CODA Member Biographies

CODA consists of a members who have been with us for only one month or over 20 years. This page will allow us to introduce them to you in personal biographies.

Charlie Allen

Only A Few Years In CODA

 

My name is Charlie and I have been a member of CODA for only a few years but it has been a great addition to my life. In my normal life I work in the crazy world of recruitment and so it’s not far fetched to see how I love the world of entertainment.

 

I started singing when I was 13, training with a gospel singer before going into specialist musical theatre singing training alongside my studies at university. Upon leaving university I had achieved a Diploma from the National College of Music, Choral Scholarship and a Fellowship from The Three Counties School of Music but I was also dealing with my disability Hyper-Mobility Syndrome. 

 

My Hyper-Mobility affects all of my joints except my spine and consequently I have had to rest my love for singing on many occasions, including through 3 jaw joint operations. However, this allowed my other passion to flourish, art. I specialise in illustrations and cartoons and have done two individual exhibitions in Croydon raising over £800 for local charities and my last exhibition this year, was opened by Croydon’s Mayor. 

 

It is through my art that I have really been involved in CODA. Creating the cow puppet, props and painting the set for Into The Woods and being the Set Artist for The Elephant Man earlier this year. The Producers is the first time in 10 years that I’ll be in a musical and it is a real joy. 

 

My dream roles would be Lady of the Lake from Spamalot, Elle Woods from Legally Blonde the Musical or Cinderella from Slipper and the Rose which is a musical from the 70s written by the Sherman brothers who wrote the music for Mary Poppins and I the Disney classics.

Caroline Stanley-Smith

2 Years In CODA

 

Caroline joined CODA a couple of years ago and is based in Oxford.

 

Joining CODA

 

“I had just graduated from Drama school and was looking for a musical theatre society to join to cement my drama skills. As I was living in Croydon it made sense to join CODA and also heard that CODA had an excellent reputation. 

 

My first ever CODA show was Pirates of Penzance. I love Gilbert and Sullivan for a start and Pirates is one of very few G&S productions I had not performed. The atmosphere of being in the park was amazing, and dancing around the bandstand in the pouring rain singing ‘How Beautifully Blue the Sky’ just added to the comedy. I played Kate, one of Major General Stanley’s daughters. The whole show was a lot of fun, and both cast and audience thoroughly enjoyed themselves.”

 

Passion for performance

 

“There has always been music in my life from a very early age. I grew up dancing (learnt ballet) around the house, putting on concerts for my parents and singing in church. I was very involved in choirs at school and ended up doing A-levels in music. My high school singing teacher was a member of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of South Australia and she encouraged me to audition for them. From there I really grew as a performer to a point where I knew this was what I wanted to do.”

 

Inspiration everywhere

 

“My all-time favourite musical is Wicked. I think because it was the first (and only) musical I have seen on Broadway. The staging is very cleverly done and the songs are all very catchy.

 

My favourite actor is Hugh Jackman, because he is such a brilliant all-round performer, able to sing/dance, and also to take dramatic roles. He also sounds a very genuine down to earth person. The first musical I ever saw him in was Oklahoma, as Curley and I absolutely loved it.”

 

Caroline is also a member of Inter Church Productions and the G&S Society of South Australia. Outside of performing she also enjoys playing the flute, and loves cooking, especially experimenting with new recipes. She is a Children’s nurse.”

 

What I love about CODA

 

“The quality of the shows, and the calibre of the actors are excellent. Every show I have done has been of an extremely high standard to the level I would expect of a professional production. Everyone is also very friendly and welcoming and there is no shortage of social actives in which to be involved.”

 

Sasha Cherry

18 Years In CODA (and counting)

 

Sasha joined CODA in 2002 and she is based in South Croydon

 

Joining CODA

 

“I joined CODA because I had come back from University and my three-year life bubble had burst and I needed to re-engage with activities I loved as well as to expand my local social circle!

 

I had first discovered performing at secondary school, where a teacher called Ms Brigid Doherty inspired me. She was new and headed up the drama department.  She was passionate and driven and put our school on the map for drama. She is the reason I am who I am.

 

My favourite production with CODA was probably Fame or Beauty & The Beast.  In both shows I got to play strong women roles – even if one was as a wardrobe!”

 

Sasha has also done shows with Mayhem and Stage Left societies. Her other creative pursuits include baking and Reiki.  Her day job is heading up a team of consultants for an online consumer website called Bookatableby Michelin.

 

The Best Bits

 

“I love everything about being in CODA. Performing!  Singing! And the buzz of being on stage, but most of all the friends that I’ve made are now my closest best friends.

 

I LOVE CODA!  I wouldn’t be without the company or its members. Come be a part of CODA, be it for drama, music, tech... We have something for everyone!  I look forward to making lots of memories with you all!”

 

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© CODA (The Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association). CODA is a registered charity in the UK 290743.