Each term we ask members of staff a few light-hearted questions about themselves so that friends of St Mary's School, Cambridge can get to know our team a bit better. Enjoy reading about our members of staff by clicking on each link below.
Head of Drama
What was your favourite subject at school? English, Mathematics, PE, History, Art and Drama. I was a bit of an all-rounder and pretty much liked all my subjects – I loved variety and learning about different things.
How did you decide to become a teacher? When I was very little I used to play school. I’d be the teacher and I’d make my little brother answer the register in different voices and I would teach him and mark his work. I was probably dreadfully strict! I taught my first real lesson when I was 12; I decided to do the choreography for my primary school’s epic musical (I’m not sure why or how – I probably persuaded them I’d do a good job!) and so I held auditions and about 40 little children showed up. I asked them to copy my dancing, and then picked the best 15 – which included my little brother who was nine at the time. I taught the group three routines and it was quite slick – they were pretty awesome! Well, that’s how I like to remember it!
After my degree, I thought that I’d like to work in television and began my career at Anglian TV, firstly as a production runner, then assistant floor manager and I was even a PA for Trisha, the star of Trisha, at one point. But I quickly realised that television was a cut throat industry and I felt it lacked creativity. I decided to embark on some work experience at my old secondary school and from the moment I walked in and observed a Drama lesson I just knew, immediately, that I wanted to teach. It’s been the most rewarding decision I’ve ever made.
Why did you decide to work at St Mary’s School, Cambridge? I was looking to move a little closer to my family (who are in Norfolk) and having worked at schools in Brighton, Bangkok and Salisbury, Cambridgeshire was ideal. A Head of Drama post came up at this school and, having had other leadership roles which took me away from teaching and directing, it was exactly the position I wanted; I just needed to see whether it would be the right school for me. As soon as I walked into the Cortile I was given that warm welcome for which the school is known and it just felt like I could really belong here. It was the ‘feel’ of the place, and I thought ‘yes!’ and, luckily, they must have thought the same.
What’s your favourite thing about working at our school? My favourite thing about St Mary’s School, Cambridge is that everyone feels part of the community. We accept that everyone has different skills and different things to offer and we know that when we work together, we can achieve incredible things. I guess it’s the school spirit that I admire – especially when we are working on a show – it’s just so much fun. I have to say that of the schools I’ve worked in this is my favourite – I just love it here and I feel lucky to realise how special it is, and to really appreciate it.
Favourite things! What's your all-time favourite…
Book: Miss Pettigrew lives for a day, by Winifred Watson, which is about a very poor, neglected woman who learns that she’s brilliant and is given a wonderful second chance at life.
Film: Baz Lurhman’s Strictly Ballroom. The documentary style opening and the world of ballroom dancing make me laugh, and the film reminds me not to get caught up in the façade of glitz and glam and remember that the most important thing is to have a heart, and to love.
Play: Living with Lady Macbeth, because it teaches me not to judge a book by its cover and reminds me never to cast a show in my mind before the auditions.
Who inspires you? My Nan, Mary Higgins – she’s just incredible! Check out the ATA Girls production on the website to find out more about her.
What’s your favourite hobby? Directing – I love the whole creative process; the design aspect and finding the characters and the path of the story with those I work with. Plays teach me so much about life.
Team trivia: (without googling it) in which film did Roger Moore first play James Bond? Octopussy? I've no idea! [Incorrect answer from Ms Roberts – the correct answer is the 1973 film Live and let die]