Composer, Writer and Lyricist
“Not with these knees…”
Dan is a writer and musician and was born in Isleworth, Middlesex on 4th January 1976. Dan won a music and academic scholarship to St Paul’s School, London, where his performing arts career had an inauspicious start, debuting as ‘Josephine’ in his school’s production of HMS Pinafore. Things picked up slightly the following year when he won the audience award for ITV’s Wide Awake Club Young Entertainer’s competition.
He graduated with a medical degree from Southampton University in 1999 and has written, produced, directed and performed in fifteen medical comedy revues. With a group of fellow medics, he co-wrote and performed Aeneas Ran Away with the Bearded Theatre Company which enjoyed a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He has written innumerable songs, comedy sketches and founded, managed and played guitar, keyboards and occasional didgeridoo in his band Hooper Minor.
He was lead actor and associate producer for the short film Top of the World, directed by Jonathan Bernstein. This had its debut screening at BAFTA and won the audience award at Manchester’s KinoFilm festival in spring of this year.
He has been firm friends with Rob Pratt since one fateful orchestra course at Cranleigh School in 1990. After being each other’s best men, The Decent Rogues was their next successful full-scale collaboration, winning the prestigious NODA awards for ‘Best Musical’ and ‘Outstanding Achievement’. Pencoweth was Dan’s next collaboration with Rob and received nominations for ‘Best Musical’ and ‘Outstanding Choral Singing’. Pencoweth premiered at Bath’s Rondo Theatre in September 2013 and transferred to the wonderful Minack Theatre in May 2014. Dan wrote ‘A Christmas Story’, a nativity musical, for his children’s school in Bath which received its premiere, again at the Rondo theatre, in December 2016. He is currently preparing his fourth full-scale musical – details currently top-secret!
He brings in the rent by working as a GP surgeon and lives in Bath with his wife, Jo, and two children, Amy and Ben. His cat, Percy, is considerably less musical than his namesake in The Decent Rogues.
Composer, Writer and Lyricist
“Is there any gin in that trunk?”
Music has always been a huge part of Rob’s life, whether as a performer, writer, arranger or retailer. Born in Paddington on April 25th 1975, he made quick progress on clarinet and piano at prep school which saw him offered a Music Scholarship to City of London Freemen’s school in Ashtead, where he made his debut aged 15 as Professor Higgins in the senior school production of My Fair Lady. He was a multiple winner of the Chamber Music for Schools competition, a Soloist with Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra, and achieved his Performers Diploma on the Clarinet aged 19 whilst studying Music at Birmingham University.
As a grown up, Rob has enjoyed success playing bass guitar and songwriting in various ensembles, composing for the piano and other instrumental groups, playing ukulele with his group SUSBUS at venues such as the Christchurch Festival, playing woodwinds in professional touring theatre pit bands, playing orchestral clarinet with the Westminster Philharmonic, and teaching instruments, theory and composition to various unfortunates.
Rob met Dan Lashbrook at band camp at the age of sixteen on the clarinet desk whereupon a lifetime of collusion on matters musical started. He owns a highly successful musical instrument shop in Bournemouth, ‘Music is Life’, which includes the Southern Ukulele store – one of the world’s leading ukulele outlets. He is a husband to Jo and father to Tessa, Henry and Barnaby. He owns a world class collection of bass guitars, some of which he occasionally plays.
“A princess in a Pilchard Palace!”
Petra grew up immersed in local theatre in Bath then left to study drama in London. After graduating she created the “Rough and Ready” Theatre company which toured venues around London, Bath and also the Edinburgh Festival. Following this, Petra sang in many cabaret venues and appeared in the British premiere of “Nine” at The Royal Festival Hall with Jonathan Pryce and also sang on the recording. In-between singing gigs, Petra started to work within the Really Useful Group on various shows in the West End, including “Aspects of Love,” and “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. The production of “Joseph” lasted much longer than planned and resulted in a UK tour.
Following “Joseph”, Petra worked within James Grant Management Group and JGM Talent – assisting clients and casting photographic, extra and walk-on artists for leading TV productions.
On moving to Devon, opportunities arose to work with The New Theatre Company undertaking directing and acting courses and whilst there Petra trained as a teacher and ran a drama department at a local residential school for children with little or no sight producing full scale musicals such as “Bugsy Malone,” “Treasure Island” and “Oliver.” The circle was completed five years ago with a return to Bath – in a short time Petra has produced, performed and directed for the award-winning Encore Northenders Theatre Company in Batheaston and also appeared as Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd at the Theatre Royal Bath and as Peppermint Patty in “Snoopy” at The Rondo Theatre both productions winning NODA awards for Best Musical.
Petra is a Freelance Theatre Director – working as Artistic Director of Magic Penny Productions (a company providing workshops and bespoke productions accessing the history curriculum through drama), Production Director for Music is Life Productions Ltd (The Decent Rogues and Pencoweth) , Director of the Midsomer Norton Theatre Company and Youth Company Director for The Merrimen Theatre Group.
In August 2013 Petra was commissioned to form a community theatre company in a local town, Midsomer Norton adaptting Midsummer Night’s Dream as part of the RSC Open Stages Project to bring a large scale community theatre project to life in June 2014.
Petra is a fully trained teacher, having lectured for Bath Dance College, Bath College and also spent time specialising in developing Creative Curriculum access for people with profound and multiple learning difficulties and sensory impairment.
As well as her work as a private drama tutor, Petra regularly reviews Theatre for the online publications Theatre Bath, Guide2Bath, Remote Goat and whatsonstage.com.