Testimonials

With over thirty years of experience between us we have had the pleasure of working with thousands of young people and empowered many successful staff. We are proud of our legacy, here is your chance to read their thoughts.

Students

Sally and Anne have always played a huge part in my performing arts development. Their classes were always fun and inspiring. I received valuable advice from Sally regarding which dance institute to audition for and I was thrilled to get a place at the Northern school of contemporary Dance. Studying and training with Anne and Sally gave me the confidence to pursue a career in dance and theatre and I couldn’t be more grateful

I can never express the appreciation I have for Sally and what she has done for me as a performer and a person. For someone to go beyond their ‘job’ and to take the time to actually listen is a rare trait to have. The care she holds for her students, including myself, is astounding. Her support stemmed from teaching me from a young age to assisting me throughout my professional career and I hope to collaborate with Sally in the near future for upcoming projects. I feel that if it was not for the support and care from Sally and others, I would not be in the position I am in now; studying dance at a university degree level, creating my own pieces of work. I cannot thank her enough.

When I first met Anne I didn’t have any interest in the performing arts. I had a lot of energy and confidence which usually meant I was the class clown but Anne pushed me to channel that by taking A-level drama. There were probably times when she may have regretted that decision as I’m sure I didn’t make her life easy, but she pushed me and challenged me to put my talent to good use and I did achieve my A-Level goal. While my career since has not followed the acting route, I am in no doubt that the skills I obtained are still used to this day. My job sees me delivering presentations to key stakeholders within one of the largest banking groups in the UK, therefore it is imperative that when centre stage to a room full of important executives, I am able to be calm, confident and ensure I am communicating effectively. And because the thrill of being on stage never really leaves you, I am an active member of an amateur dramatics society taking part in several shows a year.

I started a new school in year 8, everyone had already found their groups of friends and found their feet; needless to say I felt like a very little fish in a huge ocean. Coming from a broken family and not a great start in life I was a little lost and angry with life. I didn’t know who I was or where I belonged, then I discovered drama and performing arts, the only place I felt at home and fitted in, I felt alive. Anne made me believe in myself and pushed me to do the best I could and gave me the confidence I longed for. That’s when the bug started, I lived for performing, I couldn’t get enough of it! In one particular production I learnt everyone else’s lines and when one of the girls fell sick I stepped in and played her part- it was the best feeling ever! I built an amazing relationship with Anne and Sally and went on to study A level Performing Arts. It’s because of them I have the best childhood memories of being on stage and all the productions, we were like a family. I cannot recommend them highly enough, they gave me the confidence I needed to go on to adulthood believing in myself and ‘oozing ‘ confidence. My huge love for theatre is from their influence and it’s rubbed off on my children. I can’t thank Anne and Sally enough, if I hadn’t had fallen in love with drama my life could’ve headed in a negative direction.

“Performing arts will change your life” is one of the truest things I’ve ever been told! At a low point it gave me the confidence to keep going and the support and encouragement from Anne helped me become a strong independent woman! I truly can’t thank her enough!

Have Confidence in your ability to strive! Becoming confident and having self belief was instilled in me through drama and performance. This has continued throughout my life and helped me overcome challenges life brings.

Anne taught me Performing Arts for four years – I loved every minute of it. It has helped me become a more confident and assertive person, given me the patience and maturity to successfully work with the trickiest of teams and shown me the value and importance of creative experiment.

Nearly ten years later, the skills she taught me are still helping me progress in my career as Prospect Research Manager at The National Gallery and have given me a love of theatre and drama that will never fade.

Ultimately, it was great fun with a great teacher.

I’ve always been in love with Performing Arts but lost my confidence when I started Secondary School. Through the support of Anne and Sally I found my confidence and was reintroduced to the world of song, dance and performance. I had the best times in their classes! Thank you guys

Anne and Sally were my GCSE Drama and A Level Performing Arts teachers in secondary school. They both inspired and encouraged me to pursue my own career in teaching.

Not only did they go above and beyond in the delivery of the curriculum they freely gave their precious time for additional study, trips and excursions.

Their attention to detail, professional support and personable rapport enabled me to grow in confidence and played a huge part in the young woman and teacher I have become.

I am so grateful to the teachers I had at school for where I am now. I have since trained with Fourth Monkey Theatre Company in London and have worked on and off in the industry a couple of years now but it was Anne and Sally who really set me on the path to where I am right now.

They allowed theatre and performing arts to be something more than just an escape or a fun subject, rather, through them, it became something accessible, tangible and enriching. Performing, watching and creating theatre with them gave me the drive and inspiration to pursue an acting career.

It also gave a frustrated kid an outlet for creativity, a purpose during tougher times and a confidence that has carried me through auditions and applications within the industry and plenty of experiences outside of it. When things were difficult- it was these people that picked me up, dusted me off and showed me that the show must and really could go on.

Anne taught me that Doctor Theatre could be a very real thing! Looking back, what shines through is the care they had and have, the care for not only performing arts but what it can and should do for young people.

Northern Arts Factory sounds like exactly what we need more of, and with these people at the helm it’s sure to be of such high quality. As a producer would say, “With talent like that, this should run and run and run”

‘Performing Arts became a massive part of my life at high school. The fantastic team supported me in instilling the valuable skills I now possess as a primary school teacher. I am a strong believer that without my performing arts experiences I would not have matured into becoming such a confident, open minded and passionate person in all aspects of my life, not just my career.

As a boy I didn’t feel like a fitted in as I wasn’t confident in myself and didn’t feel that I could communicate my intentions or thoughts with others. With the help of Anne and Sally I found a world where I could escape to a world where I was someone else someone who was confident and in control. In later life I have developed and used these skills in everyday life to help with the affects of living with autism. Anne and Sally have not only help me gain these skills but also showed me the arts have shaped our lifestyles and this has led me into working with local drama societies and theatres as I continue with today.

Sally and Anne were among the few teachers who wanted to see their pupils grow and become whatever they wanted to be. As someone who considered themselves to be an introvert, these guys were able to help and inspire me to become more confident, not only in the arts, but also in day to day life.

Without the influence of Anne and Sally during my secondary school years I feel that I would not have continued to follow my dream of a Performing Arts career, they taught me to go after what I wanted from life and inspired me to teach others to do the same.

Over 10 years ago Anne and Sally were my Performing Arts teachers. Performing Arts is not something you simply benefit from in the classroom, it influences who you become (for the better!). The Arts gave me confidence and some of the best experiences of my life- The opportunities are endless. There’s something special about the friendships you develop when you are part of this field. Anne and Sally’s welcoming, friendly and supportive approach make you feel at ease immediately. If you have the opportunity to work with them – DO IT!

“I was lucky enough to be taught by this duo in high school. Their fun loving approach to dance and drama utterly inspired me to continue through to complete my BA in Performance. Both Anne and Sally have a nurturing and attentive approach to their facilitation and teaching which undeniably developed and honed my performance abilities, not to mention boosted my confidence both in and out of the classroom as I emotionally and developmentally matured throughout the school years. I am eternally thankful to Sally and Anne for always encouraging me to aim high, do my best and reach my goals and, as I now work professionally in the performance industry I frequently rely on those skills that were taught to me from the very beginning!”

When I first moved to the UK in 2005 at the tender age of 14 I was overwhelmed by the culture shift that I was met with in Bradford. The food, accent, humour and most importantly the weather were a thousand miles from what I was used to and what I knew back home in the warm heart of Africa. I was thrust in head first at school and would often get funny looks when I spoke as my accent was different to everybody else’s. This caused me to feel extremely isolated and cower into my shell. The turning point for me and what truly made me gain my confidence again was going to Drama and Dance class. At my last school, I had always loved Drama and never had a shortage of confidence but I felt extremely shy in this new environment. I was never allowed to be shy with Anne and she always encouraged me to express myself and be open and what helped the most is she treated us all as equals and I slowly stopped feeling like I was the outsider looking in. She was relatable and understanding and it felt as though she valued our opinions and really revelled in us using our imagination to create something unique. Every lesson felt like it had been planned meticulously and you always left class feeling like you’d developed an additional skill not just in acting but in communicating or active listening.
In dance Sally was not afraid to try new things and pushed for us to get our creative juices flowing. Participating in rock challenge (and causing us to lose – I’m still so sorry) made me feel like I was part of a family rather than with my peers. It was not always easy, a lot of time and effort was required but nothing great ever comes easily. Sally would happily work over and above her required hours if we needed her to just so we could get that extra support we needed in our final exams.
Sally and Anne truly care for the students they work with and want them to deliver the best that they can. The amount of effort and dedication they put into not only creating incredible pieces of drama and dance but also supporting hundreds of students at a time is immeasurable. I can honestly say with complete sincerity, I would not be the outspoken, confident and strong woman I am if it wasn’t for those incredible teachers.

Anne has always been my number one fan ever since being her drama student back in high school, she really encouraged me to pursue my dreams, work hard and develop my skills not just as an actor but as a person. Anne really helped me grow and understand my environment and what I could do with my life. Because of her guidance, her remarkable faith in her students she pushed me to become the person who I am today, a strong and confident individual and a professional actor working within the industry.

I always look back on my days in high school and think about how my journey began and is still continuing, I can’t thank Anne enough for really pulling out the passion within me and what I can do as an actor and creative thinker.

You know the kid who has two left feet and can’t act, but REALLY wants to do an A-level in performing arts… that was me! Thanks to Anne & Sally’s support, I achieved it.
Anne always went above and beyond to provide support for me, which resulted in me gaining the confidence to study a degree in performance theatre, something that I very much doubt would have happened without her. It was through this that I developed a passion for community theatre, and I now get to work every day to see the positive impact that theatre and arts can have on young people experiencing mental ill health.
I still have two left feet and can’t act, but neither can Keira Knightley and look how successful she is.

One of my best experiences of Secondary school was being able to enter Rock Challenge. It is something that I will never forget and it inspired me to enter the competition with the school I now work at so I could give the students the same experience. Dance and Drama were always made enjoyable which helped me develop a passion for the subjects. Mrs Harrington and Mrs Reily are passionate about the arts and I am confident that they will inspire the students they work with. Teacher of English and Drama

Performing Arts has given me the confidence and skills that have brought me success in life such as: financial security, travelling the world and making countless friends from different walks of life!
Even though I drive fancy cars, wear expensive jeans and summer in the winter on tropical islands; I would trade all of that in, in an instant for the feel of the stage, the heat of the spotlight, the smell of the theatre, the sound of the audience, and the direction and wisdom of the world’s best performing arts teacher, Anne.

The best memories of my life were not the time I was on a beach South Thailand on for new year or the first time I drove a Ferrari but the times I sacrificed my christmas holidays to rehearse in the theatre!

Anyone that doesn’t experience that… who isn’t coached by Anne is truly deprived!!! Best time of my life..

Anne Reilly is one of the main reasons why I pursued a career as a professional actress. Her passion and innovative approach to drama teaching allowed me to gain confidence when approaching classical texts;Shakespeare, Greek Chorus and Post Modernism.

During her time of teaching me at Tong School she consistently gave all of her time, energy and patience to produce outstanding theatrical productions. Sparkleshark was definitely the highlight. An unforgettable piece of theatre that combined storytelling with physical theatre.

When leaving Tong School Anne spent a lot of time helping me to prepare my applications for drama school/university. I cannot thank her enough for her generosity and hard work.

Since graduating with A BA hons Performance in 2010 I have consistently worked as a professional actress and drama facilitator. TV credits include;Casualty, Doctors, The Johnny and Inel show, Bull and Coronation Street. My next feature film debut will be next year starring in the British Comedy Eaten
By Lions.

As well as drama,dance was a fundamental part of my training. Sally Harrington was a brilliant teacher that made me gain confidence in my ability. She was a patient teacher that pushed me to challenge myself as a performer. I particularly remember the struggles I had with Contemporary technique. Sally consistently spent time with me to go through technical exercises that I found much more difficult to achieve.

I also have to thank Sally for the amazing performance opportunities. My earliest memory would have to be the catwalk performance at The Royal Armouries Leeds. I remember being one of the youngest in the group but she asked me to be part of the performance as she believed in my ability. From this we went on to compete in various dance competitions, Rock Challenge and Haycliffe Dance Festival.

The highlight of my training with Sally would definitely be our final dance showcase. The array of styles we manage to pack into one show was phenomenal. My favourite would definitely have to be our physical theatre piece to raise awareness of mental illness. I still look back now with a fond memory that at such a young age we were able to choreograph a poignant piece of dance that is relative today. Thanks Sally!

Being taught by Sally Harrington was a life changing experience. It opened my eyes to a whole other way of being that I didn’t know existed through the usual education system. It inspired me to train as a professional dancer (MA and degree) and since then I have been fortunate enough to dance for a living. I have toured with several companies World Wide including Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake and currently freelance in the UK, mainly working as a core member of Barrowland Ballet in Scotland. This year I will be performing in ten countries on five continents-it’s a dream career I never knew possible before learning from Sally!

Colleagues

It was an absolute pleasure working with Sally and Anne for ten years. They are both outstanding practitioners, consistently delivering high quality lessons that are based on mutual respect, challenge, differentiation and, above all the progress of the students.

Through regular training and CPD, Sally and Anne have been able to remain at the forefront of pedagogy and educational concepts. They are extremely hard-working, conscientious and honest professionals. In addition to their own teaching expertise, they have a proven track record of developing colleagues within their teams.

Sally and Anne have overseen excellent student progress in their classes and departments. Students they have taught have gone on to careers in the performing arts industries but, first and foremost, their students have completed full-time education with an improved understanding, awareness and, most importantly, enjoyment of dance and drama. They place the holistic development of the individual at the heart of their teaching. I would highly recommend their services to any educational establishment.

Anne and Sally’s passion for the arts and education has taught me a lot. There are some people who you meet in your professional life that inspire you and are always there for you – Anne and Sally are those people. Anne and Sally both have the ability to create an energy and a buzz that makes good things happen.  They both work extremely hard and lead by example, inspiring those around them to go the extra mile needed for success.   As a result of this, Performing Arts have become a hub for students to become dancers; actors and musicians. This however is not their only goal. Sally and Anne are passionate in developing  young people’s confidence; resilience and interpersonal skills for whatever they may do in future – Performing Arts is the vehicle they use in order to do this.

Sally is an exceptional practitioner whose core values are based around endless motivation, exhaustive challenge and the desire to make young people successful. In the nine years of working with Sally, these core values were never compromised. Sally is one of the most inspirational practitioners I have worked with and she has the skillset to encourage and enrich an extensive range of students (whether that be linked to their educational, emotional or social requirements). Sally is clearly a teacher who has a relish for her chosen career.

I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with Anne and Sally since 2009. In that time, I haveseen countless children inspired, develop and grow in confidence through their dedication to theperforming arts. Anne and Sally’s success in lessons, whole school productions and extracurricular performing arts sessions was mirrored by the amount of regional and national awards that werewon and the continuation of many young people into successful performing arts careers.

Both Anne and Sally have the rare ability to be able to connect with all the young people that theywork with which enables them to have fun and learn from their wealth of knowledge. I look forwardto seeing the Northern Arts Factory inspire many young people in the future.

I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with Anne and Sally since 2009. In that time, I haveseen countless children inspired, develop and grow in confidence through their dedication to theperforming arts. Anne and Sally’s success in lessons, whole school productions and extracurricular performing arts sessions was mirrored by the amount of regional and national awards that werewon and the continuation of many young people into successful performing arts careers.

Both Anne and Sally have the rare ability to be able to connect with all the young people that theywork with which enables them to have fun and learn from their wealth of knowledge. I look forwardto seeing the Northern Arts Factory inspire many young people in the future.

Anne and Sally are two of the most vibrant, creative and passionate women I have had the pleasure to work with. Their commitment to developing the creative minds of our young children is faultless and their expertise in their fields shine through their work. They truly put everything in to their students and their futures. They are simply amazing!

Working alongside Sally has been inspirational. She likes to empower her staff and provides a creative learning environment for all of her students. Sally is respected by all and I believe this is down to the determination and passion she consistently demonstrates.

Sally is a true professional. She has an exceptional relationship with her students and this is seen through the mutual respect and engagement in each lesson that she teaches. Under the leadership and guidance of Sally, I have developed so much as a Performing Arts teacher.

The foundation for learning is built upon nurturing self belief, and inspiring others to achieve their dreams. I feel lucky enough to say that during my time as a trainee teacher 10 years ago Sally and Anne helped guide and coach me to achieve both these things and for that I am very grateful.

Sally and Anne are hard working, dedicated practitioners who put the students they teach at the heart of everything they do. Their work is always of an outstanding quality – seen through the many students they have taught working professionally in the industry, and more importantly they understand the benefits the arts have to develop young people in becoming confident, happy and motivated to achieve their dreams. I now look forward to when my own children are old enough to attend Northern Arts Factory as I am confident it is the very best dance and drama tuition around!

I have had the pleasure of working with Sally and Anne for many years. What strikes me about their approach to Performing Arts is how they make it so inclusive. My own experience at school was that dance and drama was for the few. When taught by Anne and Sally, the opposite is the case and Performing Arts is accessible to all and enriches the lives of many. I have seen first hand the confidence, joy and achievement they have given so many children.

They have an infectious passion for the arts and a commitment to building confidence and self-belief. That’s not to say they don’t strive for academic excellence too. They have impeccably high standards in all that they do and I am sure that the Northern Arts Factory will see a new generation of budding performers, not to mention a new round of leaders and teachers who will continue to learn from their skilful approach and expertise.

My class had an amazing time with the Northern Arts Factory. The staff were incredible, really engaging, creative and professional. The workshop they created for us was bespoke and fit in with our work on Peter Pan brilliantly. The whole performance was so well choreographed and thought out, but the ladies were brilliant at adapting their plans to fit our children and set up, such as using the pirate ship we had built in the hall as a set and incorporating specific children’s acting, dancing and gymnastics talents into the final performance.

The parents who came to watch were amazed by what they saw, as they couldn’t believe the children had learnt a spoken section, movement piece and fight scene combined together into one fabulous performance in just one day.

The children couldn’t stop talking about it all week and the writing that it inspired was some of the best the children have produced all year. I couldn’t recommend the Northern Arts Factory highly enough.

The Year 5 children thoroughly enjoyed their ‘play in a day’ experience. As a teacher, it was wonderful to see their confidence and production evolve within the high paced fun-filled day. The children are still singing some of the songs in the playground.

As a school we needed to target Writing achievement as progress last year was not in-line with Maths or Reading. Staff felt that they needed new inspiration and wanted to change their pedagogical approach to the teaching of writing. The school council and pupil voice of the school had requested more fun lessons and more opportunities for drama and dance.

We decided to try Northern Arts Factory as a way of linking PE and Writing together. After an initial planning meeting with Sally and Ann, we targeted Year 3 and Year 4. We chose these particular cohorts as we felt, as a SLT, that these two classes needed some fresh writing ideas and an extra “push” with their learning. The two class teachers were receptive to the initiative and welcomed the CPD being offered. The performing arts and drama approach, linked to the whole class writing genres being taught in class, empowered the two members of staff and the children to strive for excellence.

Sally and Ann are well resourced, well prepared and extremely knowledgeable. The children and staff have thoroughly enjoyed the weekly sessions. The children’s speaking and listening skills have all improved, along with their confidence to talk about the story narrative or particular writing extract. A fantastic example of this was when the Year 4 children were creating monologues. They were so engaged with the task many of the children learnt their full speech so well they could recite it to the rest of the class verbatim!

We have now decided, as a school, to roll out this approach to other year groups in school. The costs of the package are extremely competitive and offer excellent value for money. The staff receive high quality CPD and the children are taught by outstanding practitioners. I would definitely recommend Northern Arts Factory to other schools.

Want to help your child blossom, learn and shine?

Get in touch