About Alexis Cheesman
Alexis and her husband have recently moved back to Oxfordshire, having both grown up in Henley-on-Thames. She has been Head of Drama at a nearby Prep School, having also run the Drama department at a boarding school for over 8 years, where her husband was Headmaster. Prior to that, after taking over the ‘Henley Children’s Theatre Group’ after her Grandmother’s death, (which her sister Muffin still runs 30 years later) she ran the hugely successful Children’s Theatre Groups in Plymouth, Kingsbridge, Liskeard and Bury St Edmunds for over 20 years.
'My group is different in that I offer the children a variety of Theatre skills in a condensed package without taking over an entire Saturday morning. The children have the wonderful opportunity to get up on a stage and perform, which, from my experience, is what the kids ultimately want to do!’. Over the years, Alexis has seen many of her students move into the professional world of entertainment, from acting on the West End stage, to television work and also modelling.
Alexis herself, was a child performer and was one of the first girls to perform in the West End’s ‘Annie’ in the 1970s. She attended the ‘Guildhall School of Music and Drama’ in the Barbican, London, and has worked in the West End of London and the ‘Theatre Royal’ in Plymouth before setting up her own Theatre Groups, based on her Grandmother's classes, which she attended from the age of three.
It clearly runs in the family, as her three oldest children all work in the film industry. The eldest two in Production and Liberty, her No.3, who performed for over four years as Jane Banks in the West End’s ‘Mary Poppins’ is a Set PA in the Assistant Directors department. Her youngest daughter is currently studying ‘Film and Theatre’ at Bristol University, having appeared as a youngster in TV work, including ‘Grandpa in my Pocket’.
Another plus for the Group is that the scripts have all been written especially with youngsters in mind. Alexis’s father, Mike Hurst, himself a former ‘Springfield’ with Dusty in the 60’s, before becoming a top record producer for Cat Stevens and Showaddywaddy amongst others, has written some fabulous scripts, all fun, amusing and original.
On top of all that Alexis’ brother and 2 sisters all run successful Children’s Theatre Groups in Harpenden, Bourne and Henley. You could say – it’s a family winning formula!