HCT was founded in 1969 by Flavia Pickworth. It is still run today by the same family. Flavia was a dancer in London, who set up stage schools for children to perform in Variety. Her son, Mike Hurst, is a singer and record producer. When Mike moved to Henley in 1967, Flavia followed, and it wasn’t long before her itchy feet got dancing again and the Henley Children’s Theatre Group was formed.
Muffin has been teaching at HCT since she started assisting her grandmother, Flavia Pickworth, as a teenager. After four decades, she has unparalleled experience working with children. Coming from a family of entertainers, Muffin knows and understands what it takes to encourage her pupils to perform to the best of their ability. She has a natural and instinctive way of working with children displaying an evident passion for what she does.
Muffin comes from a large family and has lived in Henley since she was 1 year old. She attended Rupert House School, The Abbey in Reading, and King James Sixth Form College (now Henley College). She has four children, all of whom attended a variety of schools nearby and the youngest, Woody, has followed his sisters through the ranks of HCT and is now a valued member of the Seniors.
In her spare time Muffin enjoys the countryside, walking her dogs. She really enjoys sport - mostly playing tennis, netball and yoga. Muffin loves music, and is a big fan of film and TV.
The ethos “do what makes you happy” suits Muffin very well, as her enjoyment is palpable every Saturday, which in turn, encourages the children to “love what they do”.
Kayleigh is a dance teacher and has been with HCT since 2016. She choreographs modern dance routines for the children which they all enjoy. She is an all-rounder with theatre skills, but dance is her speciality. At show time, Kayleigh runs everything backstage, with calm efficiency.
Kayleigh has two daughters who attend HCT and lives in Sonning Common. She loves horse riding, and runs Dance Fitness classes for adults during the week.
We are lucky to be spoilt for choice when it comes to Junior Assistants. Due to the “family” that is HCT, we have many students who progress through the ranks and are keen to pass on all they have learnt to the next generation. Milly Thomas was a standout HCT pupil and now encourages the children to participate with all the fun drama games and sets a wonderful example.
In her spare time, Milly is working towards her A Levels at The Abbey and coaches tennis.
A secondary Junior Assistant, and waiting to take the reins from Milly next year, is Lexie Gutteridge. Again, a previous pupil who loved her time performing with HCT, Lexie knows what she enjoyed and wishes to share the fun with the next generation.