Meet the team

KATY LIPSON – Head of Singing


Before setting up the producing company Aria Entertainment Katy was a vocal and repertoire coach at schools such as The Brit School, Trinity Laban and The London Theatre School.


She has taught on masterclasses for The Growing Studio, Kellanne Dance and for The Royal Central School Of Speech And Drama.


She worked as a freelance musical director for 5 years, working on UK and International tours of It’s A Wonderful Life, Hot Flush The Musical and The 12 Tenors amongst many London fringe productions.


Since then she has produced over 60 musicals including the UK Premiere of The Addams Family and The Toxic Avenger as well as all musicals at Hope Mill Theatre. She set up a renowned festival for new musical theatre called From Page To Stage in 2013.

Katy Lipson

JOSEPH HOUSTON – Head of Acting


Joseph trained at Mountview academy of theatre arts receiving a first class honours in musical theatre.


He has worked extensively in the musical theatre industry both in the UK and Internationally. He founded Hope Mill Theatre in 2015 and since then has produced many musicals at the venue as well as London transfers and commercial tours.


Joseph taught drama for 5 years for Stagecoach working with children from 5-18 and has also led many masterclasses for drama schools in London and Scotland. He is also a director.

Joseph Houston

WILLIAM WHELTON – Head of Dance 


William is very proud to have trained at Laine Theatre Arts receiving a Professional Diploma in Musical Theatre and Dance. After working as a performer for several years he opened Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester with his husband Joe.


Choreography credits include: Most recently the UK Tour of ‘Hair’; ‘Aladdin’  (Everyman, Cheltenham); the musical revue show ‘Putting it together’ (Hope Mill Theatre) and ‘It’s Only Life’  (Union Theatre, London). Other credits include ‘Hair’ (Hope Mill Theatre & The Vaults in London). Will was also nominated for an Offie for Best Choreography, Hair also won a WhatsOnStage Award for Best Off West End Production, ‘Pippin’ (Hope Mill Theatre, Southwark Playhouse). Will has been again nominated for an Offie for Best Choreography. ‘Parade’ (Hope Mill Theatre), Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella (Clonter Opera Theatre) and Our House (Union Theatre).

Will Whelton

CARRIE ELLIS – Lead Acting Tutor


Carrie trained at Arts Educational School London, she has had more than 37 years of a career performing in London’s West End, national UK tours, repertory theatre, television, radio, concerts and films.


Carrie now focuses most of her time instilling her knowledge and passion for performing to her students whilst also finding time for choreographing, master classes, audition technique, drama, musical theatre and directing shows in various colleges all over the country.


She is an adjudicator member of The British and International Federation of Festivals and an All England adjudicator.


Favourite roles include: Velma Kelly, ‘CHICAGO’, Carlotta, ’PHANTOM OF THE OPERA’, Jellylorum & Grizabella, ’CATS’ Lady Jacqueline, ‘ME AND MY GIRL’’ Peaches/Baby Jane, ’JERRY SPRINGER THE OPERA’, Golde, ‘FIDDLER ON THE ROOF,’ Lesley Pynchon, in the premier of ‘THE FIX’ Lianne Dexhleman’s, ‘GIGI’  Mavis, ‘STEPPING OUT’ Mrs. Molloy, ’THE MATCHMAKER’ Ida, ’HONK’  Consuela,’ WEST  SIDE STORY’ Cousin Hebe ‘HMS PINAFORE’ to name but a few. As well as numerous pantomimes including playing principal boys, baddies and fairies. Carrie has also been lucky enough to perform in concerts in Britain, Europe and on the QE2!


TV works includes: ‘Cutting It’,’ Highly Sprung’ ‘Tonight at 8.30’ ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘Jerry Springer the Opera’. On Radio: Lead roles in ‘Chorus Line’ ‘Follies’ ‘Sweet Charity’ and ‘Take It up the Octave’.

HANNAH SELBY HUGHES – Lead Singing Tutor


Hannah studied Musical Theatre at the London College of Music, and went on to sign with Artlen House Associates while performing.  After a few years of performing in various concerts, shows and touring companies, Hannah decided to start teaching voice full time.  She trained in teaching voice with Vocal Process, ran by respected voice teachers Dr Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher, and is one of their accredited teachers.  Hannah also gained a Licentiate in Teaching Musical Theatre from the London College of Music, and is currently undertaking her Masters at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire.


She has taught in various schools around the North West, namely the Hammond School, Edge Hill University, and Liverpool Theatre School, to name a few.  Hannah specialises in Musical Theatre, but regularlyteaches Classical, Pop, Jazz, Folk, Rock and Spoken Voice, along with leading choirs, teaching music theory, and running workshops.

JASON TINNEY – Lead Dance Tutor


Jason trained at The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge and The Royal Ballet Upper School, Covent Garden. During his time at The Royal Ballet school he performed with The Royal Ballet Company at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He also worked with Birmigham Royal Ballet Company and even performed at Windsor Castle for the Queen and the rest of the Royal family.


Jason then went on to train for a further 3 years at Laine Theatre Arts College and gained a Trinity Diploma in dance. During his time at Laine’s Jason won several awards including the Laura Gentilcore FDI Classical Ballet Award.


After graduating Jason was lucky to be in the original cast of “On Eagles Wings” which toured the UK & Ireland. Once the tour had ended Jason was lucky enough to be offered a job with the Australian agency Grayboy Entertainment with whom he worked for, for 6 years. Jason is now Assistant Artistic Director at Phil Winston’s Theatreworks in Blackpool and also choreographs for entertainment event company Winterworks Entertainment.