Over the years Willow Tree has seen many successful performers walk through its doors.
Take a look at some of our students, who through Willow Tree classes went on to achieve great things.
Willow tree has been quite the springboard for me! It basically changed my life. Dancing gave me the opportunity to meet some amazing hilarious people who you would never find in a solicitors, let’s face it and it got me out there and gave me the tools to develop and amazing ponche and pay a gas bill! Also Irene is a legend and all the other teachers have taught me so much. An amazing place which I will always have fond memories of and love xxx
I started at Willow Tree when I was 12 years old and instantly fell in love with dancing and performing. I was inspired by the older students who were auditioning and gaining places in professional colleges and academies, and realised that it was my passion and that I too wanted to pursue a career in dance. With the incredible support and encouragement from the Willow Tree teachers, l was offered a place at Stella Mann College of Dance and Performing Arts, where I graduated in 2011 with a National Diploma in Professional Dance.
Check out this amazing testimonial from a long time Willow mum……
My two daughters first went to Willow Tree right back in 1998, starting with ballet lessons, then tap. Very soon their enthusiasm for the Willow Tree community of students and fabulous teachers saw them adding jazz, contemporary, drama, singing and musical theatre classes to their weekly schedule. Willow Tree has been a way of life for our family for 22 years so far, with summer showcases and winter musical productions, helping to build confidence, teamwork and discipline through performing arts. Whilst neither of them have chosen a career on stage, they both still enjoy singing with various choirs, they have developed a love of theatre, and one of them still performs with Willow Tree whenever the opportunity arises. Neither of them would be where they are today without the influence of Irene Holland and the Willow Tree family.
My wonderful journey with Willow Tree started at the age of 4 when I first began Ballet lessons with Irene. It didn’t take long for me to get ‘the bug’ and before long I was taking classes in all genres of dance, singing and drama nearly everyday after school and also at weekends. I always looked up to the older girls above me that were leaving Willow Tree to perform professionally, and decided I wanted to do the same and have a career upon the stage!
I walked into Willow Tree as quite a shy 10 year old who enjoyed singing and dancing in her bedroom, but it didn’t take long to catch the theatre bug, and by my teens I was spending several evenings a week dancing, singing and rehearsing for shows. Willow Tree’s founder Irene Holland is one of the most inspiring people I know and her enthusiasm for performing has rubbed off on so many people, many of whom have gone onto careers in the performing arts. Irene and the other teachers gave me the chance and encouragement to flourish as a performer myself and, ultimately, the confidence I have to do what I do for a living now. There is no way I would be able to present live TV news, or report from various locations without being through those doors as a child! In recent years when I’ve seen the current talent at Willow Tree, I am always so proud of the high level of performance that continues to run through the company, with wonderful teachers that are helping to create many more stars of the future
I started Willow Tree at the age of 10 (after initially trying my hand at ballet as a toddler). Willow Tree was so much more than dance and drama classes, it taught disapline, confidence and expression in a fun way. I fell in love with the musical arts, and after 8 years at Willow Tree attending every class possible and doing all the shows I decided it was what I wanted to do. I ended up auditioning and getting a place at the prestigious Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London (where Irene originally trained back in the day). I enrolled on a 3 year Musical Theatre course and my big adventure started. These were the best and most challenging 3 years but where I made the best of friends, learnt a lot about myself and found my new home away from Devon. I went on to perform in theatre tours, music videos, commercial adverts and catwalk fashion events. I also did some musical theatre teaching on the side to help pay the rent.
I started Willow Tree at the age of 7 as my mum wanted me to have a hobby. I loved it from the very start and I loved to be the centre stage of everything. I made friends and loved to perform and danced in many shows. I went on to study performing arts at Exeter college and went on to do a degree at Bournemouth University where I achieved a foundation degree in performing arts. It was there though that I found my true passion which is health and fitness. I went on to study to become a fitness instructor also attending many workshops and short courses.
I can’t really say enough wonderful things about my time at Willow tree! A total of 15 years perfect, brilliant training that set me up for exactly what I needed to continue on into professional environments! Enough discipline and technical training from incredible teachers including Vicky, Denise, Heidi, Debbie and of course our very own Irene Holland who invited me in…. All of this also with so much love and fun that it made a hobby of mine into a dream of doing something I enjoy every day as my career!
Sophie is the most selfless lady ever and is known at Willow Tree for helping with literally anything and everything whenever she can. I’m pretty sure every cast member over the years has worn something created by Sophie in the countless hours she has volunteered in our wardrobe dept!
the following is a list of students and where they went to train after willow Tree:
- Millennium Performing Arts
- Urdang Academy
- London Studio Centre
- Performers College
- Master Performing Arts College
- Wilkes Academy
- Evolution Foundation College
- Wilkes Academy
- Millennium Performing Arts
- Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts
- Tiffany Theatre College
- Laines Theatre Arts