At the age of seventeen, Tolley founded his own youth theatre group and discovered that he had a natural skill for directing. In the ten years that he ran the group, it grew from its humble beginnings in a village hall to performing sell-out shows in professional venues. During this time he directed many different shows. His role as director included; taking note and incorporating them into the production and leading technical rehearsals, ensuring they ran efficiently and smoothly for all departments.
Tolley has completed his Master of Arts in Creative Practice and Directing at Guildford School of Acting (GSA) on the Musical Theatre Creation pathway.
During his time on the course, he was fortunate enough to work with leading professionals in the industry enabling him to perfect his skills and techniques. Whilst working collaboratively on productions during his industrial placement, Tolley had the opportunity to implement ideas that the director has needed to be communicated to the cast or other creative members.
Tolley gained a 2:1 Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from The University of Plymouth. This gave him the opportunity to work with people of all ages and to lead groups of various sizes. It also enabled him to work independently and to appreciate the importance of good time management.
As a director, Tolley has a real enthusiasm and passionately believes in the importance of making shows accessible to all, striving to protect the joy of live theatre. The company he founded is proof of his determination to create entertaining musical theatre for people of all ages.
Tolley has a wealth of experience in directing both adults and children but the one production that taught him the skill of strong leadership and the importance of a clear plan was a Nativity with a cast of two hundred children under the age of seven and sixty adults. This helped him develop crucial communication skills with a keen eye for detail.
Tolley is a practitioner
for Bristol Old Vic Young Company and a Drama Teacher for Stagecoach Performing Arts. He has an Enhanced DBS Check, Chaperone Licence and First Aid Trained.
Tolley works effectively as part of a team but also has the ability to work independently. He is not afraid to take risks and can manage groups of people to achieve a collective goal. He is always looking for ways to further these skills and face new challenges.