The Spotlight falls on Adam Lea, Housemaster of Stratton House and Teacher of Drama

Adam was born in Bath and grew up locally, attending Crockerton Primary School. His teaching career then took him all over the world, beginning during a year abroad, teaching at a School in Tonga in the South Pacific. Having completed a BA (Hons) Degree in Drama at Exeter University, he moved to London to complete a Masters in Shakespeare, Verse and Prose at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He later went on to gain a PGCE at the University of Buckingham.

Adam initially worked at the sharp end of the British education system as a resident Performing Arts Specialist at several London state primary schools in Brixton, Barking, Bromley and Epsom. In 2011-2014 Adam moved to South Korea to work at NLCS International as a Teacher of Drama as well as an Assistant Boarding Housemaster, also completing IB Diploma Theatre Training and organising an ISTA Festival, hosting six visiting schools from the region.

Adam moved back to London and to Alleyn’s School as a Teacher of Drama, directing a range of high-quality school productions and taking an annual performance to the Edinburgh Fringe. After that Adam worked as Head of Drama and Deputy 6th Form Boarding Housemaster at Pocklington School in Yorkshire, and most recently as Director of Drama at NLCS Dubai. He is now excited to be returning to his local roots here in Warminster as Housemaster of Stratton House, this time with his wife, Helen.

How long have you worked at Warminster?

10 days at the time of writing!

Describe a typical Warminster day for you?

Busy, interesting, friendly and fun. And I almost always learn something new every day – I hope that continues for my whole time here.

What do you think makes Warminster a special place to live and learn?

The people and the values. I grew up in the area and went to Crockerton Primary school as a little lad and so I know this area, this town and its people to be some of the most friendly, generous and kind people you will ever meet. The school is part of that local culture.

What are the benefits of boarding at Warminster?

There are obvious benefits for your academic progress, as your studies are also being supported during evenings by your teachers who offer one-to-one support and feedback to you during their evening duties in the boarding houses. But the benefits go far beyond that as you share your lives with the other boarders, resident staff and house team of matrons and tutors. Living together we share our successes and challenges and support each other if needed and celebrate successes too. With so many wonderfully different personalities it is often hilarious, exciting and always fun. It is a secure, welcoming, warm, safe and healthy place to live.

What other Warminster role would you like to try for a day and why?

I’d like to try a day with the Estates Team. They are so busy dashing around the whole school site fixing, installing, cleaning or upgrading something. I like to think I’m pretty handy when it comes to DIY, but I’m sure with the range of skills required for their job I’d quickly be out of my depth. The work the estates and domestic teams do is often unseen, but the School wouldn’t run without it.

What would surprise us about you?

I am a Drum’n’Bass DJ.

As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

Initially I wanted to be a helicopter pilot. My great uncle Harry flew some of the world’s very earliest helicopters in the RAF and I thought that was so cool.

What did your school reports say about you?

Stop messing about in the music school during prep time, socialising and singing songs with your mates. Balance your study/social life a bit more evenly because you are a bright boy so make the most of it.

Your note/advice to teenage self?

Be interested in other people, find out about the people you meet, care about everyone; and always be kind. That is how real friends are made.

Your mantra/motto or favourite quote?

“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I am telling you it is going to be worth it.” – Art Williams

Any hidden ambitions still to achieve?

Finally finish reading all of Shakespeare’s plays, sonnets and poems – the complete works.

A favourite possession you would save from a fire?

There are a couple of especially rare and precious vinyl records I would reach for if I had time. But first I would grab the piece of artwork my brother-in-law made for my wife Helen. He’s a chippy and it is a clever piece of woodwork he made from old pieces of parquet flooring that depicts mountains. It is really heavy, but I’d save that from a fire for her.

Biggest bugbear?


Favourite musician/group?

Can anyone really choose a number 1? There are so many across so many genres, but I love Gil Scott Heron, Olafur Arnaulds & Robert Glasper. My speaker test track is Jack of Speed by Steely Dan – that one will sort the audiophiles from the imposters.

Guilty pleasure?

A quiet solo pint in a nice pub with a newspaper.

What is your MasterChef signature dish?

Roast vegetable puff pastry tart with camembert. I made it for my dad once when he visited my house in London and when I served it, he didn’t believe I’d made it myself.

Favourite TV programme?

It’s a toss-up between The Wire and The Sopranos because they are both so unbelievably good I periodically rewatch both. But David Chase completely changed the game and TV series would never be made the same way again so for that reason, it’s The Sopranos.

Last book you read?

Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson

Last movie watched?

The Banker

Which actor would play you in a movie about your life?

He was such a popular culture hero of mine growing up in the 1980s and has sadly suffered from Parkinson’s from a young age, but at the height of his powers his acting work was brilliant – Michael J Fox.

Favourite tipple?

If I am down in Cornwall at the Roseland Inn at Philleigh, you can’t beat a pint of their delicious local bitter, Cornish Shag.

Favorite place/city in the world and why?

Galley Hill in Aislaby, near Whitby looking over the moors in North Yorkshire. My dad grew up there and this little cottage has been in our family for generations. No phone, no TV, no coverage – you have to drive through a farmyard, three gates and two fields to get there. Once you are there and have lit a coal fire it is the most peaceful place in the world.

We are looking forward to Warminster’s Summer Festival this year, what can we expect from Matilda the Musical JR?

I’m really excited about the Summer Festival too. I have been into some Matilda JR rehearsals and you can expect some brilliant character acting, hilarious comedy and some beautiful, moving singing. The cast and crew are really focused on maximising their skill and creativity; it will be a phenomenal production.