“Tight direction from Bates allows this vivacious cast to shine”
(Paper Moons – Union Theatre – Time Out 4-star review by Tamara Gausi)
''A few delicate performances, ably brought out by director Maria Bates, make for a highly moving spectacle.''
(Stay With Me – Greenwich Playhouse – Time Out review by Jonathan Gibbs)
''It is a drama that looks beyond the secret annex and doesn’t shy away from the brutal truth of what Anne Frank may have experienced next. During the interval someone was in tears; a testament to the power of the play that speaks volumes and says more than any critical review''
(Stay With Me – Greenwich Playhouse –Indie London)
''The fluency of the delivery of the dialogue is astonishing, and the directors (Maria Bates and Stuart Draper) have brought a remarkable example of Youth Drama to the Playhouse.''
(Stay With Me – Greenwich Playhouse – Kentish Times review)
''Enjoyable is hardly a word to be used in conjunction with a play about a group of children in a Nazi concentration camp, just before they are finally liberated. Moving is though. Add intensely. Intensely moving.''
(Stay With Me – Greenwich Playhouse Richard Woulfe UK Theatre Network Review)
''This really was a quite exceptional production. Though 71 years young, Shakespeare is only a recently tackled challenge by Sleaford Little Theatre but you wouldn’t have guessed that. Maria Bates the Director somehow managed to pull this epic production together, starting with Zoom rehearsals back in February and progressing to the venue more latterly, though only very recently with the entire cast. She really did achieve a ‘dream’ of a play'.
(Andrew Key - NODA)
''Director Maria Bates' version of Dr Faustus sparkled and this was the best production I have seen this year.''
(Peter Steptoe - Croydon Advertiser)
''Dr Faustus was a sexy and scary magical treat that astonished, amused, and entertained in equal measure. Unmissable.''
(Mark Campbell - Bromley Times)
“We had a brilliant time - shouting like idiots in all the right (and sometimes wrong) places, and I haven't laughed so much in months - I was a kid all over again! From the opening curtain (which took my breath away) to the closing bows, my only complaint was that it was too short.' (Audience member South London Theatre on Sleeping Beauty)
Maria is hugely passionate about the use of drama in education for all age groups and abilities.
She specialises in giving children and adults the opportunity to grow and develop their confidence, teamwork and communication skills through practical theatre training.
Maria has worked as a drama facilitator and director for over 25 years. Directed youth and adult productions, delivered performance arts scholarships, TIE shows and workshops, PPA cover and PSHE in dozens of schools, academies and theatres throughout London, the South East and Lincolnshire.
Youth Training Director and Child Protection Officer at South London Theatre for 3 years.
Directing large groups of children in shows, pantomimes and musical theatre including professional youth productions for Melmoth and South London Theatre at Greenwich Playhouse and the Union Theatre respectively.
Director of a Performance Arts Scholarship Programme for Red Onion Studios in Walthamstow which culminated in production at Stratford Circus.
Maria is co-founder of the Sleaford Little Theatre Academy alongside Joanne Moules.
Full DBS and Lincolnshire County Council Chaperone Licence held.
Other experience includes:
Working with children and teenagers who suffer from Asperger's, Dyspraxia and other special needs.
Youth drama and communications workshops implementing advanced behaviour management skills.
Working extensively with New Youth Theatre, Caboodle, Bigfoot Theatre Company and L’Ouverture for Theatre In Education.
Drama workshops for adults and professional actors for DEM and Southwark College.
Drama, Directing, Organic Theatre, Anti-Bullying, Transition, History, WW1 & WW2, Story-telling and Team Values. Ways Into Text (including Shakespeare), Theatre Marketing and Graphic Design.
What the teachers say
''We were delighted that the programme worked as well as we had hoped in every respect and we were extremely impressed by the students’ engagement and quality of work. Maria established a really good working relationship with all those involved and the project proved highly stimulating and challenging.''
(Roger Belton – Alford Grammar)
''I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Maria on behalf of year 6 for a fantastic workshop today. The children were completely engaged in the activity throughout the day and less academic children were able to access education through drama.''
(Evelyn Pope – Downfield School)
''Year 5 teachers did nothing but sing Maria's praises! They said the children loved the sessions, took part fully and had a wonderful time. Maria may not have realised, but there were some cases of children with 'extreme' behaviours in both classes, yet both teachers said the children were so engaged throughout that their problematic behaviour wasn't a remote issue!''
(Jamie Kelly - Chantry Primary Academy)
Jo achieved a National BTEC Diploma in Performing Arts and went on to work as part of the professional production team at the Birmingham School of Acting (formerly The Birmingham School of Speech & Drama, producing up to 15 full-scale productions a year and teaching Stage Management and
Within her 3 year role at the company, she was privileged to experience a wide array of roles from Dresser to Company Stage Manager – and learned the full truth in that ‘every role is
Since leaving the professional theatre to live in Sleaford and have her son she has been using her talents more ‘on stage’ rather than ‘back stage’ and has performed in many full-scale productions with local theatre companies.
Jo loves to direct and create and in December 2021, directed a full lenght musical Pantomime.
She is co-founder of the Sleaford Little Theatre Academy alongside Maria Bates, training and teaching the actors and performers of tomorrow.
We create groundbreaking unique productions and guide
children through their own theatrical journey, wherever they wish it to lead.
Her passion is for all things theatre, and her main expertise is back stage skills and technical theatre.
Jo believes that the arts are a vital creative outlet that MUST be nurtured and encouraged at all levels and is honoured to work alongside Maria at Pink Frog Theatre.