Judges

Luis de Abreu AISTD, PGCE, MA, FRSA

Principal and Artistic Director of Bird College

Head Judge

Luis trained professionally in dance and musical theatre at Bird College under the direction of Doreen Bird, and he then went on to train in acting at the Poor School. Other training has included a Script and Story Structure Course with Robert McKee, Approaches to Physical Theatre at Middlesex University a Mask Workshop with the Pleiades Company and Kasm Mask, and Commedia dell’Arte with Antonio Fava. He has also completed an MA in Physical Theatre at the University of Surrey and Royal Holloway University of London, and a PGCE at Canterbury Christ Church University College. 

As a director, he has worked on Hands Across the Sea, Bouncers, Barnum, The Wiz, The Owl and the Pussycat, Line, Teechers, Infidelities!, Road, Habeus Corpus, Private Wars, Commedia dell’Arte, Children of Eden, The Life, I love you, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Fascinating Rhythms, Who Could Ask for Anything More?, Bat Boy, Kiss Me Kate, Songs for a New World, Legends, Icons and Idols, 42nd Street, Sweet Charity, Elegies, Noitamina, Crazy for You, Fame The Musical, Burlesque and other Distractions, Hello Dolly, Footloose, Broadway Then and Now, West Side Story, Curtains, Hooray for Hollywood, Cabaret, Hot Mikado, Joie De Vivre,  Addams Family, Wonderlands, Seasons, Chorus Line, Cirque, Parade, Damn Yankees!, Destinations, and Wars. Other productions include choreography and direction for Dentro Da Minha Cabeça and choreography for Metamorphosis (Dance Theatre). 

He Joined the Bird College in 1996 and was later promoted to Head of Acting and Performance Studies. He was also Agency Manager for Bird Personnel Management from 1998 – 2005. He was appointed Deputy Principal and Artistic Director of Bird College in 2005. He was External Examiner for St Mary’s College, Surrey University from 2005 -2009 and currently for the Institute of the Arts Barcelona. 

Luis was appointed an Executive Director and Trustee of Bird College in October 2008 and Deputy CEO in June 2015, became Principal and Artistic Director of the College in 2022. Luis is also a regular adjudicator for Dance World Cup, Dance England, TDCI, Global Dance and is a proud Patron and head judge of Supreme Dance Competitions.

Jessica Levin

Bird College Judge

Jessica graduated from Bird College in 2016, and after a short run of Spamalot (Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells), returned to work at the college later that year.

Whilst providing support to Luis De Abreu, Joint Principal and Artistic Director, Jessica now works closely with both students and staff to organise and maintain the timetable, scheduling and communication within the college. In addition to her role at Bird College, Jessica works closely with the Be. Training Programme in the role of industry partner, supporting students in their rise to professional training as well as being a member of their audition panel. In her free time, Jessica also teaches young performers in Musical Theatre, Jazz and professional development.

 

 

Matt Walker

Guest Judge

Matt Walker did his professional training at the Urdang Academy and is now an international choreographer, movement director, dancer and teacher with his weekly Ombrascura Dance company open class taking place at London’s Base Dance Studios. Matts combined performance and choreographic credits include The XFactor, The Brit Awards, Chris Brown, Cheryl, One Direction, Mariah Carey, DLush, Giggs, Conor Maynard, Joesph Reuben, Burberry, Paco Rabanne, Spotify, L’Oreal, ASDA, Argos, Sunkissed, Sky Sports, A League of Their Own, Britannia High, High School Musical, Cannes film festival, Wilderness festival UEFA, Rambert and many more. Matt is very passionate about training the next generation of dancers and currently teaches not just all over the world as a guest artist but at many of the uks top dance studios and colleges including Base Studios, Bird College, Stella Mann College, Italia Conti performing arts, The Urdang Academy, Guildford school of Acting, Hurtwood House, The Urban Dance School (UDS) & Ombrascura Dance Company.  

Credit List

Artists 

Chris Brown, Mariah Carey, Cheryl, One Direction, Giggs, Conor Maynard, D-Lush, Joseph Reuben 

Brands 

Burberry, Paco Rabanne, Spotify, L’Oreal, ASDA, Sunkissed, Fifa, Criminal, House of Fraser, Sky, Argos

TV Shows, Theatre & Film 

The Brit Awards, The XFactor, A League of Their Own, Britannia High, High School Musical, There’s something about movies, Cannes film festival, Wilderness festival

Training 

The Urdang Academy 

Teaching 

Pineapple Studios and Base Studios,Bird College and Conservatoire, Stella Mann College, Italia Conti performing arts, The Urdang Academy, Guildford school of Acting, Hurtwood House, The Urban Dance School (UDS) & Ombrascura Dance Company

 

 

Becky Herszenhorn

Guest Judge

Becky graduated from Bird College in 2012 and has been lucky enough to have consistently worked in the industry since. She has performed in several musicals on the West End and UK tours, such as playing Val in Chorus Line at the London Palladium, ensemble and cover Velma in Chicago, ensemble in The Last Tango with Vincent and Flavia and 42nd St at Theatre Royal Drury Lane. She has also worked in television having worked on different TV series such as the Sky Drama-You, Me and the Apocalypse and Galavant. She is also a commercial and voiceover artist having worked with lots of different big brands.

Becky now teaches for various different drama and musical theatre schools in and around London as well as other establishments around the UK. She has been an adiudicator for several different worldwide competitions and provides musical theatre workshops worldwide. Becky is very passionate about theatre and performing, and loves inspiring the next generation to work hard for their dreams.

 

 

Jonny Labey

Guest Judge

Jonny Labey is a multi-disciplined Jersey born actor who’s most likely known for playing Paul Coker in Eastenders in 2017.

Since Eastenders Jonny has played a lead in the original West End cast of Strictly Ballroom, won ITV’S Dance Dance Dance UK and most recently played Jerry Travers in Top Hat at the Mill at Sonning. Currently writing and directing feature film projects as well as a developing a one man play about Charlie Chaplin.

As a judge of CBBCs Taking The Next Step alongside Marlon Swoosh and Kimberly Wyatt, Jonny has judged many competitions including Move it and UDO and is excited to see what the Supreme contestants have in store.

 

 

Josie Lee

Guest Judge

After ten years performing professionally in the industry- credits include UK Tours, Cruise ships, panto and TV, Josie now works full time as a freelance choreographer, adjudicator and teacher, offering workshops and setting choreography for professional schools, colleges and associate programmes worldwide. She is part of the faculty for the UK’s biggest touring dance convention ‘Can You Dance’ and was the runner up in American Artist Blake McGrath’s worldwide choreography competition. She most recently choreographed ‘Dick Whittington’ for Evolution Productions and was an international mentor for the ‘RISE performance experience’ in Melbourne Australia for the third time.