The Faculty

Gaynor Owen

Gaynor Owen

Founder & Artistic Director ARAD, ISTD Examiner,

The dynamic driving force behind MDDC’s enviable reputation, Gaynor Owen began dancing at the age of six, before being educated at The Hammond School, Chester.

Miss Owen is now firmly established as a major international examiner for the ISTD, and a highly respected Chairperson of the Modern Faculty Committee.

With more than 50 years experience of performance and teaching Miss Owen’s knowledge and expertise continue to influence the high standards MDDCDance sets for itself and its students.

See the About page for Miss Owen’s biography.

Deborah James

Debbie James

ISTD Examiner,

Dedicated to dance performance and teaching, Deborah James began her career after being educated at The Hammond School, performing throughout the UK and Europe before bringing her extensive knowledge to Merseyside Dance and Drama Centre in 1986.

As well as teaching Modern, Tap and Ballet, Miss James’ passion for dance and devotion to education continues the tradition of excellence in performance and teaching at MDDCDance.

Miss James is also an international examiner for the ISTD.

Jane Baylis

Head of Lifespan Development, Health & Safety, Anatomy and Performance History

Jane’s role at MDDCDance is a multi-faceted one, as well as teaching Health & Safety, she also teaches Classical Ballet and is a personal tutor for third year students.

Her dedication, enthusiasm and interest encourages students to develop and understand their knowledge and expertise in these fundamental areas.

Suzanne Taylor

Head of Singing and Music
Following training at the Royal Northern College of Music Suzanne performed in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as a member of the Doyly Carte Opera Company. She has also played leading roles in theatre & pantomime.

As well as fulfilling her role as MDDCDance Vocal Director Suzanne is also assistant producer & director of the Crosby Gilbert & Sullivan Society and a principal member of the ‘Magic of Gilbert & Sullivan’ touring the UK.

Craig Thompson

Head of Drama
Craig began his career with the Wirral Youth Theatre where he took part in all aspects of theatre productions, from physical theatre to musicals and straight plays. After graduating from MDDCDance he has worked in Europe, the US and Caribbean.

The teaching experience he gained in a variety of London and North West schools is invaluable to MDDCDance and has seen him rise quickly to Head of Drama since joining the company in 2005.

Andrew Margerison

Head of Musical Theatre
Andrew’s Musical Theatre credits include Grease (UK Tour), The Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour), Starlight Express (Germany), The Sound of Music (Aberystwyth) as Choreographer, The Rocky Horror BIG 30 Show (UK Tour and Queens Theatre London) as Dance Captain and Resident Director, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (UK and International Tour) as Resident Director, Chess (Aberystwyth) and Hairspray (Aberystwyth) as Assistant Choreographer.

For the last three years Andrew has choreographed Pantomime at the New Brighton Floral Pavilion for UK Productions. Andrew is a regular guest teacher at colleges throughout the North West.

Barbara Simons

Head of National
Fellowship National Examiner and Committee Member Barbara has taught from Primary to Advanced, Associate & Licentiates in Ballet, Tap, Modern and National. She has over 30 years teaching experience and has been at MDDCDance since 1970.

More recently Barbara choreographed for the Grandison Clark Awards in London attaining First Place with her students.

Joanne Redhead

Junior Associate Co-ordinator
Joanne started her dance training at Taylor School of Dance & Theatre Arts in Carnforth, Lancashire and after A levels went on to study for a degree in Dance and Theatre Performance at Bird College. She continued studying for ISTD teaching qualifications at Merseyside Dance and Drama Centre, prior to enjoying an extensive dance career touring the world for Italian cruise company Costa Crociere. Whilst working for Costa Cruises Joanne was part of the original cast of world premiere production shows onboard Costa Marina and Costa Europa, as well as being promoted to Dance Captain and Production Manager within the company.

After a successful performing career Joanne returned to Merseyside Dance and Drama Centre as a full-time faculty member teaching ISTD Ballet, Modern, Tap, Lifespan Development and Nutrition, as well as choreographing for student showcases. She is a member of staff for MDDCJuniors and in 2013 became the Co-ordinator of the new MDDCJunior Associate Programme.

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