Our Holiday Club tutors

Gemma Aukett

Gemma’s love for performance started at a young age when her parents took her to the local pantomime. Enchanted by the characters, lights, costumes and sheer magic, Gemma knew that this was a world that she wanted to be a part of. She went on to complete a BA Hons Degree in Acting at Bretton Hall and enjoyed touring pantomime all over the country following her graduation.

Gemma went on to work as a professional actor for a theatre company based in London that used forum theatre techniques to explore relevant and important issues within the community. Gemma enjoyed the educational focus of this work and went on to train as a Drama Teacher, taking on the role of Head of Drama and then Head of Arts Faculty as well as directing nine full scale productions during this time.

Her musical theatre credits include Adelaide (Guys and Dolls – a role she enjoyed so much, she did it twice!), Frenchy (Grease) and Ensemble (The Return to the Forbidden Planet). Touring pantomimes include Peter Pan and Cinderella. Gemma is also a violinist and flautist, most recently performing in a site-specific production of Alice in Wonderland.

I am so excited to be joining the ‘Standing in the Wings’ team and can’t wait to continue to share the magic that inspired me all those years ago.

Lissy Malt

Lissy is an experienced actor, teacher and director. She taught English and Drama in mainstream education for 11 years, progressing into a career in the arts, working at The Place Bedford. Over the last few years she has continued teaching drama; LAMDA tutoring and running clubs, workshops and courses, alongside managing the communications for The Place itself.

Lissy has been a leading member of The Swan Theatre Company for over twenty years, as a performer and director, building a wealth of experience to accompany her passion for the dramatic arts.

I am excited to run the holiday courses as I have always loved working with young performers and seeing them grow in confidence and creativity.

Jess Samples


Usually found in the History classroom, Jess enjoys performing whenever she can!

Jess began performing in musicals when she was five years old, participating in a range of local community productions including Emperor’s New Clothes and Whistle Down The Wind (The Castle Theatre, Wellingborough). Jess’ most recent performance was as Beauty in Wellingborough Pantomime Society’s 2023 production of Beauty & The Beast at The Castle Theatre, Wellingborough.

She has played a range of roles from Frenchy (Grease) to Scaramouche (We Will Rock You) before taking a step away from the stage and getting involved in backstage and assistant directing opportunities for a range of productions including Our House, Grease and The Addams Family.

Other Musical Theatre credits include: Once Upon A Christmas Song (Sharnbrook Mill Theatre), On the Street Where You Live,  A-Z of Musical Theatre, Naughty Numbers (University of Birmingham), Bird Girl (Seussical) and Fizzy (Bugsy Malone).

Shakespeare credits include: Emilia (Othello).

For Standing In The Wings: A Night At The Musicals

Jess was delighted to be invited to be a tutor at Sharnbook Mill Theatre’s Youth Theatre Summer School 2021 and is very excited to be tutoring for Standing In The Wings.

Rachel Ward

Rachel holds 6 years teaching experience in a variety of primary, secondary and after school clubs. Her passion for performing arts and teaching was developed in 2004 at Michelle Randles School Of Dancing (MRSOD) where she still dances and teaches. From her adventures with the dance school, Rachel has achieved many of her performance related goals which include; performing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, DisneyLand Paris and The Royal Albert Hall.

Rachel holds a HNC, HMD and BA Honours in Performing Arts and professional practice with The Bedford College Group and Italia Conti.

Alongside training and teaching Rachel has had 4 years of experience as a character performer at a very reputable princess party company where she would often lead games, princess training and entertain all of the guests, whilst maintaining character.