Our highly-trained and experienced teachers bring a background in the professional industry, a love of teaching and working with young people and a passion and skill for making inspirational theatre.
Mary Benzies studied Drama and Theatre at Trinity College Dublin, where she trained under Fiona Shaw, Timothy West, Michael Bogdanov and Anna Strasberg. After graduating, Mary worked professionally as an actor in Ireland and theatre work includes Mary & Lizzy (Frank McGuinness, Dublin Castle, Dublin Theatre Festival); Beowulf (Lombard Theatre); Colleen Bawn (Dion Boucicault Project Theatre); Loves Labour’s Lost (Samuel Beckett Theatre). TV work includes Scratch Saturday (RTE) and the long running soap, Fair City (RTE). Film work includes, Braveheart (directed by Mel Gibson).
Following her passion for young people’s theatre and Theatre in Education, Mary went on to establish Act One Drama School in Dublin, catering for students of all ages.
Since moving to the UK in 2005, Mary has worked extensively throughout the East Midlands, making theatre with young people in schools and theatres, including Curve Theatre, Leicester; Royal & Derngate, Northampton; Key Theatre, Peterborough and Guildhall Arts Centre, Grantham.
Locally, Mary ran Stamford Senior Youth Theatre at Stamford Arts Centre, for which she has written, produced and directed a catalogue of plays, specifically for young people. A number of these have been selected for Youth Theatre Ireland’s Play Share scheme. Many of her plays have been toured extensively throughout the East Midlands and are performed regularly by young companies in the UK and Ireland. In 2016, she wrote and produced the acclaimed Who’s There? in conjunction with the Nationwide Charity, Teenage Cancer Trust. Most recently, Mary has worked with the New Theatre Talent programme at Curve in Leicester, devising and directing the touring production Unopened Books.
Mary worked as a teacher at Tolethorpe Youth Drama for a number of years and is delighted to be taking on the role of Principal this year.
Rachel trained at the Birmingham School of Speech & Drama after reading English & Drama at University. She made her professional debut in The Hobbit at Leicester Phoenix Arts before going on to play three seasons at The Royal Theatre, Northampton appearing in Annie, Oliver! and The Hired Man under the direction of Michael Napier Brown. Other theatre includes Cold Comfort Farm (Cochrane Theatre, London and National Tour); Rookery Nook (Buxton Opera House and National Tour); The Way to Keep Him (Riverside Studios); People in Cages (Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford); Much Ado About Nothing (Union Theatre, London); The Good Companions (Theatre Royal, Brighton) and The Proposal (National Tour). TV appearances include Jo Brand’s Through the Cakehole (for Channel 4); Rich Hall’s Cattle Drive (for BBC FOUR); Seekers (ITV); and 11AM for (Seven Network, Australia). Film work includes Shadowlands (directed by Richard Attenborough).
Rachel has been delighted to teach at TYD since it began in 2001 originally heading up our movement work for many years before taking over as a full-time tutor of our younger students. In addition to TYD she runs drama workshops in London and the South East as well as working as a vocal and acting coach. When not working in youth theatre, Rachel runs her own Film & Video production company and brings her expertise in this field to the TV workshops we hold here at Tolethorpe.
our founder and president
We strive to continue the wonderful work and high standards at TYD set by our Founder Carol King. Although Carol retired as Principal from TYD in 2016, we are thrilled that she continues to share her vast experience and knowledge with students from time to time during special days, events and workshops.