We are delighted with the continuing success of many ex-students and will feature a number of them here over the coming months. If you have any news or updates, please let us know by sending an email to

Sophie Bloom

Trained at the London School of Musical Theatre and has since appeared in a short film and two pantomimes. She is about to start work as a production singer on the Thompson cruise ship, The Emerald (as at Summer 2008)

Lorretta Boutwell

Lorretta joined The Weston at the age of four where she danced in many pantomimes and ballet shows. She then furthered her education of Dance and Musical Theatre at Colchester Institute. Soon after leaving Colchester Institute Lorretta was signed to Downtown Artist and Best of London Music record labels. Her strong Hip Hop and Street Dance styles of dance has led her into dancing and choreographing various music videos. She is also qualified as a Para Dance instructor.

Karen Bruce

Choreographer and Director of Footloose, Karen (and her sister Gillian) undertook her early training at The Weston. Following vocational training at Laine Theatre Arts and dance experience she found her niche in choreography. A winner of the Olivier Award she has choreographed a number of West End productions including Far Pavilions, Brighton Rock, Fame, Saturday Night Fever, and Footloose. She choreographed and directed the opening ceremony of the 2002 commonwealth Games in Manchester and has choreographed for BBC television.

Karen is currently (2023) directing Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace's Midnight Tango show at the Aldwych Theatre, in London's West End. Recent work includes choreography on Strictly Come Dancing 2011, and on the second series of So You Think You Can Dance for the BBC. Karen won an Olivier Award for her Choreography of Pacific Overtures at the Donmar Warehouse and Best Choreographer at Premios del Teatro Musical for her work on Saturday Night Fever. She is notable for her acclaimed choreography for the Take That musical, Never Forget, directing and choreographing the UK productions of Footloose The Musical and Fame on tour and in the West End.

From little acorns . . . Long may her success continue.

Susan Clarke (Lily) (1988-2004, plus on teaching faculty)

Susan left the UK to teach ballet, modern, jazz, tap and Broadway at the Connie Parsons School of Dance in Canada. She teaches the exam classes and the Intense Dance Division programs along with competition and show choreography. She also works with TaDa! Events.

Samuel Hindmarsh (to 2004)

Sam left the Weston School to attend Arts Educational School, Tring Park, on a full scholarship where he trained until he was 16. He then moved to Hurtwood House College on a scholarship to continue training in dance and performance. He left to attend Guildford School of Acting and then University of Hull to receive a first-class BA(Hons) in Drama and Theatre Practice and then attended Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and received an MA in Arts Management.
He now works as a Dance and Theatre Artist in the north of England as well as being a Producer for various dance companies in the north, currently based in Hull.
Sam has been lucky enough to dance with English National Ballet and Gothenburg Opera Ballet traveling all over Europe with his dance career. He ran 'The London Showcase' and now runs a collective in Hull, 'Thursday's Children Theatre Collective'. He also sits on the board of 'Music and the Deaf'.
He continues to act as an advocate for classical and contemporary dance professionally and in education and works extensively with major organisations around the word to enable and empower independent dance artists.

Verity Jones

Verity studied ballet at The Weston up to 2006 when at 18 she attended  the London Studio Centre and graduated in 2009. Since then she has enjoyed a successful career as a musician/dancer/singer/performer.   She has appeared in  the UK and Toronto tour of Chess as the White Queen, when she was made Dance Captain by Craig Revel Horwood.  This role also involved playing clarinet!  Verity appeared in production of Sweet Charity at The Mac, Belfast as dancer/musician.  She was a Dancer/Actress in UK tour of Save The Last Dance for Me and a UK tour in Dirty Dancing as a Dancer/Singer. In early 2016 commenced a role as a Dancer/Singer  in UK tour of The Bodyguard (the choreographer was ex-student Karen Bruce - see above). After the uk tour of The Bodyguard, Verity continued in the West End Production of The Bodyguard until early January 2017 and then she continued in The Bodyguard in Toronto until May 2017.  Following a short break she then performed in the uk tour of Flashdance and was understudy for the lead Jo Clifton (ex Strictly dancer)  Verity actually performed the lead role for a week in Edinburgh and a week in High Wycombe early 2018.  Her contract for Flashdance has recently ended in Autumn 2018 after which she was resting!  (Although she also does other work such as book-keeping and writing for websites)  She also appeared in an episode of The Big Audition, a programme on i.t.v which started on 6th October.  There are six programmes and she expected to be featured in week 2.  She was also in Dirty Dancing and Save the Last Dance For Me. She has also had a small part  in a film called The Man With The Silver Case and was shot in Switzerland!

Claire Orme

Claire graduated from the London Studio Centre in 2006 with a Foundation Degree in Performing Arts.  Since leaving college, she has been employed continuously as a professional dancer in the UK and Europe and has appeared on television in the BBC production of ‘Tess of the d’Ubervilles’.  In 2008 Claire successfully auditioned for Explosive Productions, a large entertainment  company based in Cumbria,  and for several years performed as a dancer in their production shows on cruise ships. Claire has retired from performing and is now happily married and living in the north of England.

Marie Rawlinson (Francis)

Upon graduating from London Studio Centre with a BA (Hons) in Theatre Dance, Marie has strutted and twirled her way around the world. Career highlights have included choreographing and dancing for singer 'Bryan Ferry' and also 'Roxy Music' on their worldwide tours, which included performances with Johnny Mar and Nile Rogers. Dressing up for stunning costume dramas such as Disney's 'Maleficent' and 'A Little Chaos' with Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet. Twirling around on numerous TV shows including Strictly Come Dancing, David Letterman, Horrible Histories and Pompidou with Matt Lucas. As well as walking international catwalks for brands such as Gucci, H&M, Dorothy Perkins, Wella and L'Oreal to name a few.
When not teaching Marie still picks up a feather or two to perform with international cabaret act and show girl artistes 'The It Girls' as well continuing her work in the music industry looking after fabulous acts and bands for some of the most glamorous events in the world … Marie has an extensive 10 year + teaching background both in the UK and abroad. She was co-founder of the TenPilates (Notting Hill) TenBarre Syllabus and now runs her on own classes across Essex (Barre Fusion). She also assisted with the launch of BabyBop Dance in China and teaches at various schools and theatre group across London and the South East, sharing her passion and love of the arts.

Belinda Smith (1997-2013)

Belinda was born in Chelmsford and received an academic scholarship to study at Aberystwyth University in Wales, graduating in 2014 with a First Class Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art with Art History. After graduating, Belinda worked for a contemporary art Gallery in St Ives, Cornwall, prior to taking up a position at the Henry Moore Studios and Gardens in Hertfordshire. Since then Belinda has lived in a variety of locations including Berlin, Aix-en-Provence and Plymouth through her work as an Artists’ Studio Assistant.

She has exhibited in London, Dorset, Chelmsford, Southampton, Aberystwyth and at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Her work features in private collections in the U.K, Spain and Slovakia, several of which have been commissioned paintings. In the summer of 2022 Belinda had her first major solo exhibition at Athelhampton House and Gardens, Dorset, featuring over 50 abstract paintings inspired by the history of this compelling stately home, installed throughout the Tudor house and its grounds.

Belinda’s Abstract paintings are often inspired by sites of historical significance from temple ruins, ancient settlements to towers and castles. She is passionate about travelling to such places, experiencing their aura, considering the people who may have lived there and the traces they have left behind as artefacts, relics, traditions and written records against the backdrop or influence of Nature. She attempts to capture the spirit of special places through the medium of paint and reveal a thread of connectivity between the past and present.

This search for inspiration has taken Belinda across many European borders, from Norway, Portugal and Italy and beyond to China, Mexico, India, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean. In particular, Belinda has had many memorable adventures on her extensive travels in the United States of America, the islands of Greece and the Canary Islands. 

Belinda's Website

Michael Smith (1998-2012)

Michael moved from Chelmsford to take up a place at the University of Dundee as a medical student. He continued to dance at university, being part of the university tap and ballet teams who have completed in numerous UK competitions.

Chloe Staines

Chloe was one of the last ten girls in ITV's Pop Stars - The Rivals.  Although she did not make it through to Girls Aloud she was determined that hers would be a career in music.  With three other finalists she formed Clea, who released a single which reached 21 in the charts and their first album was released in February 2004.  However, Chloe left the group in May 2004 to further pursue her own career. She joined nineties girlband Fierce with whom she auditioned for the first series of the X-Factor. She has now left the UK to live in Canada with her fiancée.

Ashleigh Wadforth-Frost

After graduating with a Diploma in Professional Dance from Bodyworks Cambridge, Ashleigh continued her dance studies at Broadway Dance Center, New York. During 2011 Ashleigh worked with Beyonce on her ‘Run the World Girls’ video, was the assistant choreographer and dancer in Pixie Lott’s video ‘What Do You Take Me For’ and performed for La Toya Jackson at the ‘Michael Jackson Forever’ Tribute Concert at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (October 2011). She continues to perform onstage, including as principal dancer and back up singer in the West End Musical 'Thriller Live'; resident dancer for ‘Mariah Carey’ at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, dancer for ‘Jessie J’ at the Halo Awards, Miami; dancer for 'Ariana Grande' and 'Nicki Minaj' at Madison Square Gardens in NYC; and principal dancer for industrial show ‘Nike’ in Puerto Rico. Her TV appearances have included dancer on XFactor for 'Rihanna', 'Little Mix' and 'Fleur East'. She has appeared on music videos for Justin Bieber - ‘Lolly’, Coldplay - ‘Charlie Brown’ and Jessie J - ‘Burnin Up’. Ashleigh is currently rehearsing for the MTV movie awards show in LA and will then return to Las Vegas for the 'Mariah Carey' residency in June.