The Team

Carrie Bird – Director / Workshop Leader (Acting / Dance)

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. 

Sophie Hatton - Workshop Leader (Acting)

Sophie is a freelance Actor, Workshop Facilitator and Producer based in Nottingham. Having gained a First-Class degree in Physical Theatre from East 15 Acting School, Sophie went on to establish Ditto, an award-winning family theatre company that combines storytelling, puppetry and movement to inspire and engage 8-11 year olds. Sophie is Co-Artistic Director and Producer of Ditto Theatre Company and has co-devised, written and performed in five shows, touring to a range of venues, schools, festivals and community settings, both nationally and internationally. Sophie has performed with companies such as Tangled Feet, Next Door Dance and Blowfish Theatre. She has also facilitated Drama and Dance workshops both in person and online for a range of schools, colleges, libraries and venues, most notably Derby Theatre, Greenwich Theatre and The National Theatre of Scotland. Sophie is also part of the core Freelance Participation team at Nottingham Playhouse. Sophie is proud to be a Workshop Leader for Flying High, after being involved in the company as a young person for over 10 years!

Sophie Thorpe - Workshop Leader (Dance)

Sophie is a freelance dance artist, performer, maker and teacher based in Nottingham. After completing her training at London Contemporary Dance School, she went onto join Verve, the post-graduate performance company of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance gaining Distinction. She is the co-founder of female-led dance collective Feet off the Ground, who make physical and surprising shows for indoor and outdoor spaces, rooted in contact/partner work and collaboration. Sophie has toured nationally and internationally with renowned choreographers such as Ben Duke, Lea Anderson, Tom Dale and Sarah Dowling. She also works extensively in opera, working at institutions such as the Royal Opera House and Glyndebourne. She believes in the power of dance to heal, transform and inspire and is passionate about the role that movement, expression and creativity plays in people's lives. As a teacher, Sophie has taught at some of the world’s leading conservatoires for dance such as London Contemporary Dance School, Trinity Laban, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance as well as on the National Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) programmes for young people.

Rachel Bird – Guest Workshop Leader (Acting / Dance / Singing)

Rachel left college and secured a job 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 First Class Degree in Acting. In 2016, Rachel completed her MA in Musical Theatre with a Distinction at the Guildford School of Acting. Theatre credits include: Macbeth (musical – YMT:uk); The Other School (NYMT); 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 has also worked as a TA in several Specialist schools for young people with learning disabilities throughout London. Since 2019, Rachel has been working onboard AIDA Cruise Ships as a Lead Soloist in the production shows. She is now extremely happy and lucky to be back onboard as part of the first ensemble reappearing in the ships

Tash Bird – Guest Workshop Leader (Singing)

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 numerous gigs and festivals across the UK, most notably at YNot Festival, Splendour and Edinburgh Fringe, as well as touring internationally in the US and New Zealand. Tash released her first EP ‘Normal is Boring’ in 2016 to critical acclaim, with follow up singles ‘Reminded’, ‘Someone (The Stir Fry Song)’ and most recently ‘Only When I’m Drunk’ with over 35k streams. Tash has led projects in singing and song writing for Inspire Youth Arts and is a Creative Facilitator and Songwriter for Unanima Theatre Company, whose specialism is creating theatre with intellectual and developmental disability adults. In addition to music, Tash has worked as a TA part time at Foxwood Academy, a specialist school for young people with learning disabilities.

Jack Quarton – Guest Workshop Leader (Acting / Singing)

Jack trained as an actor at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), and works as an actor-musician, MD, composer/arranger and lyricist. Jack’s most recent work includes ’Amelie’ (West End), ’Assassins’ (Watermill Theatre), and ‘Wonderland’ (Nottingham Playhouse). He has worked with venues/companies including Northern Broadsides, Derby Theatre, Bolton Octagon, and Pants on Fire. For Flying High, Jack has written music and lyrics for several productions for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and continues to work for the company as a freelance drama and singing tutor, composer/lyricist, MD and sound designer.

Georgina Saunders – Guest Workshop Leader (Dance)

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, 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 School of Performing Arts. Georgie is a Co-Founder of Next Door Dance and has delivered a number of successful youth dance projects with the company, as well as touring nationally. Georgie is also a regular performer for Spiltmilk Dance, having toured with the company in both 2020 and 2021 in their hit show, ‘Desert Island Flicks’. Georgie delivers for the Royal Ballet School in their Primary Steps department, providing opportunities for young people in ballet where it may not be as readily accessible. Georgie is currently studying for an MA in Education (Dance Teaching) with the Royal Academy of Dance.

Amy Legge – Guest Workshop Leader (Acting)

Amy trained as an actor at Bretton Hall College, before completing a PGCE in Post Compulsory Education at The Institute of Education (University of London) and a Masters in Applied Theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Amy worked extensively as an Agent and was part of the Casting Team for the long running TV series ‘The Bill’ and ‘Murder Investigation Team’. Amy worked as a Teacher of Acting in Musical Theatre at the BRIT school in Croydon before joining Nottingham College as Course Leader for Level 3 Acting. Amy now runs the BA Performing Arts Programme at Nottingham College which incorporates the BA at Expressions Performing Arts. Amy has directed over 40 productions, ranging from absurdist and post-dramatic drama, to comedy and full length musicals. Her focus is on the development of the actor as a part of an ensemble and her ethos is to encourage creativity and the development of the thinking actor. Amy is passionate about working with young people and encouraging them to have a voice; to develop their creative skills and performance technique in order to help them build careers in the industry. As well as running the BA, Amy works as an Associate Artist with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and is a member of the Participation team at Nottingham Playhouse. She also hosts regular guest lectures, specialising in audition technique.

Jennifer Manderson – Guest Workshop Leader (Dance)

After graduating from Coventry University with a first class honours degree in Dance, Theatre and Professional Practice in 2010, Jennifer settled in Nottingham. Her career has seen her work extensively as a performer, facilitator, choreographer and producer. Jennifer is passionate about delivering and devising joyful dance experiences for all to enjoy, especially those that might think dance is not for them. Jennifer is passionate about creating work which is relevant and accessible, using the creative process to engage directly with communities. Jennifer’s creative work is very much driven by the people she meets, often gathering stories and anecdotes which inspire the content and narrative of her shows. As a performer, Jennifer has toured extensively with Spiltmilk Dance. Predominantly engaging with the rural touring network, she has performed in hundreds of village halls up and down the country; from the Scottish Highlands to Cornwall and from Norfolk to Wales. Jennifer performed in Spiltmilk Say Dance, Blast from the Past, The Little Love Cabaret and Desert Island Flicks. In 2014, Jennifer was a founding member of Next Door Dance Company, serving as Artistic Director until 2020. She was committed to building unique and inspiring partnerships, bridging the gap between the arts and other sectors, particularly within Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands. This included forging relationships with local councils, football charities, housing associations, youth clubs and community organisations to deliver projects with real impact. Her show, The Beautiful Game, has been performed in theatres across the UK, including Nottingham Playhouse, Barnsley Civic, Wolverhampton Arena, but also community venues, prisons, football pitches and clubhouses. In 2019, The Beautiful Game was performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with a sell out run. Her work has privileged her to teach and collaborate with hundreds of children and young people. Developing her practice within primary and early years settings, Jennifer has produced and delivered youth dance projects in collaboration with Inspire Youth Arts, Tom Dale Company, Halle Orchestra, Royal British Legion, New Art Club and Dance4’s Centre for Advanced Training. Her work with youth companies has been selected to be performed at the National Youth Dance Festival multiple times. In 2020 Jennifer took a step away from her dance career to retrain as a nurse. She is interested in the role that the arts can play in delivering more holistic and person-centred care and is excited to find ways to merge her passion for dance, with modern healthcare. 

Toni Sherwood-Pearce - Workshop Leader (Acting)

Toni has been involved in theatre for 20 years, first performing with Theatre Train as a teenager. Toni chose to specialise in acting and in 2008 she gained a HNC in Acting. Later she achieved a BA Hons degree in Professional Stage Practice: Acting, from the Arden School of Theatre in Manchester, where she was lead role in a number of productions including Bernard Alba and a Children's Hour, directed by David O'Shea. In 2012 Toni formed Boundless Productions with other local performance artists, creating and performing new work. She performed as a part of Contact Theatre's, (Manchester) Contacting the World, Festival. Toni has acted in numerous short films and written and directed her own. Toni is a facilitator of drama at both Flying High and Mansfield Palace Theatre, working with young people from the age of 4. Toni has also worked as a playwright, adapting books for the stage and writing original content for performance by young people, as well as creating and leading workshops in education settings. 


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