Meet the Team

Ben Sumnernone_228_288_12-0904-Ben_Sumner

Ben trained in Stage Management at the Central School of Speech and Drama.  So far his career has included education, lighting design, production management, stage management, technical management and theatre administration. He has worked in corporate events, dance, drama, musical theatre, opera and television.

Ben first taught at the Guildhall in 1987. In 1990 he became Senior Lecturer in Technical Management at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts where he remained for 12 years. In 2002 he accepted the post of Programme Director (Production, Design and Arts Management) at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth, Australia.

After returning to the UK with his family in 2006 Ben picked up his freelance career in Production Management, working on circus and corporate events in the UK and the Far East. In the summer of 2007 he returned to the Guildhall where he is now Director of Technical Theatre.

Gill Allengill

Gill trained in Stage Management at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and there followed a successful career as a professional Stage Manager at theatres such as the Manchester Royal Exchange, Contact Theatre, Theatre Royal York and the Sheffield Crucible as well as touring nationally. She then moved on to become Stage Management Tutor at LAMDA and subsequently took the role of Technical Courses Administrator at RADA.

For the past four years she has been Head of Stage Management and Technical Theatre at East 15 where her role incorporated the curriculum design and development for all technical disciplines including both Stage Management and Costume.  As Head of Course she was also responsible for student assessment, student industry work placements and the teaching of Industry in Context, Professional Development and Theatre History modules.

Gill has also been one of the Directors of the Stage Management Association and has acted as External Examiner at Guildford School of Acting, ALRA and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as well as having contributed to curriculum development and assessment at Mountview, Rose Bruford and the Central School of Speech and Drama

Karen Kerr  karen_kerr

Has 28 years professional stage management experience, after graduating from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 1976.

Range of work covers fortnightly and three weekly rep in Plymouth, Basingstoke and Sheffield, and extensive touring in Britain and Eire.  Work in London includes new plays such as Ben Elton’s Gasping with Hugh Laurie, and Bernard Hill & Simon Gray’s A Slip of the Tongue with John Malkovich, to classics such as The Importance of Being Earnest with Maggie Smith, directed by Nicholas Hytner, plus three traditional pantomimes at The Shaw Theatre with Bill Oddie and Ben Benison.

Musicals include the original rehearsal and opening of Evita, Starlight Express and Stage Manager of Les Miserable and We Will Rock You. Karen has also stage managed conferences for British Industry and events such as Q40 the celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee at Earls Court, the ‘Ten Year Birthday’ celebration of Les Miserable at the Royal Albert Hall and the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympic Games, Athens 2004.

Additional qualifications include the Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.  Karen is also a member of the Stage Management Association and Equity, and a Fellow the Higher Education Academy.

Karen is also in the process of setting up a mentoring scheme for the technical theatre students; linking them with previous guildhall students who are now industry professionals to help gain a networking relationship.

Caroline Moorescaroline

Caroline Moores joined the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in September 2016. From April 2014 to August of 2016 she was the Company Stage Manager for Complicite’s ‘The Encounter’. She was the head stage manager at the Lyric Opera of Chicago from 1994 to 2014 and also worked for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on special projects – including the CSO’s series “Beyond the Score”.  She has toured ‘Beyond the Score’ to many orchestras around the world including the Halle, the New York Philharmonic and the Concertgebouw and to the Aldeburgh and Ojai Festivals.

In addition, Caroline has worked as a stage manager for the Royal Opera House, the Manchester International Festival, Seattle Opera, Tulsa Opera, Virginia Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Opera Omaha, and as assistant stage manager for San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Greater Miami Opera (now Florida Grand Opera) and Houston Grand Opera.  For four years she was the Production Manager of the Virginia Symphony in Norfolk, Virginia.

Sue Hudson  sue_hudson

Sue trained at the London College of Fashion where she specialised in theatrical costume construction. She has worked for many years extensively in theatre, as a costume maker and cutter as well as a costume supervisor.

Sue initially started at Glyndebourne Festival opera in the ladies costume department as a costume maker where she has many fond memories. She then progressed up the ladder working with other companies as a cutter, wardrobe mistress and finally costume supervisor.

Among some of the other companies Sue has worked for are Northern Ballet Theatre, English Touring Theatre, Leicester Haymarket Theatre, Royal Northern College of Music, Dublin Grand Opera Festival to name but a few, before joining the technical theatre team here at the Guildhall.

Vanessa Linghamvanessa

Vanessa used to work here at the Guildhall School about 10 years ago alongside Sue Hudson. She has over 18 years’ experience in Costume design and has worked in Film, TV and Theatre, as well as a Masters Degree in History & Culture of Fashion from the University of the Arts London: London College of Fashion

Manuela Rey–Alvarez 

Manuela started her career training with a well established tailor in manuela_rey_alvarezAsturias, Spain, and then attended the Central Academy of Dressmaking and Pattern Cutting where she acquired her Teaching Dressmaking and Pattern Cutting Diploma.

She then completed an Art and Design course at the London College of Fashion, from there she went onto University in Southampton to do a BA (Hons) Fashion Degree where she graduated in 1997.

She worked in retail in department stores such as Burberry and Debenhams and also worked as an Alterations Assistant at the Costume House Angels before coming to the Guildhall School.

Kate Russell


Kate trained in Stage Management at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff and has worked professionally for companies such as Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru and MakeBelieve Arts. She has also worked at the Edinburgh Fringe for six years. Kate joined Guildhall as the Stage Management Assistant in September 2017.





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