Self Confidence

Building children's self confidence

Bringing them out of their shell

We help children gain confidence and boost their self-esteem. Those that may begin incredibly shy end up performing on stage through positive praise and encouragement.

Speech & Language Skills

Improving vocabulary and diction

Giving them a voice

We have a focus on helping children develop well-rounded speech and language skills helping them gain important life skills.

Fun & Friendship

A safe, fun environment

A supportive network

What we do is fun! Our children form long-lasting friendships with their classmates and have the chance to perform on stage.

Our history

The Helen O’Grady Drama Academy offers a unique programme of self development for children. In 1979, Helen O’Grady, an Australian trained teacher, drama teacher and actress, hired a hall in a Perth suburb and commenced after school drama classes for children.

Since these first drama classes, the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy has been introduced throughout Australasia, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.

Four Academies launched in the UK in 1994 which has today grown to over fifty throughout the country. Each week, over 15,000 children attend classes in the UK.

Our students are our priority, and we pride ourselves on our commitment to our relationship with them, their parents and carers alike to ensure they continue to flourish.

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Our Principal

Amy Pawson

When Amy was five her mum asked if she would like to try a drama class at the local performing arts centre in Watford. From the first lesson she was hooked and never looked back! Amy joined a performing arts school and learned acting, singing and dance and by the age of six performed her first role as Toto in the Wizard of Oz! She performed two annual shows per year under the same Theatre school and at seven auditioned for a leading role in the Chicken Shed Theatre companies production of Anansi which was performed to huge audiences in her local area. She carried on this passion for drama and theatre through her education.

Her qualifications include Drama GCSE, Theatre Studies A-Level and a Theatre Studies BA (Hons) 2:1 Degree. During her degree she produced a pantomime, wrote two full length scripts which were performed at the local theatre, and worked in a “Theatre in Education” company performing at schools in the area. She first used her Drama qualifications to work with a charity called First Taste, using drama in nursing homes for the elderly and those suffering with dementia.

After University and a year travelling around the world with her now husband, Amy wanted to share her passion for drama with children and decided to become a teacher. She was given her first job teaching for Helen O’Grady across Nottingham & Derbyshire in 2008 and loved the inclusive and confidence building nature of the programme.

Amy moved to the Hertfordshire & Cambridgeshire branch in 2012 after relocating back to her home town following the birth of her first child. During this time she opened four successful studios in the South Herts region and is now proud to be taking on her own franchise and becoming Principal. Amy has many plans for the area whilst still being dedicated to teaching her existing studios. Watch this space.

Teaching Staff

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Rachel Stone

Rachel Stone is an ex Helen O’Grady student and a University of East Anglia (UEA) graduate. She attended Helen O’Grady from the ages of 10-17 and the academy was a huge part of her childhood. She gained confidence and a love for the theatre which inspired her degree choice.

Rachel studied at UEA from 2015-2018, graduating with BA in Scriptwriting and Performance. During university, she studied scriptwriting, acting, directing and theatre technology. Rachel then became passionate for directing and successfully directed two plays with a fellow student in her spare time, one as part of the Minotaur Shorts Festival and the other, “Mind Maggots”, selling out at The Garage Theatre in Norwich in 2017. During her final year of university, Rachel and five other students set up their own theatre company. They have written their own plays and she is proud to be directing one at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2018.

Rachel is so excited to be part of the Helen O’Grady community again. Her aim is to inspire children to be confident individuals, full of self belief. She wants to encourage and aid them to grow into bold young adults, as this is what Helen O’Grady did for her.

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Rachel Keeling-Vincent

Rachel trained in Acting and Musical Theatre at Central School of Speech and Drama. She also has a BA (Hons) in Performing Arts and a Professional Diploma in Dance Studies from Laban Conservatoire. Rachel has choreographed, directed and toured professional Musical Theatre productions with Kinetic Theatre Company and SG Productions, and toured and co-produced Cabaret show Big Night In. Panto is a big passion of Rachel’s (being a New Years Eve baby) and she has toured Pantomime productions with Hurricane Theatre Company and co-directed and starred in Panto’s at The Bocking Arts Theatre. (…Oh yes she has!) Working as a Teacher, Rachel has facilitated Drama In Education workshops for Freshwater Theatre Company and taught Performing Arts for Bigfoot Arts Education and Perform. Whilst teaching Drama for Helen O’Grady, she also teaches Performing Arts for TheatreBugs and works as a Story Builder at Discover Children’s Story Centre. At weekends Rachel swaps her teaching persona for ‘Rock Goddess’ to front touring function band The Luminectric. Rachel teaches our Bishops Stortford and Cambridge classes; and adores using Drama to develop play, confidence, creativity and communication skills, as well as encouraging children to follow her passion of performance!

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Caroline Reed

Being interested in drama from a young age Caroline joined a drama academy and had a coach help develop her acting skills. After pursuing this passion throughout her school life, she went on to take theatre studies at A-level followed by an Acting diploma with LAMDA and a Degree in Film and Theatre at the University of Reading. After graduating Caroline worked professionally as an actor in various theatre and TV productions; including shows for BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky. Caroline also worked as a children’s TV presenter, then went on to tour with a well established children’s theatre company, having principle roles in 9 of their shows. This also involved teaching workshops in schools and theatres all over the country. After a few years of touring Caroline left the company and began teaching private drama lessons to children of all ages, entering pupils into LAMDA exams and local competitions and carrying out group lessons with young children, working on developing speech, movement and other key skills needed for school and future life. After 6 years of teaching experience, Caroline joined Helen O Grady in October 2015, when she moved to Hertfordshire.