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Meet the Gems Team

All the Gems team are highly trained and experienced performers and teachers. Our mission is to provide children with an enjoyable learning experience that they will never forget. Our team are young, local, full of energy and passionate about teaching.​ All teachers are covered by Insurance and have a Full DBS Police Check, First Aid & Safeguarding Training.

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Founder & Principal

Emma Drysdale

Emma graduated from the prestigious Central School of Speech & Drama famous for producing the likes of Dame Judi Dench! She has performed in various West End theatres, UK Tours, TV and radio. Going to a similar theatre school every single Saturday and every holiday for ten years, Emma understands the importance and the positive effect that Theatre and the Performing Arts can have on a young person. Not just the opportunity to make new friends and learn new skills, but also to learn about yourself and to come out of your shell in a safe and supportive environment. Emma has experience working in Nurseries, Primary, Secondary and SEN Schools, PRU's and Youth Centres.

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Saturday Singing Teacher & Holiday Club Teacher

Anya Williams

Anya has lots of experience working with children aged 3-18. She has taught singing for many years as well as working as a TA in a primary school working with large groups of children and one to one. Anya is a workshop facilitator with The Music Workshop Company and The Drama Hut, providing workshops in schools. Anya has a BA in Acting from Exeter University and is frequently performing everything from musicals to opera around London. Anya has a stunning singing voice if you ever get the opportunity to listen to her lessons!  

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Dance Teacher & Holiday Club Teacher

Etisyai Philip

Etisyai trained at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, specialising in Musical Theatre. Etisyai has many years of experience teaching drama, dance, singing and puppetry, as well as facilitating MT workshops across a range of ages. She is the founder of ‘Always Take Care of the Story’, a storytelling group who specialise in sharing folklore from around the world, particularly stories from the Afro-Caribbean diaspora, with primary school children. The mutual sharing of ideas is something Etisyai is passionate about and believes is crucial in bringing people together from all walks of life. Encouraging people to develop their communication skills and enquiring minds, whilst practicing tolerance, respect and compassion is something we all can strive for.

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Vice Principal

Melissa McKeigue

Melissa trained at KSA Academy of Performing Arts. As a youth, she was a competitive dancer with major successes including ISTD National Set Dance Champion and ISTD Rock and Roll Champion. As a performer, Melissa's credits include the tour of A Midsummer Night's Dream (UK and International tour) Willy Wonka The Musical (Centrepoint Theatre, Dubai) The Sixties Show (UK tour) Festival Voices- The Ecstasy's Within (Southbank Centre / Latitude Festival) Teaching allows Melissa to pass on her enthusiasm for performing and with her positive attitude hopes to turn each of her students into a confident performer. Melissa now runs our sister company Stars Performing Arts Clubs and is in charge of overseeing all our after school clubs. 

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Saturday Dance Teacher

Pia Sutaria

Pia is a graduate of the ‘Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma’ at the Royal Academy of Dance and has performed all over the world with Indian Dance Theatre company 'Navdhara'. She was recently awarded a Disney Scholarship to pursue her Musical Theatre MA at Royal Academy of Music. Pia realised the deep void that existed for vocational training for young dancers in India. In 2018, she founded the “Institute of Classical and Modern Dance” with a focus on preparing and mentoring vocational students to pursue a higher education in dance and performing arts internationally. Her school has successfully sent students on scholarships to top performing arts Institutions in Paris, New York, and London. Welcome to the Gems Team!

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After School & Holiday Club Teacher

Marcella Gaylard

Marcella has been teaching drama, singing and a variety of dance disciplines for 10 years with children aged 2 all the way up to 18. She trained in musical theatre at KSA Performing Arts achieving an LTCL as well as receiving the Principle’s award. She has performed in Fringe theatre across London, as well as working in television, appearing in series one of Murder Maps (UKTV/Netflix). She is also a blogger and has worked creatively with brands including Waitrose & Partners and VUE Cinemas. Marcella has a huge passion for teaching and allowing children to use their imagination whilst watching them grow in confidence!  

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Gems Manager & Lead Teacher

Scott Turner

Scott trained in Acting, specialising in Musical Theatre. He has performed in a variety of Plays & Musicals in London, Regional and European Theatres. Scott believes in the importance of Performing Arts and how they can develop young performers on stage and how they translate/ benefit our life skills set. He enjoys encourages people to expand their imagination, allowing young people to express themselves and grow confidence in who they are and their abilities. Outside of Gems he uses theatre to engage with those living with dementia & also regularly works with SEN children using drama and music to develop communication. If there’s one thing you should know, above all else about Scott, he likes to have a lot of FUN!

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Drama Teacher & Holiday Club Teacher

Elana Martin

Elana trained at Central School of Speech and Drama and has been teaching at Gems for over 9 years. You may have spotted Elana playing lead roles in Miss Saigon (UK & European Tour); Travesties (West End); The 39 Steps (UK Tour); Merrily We Roll Along (West End); Scrooge (UK Tour) She believes it is vital for children to have the freedom to express themselves within their peer group in a safe environment, where they can grow in confidence and push the boundaries to discover their abilities.

Elana also works with individuals who have low to moderate phonological disorders and articulation errors. CELTA certified, she has taught English as a Foreign Language for over ten years, with a particular interest in pronunciation. Additional training: MGH IHP (Speech Language Pathology); Waikato University, NZ (CELTA). 

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Street Dance Teacher

Michaela Cisariková

Michaela has been teaching at Gems for 4 years and her street dance classes are usually full! We are very lucky to have Michaela with us, teaching all the different styles of street dance including breaking, popping and contemporary. Michaela is a physical theatre and dance practitioner. In 2012, she completed her first class BA (HONS) Degree in Dance Education at Canterbury Christ Church University. She runs her own dance company, Michaela Cisarikova Dance Company, check it out!

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