Meet The Team


GemmaO'DuffyMeet The Principal
Gemma O’Duffy

After graduating from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Gemma’s theatre credits include ensemble/1st cover Scaramouche in We Will Rock You (West End), Rusty in Footloose (West End and UK tour), Seagulls Dance (Soho Laundry), Irene McNally in The Piper (Savoy) and Puss in Boots in Nursery Crimes (King’s Head). Gemma was proud to be part of the critically acclaimed Spring Awakening (Lyric, Hammersmith and West End) and then joined the newly directed Les Misérables, which took the production back home to Paris (original company, 25th anniversary international tour). She also performed as part of the Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Concert at The O2 and The Royal Variety Performance with the Les Misérables cast. Most recently, Woman 2 in Shoes (Peacock), Diva 1 in Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Palace) and Factory Girl in Les Miserables (Queens Theatre). Gemma was a finalist for the BBC Radio 2 Voice of Musical Theatre 2006 and has worked extensively as a soloist in the UK and abroad with various orchestras, including The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Music of Bond, Summer Nights (Tonbridge Castle) and concerts for the Hallé Orchestra under the musical direction of Carl Davis CBE (Bridgewater Hall). Gemma’s television and film credits include Celtic Soul Brothers, Children in Need, Paloma Faith music video New York and a T-Mobile commercial. Gemma also appears in the Oscar winning movie of ‘Les Miserables’.

Gemma has been teaching alongside her career in theatre, and has been involved with many different performing arts schools up and down the country.
She works with top London agency Morgan and Goodman Kids as their main vocal coach and teaches privately at home and in London. Gemma also runs her own theatre master classes business, which operates all over the country.



SierraBoggessMeet Our Patron
Sierra Boggess

Sierra recently finished her Broadway engagement as Christine Daae in Phanto

m of the Opera, celebrating the 25th Anniversary. In 2012 she returned to London for a limited engagement as Fantine in the Les Miserables. Prior to that, she starred in the 25th Anniversary Concert of The Phantom Of The Opera at Royal Albert Hall, played opposite Tyne Daly in the Broadway revival of Terrence McNally’s Master Class and starred in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies in the West End, for which her performance received a 2011 Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. Sierra’s other NY theatre credits include starring as the title character in the Broadway production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Drama Desk and Drama League nominations and award for Favorite Breakthrough Performance), the final cast of off-Broadway’s Love, Loss And What I Wore and in the City Centre Encores! production of Music in the Air. She starred as ‘Christine Daae’ in the Las Vegas production of Phantom of the Opera and has been seen regionally as Binky in Princesses and in the US national tour of Les Miserables. Concert appearances include The BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Series: The Lyrics of David Zippel, New York Pops at Lincoln Center, Broadway by the Year at Town Hall, 54 Below and the Four Star Concert series in Japan. Recordings include the 25th Anniversary Concert of The Phantom Of The Opera (also on DVD), the Symphonic Recording of Love Never Dies, the Original Cast Album for The Little Mermaid, Andrew Lippa’s A Little Princess and John Wilson Orchestra at the Movies.  Her debut solo album Awakening was released last year and is a Live recording of her solo show at 54 Below in New York City.

Advanced Academy

An amazing opportunity for aspiring performers who are interested in West End theatre, and want to enter the profession as a ‘triple threat’. With a guaranteed class size of no more than 20 students and a thorough audition process, we ensure you will receive the correct level of training from your class.

Each term students will receive a minimum of three master classes, with leading West End, TV and film actors and industry professionals.



Techniques explored will cover all elements of musical theatre, including streamed Dance, Singing and Acting:

  • Sierra Boggess – Broadway Star and Patron of the school

  • Kerry Ellis – West End Broadway star

  • Jon Robyns – Puppeteering

  • Paul Wooller – West End casting director

  • Cameron Jack – Film and TV actor and director

  • Peter White – West End Musical Director

  • Fra Fee – West end actor and main cast of Oscar winning film Les Miserables

  • Kimberly Justin – Make up artistry

  • Jo Morris – Performer and assistant to choreographer, Stephen Mear

  • True Edge – Stage combat

  • Jeffrey and White – Leading London agency





Over the 10 week term, classes will be taught by Principal Gemma O’Duffy who has 10 years experience in the West End and was part of the Oscar winning film ‘Les Miserables’. Teaching alongside Gemma our expert teachers all have extensive West End experience, providing a high level of training each week.





End Of Term Showcase

Each term will finish with a showcase of work for friends and family.

A professional audience including agents, casting directors and drama school representatives will also be invited giving you the chance to been seen by the right people.



fra-teachingDrama School Preparation

As well as this being a fantastic opportunity to develop and perfect important skills ready for the profession, it’s also a great opportunity to be given knowledge and understanding of how this ever-changing industry works from all angles. Preparing students to audition for top drama schools is also a focus of the syllabus.




Times And Location

Classes take place on a Friday evening, 6.30pm to 10pm at The Hertford Theatre, Hertford SG14.

Click the map to enlarge.


Staveley Hitchin

Do you love singing, dancing and acting? Well Staveley Hitchin is the place for you.

Gemma O’Duffy, the academy principal with over 15 years experience teaching young people, will lead a team of fully trained DBS (formally CRB) checked teachers who bring their wealth of experience with them to teach at Hitchin Staveley.

We open every Saturday (during term time) at St Andrews School, Hitchin from 10.30am-1.30pm.




What will my child be doing each week?

During each term the students will be participating in dance, drama, singing and performance classes.  All classes will be tailored to improve skills in performing, creativity and coordination, but also with an emphasis on gaining confidence and having fun in the supportive environment Staveley Theatre Academy prides itself on.

During each term guest tutors will visit the academy to teach master classes. These will include West End performers; specialists in TV and film, theatrical make up artists and casting directors.



What is different about Staveley Hitchin to other part time schools?

The main difference is our focus on performing. The structure of the classes will mean that in the last 20 minutes of each week everyone will come together to show what they have been working on. We want our students to be knowledgeable about all aspects of theatre. We will teach them about lighting and sound, set design, and also what happens on the stage and backstage.

They will perform in front of their peers and learn from others in the process. Our goal is to provide a pressure free environment for a fun, enjoyable experience.


How much does it cost?

We want to make the performing arts accessible to everyone and therefore our pricing structure is more affordable than other schools, whilst never compromising the quality of teaching. Please contact us for more information.




Private Lessons


Gemma O’Duffy runs private singing lessons from her purpose built studio in Frensham, Farnham – 20 minutes from Guildford. She teaches students from the age of 7 upwards, including training performers and adults in the styles of musical theatre, pop, soul and rock. Benefits of private classes are:

  • To build confidence

  • Stress relief

  • Learning / perfecting technique

  • Widen your existing repertoire

  • Specifics for drama/dance school auditions

The Lesson plans are catered to your needs. Options include either 30 minute (£20) or 1 hour lessons (£40) payable on a one-off, weekly or discounted block booking basis. There is a 48 hour cancellation notice and payment will be required in full if lesson is cancelled outside of that time  

SKYPE LESSONS – For the first time Gemma is offering one to one Skype lessons from the comfort of your own home. This means that you can book in for a time that works for you and you can schedule the lesson around work and other commitments. As long as you have a good internet connection and working webcam, Skype lessons can work really well. Payment will be required before the lesson, details will be given on booking  – Cancellation policy still applies.







_V6B6184Auditions for dance/drama colleges

Gemma has worked at many of the top London drama schools and knows exactly the material and level needed to secure a coveted place at one of these institutions. She has recently been the Head of Musical Theatre Foundation course at PPA in Guildford, with many success stories. Students have gone on to places at GSA, Mountview, Arts Ed, PPA, Italia Conti and many other institutions.


She can help you with technique, audition song choices and guidance for each individual audition. With competition for the top drama schools increasing each year, it is vital to be completely prepared, and Gemma will be able to help!

Having had 10 years worth of experience working in the West End herself, she can coach you using Acting through song techniques, work on performance style and through any confidence issues that you may have too.

Graduates and Professionals

If you need to refresh you repertoire or work on some new songs, I can help. We all have our stock songs that we know work for us, but continually stretching yourself with new and different material is so important. We can work on technique and acting through song in the lessons to ensure you are confident of all the songs in your repertoire.



V6B61011Classes for younger students

The focus is working on breath and relaxation along side using techniques to get your voice working well and efficiently. If you love to sing and want to have fun whilst learning more about your voice, these lessons are perfect for you.

Whether it is purely for enjoyment or for future auditions, Gemma can help your child achieve in a non-pressurised, fun and exciting environment.




As well as children, Gemma teaches many adult students who either want to find their voices again or have an hour to themselves where they just want to sing!

The focus is ‘finding your voice’ again whilst singing songs that you want to sing. Working on technique so you feel more confident when choosing more demanding material. These classes can be for fun or to develop skills with a specific goal in mind.





Apply NOW!

If you want to be part of Staveley Theatre Academy or have any questions, please fill in the information form below.


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