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James Pennell & Esmé Tutill


A little about us...

James Pennell-Tutill, BA (Hons), PGCE, QTS

Principal & Artistic Director

Favourite show: Come From Away

Dream role: Elder Price (The Book of Mormon)

James has been involved in the performing arts since joining a part-time theatre school as a child. Since then, he has been involved in countless community and professional productions across the UK as an actor, singer, and director. James started teaching at Razzamataz Newcastle when it opened in 2016. James speaks four languages, and combined this with his love of performing, spending a year teaching music in France, where was fortunate enough to record and play some of his original music at a number of events and concerts. James is incredibly excited to have the opportunity to provide children and young people with a dynamic and fun curriculum, and a friendly environment for all. As Artistic Director, James leads the creative vision of the school as well as teaching and learning. He is passionate about helping young people to achieve their goals, as well as ensuring that all those who want to be a part of the performing arts (whether for fun, to build confidence, or as a career), can. As well as being one of the principals of Razzamataz Newcastle, James works as a vocal coach and consultant.


Esmé Pennell-Tutill, BSc (Hons), MSc


Favourite show: Heathers

Dream role: Glinda (Wicked)

Esmé joined Razzamataz Newcastle at the beginning of 2017, and has loved seeing the school grow. With an MSc in Clinical Psychology from Newcastle University, Esmé is passionate about helping young people to develop in a supportive and creative setting. Esmé leads the school in student welfare and pastoral care. She is a champion of mental wellbeing, and strongly believes that allowing children to express themselves in a safe environment can be a fantastic tool in developing confidence and other important skills for life. As well as being one of the principals of Razzamataz Newcastle, Esmé also works with children with special educational and mental health needs for Newcastle City Council.


Anna Bartle, PAIDTA (Modern Jazz), DipTCL (Musical Theatre)

Dance Teacher, Teaching Assistant

Favourite show: The Book of Mormon

Dream role: Jenna (Waitress) or Roxie Hart (Chicago)

Anna trained at SA Performing Arts Centre and qualified with a Diploma in Musical Theatre as well as a Pre-Associate Teaching Qualification in IDTA Modern Jazz. During her professional career, Anna has worked several contracts abroad as well as pantomimes all over the country. Her biggest achievement so far is performing at The Royal Albert Hall alongside Collabro and Kerry Ellis.


Matt Pagan, BGT

Singing Teacher

Favourite show: 42nd Street

Dream role: Jean Valjean (Les Misérables)

Matt won Britain’s Got Talent in 2014 as 1/4 of the world’s most successful musical theatre group, Collabro. Since winning the competition, Matt and the boys have released five worldwide studio albums, all of which have been in the UK Top 40. Their debut album “Stars” secured their first UK Number 1, and was the fastest selling album of 2014. Matt has performed with some of the biggest stars on the planet, including Little Mix, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Dame Shirley Bassey, Ellie Goulding, and McFly to name a few! He has toured all over the world including Japan, Hong Kong, USA, Canada, Europe etc as well as four sell-out UK tours.In February 2020 Matt made his West End debut at the London Coliseum, playing the role of Donal O’Flaherty in “The Pirate Queen” by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg.


Jess Corner, BA (Hons), MFA

Singing and Drama Teacher, Razz Act Teacher (LAMDA), Administrator

Favourite show: Hadestown

Dream Role: Hodel (Fiddler on the Roof)

Jess is a coach and theatre facilitator specialising in all things voice, whether that is spoken or sung! After training at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, she has been fortunate to work with some of the top drama schools and theatre companies across the UK. Jess performed from a young age in venues including the Royal Albert Hall, the ICC, and major stages across the North East. She is passionate about accessible and inclusive performing arts training, and has undertaken courses in supporting learners with SEND and dementia.

Beth Beveridge, BA (Hons)

Dance Teacher, Tots Teacher, Project Intense Lead

Favourite show: Mamma Mia!

Dream role: Sandy (Grease)

Beth trained at Dance City where she achieved her BA (Hons) professional dance degree in the style of contemporary. During that time she worked with choreographers such as balletLORENT, Richard Chappell and Lea Anderson as well as teaching within colleges and schools in Newcastle. After completing her PCET/PGCE, she began to work in a primary school and runs dance clubs for the children. Beth is passionate about helping children reach their potential and achieve their goals. As well as her extensive dance training, Beth has also undertaken courses in mental health and wellbeing promotion.


Meg Cruse, BA (Hons), PGCE, QTS

Dance Teacher, Minis Teacher, Project Intense Phase Two Teacher

Favourite show: Dear Evan Hansen

Dream role: Dancer in Hairspray

Having grown up taking dance and musical theatre classes from a young age, Meg graduated from Dance City’s BA (Hons) Professional Dance degree in Contemporary Dance. Meg has been assisting and teaching in both studio and education settings for a number of years and loves being part of the Razzmatazz Newcastle team! Meg is a qualified primary school teacher and loves helping children to grow in confidence and skill.


Lauren Hawkes, BA (Hons), PGCE (PCET)

Drama Teacher, Minis Teacher

Favourite show: Blood Brothers

Dream role: Jenna (Waitress) or Mrs Johnstone (Blood Brothers)

Lauren graduated from The University of Sunderland with a degree in Performing Arts and a PGCE PCET. Since then, she has worked as a drama facilitator and performer around the North East, performing in Derren Brown’s Showman (Sunderland Empire) and Wittgenstein on Tyne by Lee Hall (Live Theatre). Lauren has attended stage schools from a young age so truly understands the importance of drama and creativity for young people, helping them to build life skills as well as drama skills.


Beth Forster, BSc (Hons), PGCE, QTS

Drama Teacher, Minis Teacher

Favourite show: Wicked

Dream role: Angelica Schuyler (Hamilton) or Maureen Johnson (Rent)

Beth has always loved performing arts and attended a local theatre group from a young age, performing at the Sunderland Empire on numerous occasions and completing her L.A.M.D.A examinations there. As an adult, she returned to teach drama and support summer schools and performances.  Through her own experiences and having studied Psychology at the University of Sunderland, Beth understands the importance of mental wellbeing and the positive effects singing, dance and drama can have on young people’s lives and their confidence. Beth graduated last year as a Primary Teacher, working with young people with Special needs and Social, emotional, and mental health needs. Beth is also a volunteer in Scouting and loves bringing her knowledge and passion of teaching life skills into her classroom. She is keen to come and teach at Razzamataz as she misses all things performance and can’t wait to become part of the team.


Laura Madl

Tots Teacher, Singing Teacher, Teaching Assistant

Favourite show: Avenue Q

Dream Role: Christine (The Phantom of the Opera)

Laura has been involved in the performing arts from an early age starting with dance at the 4 up until 13 then changing her focus to drama and singing. At the age of 17 Laura was performing alongside some notorious acts of the day including Damage, Daphne and Celeste and Cheryl Cole. By her early 20’s she went on to sing with Hayley Westenra, Russel Watson and Faye Tozer. Laura has performed in Newcastle Arena, Glasgow Arena, Newcastle City Hall, The Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Live Theatre and various local venues. Laura has directed and staged productions and is passionate about young people expressing themselves through dance, drama, and singing. She truly believes the world is a stage and every day is the chance to play a different role of your choice.

Ilsa Hartley

Teaching Assistant

Favourite show: Jekyll and Hyde

Dream Role: Roxie (Chicago) or Carrie (Carrie)

Ilsa has been performing since she was very young and fell in love with theatre when she joined a similar theatre school at home in Yorkshire. After coming to Newcastle for university where she studies Philosophy, Ilsa wanted to get involved with theatre again and the opportunity to assist the amazing students at Razz Newcastle came along.


Emily Dunbar- Teaching Assistant


Hannah Scotson, BA (Hons), PGCE, QTS

Associate Teacher

Favourite show: West Side Story

Dream role: Tracey Turnblad (Hairspray)

Hannah graduated from her performing arts degree at the University of Cumbria in 2015. Hannah has been involved with music since she was young when she started learning to play the tenor horn at age 5. She then went on to have piano lessons at age 9. At this point Hannah discovered her love for singing. Hannah got her grade 8 singing when she was 14 and sang for several years as part of the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir where she had many special performance opportunities such as competing in the international Eisteddfod festival (placing 3rd) and singing for Her Majesty the Queen. Hannah is now a primary school teacher in Carlisle. Outside of school, Hannah is a professional singer working as a Lay Clerk at Carlisle Cathedral. Hannah can’t wait to combine her two passions of teaching and performing while teaching at Razzamataz Newcastle.


Hattie Eason, BA (Hons), MA, PGCE, QTS

Associate Teacher

Favourite show: Miss Saigon

Dream role: Mother Abbess (The Sound of Music) or Mrs Johnstone (Blood Brothers)

Hattie is a performer and facilitator with a master’s degree in Theatre and Performance from Northumbria University. Razzamataz holds a special place in her heart as someone who attended Razz Yeovil as a Senior student ‘back in the day’! Hattie spent 6 years creating and touring original theatre and cabaret work with her theatre company, before recently deciding to do her primary teacher training from September 2022. She regularly performs as a singer and poet/spoken word artist and spent much of lockdown singing online! Performing and working with young people are Hattie’s greatest passions and she loves that she gets to do it as her work! As a primary school teacher, Hattie feels that there is a need for the arts within education and that it provides young people with so much more than performance skills!