Meet the team behind ABDABS
ABDABS Youth & Community Theatre was set-up by professional actor Debbie Ruth in 2005 to provide opportunities to help build self confidence, build on self esteem, improve on acting, singing and dancing through workshops, drama activities and productions for people aged 5 to adults in the Oxfordshire area.
All our team are DBS checked and the Team are as follows
(click on the names to show/hide more information)
Debbie Ruth - Principal Director
Debbie was brought up in a Theatrical family and is a professional actor, singer & dance, she belongs to Equity who represent professional performers. Debbie’s mum, Valerie, had her own Theatrical Agency and Dancing School. Debbie initially started dancing at the age of two, with Corona Academy in London and took her first ballet exam at the age of four and passed with Honours. She then went onto become a regular attendee at the Dance Studio (now known as Pineapple) in Covent Garden. She was trained by Gillian Gregory in English Tap dancing, studied American Tap and danced with the Junior Ballet Rambert. She has appeared in several adverts and in BBC productions such as Z Cars and The Little Silver Trumpet. Debbie also made a film with Eyeline Films, Children’s Film Foundation. Debbie attended Phildene Stage School.
Her career later in life took her into singing and dancing and she had her own Old Thyme Music Hall Show with which she toured the Counties. A Londoner by birth, Debbie was a member of the Pearly Kings and Queens and raised well over a hundred thousand pounds for many of her charities in the time she was a part of the Pearlies clan. Whilst appearing with Les Dawson and Faith Brown at the String of Pearls, she was presented to Prince and Prince Michael of Kent. Debbie says she never wanted to be famous when she was younger, just happy to do what she loved best, which was performing on the stage.
A trained teacher and manager, with three children and 4 grandchildren of her own, her passion are people and their self development. She says she’s happy to be behind the scenes and encourage the young people of our community to build on self esteem, self confidence, life skills and performing arts, and give them the opportunity to demonstrate their talents and hard work all the students put into Abdabs Youth & Community Theatre productions. You may see Debbie return to the stage or appear on film occasionally, she's still very active in the continuation of her own practice in Musical Theatre. She appeared in The Full Monty as Georgie in 2010 & Yvonne in Bad Girls The Musical in 2012. Debbie is an accomplished Director and has directed many productions including Bugsy Malone, Stuart Little, High School Musical, Back to the 80s Musical, The Witney Story, 'Allo 'Allo, Captain Blackboots & The Wallamagrumba, The Full Monty & more recently Bad Girls The Musical. Debbie has also appeared in Panto with Travelling Light Productions in December 2014 as PC Pong in Aladdin. More recently Debbie directed and appeared in Darling Buds of May as Miss Pilchester.
Aimie Beth - BA Performing Arts with specialism in Contemporary Theatre - Vice Principal Director
Aimie Beth has been dancing since the age of two and has numerous dancing medals under her belt. She was actively involved in school drama productions, including The Wizard of Oz as The Sorceress of the North and has appeared in several dance shows. Aimie Beth produced the choreography for Bugsy Malone, Abdabs first Senior production in 2006. She completed her GCSE's & A'Level and graduated from Winchester University with a BA in Performing Arts (Contemporary Theatre). She is an accomplished performer and producer of devised performance achieving Distinction in LAMDA group devised performances. Aimie Beth has had total responsibility for the choreography for many of Abdabs productions and has definitely risen to the challenge each time! For someone so young she has made a great personal achievement in the production of dance and performance. Aimie Beth is a registered member of Equity. Amy is currently on a sabbatical from Abdabs.
Theatre & Film experience
2005 - New Theatre, Oxford - Me & My Girl - ensemble
2006 - New Theatre, Oxford - Oliver - ensemble
2007 - New Theatre, Oxford - High School Musical - Mime artist and ensemble
2007 - Abdabs Youth Theatre - Gel - Principle Role - Debbie
2008 - Abdabs Youth Theatre - Score - Principle Role - Juanita
2009 - Abdabs Youth Theatre - High School Musical - Principle Role - Sharpay
2009 - Abdabs Community Theatre - Captain Blackboots - Victoria
2010 - Back to the 80s - Miss Brannigan
2012 - Bad Girls The Musical - Shell Dockley
2012 - Calendar Girls - Elaine
2010 - Slumdog Millionaire - Small role as an Author
2010 - Appeared in a university film
Christie Baldock - Vice Principal Director & Drama Coach
Christie holds a degree in Community Theatre. She started out originally with Abdabs doing some voluntary work with us and we were so impressed with work and the great relationship she had with the students, we offered her some work, she is now a very successful Drama Coach for our Junior & Senior School.
During the week Christie works as a TA with young people between the ages of 11 - 16yrs in a Secondary School.
Christie has directed a few shows with Abdabs and will be co-directing on Wonderland High the Musical.
Christie has performed in the following productions:
Aladdin - Aladdin
Wendy - Peter Pan
Elvira - Agatha Crispie
Denise/Carrie - Remain Seated
Kathy - Disco Inferno
Mariette - Darling Buds of May
She is about to appear in Bad Girls the Musical in 2018 at Arts at the Old Fire Station, Oxford.
Laura Penneycard - Vice principle Director with Specialism in Theatre & Film and is also one of our patrons
As well as being a professional actress Laura has worked extensively in theatre in education; looking at Shakespeare, historical plays, devised tales, musicals and pantomimes. She runs a company called act1to1 which offers acting and public speaking tuition for individuals or pairs. Laura has also directed acting workshops and productions both in London & Oxfordshire. She does workshops with Stagecoach & Bigfoot Theatre Company and also tutors acting at Abingdon Prep School.
We are proud to also have Laura as one of our Patrons.
Zoe Denton - Drama Coach
Zoe trained for 3 years at a Performing Arts School and holds a degree in Performing Arts - Contemporary Performance. She specialises in devising and loves merging different theatre styles and skills to create exciting and modern performances.
Zoe is also a keen actress having performed at:
The Playhouse in Oxford as Jane in Jane Eyre
The Theatre at Chipping Norton in Harold Pinters, The Betrayal
The North Wall Arts Centre - Mark Ravel Hills, Citizenship
Dani Lane - Company Assistant Director
Dani started with the Youth Theatre some years ago when she was about 11yrs old. She is now 19yrs old and decided she wanted to stay on as a voluntary team leader and assistant vocal coach until she goes to University to study Performing Arts.
Dani works with our Teens with 'Tude group and is a valuable member of the group. She is a very talented young lady with a superb singing voice.
Some of the productions Dani has appeared:
Blood Brothers - Mrs Johnstone
Rent - Joanne
Back to the 80s - Tiffany
High School Musical
Dani is about to appear in Bad Girls the Musical in 2018 at Arts at the Old Fire Station, Oxford.
Becki Reed- Musical Director
Becki is a musician working as a teacher, musical director, performer and composer in Oxford. She studied contemporary music at Dartington College of Arts in both performance and composition and is a trained pianist and singer, also performing as a singer/songwriter. She has been the Musical Director for a number of companies and performances including her own professional theatre company Marvellous Machine, who recently had a sold out run of their newest production 'The Tigers Bride'. She has been involved within the theatre world all her life and has extensive experience both on stage and off. With her love for all things musical, she will get you singing at the top of your lungs!
Lizzie Lee - Team Leader
Lizzie applied to Abdabs to do some work experience in Summer 2017, we were very impressed with her and how much the students loved working with her, we offered Lizzie a Team Leader position and she accepted. She has become a great asset to the team not just for her supportive and listening skills but also for her Technical backstage skills.
Lizzie was part of a local cheerleading team and has appeared in school productions.
She is about to appear in Bad Girls the Musical in 2018 at Arts at the Old Fire Station, Oxford.
James Falconer - Student Director
James started at Abdabs at 9 years old, throughout that time, he has grown into a very skilled young man. James is a very versatile actor, he is very talented in portraying different styles of character and can adapt to playing 2 parts with 2 totally different characteristics just by changing a piece of costume.
James earnt himself a student role in Abdabs as a Student Director. He is currently involved in working on a project to help to develop our website and work with the students to build up The Review to show our web audience what we do.
James has also appeared in several productions including:
Jack Scott - High School Musical
Robin Hood - Robin & the Sherwood Hoodies
James is about to appear in Wonderland High the Musical in 2018 as Paul.
Gary Clarke - Community Theatre Media Director
Gary Clarke started Abdabs all the way back in 2006 when the theatre first started. He is one of the very first students under the tutelage of Debbie Ruth. A keen fan of drama he became a Team Leader to help the running of several rehearsals before taking a break to get his first novel published.
Being a Media graduate from Oxford, Gary has always loved being behind a camera, though his true passion is in writing, whether he’s writing novels or screenplays.
He came back to theatre in 2011 and has been a permanent fixture ever since.
He has also been known to sing and the encouragement from various people at the theatre have helped him gain more confidence in his ability to do so.
His casting credits at the theatre include:
Knuckles - Bugsy Malone 2006
(And he played the same part again in 2015 for the 10 year anniversary of Abdabs)
Officer Angus Baxter - Gel 2007
Buddy ‘Keno’ Walsh - The Full Monty 2012
Eve Stares - Student Assistant Choreographer
Bio to come shortly
Cheryll Dove -Wardrobe Manager
Cheryll's son started with Abdabs approx 3 years ago and Cheryll, more recently, has become involved with helping and supporting our productions. Cheryll is not new to the performance arena as she also belonged to a Drama Group some years ago. She made the fantastic costumes for Mulan and Aladdin and we are very grateful to have her on board with the production team. Cheryll agreed earlier this year to become our Wardrobe Manager for which we are delighted to have her as member of our team!!