Music1 Curtin-Gold  

Singing, Music, Dance & Drama







Effective Vocal T raining

for all styles of Music & Theatre from Professional Singers & Teachers from the world of

West-End Theatre, Straight Drama & Opera


Catherine Françoise is the founder and creative director of Vocal Performance Academy which specialises in teching young people and adults all aspects of performing arts.


Bucks based Professional Singer & Actress Catherine herself started out taking local classes as a child before winning a place at Guildford School of Dance & Drama (now GSA) as a Dancer, and then studying Singing and Piano at London's Trinity College of Music where she won many competitions and awards. From Trinity her professional career took off as she immediately landed a West End Contract with Call Me Madam at London's Victoria Palace Theatre


Her extensive professional career spans Opera, Operetta, Recital & Concert throughout the UK & Europe and a wide range of West End & Regional Music Theatre. She has sung at venues all over the UK and Europe from the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Blackheath Concert Halls and for Prime-Ministers & Heads-of-State at the House of Commons, Westminster Abbey & Wembley Stadium and has worked for the BBC. Theatre & Opera includes roles in, The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Sound Of Music, The Magic Flute, Die Fledermaus, HMS Pinafore, Bless the Bride, Trouble in Tahitiand The Pirates of Penzance, The Girl Friend, Sinbad the Sailor with Ken Dodd, and many others.

Following The Phantom of the Opera Catherine spent 2 years in the critically acclaimed record-breaking UK tour of The Great Musicals which enjoyed record sold-out audiences. Catherine has been guest artist on theQE2 and soprano soloist with her own company, Occasion Music, onboard Voyages of Discovery’s‘Classical Experience’ Baltics tour sponsored by Classic FM.


For 14 years she taught at some of the UK’s most prestigious training academies including London’s Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Elmhurst Ballet School as Head of Singing, Guildford School of Acting, L.A.M.D.A & Central School of Speech & Drama, alongside local schools and her own busy Private Teaching Studio.

Catherine’s students have passed hundreds of singing & music exams, including many passes with distinction, and her students regularly win medals at local music festivals.   Advanced students have gained places at leading training colleges and numerous former students have gone on to work professionally in both classical opera and in the West End.



VPA works with top class tutors and visitng Directors & choreographers to give young performers top class training

Together, their expertise, experience, inspiration & technique has proven highly effective for all ages and musical styles including: opera & operetta, classical art song, jazz, cabaret, gospel, pop vocals and musical theatre.

They have equipped hundreds of singers and actors with the tools to improve and strengthen their singing voices and develop as individual performers in their own right, as well as building confidence for all aspects of life.

VPA training has enabled students to gain places at some of the UK’s foremost training academies and former students have gone on to establish professional performance careers in Classical Opera, Oratorio, and Concert, as well as in Regional Theatre and the West End.


Call Vocal Performance Academy today, and begin your journey to personal confidence and sing among the stars!



 Full Biographies ~


 C atherine Françoise...





...studied Singing and Piano at TRINITY COLLEGE OF MUSIC, LONDON winning many competitions and awards. 

She did further study specialising in Bach & Russian Song at the BRITTEN-PEARS SCHOOL in Aldeburgh.

Catherine had previously studied Dance and Musical Theatre at GUILDFORD SCHHOL of DANCE & DRAMA

(now GSA) where she also gained recognition as a choreographer.


Her professional career spans Opera, Operetta, Concert and Recital Work throughout theUK together with Regional &West End Theatre. 

On leaving college, Catherine immediately secured a contract at Birmingham Repertory Theatre in a lavish revival of Irving Berlin’s Musical Call Me Madam and went on to secure principal roles in shows including The Phantom Of The Opera, The Sound Of Music, Annie, The Girlfriend,  H.M.S.Pinafore, Jesus Christ Superstar, Carousel, The Pirates of Penzance, Perchance to Dream, Bless the Bride, The Girl from Vancouver & in Panto (Sinbad the Sailor) with Ken Dodd!  

Operatic roles include The Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflote, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Tatyana in Eugene Onegin,

Despina in Cosi Fan Tutte, Violetta in La Traviata,

Adele in Die Fledermaus and Frasquita in Carmen.


As soloist Catherine has sung in numerous Oratorio, Concert & Recital engagements throughout the UK, Vienna, Eastern Europe and Australia including The Messiah, Judas Maccabeaus, Elijah, Mozart C Minor Mass, Mozart Solomn Vespers, Exsulate Jubilate, Haydn's Creation & The Seasons, Sea Symphony (Vaughn Williams) and Recitals of Russian, French & English Song, and German Lieder.  

She has sung for Prime Ministers & Heads of State at the House of Commons & the City of London, and has been guest artist on the QE2 and other prestigious cruise liners including Voyages of Discovery's Classical Experience Baltics Tour sponsored by Classic FM.


Catherine has run her own very successful teaching practice in the chalfonts for 15 year, teaching hundreds of children, teenagers & adults singing & piano. The effectiveness of her technique is evident in numerous testimonials of her mentors, colleagues and former students.


For 14 years she also taught at London’s Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts as an individual singing teacher with emphasis on technique, and also as a music theatre repertoire tuition coach (one to one) on musical theatre and acting degree and post-graduate courses. Many of her former students have gone on to successful careers appearing in Regional and West End shows including:

Les Miserables, Avenue Q, Fame, Rent, Tonight’s the Night, Wicked, The Sound of Music, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Annie, Buddy, The Boyfriend, Dreamboats & Peticoats, Grease A Little Night Music, and Guys & Dolls.  


Catherine has also taught at Central School of Speech and Drama, Guildford School of Acting (GSA), and L.A.M.D.A. and was Head of Singing at Elmhurst Ballet School and musical director for numerous performance showcases and concerts.

At Amersham & Wycombe College she taught singing, piano, guitar and Music Theatre performance on BTEC and HND Courses, and also MUSICAL DIRECTOR for a full scale production of 'Godspell' .


VPA students have been successful in winning places to study at The Royal Northern College of Music, Guildford School of Acting GSA,Guildhall, Millennium Perfoming Arts College, Performers College and Trinity College of Music

Students have also got through to X-factor boot camp’ (no mean feet in getting to the final 300 out of 200,000 !!!) and been seen on other TV shows including How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? and I'd Do Anything


Hundreds of Catherine's students have successfully passed exams with Distinction and Merit from Trinity Guildhall, the Associated Board, and London College of Music, and over the last 14 years her students and choirs have won literally hundreds of classes and Bronze, Silver & Gold medals and cups at local music festivals in Maidenhead, Marlow, Chesham & Watford


Catherine is also Musical Director of the prize-winning Buckinghamshire based choir - the Chiltern Voices who are in much demand to sing at weddings & concerts around Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Herts, Birmingham, Kent, Essex & London. The choir also sings at fund-raising concerts for Slough Homeless, the London Run, The Epilepsy centre and has also raised thousands of pounds for local church appeals at Amersham Free Church and St Peters Church in Chalfont St Peter.


  She has also produced & directed numerous concerts and theatre productions for VPA



Miranda Dawe ...





Miranda has been Director of Acting for the past 2 years after graduating from the MA Musical Theatre course at Guildford School of Acting. Whilst there she played roles including Zoe in ‘When Midnight Strikes’, Maisie in ‘The Boy Friend’, Gabby in ‘City of Angels’ and part of the Ensemble in ‘Anything Goes’ at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford. She also worked on and helped devise a new piece which was performed at Hampstead’s New End Theatre.

Miranda previously trained in Acting at Bretton Hall which is now part of the University of Leeds where she wrote and performed a solo piece about Judy Garland called ‘Judy In-Between’ which she again performed as ‘An Evening with Judy Garland’ with students from VPA at the Compass Theatre, Ickenham last year.

Whilst at Bretton, Miranda performed in and directed various extra curricular shows including: Madeline Tru in ‘The Wild Party’, Patricia Fodor in ‘Crazy for You’, Brenda in ‘Witches of Eastwick’ and Ensemble roles in ‘Return to the Forbidden Planet’, ‘Jekyll and Hyde’, ‘Grease’, played one of the terrorists in ‘Terrorism’ by the Brothers Presnyakov as well as directing a section of ‘Angels in America’,.‘You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown’ twice and ‘Godspell’ at the Wakefield Theatre Royal.

Since leaving Guildford at the end of 2008 she has appeared in ‘MacDeath’ at the Landor Theatre, London, Billy in ‘Billy Blister’s Circus’ at the Watford Palace Theatre, and as part of the legendary Thursford Christmas Spectacular.

Miranda has enabled VPA students to achieve wonderful Distinction and High Merit results in LAMDA exams and also coaches students for professional drama school entry.

IMiranda also plays guitar and saxophone and also dances including tap – a performer must have many skills!



A dam M askell ...


Adam co-ordinated all the dancing for VPA's production of Billy Elliot the Musical, choreographing all the big musical numbers. Adam trained at Laine Theatre Arts from the age of 12 as a semi student, going on to become a full time student at the age of 16. He graduated in July 2007 going straight into the European Tour of Fame The Musical. He then performed as ensemble and cover Roger / Sonny in Grease in the West End, before joining Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and performing as Doppelganger / Adrian in the International Tour and Sadlers Wells season of Dorian Gray.

Adam recently finished performing in Marianne Elliott's Women Beware Women at The Royal National Theatre and from October will be playing The Angel & Buster in Matthew Bourne’s new production of Cinderella.

His television credits include The Royal Variety Performance, Dame Edna Treatment, Everybody Dance Now!, The Paul O'Grady Show and Record of the Year.
Adam also guest teaches at Laine Theatre Arts & London Dance Theatre


Rob Kirby ...




Robert gained much of his acting experience from the Rudolf Steiner School, playing lead roles in plays such as Antigone, Under Milk Wood and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Rob has also played several roles with the Questor’s Theatre in Ealing, most recently Lucentio in the Taming of the Shrew and Rudy in Martin Sherman’s Bent. He is a member of the National Youth Theatre and was an actor as part of their 2010 season in improvised show Consequences at The Lowry Theatre, Manchester. Rob played the lead in a short film shot on location in Cornwall with London based T.E.A films.

Rob joined VPA as an actor/singer in From Broadway to the West End and played Professor Bhaer in their highly acclaimed 2009 production of Little Women - The Broadway Musical. Rob was also joint Director for VPA's recent hugely suceesful production of Billy Elliot the Musical, as well as also playing Billy's Dad. Rob begins full time actor training in September at London’s Rose Bruford College.

  From 2009-10 Rob was acting tutor for VPA Saturday
Academy and students have developed and blossomed as actors and performers so much as a result of his tuition. His calm and professional demeanour at all times is a steadying influence on everyone, and he is passionate about nurturing and protecting fragile confidences as young people grow. We all wish Rob the very best as he starts his full time training and look forward to more creative and Inspirational direction and instruction in the future.



Lucy Elbourn ...


Lucy trained professionally in Dance & Music Theatre at Millennium Performing Arts in London graduating in July 09. After graduating, Lucy was selected by her Directors to be part of the
Presentation Party for the 41st World Gymnastics Championships at the O2 Arena where she handled bronze, silver and gold medals and led the winning athletes onto the podiums in front of 23,000 spectators.


Lucy started dancing lessons at two years old and in her teens performed annually with her previous dance school at various theatres such as the Wycombe Swan, Her Majesty's Haymarket and Sadlers Wells.


For Billy Elliot, Lucy choreographed the Ballet girl routines, and also the tap routines in Expressing Yourself & the Finale. She has also spent MANY (many many) hours working with the Billy’s helping them to perfect the big dance numbers, and building confidence and performance skills.
Lucy also danced as the Black Swan Queen ‘Odile in Billy’s Dream sequence of our production.


For VPA Lucy teaches Ballet in seperate classes for boys and girls, tap and modern, as well as choreographing for productions. She also coaches for professional Dance and Drama school entry for VPA.




I an MacDonald...




Ian trained at The Royal Academy of Music London & at Edinburgh University and has performed throughout Europe in Oratorio, Modern Opera, Jazz & Music Theatre.  He has directed Theatre & Dance companies, and co-ordinated award winning National Youth Music Projects. Ian has also taught at London’s Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts & Central School of Speech & Drama and many of his students have gone on to successful careers in the West End and elsewhere. He is the Senior Voice Consultant for the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine, and is in much demand for lectures and masterclasses. a graduate of THE ROYAL ACADEMY of MUSIC, LONDON & EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY and was a founder Director of VPA.  At the Royal Academy he studied with Robert Sutherland, Edward Brooks and Lyndon van der Pump, and has performed throughout Europe in Oratorio, Modern Opera & Jazz.  He has toured extensively as a lieder recitalist and given much time to the works of Schumann, Benjamin Britten and Schubert - particularly Winterreise – to much critical acclaim. Ian worked with Benjamin Zander, as one of his master class performers, singing in London, Cambridge,  Zurich and in Montreaux for three years. 


Ian has also been in much demand as a soloist for contemporary new works including Sons of the Wheel at The Playhouse Theatreas Dr Stirling in Ocean at Minema, BAC and Edinburgh Festival;  Adonis in Venus at the Hackney Empire and for several new works by Paul Ayres.  Classical roles include The Rake’s Progress: 

Dido and Aeneas;  The Pilgrims Progress,  La Boheme (understudy Rodolfo);  Eugene Onegin  (understudy Lenski);  and  Herr Frank in Mozart’s comic opera The Impresario for Occasion Opera.


Ian has also worked as an actor in works by Shakespeare, Checkov, Lillian Helman and Christopher Isherwood amongst others.

His Music Theatre performances include Annie Get Your Gun,  Frederick in The Pirates of Penzance and Danny in Grease.


He was Director of the cross-arts, experimental theatre company ArtFuzion from 1992-1997 which performed regularly at London’s The Place and at the Edinburgh Festival. 

Alongside directing and choreographing, Ian has studied ballet, contemporary dance and extended vocal techniques.


With Artsplace & Artswise, Ian worked to provide curriculum based on-site education programs, specifically designed around young people and the history of their individual environments. 

He was also a key player in Sound Inventors, the hugely successful, award winning team [Royal Philharmonics Prestigious education award 2003] that brought composing and world renowned composers such as Django Bates; Alistair Nicholson, Stephen Montague, John Woolrich to every area of the British Isles over a three year period,

giving children from every corner and every ability the change to write and perform and record their own music.


Ian taught for many years at London’s Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts as an individual singing teacher with emphasis on technique, and also as a music theatre repertoire tuition coach (one to one) teaching students on both the musical theatre and acting degree and post-graduate courses.

Many of his former students have gone on to successful careers in the West End & elsewhere appearing in productions including Avenue Q, The Rat Pack, Tonight’s the Night, 

Blood Brothers,  The Last Five Years,  Starlight Express,  Seven Bride’s for Seven Brothers,  Miss Saigon,

We Will Rock You and many other shows.    


He has also worked alongside tutors at London’s Royal Academy of Music Theatre Course using the Estill voice-training model

Ian is currently the senior voice consultant with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (Bapam) and is much in demand for lectures and masterclasses.  






Catherine Françoise

Founder and Creative Director


Past and Guest Directors

Kelly Woodcock
Kelly Zena
Dance Teacher & Choreographer



Miranda Dawe
Miranda Dawe

Guest Director 


Lucy Elbourn
Lucy Elbourn

Dance Teacher & Choreographer


Robert Kirby


Rob Kirby
Guest Director

Ian MacDonald
Course Director

Adam Maskell
Adam Maskell

Guest Choreographer 


A C Garcia
A C Garcia

Guest Choreographer 


Phone: 01753 889 946 - Mobile 07850 617775

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