meet | the | team

Claire Pulpher

Artistic Director & Choreographer

After spending over 15 years in the performing arts industry, Claire has found herself everywhere: on stage, off stage, in front of - and behind - the camera, directing, choreographing, producing, and writing.

Claire ran her own successful dance and performance business from the age of 15, where she taught dance at all levels from beginners to advanced, aged 3-85, and private lessons to competitors.

In 2009, Claire won the World Championships in Choreography and the UK Championships in Division 4 line, performing Cha Cha Cha, Waltz, and West Coast Swing.

Claire trained in Musical Theatre at The Oxford School of Drama, and has since performed in critically acclaimed shows, including The Addams Family, Dogfight, Ghost, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd and The Buddy Holly Story. Claire's professional credits include Jesus Christ Superstar (Director), Chess the Musical (Choreographer) and upcoming feature film Trapped Magic: The Broken Blade, where she will play the antagonist, Sallianne.

John Atkin

Musical Director & Pianist

With over 45 years' performing experience, John has directed more than 140 theatre productions and orchestral concerts ranging from Sondheim to Sibelius. Most recently, John has directed Evita, Chess, Jesus Christ Superstar, La Traviata, Cabaret, and The Selby Abbey Proms.  

Born and bred in York, he studied Music in Leeds, Harrogate & Bath and first worked professionally at York Theatre Royal as an off-stage Bass Trombonist for the City Opera Group. After graduating, John was based in the South West for nine years and worked for Bath Theatre Royal, Bristol Hippodrome, the BBC, The National Trust, Bath Spa University and as a soloist with The Amadeus Orchestra in 1992.   

Since returning to York, John has worked with many local companies across the North and is currently the MD for York Musical Theatre Company and Ripon Amateur Operatic Society. He has previously been Conductor of the York Light Orchestra, York Opera, Bristol Light Opera, Keynsham Orchestra and Ebor Brass. As a Pianist, John has worked regularly with Echo42 Big Band, The John Miller Big Band, The Michael Da Costa Singing Academy and York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir. He has also worked as Accompanist in Concert or Workshop for ENO and Opera North Soprano Sarah RedgwickMusical Supervisor John Rigby and Broadway Performers Natalie Weiss and Danielle Steers. John is now a Freeman of the City of York and has performed in front of the Her Majesty the Queen, Princess Beatrice, Sir Michael Tippett and the 1996 England Rugby Union Squad

As well as his performance work, John is a Senior International Moderator for a leading examinations board, a Trustee for the Joseph Rowntree Theatre and most recently has worked as Assistant MD and Consultant in Musical Theatre for SLP College, Leeds.