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Old news is good news!

8 years ago

With the birth of our new website we didn’t want to lose the history of our successes over the last (nearly) 10 years. So here – for prosterity – is all of our previous SOTA Newsreel. It makes fun reading to look back at everything our staff and pupils have achieved in the last decade. And oh what a decade it has been!

March 2014
We’re off to Sadler’s Wells again! Whoop!
SOTA dances at Sadler’s Wells
We are delighted to announce that SOTA Reading & SOTA Bracknell will be performing at the world famous ‘Sadler’s Wells Theatre’ on Easter Sunday – 20th April 2014! We can’t wait!

Break A Leg!
We are delighted to wish Kallie Austin & Brandon Plummer a ‘break-a-leg’ as they commence their full-time training at Read Dance & Theatre College. We are incredibly proud of them both and know they will achieve great things for themselves. x

June 2013
Pupils perform ‘Broadway to Bollywood!’

SOTA Bracknell, SOTA Reading & SOTA Cookham came together to perform a huge musical theatre spectacle called ‘Broadway to Bollywood’ at the Wilde Theatre in Bracknell. See our Facebook page for some of the incredible feedback we received not just from proud parents but from members of the public.

April 2013
SOTA performs at the world famous SADLER’S WELLS Theatre!
Sadler’s Wells Company 2013
Congratulations to our SOTA Reading pupils who performed two fantastic numbers at the world famous Sadler’s Wells theatre. It was fantastic! Here we are in rehearsal for our Bollywood number in costumes for the first time.

and here we are in rehearsals for the funky ‘Jump Around’!



Dec 2012
SOTA Acting Students in Philamena Movie
Congratulations to Sammy Graham, Liam West, Chloe Skidmore-Lewis, Thea Skelcher, James Webb, Connie Wheeler & Joe Ryan who filmed a flashback scene for the new movie ‘Philamena’ which stars Judy Dench and is directed by Stephen Frears. The students had a real challenge, with very little time to learn several pages of dialogue in a St Lois accent. The production company especially contacted us to communicate what a wonderful job they did, how professional they were and what a pleasure they were to work with.

Sept 2012
Juliette to coach on Molly Moon!
Juliette Caton, will be Dialogue Coach on the movie Molly Moon, which stars Joan Collins, Celia Imrie, Dominic Monaghan, & Emily Watson. Molly Moon shoots from mid September 2012 to January 2013.

July 2012
OUTSTANDING Dance Exam Results!
Once again SOTA pupils were all awarded outstanding results in their ISTD Modern, Tap & Ballet Exams. 100% of the pupils gained Distinctions and Merits (A’s & B’s). Congratulations to Miss Emma Strutt, Head of Dance, for these fabulous results.

March 2012
WEST END role for Hayley!
We are thrilled to announce that SOTA pupil Hayley Canham (9 years old) has won the part of Matilda in Matilda the Musical.

Hayley will start playing the role in August 2012 and this will mark her West End debut.
We are incredibly proud of Hayley’s achievement, the show is incredible and the role of Matilda is an enormous Olivier Award winning challenge Hayley is very much enjoying rehearsing for.

June 2011
TV Sit-Com role for Molly!
Congratulations to Molly Bullen who has a speaking role in the new series of the Bafta Award winning REV.

Golden Ratio Billy

Director of SOTA Schools, Juliette Caton, produced, co-directed and choreographed a hugely successful production of Billy Elliot with the newly formed Berkshire Performance Company Golden Ratio, which performed to standing ovations at Wilde Theatre 2nd – 4th June 2011. Congratulations to Evonnee, Olivia, Matty, Bethany, Isabella, James, Thea and Sammy who also auditioned successfully for the production.

The Company won the opportunity to perform at the Regional Gala performance of Billy Elliot in Milton Keynes and are waiting to hear if they have been selected for the West End Gala.

SHINE! Show featuring 140 performers…
Dancing, singing, drama show, Reading, Windsor, Bracknell
140 performers will be shining on-stage at the Bearwood Theatre on 19th June in two performances of SHINE! a Musical Extravaganza. Performers from SOTA Windsor, SOTA Reading & SOTA Bracknell will be joined by the SOTA Adult Rock Choir. Tickets available here.

May 2011



Break a leg to the thirty students taking LAMDA Exams this month.

April 2011
SOTA Graduates win places at leading performing arts colleges
Congratualtions to Nick Woodford and Charlotte Tait who both won places to train at the countries leading performing arts colleges including Arts Educational, Laine Theatre Arts, Bird College and Tiffany’s. Both Charlotte and Nick were among SOTA’s first pupils, 6 years ago, they both trained with us for several years, and we are delighted to see them go on to train full-time.

February 2011
SOTA pupils cast in Billy Elliot the Musical

Joe Wilson, Bethany Wallace, Evonnee Bentley Holder, Olivia Irving, Matty Green, James Webb, Isabella Brown and Thea Skelcher fought of the competition of 100 auditionees to be cast in Billy Elliot which is being performed at the Wilde Theatre, 2-4 June. Box Office: 01344 484123. The production is being Co-Directed and Choreographed by Director of SOTA Schools, Juliette Caton, and is produced by the Berkshire Performance Company Golden Ratio in association with BYT and South Hill Park.

SOTA ADULT ROCK CHOIR raises £350 for heart charity in Valentines CD sales.

The SOTA Adult Rock Choir (SARC) recorded an accapella and accompanied version of Adele’s hit ‘To Make You Feel My Love’ and raised much needed funds for Heart Research UK by selling their CD to friends and family and giving copies to their loved ones on Valentines Day.

January 2011
Rehearsals for SHINE!




Rehearsals for our biggest school show yet commenced in earnest. Featuring 140 performers from SOTA Reading, SOTA Windsor and SOTA Bracknell

Daniel Barber lands film role to play the young Keanu Reeves
We are thrilled to announce that Daniel (seen here in the last SOTA Show) will be playing the young Keanu Reeves in the stars new action movie.

Dan worked really hard for the role, thoroughly deserves it and we wish him all the best with filming abroad.

December 2010
Members of the SOTA Adult Rock Choir sung christmas songs in festive harmony to spread the christmas cheer to the late night shoppers of Reading, raising £300 for League of Friends, the Royal Berkshire Hospital Charity, through a street collection and donations from SARC of £5 per every SARC hoody that the choir purchased.

November 2010
Ballet, Modern and Tap exam results arrive and the students are delighted that they gained 13 Distinctions and 5 Merits in their Modern and Tap Exams! We are all very proud of their achievements.

Senior SOTA School pupils at SOTA Reading broaden their horizons with master classes in audition preparation lead by coaches and directors from leading colleges and drama schools. The students learn valuable skills and start to prepare for their futures.
Read more here…

October 2010
Pupils take their ISTD Dance Exams
Under the tuition of Emma Strutt, pupils from 7-17 take their ISTD ballet, modern and tap exams over two weekends. Every pupil works hard, overcomes their nerves and dances their heart out.

SOTA School pupils at SOTA Reading broaden their horizons with a master classes in musical theatre performance lead by Sean Kingsley, hot from the West End company of Billy Elliot..
Read more here…

Screen School is launched!
Screen School Logo

45 young actors travel to us from as far as Bournemouth and London to come to our three day intensive screen acting course during half term.
Read more here…

September 2010
Lindsay goes to train as a Soprano at Guildhall…
Lindsay Preston was always destined for extraordinary things. Training at SOTA for many years her talent was enjoyed by all who taught her and we were immensely proud when Lindsey returned to sing for the SOTA pupils and to share with them that she had been accepted into Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London to train as a Soprano. We wish Lindsay every success.

July 2010
SOTA Adult Rock Choir give their first public performances!
SARC performing

SARC perform at several local festivals and fetes during the summer months entertaining the Reading community with rock, pop and gospel numbers!

June 2010
SOTA Reading perform in the first SOTA Drama Festival
Drama Festival

Performing scenes from three different plays, pupils have a fantastic week spent rehearsing and performing at the Oakwood Centre. Read more here…

February 2010
SOTA Adult Rock Choir record a CD for Valentines Day.
Better CD
To raise money for Heart Research UK, SARC record and give to their loved ones their rendition of Better by Tom Baxter (recorded with Tom’s blessing.)
Read more here…

January 2010
Battle of the Bands Guest Appearance
SOTA pupils are invited to perform a Rock and Pop set whilst the judges retire at the Battle of the Bands. The Emerald and Silver SOTA School groups have a great night…

LAMDA Results arrive!
Once again pupils surpass themselves with amazingly high results. With a 100% pass rate, over 50% gained full marks (20 / 20) in their knowledge section which is outstanding.

Congratulations to all pupils who took their exams just 7 weeks into the term.

December 2009

SOTA Christmas Cheer Tour

Opening the Oracle Christmas Fair singing christmas carols and songs in harmony brought the feeling of festive fun to Reading’s shoppers. We later toured three old peoples homes and sung to the children and parents on Lions Ward at the Royal Berks Hospital.

Steven Houghton visits SOTA to give Masterclass
Steven played opposite Juliette (Director of SOTA Schools) in the West End production of Martin Guerre and went on to win te Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a musical. Steven came to SOTA to lead a masterclass in musical theatre dance.

November 2009

SOTA Adult Rock Choir Launches
December will bring an exciting addition to SOTA’s services when we run a Free Sample Session for our SOTA Adult Rock Choir which begins in January at the Elvian School, Southcote Lane, Reading. The choir will be singing Rock, Pop, Jazz and Gospel numbers! We will also be starting a SOTA Senior Rock Choir and SOTA Junior Rock Choir in the new year.

September 2009

Emma StruttSOTA welcomes new dance teacher Emma!
Emma joins the team at SOTA Reading and immediately rises to the challenge.

Read more about Emma here.

August 2009
Danyl on X Factor!
SOTA Windsor Dance Teacher made an amazing debut performance in X-Factor and received an incredible response internationally. We are enormously proud of Dan and he is an inspiration to our pupils. He is proving that when we teach SOTA pupils that with hard work and committment they can turn their talent into dreams that come true – it really can happen.

July 2009

Fantastic Exam Results!
Pupils who took their LAMDA Exams in April all got Distinctions and Merits and all pupils who took their ISTD Modern and Tap Exams acheived A,’s and B’s. These are very high marks and we are very proud of such high achievements.

West End to Hollywood!
Our first full school show at the Bearwood Theatre in July was a huge success. The staff and pupils all worked so hard and put on an amazing show which was thoroughly enjoyed by hundreds of parents, friends and family members.

The performance was dedicated to the memory of Roger Caton, Juliette’s father, who died peacefully just two weeks before the show.


June 2009
June saw Juliette Caton (Director of SOTA Schools) employed as the Childrens Acting and Voice Coach on the new Kiera Knightley movie Never Let Me Go which will be premiered in 2010. She was thrilled to see some very familiar faces when some of her SOTA pupils arrived on set to play the classmates of the lead characters she was coaching.

April 2009

All of our LAMDA pupils are gearing up to take their solo acting exams on May 23rd. The pieces have been very well prepared and everyone is working hard on their knowledge question answers for top marks!!

The Sound of Music – Sammy GrahamThe Hills Were Alive…
Congratulations to Sammy Graham (pictured left) who has just completed the final West End run of Sound of Music playing Louisa.

All of our dance pupils will be taking their ISTD Ballet, Modern and Tap dance exams on May 30th. Everyone is really working hard. Break a leg!

Oliver! The Musical Theatre Breaks and Full Cast List oliverlondontheatrebreaks

Cheerio, I’ll be back soon…
Congratulations to Daniel Barber who has just finished performing with his idol Rowan Atkinson in the West End production of Oliver. This last job completes a FOUR YEAR run of working solidly in the West End for 11 year old Daniel, having previously appeared in Scrooge, Mary Poppins and Les Miserables. Daniel now has his eye on his next West End role which we are helping to prepare him for. Watch this space…

West End to Hollywood Show!
Our first SOTA School Show is taking place on Sunday 26th July at Bearwood Theatre, Winnersh. The show is packed full of drama, dance, singing and musical theatre scenes from…you guessed it…West End productions to Hollywood! Oliver, James Bond, Cabaret, Chicago, Hairspray….we can’t help but entertain you!
November 2008

We are delighted to announce the opening of SOTA Windsor!
Our new branch at the Firestation Arts Centre, Windsor will be running it’s Sunday Stage School from 11- 2pm for 6 – 16 year olds from January ’09 plus classes for our younger pupils (3- 5 years) called SOTA SEEDS. All classes are booking now. To read more click here.

Oliver!DANIEL plays in fourth West End show!
SOTA pupil Daniel Barber has recently landed his fourth professional West end role at the tender age of 11! Having played Tiny Tim in Scrooge at the Dominion, Michael Banks in Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward, Gavroche in Les Miserables at the Queens Theatre Daniel is now in rehearsals for Oliver at the Theatre Royal!. Daniel worked extreemly hard on his acting, singing and dancing throughout the audition process and had to go through 11 auditions before landing his role as a member of Fagins Gang. Daniel was featured on ‘I’d Do Anything’ when he was chosen by Cameron Mackintosh, whilst playing Gavroche in Les Mis, to read the role of Dodger with the auditioning Olivers as part of their reality TV audition process. We wish Daniel pockets of luck as he picks his way through a very successful run.

Sammy lands West End debut in Sound Of Music role.
12 year old Sammy Graham had worked very hard for her Sound Of Music auditions mastering the maturity of the character she was auditioning for and practising the tricky vocal flip into falsetto used to yodel in Lonely Goat Herd when she was pipped to the post for her height. However, 3 months later she was called back and this time her hard work paid off as she has won the role of Louisa in Sound Of Music and will be one of the last lucky children to play the role in the West End before it closes to go on tour. We are all delighted for Sammy and wish her well during this thrilling time as part of the Von Trapp family.

April 2008

DANIEL plays Gavroche in the West End.
SOTA pupil Daniel Barber has gone from playing Michael Banks in Mary Poppins to Gavroche in Les Miserables. We are thrilled for you Daniel. To read about Daniels first night experienceclick here.

LAMDA Exam Results!
Congratulations to all of our pupils who took their LAMDA Exams in February. The grades keep getting harder and the marks remain as high as ever! Congratulations to Sophie and Charlotte for preparing the pupils to such a high standard. Our next Exam date is Saturday 5th July 2008.

ISTD EXAM Results!
Congratulations to the Grade 3 Modern pupils – 3 pupils acheived a B Grade and 9 pupils achieved an A grade which is outstanding! Congratulations to Michelle for preparing you to such a high standard. Our next exam date is Saturday 24th June.

Easter Course success:
Our Easter Course was a real success. Craig Turner from the West End cast of Mary Poppins came and taught everyone some SUPERCALIFRAGILISTIC choreography and the end of course show was absolute knockout. Craig was extreemly impressed with the standard of the children and the fact that they learnt and set two west end standard numbers in one day! Click on Holiday Courses tobook your place on our July and August Summer Holiday courses. This summer we have two new exciting courses to offer you: a ‘Dance Days’ course specialising in Dance Workshops and a ‘Musical Moments’ course specialising in musical theatre workshops.

Mary Poppins – Sophie is POPPIN off:
Our drama teacher Sophie Caton is continuing this terms Mary Poppins theme by POPPIN OFF on tour with the show for a year. Hear her sing the role of the Bird Woman here. Guest Teacher Phil Buck will be teaching Drama until July. Phil comes straight from the Menier Chocolate Factory production of La Cage Aux Folles which he goes into the West End with in September. We are delighted he will be joining us until then lending SOTA pupils his professional experience.

SPOTLIGHT Hexagon Performance:
Our Saturday SOTA School which runs 10.30 – 1.30pm on saturdays performed ‘You Are The Light’ at the Hexagon Theatre, accompanying Juliette who had been invited to sing at a show in memory of lighting designer Geoff Bamford on Sunday 13th April. There were several local theatre companies and schools performing throughout the evening and it was an honour to perform alongside them all. The show was a fitting tribute to a fantastic gentleman who is missed very much.

Several SOTA students have been off to film the new spooky Werewolf movie! Congratulations to those students for being selected…they had the fantastic experience of a couple of night shoots and had to do lots of shots where they were running away from the Werewolf himself…Spooky!