We are so priveleged to have such a hard-working, passionate and courageous team of professional practitioners who deliver every workshop or project to the highest of standards, allowing your son or daughter to flourish. Alongside our team we have a number of regular West End Performers who join us to run Musical Theatre workshops.

Our fantastic South Side Theatre Academy team have one aim and that is to make sure every young person that we work with goes home with a smile on their face having learnt something new and had fun! For us theatre is about being able to relax, have fun and not worry about anything else, whilst exploring your imagination. We have an extensive team at South Side including Musical Directors, Choreographers, Guest Teachers from the West End, Lighting Technicians and Acting Directors. Each member of the team works closely with the children and teens to make sure the workshops and rehearsals are exactly what they want them to be, meaning that they engage more and develop both as actors and as young people, growing in confidence, teamwork, friendships and so much more. All of our lessons are adapted for each group by our professional practitioners, as we believe all children learn in different ways. Being able to respond to each and every young persons needs is something that we ensure all our team bring into the class or rehearsal.

The South Side team are always happy to check-in with yourselves too. We’re just an email or phone call away during the week, or available for a chat before or after any class or project. So whether you have a concern, a question or just want to check-in on how your son or daughter is doing then we’re always happy to talk.

All of South Side’s team are interviewed and go through rigorous training, ensuring they understand the South Side ethos and promises we make to ensure every single South Side member flourishes with us.

All our team have a valid DBS check. 

Toby Ward-Smith - Artistic Director & Founder

Toby is currently studying at the Guildford School of Acting, following gaining a distinction in Performing Arts Teaching from the Performance Arts Awards. Toby is the first port of call for all things South Side. Toby has extensively performed in and around South West London, including Bugsy Malone (New Wimbledon Theatre), In the Heights (Stockwell Playhouse) and It Snows (Orange Tree Theatre). Alongside performing Toby has worked in Children's theatre for numerous years, starting out as a Class Assistant in the Children's Theatre Club at the Lantern Arts Centre, before leading their Easter Holiday Projects. He then went on to be the Assistant Director of the Young Company at the Churchill Theatre Bromley. And has directed various productions locally too. 

Toby believes that theatre should be accessible for everyone, which is why he launched South Side Theatre Academy with an aim to run all-inclusive, professional drama classes and productions for all young people. He is the first point of contact should you have any questions or enquires. 

Annabelle Adey - Creative Class Assistant

Annabelle trained at Laine Theatre Arts, graduating in 2018. Through her time at Laine she taught Ballet, Tap, Modern and Jazz to young people, gaining her DDI teaching qualification in both Ballet and Modern.

Annabelle has performed extensively in productions such as 'Hairspray' (Royal Caribbean Cruises), 'Eugenius' at the London Palladium, she was the Dance Captain for Qdos ‘Peter Pan’ (Cardiff New Theatre) and London Children’s Ballet, 'Nanny McPhee' at Sadlers Wells.

Annabelle is so excited to take on the position of Creative Assistant and is looking forward to creating an exciting and fun space to inspire students to perform.

Annabelle works with all 3 age-groups of our Weekly Theatre Academy classes.

Charli  Weston - Creative Class Assistant

Charli recently graduated from Kingston University with a BA Drama with Film degree, but she's been surrounded by performing arts her whole life and currently also assists with the Rose Theatre Young Company. She loves ballroom dancing, improvisational comedy and musical theatre, but anything that requires creativity and storytelling is exciting to her! She's been teaching, assisting workshops and directing various ages since she was 18. Her interest in theatre blossomed when she was part of a local youth theatre group herself. Charli enjoys sharing the skills and creativity she learnt there and from her formal training at Kingston and ALRA (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts). She has helped produce work for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and as part of a short film company, and also acted in the Rose Theatre Kingston's production of Much Ado About Nothing and GRAFT at Camden Fringe.

Charli works with our 4-7 and 7-11 Weekly Academy classes.

Luke Thornton - Musical Director

Luke trained at the Guildford School of Acting gaining a 1st Class Honours Degree in Theatre. His first professional engagement was as an Entertainments Officer with P&O Cruises sailing the high seas for 4 years. Since then, he has worked as a freelance musician on both the London & touring productions of Les Miserables and has played for the 20th, 21st, 25th & 30th anniversary performances and Les Miz ROCKS! at the Gielgud Theatre.

As a freelance musician Luke has also worked on the tour for Miss Saigon, and most recently played keyboard in The Phantom of the Opera at the Leicester Curve. Luke enjoys composing music, which he has done so for the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham, The Epsom Playhouse and for the Theo the Mouse Tour.

As a teacher and MD, Luke has taught on both the Foundation and Diploma courses at Laine Theatre and Arts and is currently a freelance Musical Director for Bodens College of Performing Arts in New Barnet. 

Luke teaches singing workshops throughout our Weekly Academy and Musical Directs all our Musical Theatre performances. 


We pride ourselves on the amazing team of Guest Teachers direct from the West End, who join us to run workshops and projects. You can see some of our past Guest Teachers below!


Credits Include: Mary Poppins, Wicked, Mamma Mia, Half a Sixpence, (All West End), Hello Dolly (Broadway), Dick Whittington, Snow White (London Palladium)


Credits Include: & Juliet, Dreamgirls, In the Heights (All West End), West Side Story, Ghost the Musical, Hair, Hairspray, Chicago, Sister Act (All Tour)


Credits Include: Hamilton, A Chorus Line, In the Heights, Jekyll & Hyde (All West End), Strictly Ballroom, Fame, Cabaret (All Tour), Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Film)


Credits Include: 9 to 5 the Musical, Cats,(Both West End),  Hairpsray, Grease, Annie Get Your Gun, Me and My Girl (UK Tour/Regional), The Xtra Factor, Strictly Come Dancing (TV)


Credits Include: The Magic of Michael Jackson (West End), Anton Du Beck and Erin UK tour 2013 (Strictly Come Dancing), BBC One Show, Children in Need (TV)



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