Meet the ESPA Team

Production Manager - Julia Stevens

Julia’s journey into performing arts was ignited by a familial connection to ESPA Productions. Inspired by her mother's performances on stage, Julia developed a love for local theatre. With both parents treading the boards as well as serving as secretary and chair, Julia’s involvement with the society was somewhat inevitable!

Julia has filled various roles within the society. These include both ensemble and principal roles in shows; serving as secretary, set painting, call boy, conducting acting workshops, assistant director and most recently, director.

In 2022 Julia assumed the position of chair, succeeding her esteemed predecessors, Chris Wait and Kevin Stuart. Julia works as both chair of the trustees as well as chair of the production team, and has produced a number of shows for the society in the past few years.

In Julia’s professional life, she oversees the publication of B2B magazines and events, managing the team to drive financial success across a diverse portfolio. Her decades-long collaboration with ESPA Productions has undoubtedly enriched her career, enhancing her production and team management skills.

Associate Producer - Saskia Leach

From the moment she saw her first show, The Lion King, aged five, Saskia was transfixed by the world of musical theatre - even though she was watching it through binoculars she was holding the wrong way round…

Saskia has been performing in plays and musicals since childhood, in shows as varied as Soho Cinders and Five Kinds of Silence, before joining ESPA on a whim in 2021 and never looking back! She is playing Essie in ESPA’s long-anticipated production of Parade, her fifth show with the company, and started helping out behind the scenes during their production of Me and My Girl. She feels very lucky to have landed on her feet performing with such a friendly, welcoming and inclusive group.

Away from MT, Saskia is a literary agent, so spends her days and evenings immersed in the art of storytelling. As a result of her day job, she is also well-versed in keeping many plates spinning at once as ESPA’s Associate Producer. Her role on the committee is to provide creative input and support to the wider team across fundraising, marketing and the production of shows - but really she spends too much time adjusting her team in ESPA’s Fantasy Football League.

Admin and Design Manager - Amelia Hulbert

Amelia has been training in classical dance since she was 2. She joined YESPA when she was 11 which really enhanced her love of theatre and musicals. Since then, Amelia has performed in 22 musicals (not including dance shows or concerts) with YESPA, ESPA and other local societies. 

She started helping with ESPA and YESPA’s social media in 2019 and started designing their artwork for shows and programmes shortly after. But that wasn’t enough to satisfy her control freak tendencies so she became Vice-Chair of ESPA Productions in 2022, when she decided she had to move ESPA into the digital world of paperless forms!

The professional world of working has changed dramatically over the years for Amelia. She started her career back in 2017 as Managing Director of her own company, running trade shows for jewellery makers across the country. When Covid hit in 2020 and the events industry closed, she took it in her stride to pick up some marketing and design work to pass the time. 

Since then Amelia has never looked back and in her current role combines, event management, marketing, design and her ability to boss people around all in one. 

Amelia loves ESPA Productions and everything it has to offer. It gave her the amazing people she has around her today and for that she will be forever grateful!

Content Creator - Meg Richards

Meg’s love for music and theatre stemmed from her form tutor calling over the music teacher after learning about her love for singing and signing her up for the school choir. From then, performing had been her life, with it either being in the school musicals or concerts. Thats where she met her singing teacher, who introduced her to the world of pantomime in 2015. First year, she threw herself into only performing for the Woldingham Pantomime, however after that - Meg started helping the musical director, only to then become musical director in 2017 and has been filling that role ever since. 

Meg’s first amdram performance, that wasn't a pantomime, was in 2022. This was the one and only Kinky Boots (a show that she had watched 14 times in the west end!) After being in this, she stumbled across a post on instagram, stunning proof of the wonders of social media. Now, the post was for YESPA’s Wind in the Willows, which she realised she was too old for, so looked into what ESPA were currently doing, which is how she found out about Bonnie and Clyde. She instantly signed up to audition, and got the role of Stella! That wasn’t the only role though, it was voiced that they needed some extra help with the marketing, so Meg decided to put the idea of creating a TikTok to ESPA. This was a hit, with one video going viral at over 300k views. Meg loved not only taking part in the show, but being able to come up with content, film and edit. It was a whole new look into the world of amdram. Meg did all this with the help of Amelia, who basically told Meg she wasn’t allowed to leave and has held her captive, not that she would want to leave as ESPA has become a second family! 

Other things Meg has helped with, is the content for YESPA’s The Wind in The Willows whilst also working backstage with both set and make-up and being someone to discuss ideas with, and bring new ideas to the team.

Marketing & Content Consultant - Anna Howard

Anna's journey in the world of amateur dramatics began at just 6 years old, igniting a lifelong passion. Her adventure took an exciting turn when she joined ESPA for their production of Bonnie & Clyde. After having the best time performing with ESPA, Anna seamlessly transitioned into supporting with the marketing side, thrilled to have a role in promoting such a fantastic group.

By day, Anna is a marketing manager in the healthcare industry. By night, she's a theatre aficionado. She finds it so rewarding blending her professional work with her love for all things theatrical. From her days as vice president of the university theatre society to her performance and production credits, Anna has a great deal of experience in the art of nurturing successful theatre groups and helping them grow.

Anna’s role is to provide advice and creative input to support the committee. Her biggest skill, however, is getting too overexcited and flooding the group chat with 600 messages within the space of an hour.

Committee - Gareth Thomas

Brought up on a forced-fed diet of Gilbert & Sullivan and seeing his parents perform in multiple amateur dramatics productions, it was almost inevitable that Gareth would follow in the same footsteps. After gaining a degree in Drama & Theatres Arts from the University of Birmingham and then a Masters in Acting at the Guildford School of Acting, Gareth enjoyed several years as a working professional including jobs in the West End, national tours and commercials.

The arrival of children with his wife Vicki meant that Gareth needed to find a ‘sensible job’ and embarked on a career in the completely unsexy world of Housing Associations. However, the urge to perform again became too great, and after a 10 year hiatus Gareth returned to the stage in joining ESPA with roles in Me and My Girl, Bonnie and Clyde, Improbable Fiction and Parade.

Gareth’s role within the committee is as a supportive function to the rest of the committee.

Committee - Adam Collins

Adam started his journey in musical theatre at the ripe old age of 12 and during his time Adam was fortunate enough to have trained as a professional musical theatre performer at the London College of Music.

Adam has performed in a wide variety of shows such as Pirates of Penzance, Anything Goes, Little Shop of Horrors, Kinky Boots, Bonnie & Clyde & many, many more. As well as performing, Adam has also directed numerous productions externally to ESPA, most recently, productions of Hairspray & Our House. 

In Adam’s day to day life, he works as a business development manager for a contract electrical manufacturer. Working primarily in the defence & aerospace sectors. 

Adam’s current role within the committee is as a supportive function to the rest of the committee.

Admin, Advertisements & Raffle Squad - Tamzin Kerslake

Tamzin has been treading the boards since she was three years old and would do any and all productions that her parents would willingly drive her to rehearsals for. A lover of musicals from the offset, she branched out to perform in choirs, reciting in evensongs across the Cambridge colleges and performing with the Kings College School’s Christmas concerts. Being a bit bossy herself, she choreographed her local pantomime aged 14, and has spent many gorgeous summers at the Edinburgh Fringe, both performing and reviewing.

During her time at University, she kept up her love of theatre, winning awards for best actress, song, and choreographer for various productions, some even in Ancient Greek. 

Not contempt with being on the stage, Tamzin further enjoyed exploring behind the scenes and tried her hand at Costume, Tech, Producing, and an accidental stint at puppeteering – this may be where her fear of the muppets stems from. 

Upon graduation, she was awarded both the Eileen Corrigan prize for excellence to the arts and the Inspirational Student Award from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. It’s a shame, really, that her degree had nothing to do with the stage…

She joined ESPA shortly after moving to the area in 2022, and was strong armed via email to come and be a dancer in Me and My Girl. She fell completely and utterly in love with each cast and crew member and has never looked back since. A short stint working in a boarding house (and a rugby injury she will mention at any possible moment) has kept her momentarily from the stage, and instead has helping out Amelia and the crew of producers. Her roles are varied, and span from engaging local businesses, being handy with a safety pin, and checking programmes for typos. She cannot wait to see what ESPA gets up to next and wishes them all the best for Parade.

Raffle Squad - Amelia Laing

Amelia’s start to musical theatre started when she was 10 and she went to see the Sound of Music on the west end as her first stage show and ever since dreamt about performing. Amelia then went up for the lead role in her church pantomime in 2013 and  loved performing on a stage in front of an audience each night. She then didn’t do anything else until she went to university where she joined the show choir society, getting to live her Glee fantasy for 4 years whilst also being a secretary on the committee and then moving up to Vice President for her final year. 

Coming out of university she missed performing and after spending 10 years being a huge ESPA fan and seeing nearly every single one of their shows, she knew it was about time she joined. Amelia’s first show with ESPA was Me and My Girl and has been part of the past few shows with them including 42nd Street and her dream show of Bonnie and Clyde and Parade. Being a part of ESPA has helped her confidence grow whilst also making amazing friends along the way. She is a part of the Raffle Squad in ESPA for rehearsals and Show Week raffles as well as  helping with rehearsal admin. 

When Amelia is not rehearsing or performing, she is working in a call centre for pensions and talking to all her colleagues about musical theatre even though they don’t understand or care for it.  If Amelia is not working or at the theatre, you can usually find her reading a book somewhere and something she loves is a way of telling a story, whether it be in a book, a film or on the stage in a musical.

Props - Alison Gilbert

Costumes - Lois Hatt, Sue Bracher, Auriol De Peyrecave