Meet the Team
Fiona Da Silva-Adams
Fiona Da Silva-Adams, or Fi, Founder & Managing Director, started Revolution Performing Arts (RPA) in 2007 with just four young people and is delighted to facilitate delivery of classes to 400 young people every week. Fi was responsible for initiating performing arts as an after-school club, within and attached to schools in Swindon and she loves that so many young people get to experience our unique approach to performing arts throughout Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. Fi is also responsible for delivering the Discover, Explore, Bronze & Silver Arts Awards.
Empowerment, nurturing and encouraging young people to express themselves and celebrate their individuality has always been important to Fi and she extends this within her family with her husband, Paul and two children. Fi would have loved to experience an organisation like RPA when she was younger, and this drives her to reach and help as many young people as possible. She loves to read, holiday with her family and snuggle up with them for a family movie night. It’s often a noisy house having four creatives under the same roof!
Fi started her training at Swindon Dance (then Thamesdown Dance Studios), initially as a community dancer and then onto the now legendary Foundation Course with Pete Purdy and Marie McCluskey. After she graduated from Middlesex University with a BA (Hons) degree in performing arts, she joined Sixth Sense Theatre Company (now Prime Theatre) as their General Manager and Youth Theatre Worker and continued to develop her love for young people in the arts.
Fi has sung on the famous turning circle on the London Palladium stage; danced with Green Candle in Sadlers Wells and filmed in several TV dramas including Midsummer Murders; Casualty, Sky’s Dream Team and Ultimate Force.
Fi loves her life developing young people and will keep going until she can’t move anymore!
Fi’s inspirations are:
and of course her truly inspirational family!
Paul Da Silva-Adams
Paul was born and raised in Fairford. As a young boy Paul had a great childhood but never really had the opportunity to perform. Instead Paul took to playing the guitar with a dream of one day being able to play in front of an audience. At the age of 16 Paul was to be snapped up by a band in which he travelled the length and breath of the UK playing clubs and pubs as a professional musician. Since then Paul has played with many musicians all over the UK. Paul met Fi in May 1996. Paul has always supported Fi with RPA and in 2012 gave up his role as a Support manager in a software house to help Fi with RPA. Since 2012 we have seen RPA go from strength to strength and pride itself on being completely different from other performing arts institutions. Paul now regularly plays in a number of bands and is now a multi instrumentalist . Paul has also acted on TV in some well known shows! Paul prides himself on his script writing and as a result is currently working on the next big venture for RPA which he hoping will open collaborations with other theatre groups and up and coming script writers in the area that share RPA’s ethos. When Paul is not working he likes to spend time with his family and travelling the world.
Laura is co-leader of our weekly Rapport sessions. Alongside this she is Artistic Director of Developmental Theatre Company Gatecrash Theatre. Gatecrash has produced several local and touring productions including a large-scale site-specific performance with 150 actors and an audience of almost 2000. Prior to this Laura ran the Drama Babes programme for Revolution Performing Arts and worked for several years as Education and Outreach Leader for the nationally acclaimed and government funded theatre company Sixth Sense Theatre for Young People. She has directed multiple productions and specialises in physical theatre, gritty drama and improvisation. Laura currently runs weekly workshops for teenage inpatients at a residential unit for mental health disorders, and sessions for Prime Theatre and Reach Inclusive Arts. Previously Laura has been fortunate enough to direct and produce work for the National and Local Government Arts Officers Annual Conference, Radio One Big Weekend, Southwark Playhouse and Edinburgh Fringe Festival as well as working in collaboration with several acclaimed practitioners including Scott Graham (Frantic Assembly), David Lane, Mike Akers and Lee Lyford. Laura is also a qualified and experienced Secondary School Drama Teacher and a mummy to two wonderful girls – one of which joins us at Shaw All Stars!
My first influences were my teachers… As a child I used to attend a tiny youth theatre in my village ran by a wonderful woman called Jean Leo. Her belief in me and love for what she did in a really straightforward pure way made me want to share words and acts. I went to Ridgeway School in Wroughton and Mr Piper my English teacher had such a passion for language and it’s power that I knew I wanted to do something with that.
In my adult life I have been hugely inspired by the theatre companies…. Frantic Assembly (https://youtu.be/9EHJ_BwcetY
), The Paper Birds (https://youtu.be/CrP-MBCNHyE) and The Terrible Infants (https://youtu.be/AZ0VT0K5myY). Their ability to marry often political and emotive storytelling and physicality is beautiful. I am also a fan of film directors Adam Aronofsky, Wes Anderson and Paddy Considine. Anyone who can skillfully blend a truthful, gritty story with bizarre and touching storytelling is a winner in my little book.
I also love music and it hugely influences all the theatre I direct – music allows you to feel so much more viscerally and immediately. I’ve used bands like Mumford and Sons, The Doors, Suede and many many more in my work.
Finally…. I am constantly inspired by the young people I work with…. I love new ideas, fresh outlooks and raw talent. I am always in awe of where that can take you.
Jade has been teaching for 13 years within various schools and organisations and has been with Revolution Performing Arts since 2018. She runs many classes for RPA ranging in age from 4-17 years, including open performing arts classes, RPA Dance, RPA Rapport and Forever Friendship (our class for families with young people who have additional needs). Before joining RPA, Jade gained a Degree in Dance at De Montfort University which led to her completing her Diploma in Dance Pedagogy through the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance. Jade has recently worked alongside Laura on a project with Uplands School through the DanceOut programme with Swindon Dance, and is also the Coordinator for their Salto! Children’s and Youth Project, funded by Children in Need.
I love inspiring and encouraging the children I work with; there is always something new to teach them, and they’re always coming to me with ideas too! I enjoy choreographing, but also working with my students to engage them in being creative. Each day is never the same, and seeing the children come into their own with confidence is always rewarding. This past year has helped us as leaders, and the children all develop new skills, talents (and tech-patience) to bring a new spin to our classes, and I cannot wait to see each young person blossom!
My inspirations / loves are:
Matthew Bourne New Adventures https://new-adventures.net/
I love watching the Brits every year
My friends and the people around me!
I began dancing when I was about 4 years old and continued to study dance at school and college. I then attended Arts University Bournemouth, completing a 3 year course and gaining a BA (Hons) Degree in dance. Throughout my studies and beyond I have taken freelance work and placements working with children and adults with a variety of different abilities and ages. This ranged from 5 year olds with ADHD to older people with Parkinson’s, all of which have enabled me to expand my experience and passion for dance and wellbeing. I currently work as an ASC (Autistic Spectrum Condition) LSA at The Ridgeway School & Sixth Form. This means I work closely with children from year 7 to year 12 who have been diagnosed with autism and some with additional needs. Although our students may have one thing in common, they are all individuals with undoubtedly unique personalities and interests. I truly believe that dance and creativity has a massive positive impact to our wellbeing, for people of all ages and abilities. We all need and deserve the opportunity to express ourselves through music and dance.
My inspirations are;
• All things Disney
• The people around me – strangers, colleagues, friends, family
“Here’s to those who inspire you and don’t even know it”
• Music – ranging from Harry Styles to Bon Iver
Jim is the workshop leader for RPA ACT and teaches the ‘Drama’ section of Rapport. Jim is a trained Actor for the past 4 years, specialising in Film and TV. He has been lucky enough to be featured in a variety of popular TV shows such as; Dr Who, Casualty and This Country (his personal favourite). Jim loves to play sports in his down time and catch up on the latest movies at the cinema.
Born in Swindon, like many other leaders he attended Sixth Sense and under the watchful eye of Laura Barnes his love for Drama grew. Jim hopes to work in the arts developing young talent whilst attempting to be the next Leonardo DiCaprio.. or the first Jim Stretton.
He is in his first year at RPA so he has loved meeting all the performers and is looking forward to seeing new faces.
Jim is inspired by LOADS of practitioners and shows; including Frantic Assembly, Monty Python, “Who’s line is it anyway” when devising or improvising pieces. He uses a lot of Stanislavskian techniques when developing characters. But of course he takes inspiration and lesson advice from my previous tutors and also fellow leaders at RPA.
My name is Beth, I am 24 years old and a professional dancer/dance teacher from Swindon.
I trained for 3 years at a professional Performing Arts College where I learned singing, acting and many different styles of dance.
I started my dance career at age 19, when I was cast as a dancer for a professional pantomime. Just after graduating, I went to my first open casting call where I was hired for a job with Adidas and ASOS.
Subsequently, I’ve had amazing opportunities to work with incredible companies that include BBC, ITV and X-Factor. I also got to dance with the amazing Little Mix and Rak Su.
I am now a teacher; it’s my absolute dream and I love it! I’ve been teaching since I was 17, but really moved from the industry to focus on teaching about 3 years ago.
I have attended competitions, shows, live performances and many more and it is the most rewarding thing to do in the world. I strongly believe in making a difference to people’s mental health, showing love and compassion – something I feel was missing in my training.
The RPA ethos is everything I stand for and I look forward to my future here.
Hi, I’m Mollie. Growing up in Swindon, I got into theatre through Sixth Sense (now Prime) Youth Theatre and Summer Youth Projects at the Wyvern Theatre. I trained in Stage Management and Technical Theatre at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Since graduating, I have worked as a video technician both regionally and in London, as well as working in-house at the National Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre. It is a pleasure to be able to contribute to companies like RPA Rapport, who are providing opportunities like those I was so grateful to have when I was growing up .
I work in the Revolution Performing Arts Office supporting Fi and Matt. I completed my semi professional Dance training at the Foundation Dance Course at Swindon Town Hall and performing has always been close to my heart. I love to create, whether that’s dancing with my children or making up songs with them and I also really enjoy painting and upcycling furniture. I believe that all children should be given the opportunity to express themselves creatively and it is magical to witness the end product of their efforts at RPA. I have a child with disabilities and so I know how important it is for the arts to be inclusive. I love the ethos of Revolution Performing Arts, it fits in with my personal beliefs and is a lovely, genuine and warm company to work for and to work with.
My name is Meghan and I have been attending Revolution Performing Arts since I was 6 and now, 11 years later, I am working as a Business admin assistant with RPA. RPA has been a big part of my life and has helped me gain so much confidence for performing on stage and managing to do my first solo dance last year! I am so grateful for this opportunity to work with Fi, Sammy and Laura in the RPA office.
Things that inspire me are:
• The lovely Fi who is the founder of Revolution Performing Arts.
• All kinds of music ranging from Sam fender to Halsey –
• Books – reading expands my imagination and knowledge and helps me have an open mind.
I’m Hannah (Graffers) Grafton, a singer/dancer originally from North Yorkshire. After relocating to Swindon, I trained professionally for 3 years at a prestigious performing arts college and after graduating, went on to work professionally within the industry, both singing and dancing. Some of my credits include working with the likes of Louise Dearman and Kerry Ellis, as well as performing in prestigious venues around the UK including Old Trafford and Café de Paris.
I have always dreamt of performing, and I’m so happy to have found teaching along the way, which I’ve been doing now for years. Children are the future, and the RPA ethos means that young people have an opportunity to express themselves. They are given a voice and most importantly, are heard.
I teach Street Dance and Performing Arts Junior and Senior classes in Malmesbury! I look forward to my future with RPA!
I’ve loved performing arts from a very early age and I spent much of my childhood at dance classes. I graduated from Exeter University in 2011 with a first class BA(Hons) degree in Drama. I then trained to be a secondary Drama and English (PGCE), before taking up my first teaching post in west Swindon. I spent four years teaching KS3, GCSE and Alevel Drama, including a couple of years as Head of Drama.
In 2015, I joined Swindon theatre company Gatecrash Theatre. I performed in ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Breathing Corpses’, and enjoyed inviting my Drama classes to come and watch! I also directed ‘Constellations’, performed at the Swindon Arts Centre and the Alma Tavern, in Bristol.
I left formal education in 2016 to work at English Heritage, using active learning approaches to bring history to life for school groups of all ages visiting historic places. I keep my passion for performing arts education alive by working as a freelance workshop facilitator.
I love the buzz of being in a drama studio while creative collaborations are happening. I believe passionately in the arts and their ability to transform the lives of the people who take part, and society at large.
My childhood dance teacher, Sarah-Jane Bullock, has always been a teaching hero of mine. My school drama teacher, Kayley Button, had great belief in me and is a champion for student-centered learning.
I love the work of the late Sir Ken Robinson whose ideas, about building an education system that gives a higher status to the arts and creativity, are needed now more than ever.
I’m really drawn to physical theatre styles and some of my big influences are Jasmin Vardimon, Frantic Assembly and DV8 Physical Theatre (Lloyd Newson)
Vicki completed her dance training at Millennium Performing Arts (MPA). She is now an independent dance artist with a Level 6 Diploma in Dance Teaching and Learning (DDTAL) & a Level 3 Diploma in Counselling. As well as teaching Vicki set up and delivered two level 3 qualification and a teaching Qualification at level 6. Past work includes working as a Programme Coordinator for Swindon Dance Centre for Advance Training Programme (CAT). Followed by the role of Head of IPS & Social Media, Foundation Course Coordinator and Audition Secretary at MPA.
Vicki was a dancer and founding member of Sole Rebel Tap and Swerve Dance Theatre Company. She has worked with Curious Company and choreographer Marie-Louise Flexen on a variety of corporate events, festivals and street theatre. With over 17 years of teaching experience Vicki has taught in many settings; including the Swindon Dance, Marlborough College International Summer School and Millennium Performing Arts.
RPA takes seriously its responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of children and young people in its care. For this reason we work in partnership with an independent Safeguarding Consultant, Sarah Turner. Sarah has a career which spans education. Having been a teacher for 10 years, she worked as the safeguarding Adviser for Education in Swindon until 2015, when she left to create Sarah Turner Consulting. She works alongside schools and education providers to ensure safeguarding procedures are robust and provides training for staff working with children and young people.