The Arts

Michael Larsen-Disney

Michael Larsen-Disney

Director of Arts
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Michael Larsen-Disney

Michael is hugely excited by the opportunities that Wellington College International Shanghai offers. He welcomes the chance to be involved in a very progressive educational system within one of the best Performing Arts facilities in the world.

Michael has had a long international career as an actor, singer, dancer and director in mainstream commercial theatre and now utilises his skills, knowledge and academic background to educate the next generation of students and performers.

Michael was educated at the Victorian College of the Arts and the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne, Australia, and later at Bath Spa University (Cert. Ed.) and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts in the UK, where he completed his Master’s Degree in Contemporary Theatre Practice.

Michael has previously held positions as Artistic Director of the Wessex Academy of Performing Arts UK, where he ran BTEC and Degree programmes (BA Hons) in Music Theatre and Acting and, more recently, at the British International School of Jakarta in Indonesia where he was Director of Performing Arts.

“It is my aim to nurture and unlock the potential of all students at Wellington College International Shanghai, whether it is within or outside the curriculum. I have established a Performing Arts Academy to serve the College and the wider community. My vision is to make Wellington College International Shanghai not just an outstanding centre for Performing Arts in Shanghai, but one of the best in the world.”

Samuel Jones

Samuel Jones

Head of Academic Drama
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Samuel Jones

Samuel has worked extensively in a range of educational settings in London. Most recently as Head of Drama at John Lyon School, Harrow, he directed large-scale Musicals and made it possible for pupils to work alongside theatre professionals from The National Theatre and various world-renowned theatre companies. Sam boosted uptake at GCSE and A-Level Drama and Theatre and ensured pupils achieved excellent examination results. He previously held the post of Deputy Head of College and Key Stage 4 Drama Coordinator at Fortismere School, Muswell Hill. Before becoming a teacher, Samuel worked extensively as an actor and playwright. He played lead roles as part of the Cambridge Shakespeare Company and has had his work performed at the Soho Theatre and Birmingham Reparatory Theatre.

Sam completed his PGCE in Secondary Drama at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, developing a passion for voice training for public speaking. He also trained as an actor at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts. Preceding this he studied at The University of Birmingham on the BA Drama and Theatre Arts course where he studied under luminaries of British Theatre.

His interests include cycling, playing football, running and playing guitar.

Vera Mitford-Beran

Vera Mitford-Beran

Head of Academic Music
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Vera Mitford-Beran

From the moment she started playing the cello at the age of six, music has been the focus of Vera’s life. Her teaching career began at the British School of Beijing, where she was appointed Head of Music at their Sanlitun campus. She then joined Dulwich College Seoul and built a thriving music department as the school’s Director of Music.

 

A graduate of Bela Bartok Conservatory in Budapest, Hungary, Vera achieved her BA as a cello teacher and performing chamber musician at the Szechenyi Istvan University Art Faculty in Hungary. She received her PGCE at the University of Buckingham, England.

 

Vera is married to a master chef and is a proud mother of two children, Emma and Benjamin, who are all very excited to explore Shanghai.

 

Donald Short

Donald Short

Head of Art
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Donald Short

Donald worked for several years as a freelance film and television researcher, primarily for the BBC. He began his teaching career in East London, before taking a position at Magdalen College School in Oxford. In addition to teaching, Donald was a contributing author and columnist for the Times Educational Supplement for seven years. Before coming to Wellington, Donald was Head of Art at Dulwich International High School, Suzhou. In 2008, he earned an MA in Fine Art.

Dr Paul Tkachenko

Dr Paul Tkachenko

Head of Performance Music
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Dr Paul Tkachenko

Paul was born in the UK, but he grew up in Australia, Hong Kong and Germany. His long and diverse career as a musician took him to venues around the world. A genre-hopping multi-instrumentalist tuba/double bassist who sings, he has performed on a number one hit record and played live on BBC Radio 1, 2, 3 and 4. Paul has performed with Japanese virtuoso violinist Taro Hakase on double bass. He played bluegrass banjo solos in Nashville, Greek Rebetiko in Istanbul, Balkan dubstep on the tuba at Glastonbury Festival, sung in Russian and Yiddish as a soloist with the Aurora Orchestra, played piano and musically directed a 7 month sell-out show in London, played trumpet at Shakespeare’s Globe and performed Victorian Music Hall comedy songs at the Queen’s Jubilee on the accordion.

 

Paul’s MA dissertation on Turkish Nationalism in music was published in 2005, and he completed a PhD on the London Klezmer scene in 2013 at City University, London. He has taught from Primary to University level and comes to Wellington from The International School of Moscow where he led their highly successful instrumental programmes and conducted the orchestra.

 

When not playing music and spending time with his two children, Paul enjoys long-distance running and has completed several marathons.

Ayesha Ade-Onojobi

Ayesha Ade-Onojobi

Teacher of Music
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Ayesha Ade-Onojobi

Originally from London, Ayesha has been in international education for eight years. She has taught music in the UK, Australia and China. Through working to develop curriculums and a lasting enjoyment in music, she became a Head of Department in 2020.

 

At the start of her education journey, Ayesha studied A-Levels in Music, Music Technology, Psychology and Dance. She then went on to study music at City University, where she gained experience in Samba ensembles, world music, and choirs. After graduation, Ayesha began working with all ages and developed a passion for early years. She decided to further her studies by getting a Postgraduate degree in Early Childhood Education in Australia. Her professional development studies include children’s wellbeing and effective assessment in art subjects, and she has a keen interest in how music supports child development.

 

Beyond music education, Ayesha enjoys listening and dancing to afrobeat, touch rugby, various crafts, board games and video games. She is grateful for the opportunity to travel the world exchanging cultures with her husband and sharing the joy of music.

Celia Barthman

Celia Barthman

Teacher of Music
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Celia Barthman

Celia Barthman Celia has been teaching music for over 16 years both in the U.S. and abroad and started performing in choral and instrumental ensembles at a very young age. She loves working with a variety of different age groups and musical ensembles.

 

Celia earned her Master of Arts Degree in World Music Studies from the University of Sheffield and holds BSc degrees in both Vocal and Instrumental Music Education from the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. She served for several years as the North Dakota American Choral Directors Association Middle School Repertoire and Standards Chairman. Celia has also played Principal French Horn in several different orchestral groups, including the Missouri Valley Chamber Orchestra, the Minot Symphony Orchestra, the Bangkok Charity Orchestra and the Bangkok International Community Orchestra.

 

As an ethnomusicologist, Celia has a love of non-Western music. During her time in the U.S., she studied West African Percussion for seven years with a Master Drummer from Ghana. During her teaching career, Celia has served as an adjudicator and guest presenter at music festivals in Thailand, Vietnam, Canada and the U.S.

Abigail Carlisle

Abigail Carlisle

Teacher of Art
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Abigail Carlisle

Abigail joins Wellington College International Shanghai from Headington School, Oxford, where she taught art, design and technology and worked in one of the sixth form boarding houses as an assistant housemistress. Having previously worked for four years at Wellington College UK, she is no stranger to the Wellington name and is excited to be back in the family. During her post at Wellington College UK, Abigail oversaw the design and technology textiles curriculum, spent two years as an assistant housemistress in the Combermere boarding house, and was Master in charge of clay pigeon shooting.

Following her degree in fashion, media and promotion at the University of Huddersfield, Abigail spent several years working in the creative media industry. Abigail has a PGCE from Manchester Metropolitan University and a PGCE from the University of Reading, where she also completed the SENCO qualification.

Abigail enjoys all things creative and is passionate about how she can aid the creativity of young people. She enjoys running, evenings with her LP collection and will never pass up the opportunity to learn something new. This is Abigail’s first international post and she is excited about exploring the Far East with her husband Jonathan.

Kelly Edwards

Kelly Edwards

Teacher of Art
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Kelly Edwards

Kelly attended Thomas Telford School in Shropshire until 2003, where she completed her GCSEs and A-levels. Following sixth form, she was accepted on to a foundation degree at Bournville School of Art. She then moved onto a BA Fine Art degree at Margaret Street, Birmingham, where she specialised in 2D media, particularly painting and drawing.

After university, Kelly was accepted on to a Graduate Teacher Programme run through the West Midlands consortium, achieving QTS, graded Outstanding, in 2010. From here, she was appointed as an Art teacher at her training school of Madeley Academy and spent four more years there, holding a variety of responsibilities in the department. Her second teaching appointment was at Al Sahwa Schools, Muscat, Oman where she worked for two years and helped to establish a dynamic and successful department.

Kelly enjoys being active and has always participated in a number of sports. She enjoys developing her artistic practice in her spare time and developing her knowledge through art galleries and workshops.

Daniel Eldred

Daniel Eldred

Teacher of Art
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Daniel Eldred

Daniel Eldred was born in Gaborone, Botswana and lived there for most of his childhood before returning to the UK in 1999 to attend East Bergholt School and complete his GCSEs. Daniel studied fine art Sculpture at Kingston University and, after his degree, he spent a year exhibiting in Berlin and London. In 2007 Daniel enrolled at the Institute of Education, London and completed his PGCE in secondary art and design education.

Daniel’s second teaching placement was to the Regent’s School, Bangkok, where he trained for six months; this was the experience that made him realise that he wanted to work in international schools. During Daniel’s time as a teacher he has continued to develop his subject knowledge; the most exciting of these opportunities was to train in special effects makeup at the London School of Media and Film.

Daniel sees Wellington College International Shanghai as an opportunity to further develop and fine tune his teaching practice in a progressive education environment. As a leader in art and design education, Daniel feels it is important to expose pupils to a wide variety of media and processes. Daniel’s intentions are to try and make links to industry in every project undertaken across all Key Stages. The creative industry is vast and varied, so pupils should have the opportunity to see art and design from a variety of influences.

Helen Heatley

Helen Heatley

Drama & Dance Teacher
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Helen Heatley

When Helen was 18 years old she started work as a professional dancer with the famous Bluebell Girls dancing on the world’s largest stages in the show ‘Hello Hollywood Hello’- Reno. Her dancing career allowed her to travel and work in South Korea, Japan, America and Europe. Helen’s real ambition was always to become a professional actress. She attended the BA acting course at The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) a top London Drama School, where she was trained by The Royal Shakespeare Company as well as top professional actors, actresses and directors.

After years ‘treading the boards’, Helen decided to spend time with family in the UK and qualify as a Performing Arts Teacher through the University of Gloucestershire. Helen is an outstanding teacher with many years’ experience in both secondary and primary schools in the UK. Helen secured the Gold Arts Mark for her last secondary school. Helen supported the school and was instrumental in helping it to become a leading Performing Arts specialist school in the UK.

At Helen’s last primary school there were 29 different languages spoken. Ofsted observed Helen and noted that Helen is an outstanding teacher who gives every child confidence to believe in themselves and develop their communication skills.

Fleur Hua

Fleur Hua

Art Technician
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Fleur Hua

Eddy Huang

Eddy Huang

Art Technician
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Eddy Huang

Jessica Sumerfield

Jessica Sumerfield

Teacher of Music
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Jessica Sumerfield

Jessica comes from Taipei, Taiwan. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, Jessica taught music at the prestigious Oundle School, UK. She then moved to warmer climates, teaching Early Years and junior music at Concordia International School, Bangkok. Jessica then moved to Shanghai to start the music programme at YK Pao School, where she stayed for eight years.

At YK Pao, she initiated their successful strings programme and developed the school’s English choirs and vocal ensemble groups. Jessica has over ten years’ experience in teaching cello and piano to the younger age groups.

When time allows, Jessica loves travelling and cooking. Her music teaching philosophy centres on enjoyment through exploration.

Janet Willis

Janet Willis

Teacher of Art
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Janet Willis

Having begun her teaching career in Liverpool, UK in 1990, Janet has subsequently worked in the Channel Island of Jersey for the last 23 years as a dedicated class teacher across all age ranges in the primary sector. In addition, she has been a subject leader for both literacy and art, sharing good practice across the island through staff development, coaching Newly Qualified Teachers and writing teaching handbooks for the States of Jersey. During the academic year 2009-2010, Janet and her husband Andrew (head of the Prep School) took a sabbatical and worked at Eton House International School, Suzhou, enabling them to travel widely around China with their Chinese-born children Lucy and Rosie. Janet taught art throughout the school from reception through to year 12, which fulfilled one of her teaching ambitions as ‘creativity’, in all its many forms, is at the heart of her classroom practice. To create beautiful things through perseverance and pride, is something she develops in all her pupils.

In addition to teaching children, she has also taught adult evening classes in textile art. She specialises in free machine embroidery and exhibits and sells her work locally in Jersey.

Antony Wood

Antony Wood

Teacher of Drama & Dance
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Antony Wood

From 2014 to 2018, Antony worked at Wellington College Shanghai as an EAL teacher, although he taught many dance CCA and Academy classes, choreographed school musicals, and helped as a cover teacher in the Drama department. In the 2019-2020 school year he began making the transition to the Performing Arts department, and now starts the 2020-21 school year a full member of the Performing Arts team.

Antony trained at the North Carolina School of the Arts under Malissa Hayden (New York City Ballet) and Duncan Noble (Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo). This was a springboard to an international dance career with such companies as Ballet de Santiago de Chile, the Icelandic Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Oldenburg City Theatre, Buddy Holly the Musical, and Phantom of the Opera (Hamburg production). Apart from dancing many roles in the major classical ballets, Antony enjoyed dancing numerous neo-classical, modern, and jazz roles from a variety of well-known choreographers.

Antony has also appeared on screen both as a dancer and actor in commercials and films, including The Forbidden Kingdom, John Rabe, and Ip Man 2.

He received a BA Liberal Arts from University of New Mexico, PGCE secondary English from Durham University, and is now pursuing an MA in Theatre from University of Surrey (Guilford School of Acting).

Antony loves practicing martial arts, reading about physics, going to shows, and dreaming up new performance ideas.

Melva Yang

Melva Yang

EA to Music and Performing Arts
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Melva Yang