WORKSHOP STAFF AND TUTORS
All Workshop staff have current enhanced DBS checks, are registered Chaperones and have First Aid Certificates. The Workshop Leader has Risk Assessment qualifications and is a Fire Officer. There is a Child Protection Policy in place for the Workshop and we are part of the 'Child-Safe' Police approved scheme.
WORKSHOP LEADER & TUTOR : LISA HAMILTON-JAMES
9-12, 13-17, & 18+ Tutor
Lisa graduated from Gloucestershire University in 1995 with a BA Hons Degree in Performing Arts and English Studies. She moved to Bristol in 1996 and accosted the Evening Post to pursue a career in Music Journalism. But after a few years of hanging out with sweaty bands, Lisa decided to return to her true love... acting... but being too old to become a member of the ITV WEST Television Workshop, she decided to work for it instead and became the Tutor for the 9-12 age group in 1998.
Lisa went on to become the ITV Workshop Co-Ordinator in 2000 and then ITV Workshop Leader in 2006. In November 2017 she decided to go it alone and stole away from the umbrella of ITV and took the Workshop on as an independent business, re-naming it 'The West Acting Workshop'. As she knew the Head of Drama at Colston's Girls's School, she managed (through him) to persuade them to let us use their wonderful theatre to hold our weekly sessions in! She teaches five out of the ten weekly sessions for ages 13-16, 16-19 and 18+ and directs the Workshop's Theatrical Productions and Short films. Lisa also deals with all the casting requests that come in from production companies and puts Workshop Members forward for roles -securing some for Tim Burton's 'Penelope' and nearly getting a workshop member the role of Charlie in 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'!
Lisa herself has appeared in numerous TV shows for ITV as well as short films but her favourite role was playing the part of Elizabeth Bennet in a production of Pride and Prejudice at the Redgrave Theatre in Clifton.
She is also very proud of persuading Emma Thompson to become our Patron (after emotionally blackmailing her with a DVD of 5-9 year olds shouting 'We love you Nanny McPhee!!'.
'Running the workshop isn't a job - it's a passion! The workshop members are committed, enthusiastic and dedicated and anyone at the helm has to be too! It's tough fitting everything into part-time hours and juggling a family too, but watching them grow as actors during their weekly sessions or when a show or a film comes to fruition and you see how much the young people get out of it - well... it's all worth it!'
Lisa resides in Portishead with her long-suffering husband Tom, their two children and two rescue dogs - Golden Retriever 'Bingley' and Cocker Spaniel 'Frodo'.