Welcome to Brightlights

Where the fun starts!

A safe, happy and welcoming theatre group where children of all ages can express themselves through singing, acting and dancing.

join us!

About Brightlights

Brightlights Youth Theatre is a very happy, friendly group where kindness to each other is encouraged, where friendships are founded, and where children aged from four to 18 can grow in confidence while being nurtured and supported.

Brightlights' founder, Leah Clarke, has created a welcoming theatre group for children of all abilities. Besides singing, acting and dancing, children learn to be part of a team and gain communicative skills so they can express themselves with confidence. Leah is also proud to be able to offer LCM examinations in music theatre, drama and popular music.

Brightlights meets on Wednesdays during term time at Brightlingsea Community Centre.
Brightlings for 4-6 year-olds and our Junior Group for 6-9 year-olds take place between 4.30-6pm. Pre-seniors and seniors runs from 6 -7.30pm. We also run themed performance workshops during the holidays.

Brightlights produces an annual show in which all children are welcome to take part. Students are encouraged to participate in local community events such as regattas, carnivals, fetes and festivals.

If you would like your child to join a vibrant, happy and friendly group then please get in touch. We offer a free first trial session!

Meet the Brightlights Team

Leah Clarke


Leah has trained in drama and musical theatre with the London College of music and has sung from a very young age enjoying a varied career and singing all around the UK and Europe.
Leah is married and has four sons her greatest accomplishment and all work in the industry or in studies.
Leah learnt most from her sons on how children get the very best out of performing and has seen first- hand how performing arts has enhanced their lives.
Leah has worked many years teaching in theatre schools but always had it in her heart how she would like her own theatre school to be.
Leah is passionate about the therapeutic side of theatre and music. She worked on a children's mental health and behavioural unit for three years teaching singing and drama and this changed her whole outlook on what a positive impact the performing arts can be and the improvements made on a person. Leah wanted to incorporate her experience into delivering a service to children of all abilities, children with additional needs and to make children feel included and improve their sense of well-being.
Leah also works for Essex Music services as a vocal coach and is also employed by Essex to work with vulnerable young people which she finds immensely rewarding.
Leah has immense energy and loves nothing more than to put together shows that children can immerse themselves into and grow with confidence. It is the best job ever!

Shannon Searle


Shannon has been performing for over 20 years now, attending performing arts school as a child and studying a varied mixture of dance, acting and singing styles. Shannon has competed in many competitions with solo’s, duets, and groups, in both singing and dance styles from tap, jazz, and street.

Shannon was lucky enough to receive a full scholarship to attend Cambridge Performing Arts School where she obtained a level 6 BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts, of which she majored in Musical Theatre. Since her training, Shannon has been working and teaching in various different roles within the industry across multiple countries, such as France, and America through stage performances, TV, and film productions.

Thea Steady


Thea Steady is our Brightlings early years teacher at Brightlights and is very popular with the children. She is warm, talented and has the best qualities to help our youngest performers find their feet. We are very lucky to have her.

Thea has been working as a children’s entertainer for over four years now, both within preschools, the community and hosting parties!

She says: "I love seeing the children grow in confidence and the enjoyment on their faces as they gain new skills."

Shania-Grace Thompson


Shania-Grace recently graduated with a First Class BA(Hons) degree in Acting & Performance from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) Farnham. She is now working as a professional actress.

Since graduating from University, Shania-Grace has gained a wide range of acting skills from both stage and screen. She has received stage combat training with Bethan Clark fight director and instructor. Shania has created many devised works from Improvisation ,studying the likes of Viola Spolin to script writing where she transcribed, studied, directed, and performed her own autobiographical theatre piece 'Chin-Up' (2020), based on her experiences of having dyslexia.

Whilst training she has participated in many short films, as well as working with industry recognised actors/directors such as Ellie Heydon, Gary Pillai  and Steve North . Shania has received voice coaching with Simon Money, who is currently head of voice coaching at the National Theatre. She also has participated in voice workshops with Adrienne Thoms where she learnt to unleash her voice. Shania-Grace has had a passion for Musical Theatre from a very early age, performing in numerous musical shows and plays.

Brightlights News

Now on Saturdays too!

Due to the popularity of Brightlights classes will now also be taking place on Saturday mornings.

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Annie show is cancelled

Brightlights were rehearsing for the show Annie and it was a very exciting time - then Covid 19 struck.

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Keeping students safe

At Brightlights we're working hard to keep students safe and meetings enjoyable.

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