Paul Caister founded the Poor School in 1986. He trained at Bristol Old Vic, leaving in 1976. He then directed shows on the London fringe and spent five years acting, writing and directing in Australia. Since founding The Poor School Paul's final year shows have included DEATH OF A SALESMAN by Arthur Miller, THE MASTER BUILDER by Henrik Ibsen, OUR TOWN by Thornton Wilder, THE DRESSER by Ronald Harwood and OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD by Timberlake Wertenbaker.

Paul regularly holds open evenings at the school for ex-, current and future students, as well as interested members of the public. Open evenings are free.

Paul Caister interviewed

Read more on Paul's Blog

Movement, Dance, Animal study


Marcelle has taught movement and dance at the Poor School since 1989. In the early 1980s she worked as an actress with companies such as Raree Clown and Trickster Theatre and then spent some years in Cardiff with South Glamorgan TIE Company. Marcelle has worked for RADA, BADA, the London Centre for Theatre Studies and Syracuse. Marcelle also worked as movement coach for productions by the Ridiculusmus Theatre Company and Shady Dolls.

Acting, Movement, Jazz

Trudi trained originally in classical ballet and later as an actress at the Poor School. She has worked extensively in the West End, regional theatre and on television. For the Poor School she has directed AN EXPERIMENT WITH AN AIR PUMP by Shelagh Stevenson, STEEL MAGNOLIAS by Robert Harling, THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Jay Presson Allen and TOM AND VIV by Michael Hastings.

Voice, Acting

Clare trained as an actress at LAMDA, where she also received a certificate in Voice and Speech. She taught at LAMDA (Head of Voice 1965-72), as well as at NYU, BADA (Dean 1988-89), and the College of Santa Fe (Professor, Head of Acting and Directing 1999-2008). Clare has coached many actors including Pierce Brosnan, Sting, Dudley Moore and Orlando Bloom. She has directed for the last 40 years and her credits include LITTLE EYOLF and MISS JULIE in London's West End, WAITING FOR GODOT and CANDIDA off-Broadway in New York, A DOLL'S HOUSE in Holland and HEDDA GABLER in Norway.


Chris Dunham was the Artistic Director of the Palace Theatre, Westcliffe for 24 years until 1999. He trained at The Bristol Old Vic and worked extensively as an actor for 10 years. He joined The Poor School in 2002.



Grantley was Head of Musical Theatre at the Urdang Academy in Covent Garden for seven years. He has worked for Arts Educational, The Roundhouse, the Globe Centre and spent two years as a principal in the West End production of GREASE. He obtained a BA (Hons) in Music from Leeds University and began teaching at The Poor School in May, 2004.

Stage Combat


Alison was Britain's first female Fight Director. She has worked extensively in the West End for the main subsidised companies, in regional repertory, on the London Fringe, in film and for the major opera companies. She was Fight Master at Webber Douglas for ten years. She is a fencing coach and an ex-national longbow champion.



Jenni trained at The BRIT School, Dartington College of Arts and Central School of Speech and Drama, where she gained a 1st Class MA in the teaching of movement for actors. Movement teaching includes Middlesex University, Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, London Bubble Theatre Company, University of East London, and The Poor School. Movement Direction includes Richard III (Love And Madness Productions) and The Ghost Train (Lost Theatre). Performances include ʻAmphibiansʼ (NT Studio, Offstage Theatre), nominated for six Off West End Awards, and Movement Director Lucy Cullingford's ʻRenaissance Body Projectʼ (RSC/Warwick University).



Christian trained initially as a classical singer at Trinity College of Music, London and privately in Moscow. He subsequently trained as a voice teacher at the Central School of Speech and Drama and has been coaching and teaching voice for over fifteen years, working with both singers and speakers. As a performer, he has worked in opera and concert and continues to perform regularly as a recitalist. His has sung in Russia, Israel, Austria and Greece and given several recitals at Oxford University.