The Team

Carrie Bird – Director / Workshop Leader (Drama Workshops, Senior Youth Dance, Senior Youth Theatre & Young Company)

Carrie is originally from outside London and trained in Liverpool, graduating with a BEd (Hons) degree in Physical Education, Dance and Drama. She also has an RSA diploma in Drama in Education.

After being a Head of Drama, Dance and Expressive Arts for many years, Carrie left full time Secondary teaching to pursue her own projects including the establishing of Flying High.

Carrie has been a regular guest lecturer in Community Theatre at Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln; has led Inset in schools on Dance teaching and workshops at Drama and Early Years conferences; has been a long term team leader and visiting examiner for Edexcel Pearson and OCR for both GCSE & A Level Drama & Theatre and has built Flying High from two small classes to the Company it is today.

With young people, Carrie has directed and choreographed full scale musical productions of and directed National Theatre Connections plays since 2011 for performance at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre and Derby Theatre. In 2012, she directed and choreographed Flying High’s production of ‘Alice by Heart’, a new musical by Steven Sater & Duncan Sheik, which was selected to be performed at the Royal National Theatre in front of 800 + people.

Carrie has adapted / written and directed 11 shows which have been performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival each year since 2009, receiving 3* & 4* reviews and sell outs.

Carrie has guided and nurtured a huge number of young people through GCSE & A Level exams in Dance, Drama & Theatre Studies and Performing Arts, enabling many to achieve high grades and move on to their chosen training routes.

For over three years, Carrie has led workshops for the Nottingham Theatre Royal’s Over 55 Drama group. 

Georgina Saunders – Workshop Leader (Junior Youth Theatre, Junior & Intermediate Youth Dance, Musical Theatre & Infant Drama)

Georgie is a freelance dance artist born in Nottingham and has danced since the age of 4. After gaining a BA (Hons) in dance at Manchester Metropolitan University she returned to pursue a career in dance. In addition to working as a Workshop Leader for Flying High for seven years, Georgie Georgie has worked on large scale performance projects with Nottingham City schools, County Youth Arts, Dance 4 and Gedling Borough Council delivering dance to children from aged 2 in the early stages of movement to A level aged students working towards exams. She also teaches for Louisa Holmes Dance School. 

Georgie is a member of Next Door Dance Company, having successfully performed 'Home' at the Nottingham Playhouse in July 2017. She is currently touring a dance piece for football fans called 'The Beautiful Game'. 

Polly Hurd – Workshop Leader (Intermediate Youth Theatre)

Polly trained as an English and Drama teacher and has taught in secondary schools; delivered drama sessions in primary schools; worked as a free lance artist in local museums, delivering historical sessions (dressed in the appropriate historical costume!) and run drama clubs at a local primary school.

Polly currently works at Mencap as a Performing Arts and Creative Writing tutor, working with adults with learning difficulties and last year she completed her MA in Dramatherapy. Polly has worked at Flying High for sixteen years and has three children, two cats and a dog!!


Tash Bird – Workshop Leader (Intermediate & Senior Vocal Groups)

Tash is a singer / songwriter from Nottingham who graduated from The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, London in 2014 with a BMus (Hons) in Popular Music Performance.

Since graduating Tash has played many gigs regionally performing both covers and her original songs. She has been selected to play at YNot Festival near Derby twice and recorded her first EP which was released last year, in addition to videos on YouTube. Tash has busked and played gigs at the Edinburgh Festival for the last four years. She has recently returned from Florida and the Keys where she played a number of gigs. in January 2018, Tash is due to tour in New Zealand with a band she got together with in Edinburgh. 

Tash has led projects in singing and songwriting for County Youth Arts and has recently worked with Unanima Theatre Company (A Theatre Company specialising in creating theatre with adults with additional needs) writing songs as an integral part of their show: ‘Life, Love, No Sat Nav’.

In addition to music, Tash has worked as a TA part time at Foxwood Academy, a Specialist school for young people with learning disabilities.

Loreto Murray – Workshop Leader (Young Company)

Loreto trained at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama and has performed as an actor/musician in most major theatres across the UK and Ireland, including playing Eva Cassidy in “Over The Rainbow” and singing alongside Willy Russell, Tim Firth and Jonathan Pryce.  

TV credits include Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Cold Blood and a Morrisons advert .  She played 'Cathy' in the award winning feature film WEEKEND and has been in numerous corporate DVDs.  Loreto presented 'Together' for BBC Schools Radio for 10 years and has extensive experience of recording both speech and music. Loreto has worked extensively as a workshop leader nationwide; including commissions from the NHS and partner organisations to work with vulnerable adults and regular projects for both primary and secondary schools. She is a Creative Associate for The Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northampton and continues to deliver freelance work for Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham Playhouse and Derby Theatre. 

Loreto is Artistic Director and joint owner of Junkshop Youth Theatre, Nottingham.


Rachel Bird – Guest Workshop Leader (Drama / Dance / Musical Theatre)

Rachel worked as a show performer at Alton Towers and spent two summers in Camp America before training as an actor at the Oxford School of Drama and Court Theatre Training Company graduating with a 1st class Honours degree in Acting. Last year, Rachel completed her MA in Musical Theatre with a Distinction at Guildford School of Acting. 

Theatre credits include: Macbeth (musical – YMT:uk); The Other School (NYMT); A Fairytale Murder (Moors Bar); Cinderella (West Wing Arts Centre); The Seagull, playing Nina (Resort Studios, Margate); Once Upon a Nightmare (Edinburgh Festival); The Bounce (Oily Cart UK Tour); Jack and the Beanstalk (London Tour); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Edinburgh Festival); Carousel (GSA); First Date (GSA); Aladdin, playing The Empress (Courtyard Theatre, Hereford). Rachel is soon to be working in China on a new musical for 4 months. 

Rachel has also worked as a TA in several Specialist schools for young people with learning disabilities throughout London. 


Jack Quarton – Guest Workshop Leader (Acting / Music)

Jack graduated with a BA(Hons) in Acting from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) in 2013 and has worked as an actor-musician with companies including Northern Broadsides, Pants on Fire. Lodestar Theatre Company and has performed at diverse venues including the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Liverpool Playhouse, Bolton Octagon, York Theatre Royal and the New Vic (Stoke). He played the role of the White Rabbit in Derby Theatre's Christmas production 2016 and has just finished a Mike Leigh film based on the Peterloo massacre. Jack is currently in rehearsals for Great Expectations at Derby Theatre and is due to play Smee in their Christmas production of Peter Pan. 

Jack is a multi-instrumentalist (piano, accordion, trumpet, trombone, double bass) and also works as a musical director, arranger, assistant and onstage-MD. For Flying High, Jack has written music and lyrics for several productions for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and, when not performing, continues to work as a freelance drama and singing tutor, composer, lyricist, MD and sound designer.

Jennifer Manderson – Guest Workshop Leader (Dance)

Jennifer Manderson graduated from Coventry University with a 1st class honours degree in Dance. She became Dance4’s Young Associate Artist and worked with the organisation for eighteen months on a variety of projects. Her first professional choreography, The People Next Door was performed at WEYA Festival, Nottingham 2012. Other work includes Beauty from Different Directions, a commission for The Nottingham Castle in 2012 and Nottingham Made which was performed at MY Dance Festival and as part of The Family Arts Festival 2013.

In 2014, Jennifer established Nottingham based company Next Door Dance and choreographed their first work The Beautiful Game which is currently touring. As a performer, Jennifer is a member of Spiltmilk Dance and has been touring nationally with several dance shows. Jennifer loves delivering creative dance projects and has experience of working within a variety of settings. She adores working with a diverse range of people - anybody from toddlers and their parents to the elderly in residential settings. Jennifer has also worked as an assistant producer and project manager for Dance4, which includes managing regional youth dance platforms and working at the Nottdance Festival.

All our team are fully DBS checked and have completed or are in the process of completing online safeguarding courses.