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.
Keith has been a member of CODA since 2012 and is based in Stratford.
I have been in the entertainment business for more than 40 years, but the one thing I had never done was to perform in musicals and plays live on stage in a production setting. My long-time school friend Lee, an existing CODA member, approached me to be in West Side Story. I came to a rehearsal and was instantly hooked. I played Arab, one of the Jets, and it was amazing. It remains my favourite CODA production to date.
Aged just 15, I was Britain’s first Michael Jackson impersonator. I retired 20 years ago. I’ve been an actor since I was 12 years old and have acted alongside Denzel Washington, Sylvester Stallone, John Thaw, Christopher Reeve and the list goes on.
I used to teach freestyle dance to infants and juniors in schools in Croydon. I am a qualified childcare practitioner in a Children’s Centre. I set up and ran the first dad’s stay-n-play in Croydon for Dads and their children.
I have dabbled with singing and penned my own charity song for Cruse Bereavement Care, titled ‘Sharmone’. I have written and published my first book, The Sadness Behind the Smile. For the past five years I have chosen to help vulnerable people as a support worker – a challenging but equally rewarding job.
I currently work for Centrepoint, a homeless charity. I support homeless and vulnerable young single mums and families. I also run my own Mobile DJ entertainment and Photo Both (Magic Mirror) businesses. I am also a voluntary community home shopper, shopping for the elderly and the house bound.
Everyone is so friendly in CODA. It’s like a second family when we all get together. With CODA everyone is equal, there is no hierarchy we are one big happy family. We put our heart and soul into every production.
It’s great meeting new people and although I have now moved away from Croydon, for the last three years I have travelled back and forth from Croydon to Stratford. I do that because I love what I do and love being a part of CODA. I look forward to many more amazing CODA productions in the future.
I am based in Beckenham and my first show with CODA was Iolanthe in 1975 at The Ashcroft, playing Train Bearer to the Lord Chancellor, who was played by my Father Terry Gauntlett, a long standing member of the company. As an adult member I joined to play Monsewer Eddie Gray in Underneath The Arches and went on to play many other parts including Madam Lucy (Irene), a Gangster (Kiss Me Kate), and Koko (The Mikado). I was first introduced to performing by my father, who used to bring me along to rehearsals from an early age.
My favourite production with CODA has been The Producers, in which I played Max Bialystock. It’s a part I also played for West Wickham Operatic Society (WWOS) at The Churchill in 2009. It was lovely being back with CODA, and of course returning to the Ashcroft.
I also love Old Time Music Hall and have directed dozens of such shows over the years. I am also the resident Music Hall Chairman of The Players Music Hall Theatre Company and regularly appear with them at The Charing Cross Theatre in the West End.
Kevin is also a longstanding member and Artistic Director of WWOS, who performs two shows a year at The Churchill Theatre in Bromley. He is also directing Sister Act for WWOS, performing in November 2019.
He also takes a month out each year to appear with LP Creatives Pantomime at The Chequer Mead Theatre in East Grinstead. This year he’ll be directing Cinderella for them, along with playing the prettier of 2 Ugly Sisters!
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 joined CODA a couple of years ago and is based in Oxford.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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 joined CODA in 2002 and she is based in South Croydon
“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.
“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!”