s play ‘Brokenville’ which won a Fringe First nomination. Following this, James continued to work professionally for several years where he was fortunate enough to travel the country performing in towns and cities all over the UK. During this time he took part in various Theatre in Education projects, taking plays and workshops into schools around the country – this ultimately led to the decision for James to become a full time teacher. He completed his teacher training in Bedfordshire, where he then worked for a few years as a music and drama teacher before taking a job as a Year 6 teacher with Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School.

 

Over the years, James has been lucky enough to perform in venues such as: Canterbury Cathedral , The Royal Albert Hall and The Ustinov Studio at Bath Theatre Royal and work with some truly fantastic people from all walks of life. It is the knowledge gained from all these experiences that he hopes to be able to pass on to the students at Aspire Arts Academy.

 

Miss Lianne Cheong
Ballet Teacher

 

Miss Lianne joined the Aspire team at the very beginning – September 2014.  Lianne has tutored pupils through two sets of examinations, with incredible results!  Miss Lianne teaches with grace, elegance & sophistication, the children can’t help but be inspired by her inspiration.  Whilst maintaining discipline, Miss Lianne always ensures the children are rewarded and praised for their hard work.