DPTA are proud to have four extremely successful and inspirational Patrons from Musical Theatre, Film and Television. Our Patrons represent the caliber of training DPTA offers and endorse our deep passion in professional, quality training in the Theatre Arts.

The 'Staunton', 'Carter' and 'Hocking' Scholarships are offered to three talented young students every year for a full years training in their chosen training program.


Imelda Staunton

Imelda Staunton has performed in a variety of plays and musicals in London, winning four Olivier Awards; three for Best Actress in a Musical for her roles as the Baker's Wife in Into the Woods (1991), Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd (2013) and Mama Rose in Gypsy (2016), and one for Best Supporting Performance for her work in both A Chorus of Disapproval (1985) Her appearances on stage in The Beggar's Opera (1982), The Wizard of Oz (1987), Uncle Vanya (1988), Guys and Dolls (1996), Entertaining Mr Sloane (2009) and Good People(2014) also earned her Olivier nominations. Staunton has been nominated for a total of 11 Olivier Awards. Imelda's film roles include Mrs. Blatherwick in Nanny McPhee (2005), Dolores Jane Umbridge in two of the Harry Potter films (2007–2010) and Hefina Headon in Pride (2014) Staunton provided the voice of the Talking Flowers in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010), and played one of the lead roles in the ghost film The Awakening in 2011. In 2014, she co-starred in Maleficent as well as the British comedy-drama Pride. In late 2014, she had a voice role in Paddington, a film based on the Paddington Bear books by Michael Bond. Staunton has also narrated The Gruffalo for an audio book of Julia Donaldson's children's book.

'DPTA Students don't know how lucky they are'


Chris Hocking

Principal and Director of the School of Musical Theatre at Arts Educational Schools

Chris trained at the Nesta Brooking School of Ballet, before pursuing a successful performing career in the West End, on tour and in regional repertory theatre.

Shows include Chicago, Carousel, The King and I, The Rocky Horror Show, Chess, Hot Stuff, On the Town, Barnum and Hello, Dolly! He has choreographed the UK tours of Oklahoma!, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, South Pacific, Fiddler On The Roof, Jekyll and Hyde and The Rise & Fall of Little Voice. Other credits include Club Tropicana - The 80s Musical (which he co-wrote) at the Menier Chocolate Factory, 

'Damien Poole Theatre Arts is a really exciting new venture for young performers. Not only will DPTA be educational, stimulating and great fun it will give the students a wonderful insight into the world of Professional Musical Theatre.

With Damien’s outstanding Musical Theatre training at ArtsEd (The Arts Educational Schools, London) coupled with his extensive experience as a professional West End performer, Damien will able to discover the stars of tomorrow. I am honoured to be patron of Damien Poole Theatre Arts.


Jim Carter

Jim was born in Harrogate. His film credits include A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia (1992), The Madness of King George (1994), Richard III (1995), Brassed Off (1996), Shakespeare in Love(1998), The Little Vampire (2000), Ella Enchanted (2004), and Detective Victor Getz in The Thief Lord (2006). He played John Faa in The Golden Compass (2007), the first film in the adaptation of the His Dark Matrials trilogy, and also stars in House of 9 (2005) as The Watcher, and the executioner in Tim Burton's adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.

His best known role is in Downton Abbey (2010-2015) playing Mr Carson, a role that has earned him four nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2012-2015).

Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter came to DPTA to lead their Masterclass Q and A in the Summer Term on site at Harrogate Grammar School to a full DPTA audience.



Billy Pearce

Billy is an award winning English performer, comedian, actor and entertainer. A regular on UK television in the 1980s and 1990s, Pearce has been described as a "supreme entertainer". He particularly loves performing at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford, where he consistently breaks box office records starring yearly in the Pantomime.

Billy can’t wait to work with the students at DPTA on their comedic acting talents and share his love of comedy and stand-up to the future stars of stage and screen. We are so lucky to have him be such a big part of our school.

‘I’m very proud to be asked to be a Patron of DPTA’