As Angie Watts in Eastenders, Anita Dobson was one of the most popular characters on television, winning her the award for Television Personality Of The Year, the Daily Mirror’s Actress Of The Year and the TV Times Actress Of The Year award, voted by the readers. The role attracted over 30 million viewers per episode at its peak.
Anita said; “I was very impressed with the students from Liverpool Theatre School when I first met them quite by accident when I was playing Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly at the Liverpool Empire theatre. The students were all so full of talent and enthusiasm that when I was asked to work with the graduates I said yes in a heartbeat.”
In 2011 Anita achieved theatre success playing Joan Crawford to Greta Scacchi Bette Davis in Bette And Joan at the Arts Theatre and Parfait in Carnival Of The Animals. In the same year Anita also won a whole new legion of fans following her success on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
Leslie Dennis is a Liverpool born comedian, television presenter and actor.
His theatre work included Amos Hart in Chicago, Bill Snibson in Me and My Girl in the West End. He had starred in Skylight at the Water Mill Theatre, Newbury, Berkshire; Mr Wonderful at the Gateway Theatre, Chester, Misery at the Coliseum Theatre, Oldham; toured in the play Just Between Ourselves and appeared with Janet Suzman in Cherished Disappointments In Love at London’s Soho Theatre. He starred with Christopher Cazenove and John Duttine in a national tour of ‘Art’ and as Norman Bartholomew in Anthony Shaffer’s dark comedy Murderer at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory. He also starred in a hit season in Neville’s Island at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. He appeared in the role of Mr. Fulton in “High School Musical 2″ in a UK tour from late August 2009 to February 2010. He had also made an appearance on two episodes of Bang Bang, It’s Reeves and Mortimer in The Club sketch, where he played himself. He also took part in a video-only special of Shooting Stars in 1993, where Vic Reeves introduced him pronouncing his name as if it were French saying “Les Dennis, the French fire engine”. He toured in Hairspray as Wilbur Turnblad alongside Michael Ball, Brian Conley and Michael Starke – who alternated the role of Edna Turnblad. He is currently starring in the touring production of Legally Blonde The Musical playing the role of Professor Callahan.
Dennis’ big screen debut was in the film Intimate Relations with Julie Walters, Rupert Graves and Laura Sadler and he appeared in the comedy feature film Large and in Wildlife, a short directed by Nick Allsop.
Dennis has also appeared in Brookside, Merseybeat, Family Affairs, Casualty, Crossroads and Hotel Babylon. He first appeared on Coronation Street in March 2014 and later appeared in the BBC-series Extras written by and starring Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.
To millions, Ricky Tomlinson is Jim Royle, star of the hit BBC series The Royale Family. Ricky’s had considerable success as an actor, appearing as Bobby Grant in ‘Brookside’ (1982-1988) and DCI Charlie Wise in ‘Cracker’.
In 2002 he starred in the BBC TV Series Nice Guy Eddie’ playing a Liverpool private investigator and he featured heavily in BAFTA nominated series two of Paul Abbott’s series Clocking Off.
Appointed an OBE in 1998, Wayne is also a Patron of the British Ballet Organisation and Vice President of the Royal Academy of Dance. He has two entries in the Guinness Book of Records, one for performing an entrechat-douze – a jump with twelve beats of the feet – a record which remains unbeaten. His charity, The Wayne Sleep Foundation, helps aspiring youngsters and continues to pass on his knowledge through his Dance Workshops across the world.
A patron of Liverpool Theatre School, Wayne Sleep said; “It is my honour and privilege to be associated such tenacious students with the rewards of their hard work and determination to succeed.”
A long-time supporter of the School, Sleep and his charitable foundation gifted the School with a new piano in 2010, ensuring that all studio rehearsals could be accompanied.
Sleep continues to enjoy an illustrious career which saw him perform a routine with Diana Princess of Wales as a surprise for Prince Charles in a Royal Opera House gala in 1985. His numerous stage appearances include: Cats, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Cabaret, Song and Dance; and films: Elizabeth 1 and The Tales Of Beatrix Potter; plus television appearances on Strictly Dance Fever as well as being the subject of This Is Your Life and The South Bank Show. His books include: Variations On Wayne Sleep and his autobiography Precious Little Sleep.
Ken Dodd OBE
Ken Dodd, OBE is a comedian, singer-songwriter and actor with his trademark “tickling stick” and his upbeat greeting of “How tickled I am!” and characters of the Diddy Men.
He works mainly in the music hall tradition, although, in the past, has occasionally appeared in drama, including as Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night on stage in Liverpool in 1971; on television in the cameo role of ‘The Tollmaster’ in the 1987 Doctor Who story Delta and the Bannermen; and as Yorick in Kenneth Branagh’s film version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in 1996. In the 1960s his fame was such that he rivalled the Beatles as a household name. His records have sold millions worldwide.
Preston-born Martin Dodd trained as a dancer and now brings music and colour to theatres across the globe through his company, UK Productions, staging up to 11 different shows a year, including productions of Carousel, South Pacific, Fiddler on the Roof, Barnum, Cinderella and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Liverpool born Samuel Kane trained at Liverpool Theatre School after which he went on to star in Brookside, Coronation Street and Emmerdale. His stage appearances have included major revivals of classic musicals including South Pacific, Carousel, and currently, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, in which he leads the cast as head of the American Wild West household, Adam Pontipee.
Trained at The Liverpool Theatre School, Graham has performed in the West End for over twenty five years in productions including They’re Playing Our Song, Pirates of Penzance, and as principal lead in Jukebox, Which Witch, Maddie, The Pajama Game (Dora Award ‘Best Actor’ nomination, Toronto) Les Misérables, Metropolis, Miss Saigon, Sunset Boulevard (playing opposite Petula Clark), and Ragtime, (Two nominations: the Laurence Olivier and The Whatsonstage Award for ‘Best Actor in a Musical’). Graham also starred in Carla Lane’s BBC comedy series, Bread in the role of Joey Boswell.
In 2006 Graham toured the UK with Cole Porter’s High Society playing the role of CK Dexter Haven, culminating in a season at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London.
For Grange Park Opera, Graham has completed two seasons: Billy Crocker in Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, and Robert Baker in Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town.
Graham’s theatre credits included Alex in The Irrationality (workshop) National Theatre Studio directed by Blanche McIntyre, Father in Love Story (workshop) directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, Joe in Eric’s at the Liverpool Everyman, directed by Jamie Lloyd, Magwitch in Great Expectations at Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold and Liverpool Playhouse, directed by Tim Baker and the role of Signor Naccarelli in the European premiere of Light in the Piazza at Leicester Curve directed by Paul Kerryson.
On the concert platform, Graham has performed with orchestras throughout the UK, Europe and South America including The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, The London Symphony, The London Concert, The Manchester Concert, The City of London Sinfonia, The National Symphony, The Northern Sinfonia, The Royal Scottish National, The Hallé, The City of Birmingham Symphony, The Royal Philharmonic, The RTE Concert, The Gothenburg Symphony, The Iceland Symphony, The Sao Paulo Symphony and the Bergen Philharmonic.
Marian St. Claire
Marian St.Claire was born in Hull, Yorkshire and was trained initially at Miss Shirley Banks School of Dance in Leyland, Lancashire. Her training continued at the Loreto Academy of Dance in Southport and completed at the Ballet Rambert School in London where she graduated into the Company under the direction of Dame Marie Rambert. When the company changed its artistic policy in favour of contemporary dance, Marian accepted a soloist contract with the Cape Town Ballet Company. On returning to great Britain in 1969 she became Principal Ballerina with the Scottish Ballet and later in 1975 with New London Ballet. She then joined London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) in 1977 and also became resident Guest Artist with the Northern Ballet. In 1979 she became instrumental in the founding of London City Ballet of which Princess Diana became Patron, and played a very active part dancing all the major roles in the Company’s repertoire and established herself as its Prima Ballerina and Assistant Artistic Director.
She has travelled extensively during her career and has performed as a Guest Artist in Canada, Japan, Sweden, Germany, and Zimbabwe and has also appeared in international festivals in Chicago, Poland, Cuba, Spain and Romania. She also toured with Dame Margot Fonteyn in the Margot Fonteyn British Gala Tours. In 1985 Marian made a number of guest-star appearances in Wayne Sleep’s ‘Hot Shoe Show’ at the London Palladium and a year later starred with Wayne Sleep in ‘Sleep With Friends’, where she made her début as a singer, tap and jazz dancer. She went on to perform with Wayne as his partner in the tours of his shows, ‘Bits and Pieces’ and ‘Wayne’s World of Dance’.
Marian retired in 1996 and has since been a freelance teacher and ballet consultant. She has taught at many London vocational schools, as well as Liverpool Theatre School, and has been a guest teacher in Japan, Spain and Germany.