"She has such presence."
-April Webster, Casting director (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Trek)
"Ramin Karimloo and Renée Montemayor as Aladdin and Princess Balroubadour look suitably youthful and both sing beautifully with plenty of stage presence."
- Susan Eldin, The Stage
"Renée Montemayor is Lady Astor making her maiden speech in the House of Commons, the first woman in Parliament, and also a moving Aung Sang Suu"
- Howard Loxton, The British Theatre Guide
Renée Montemayor is a British actress who is known for her role as Briony Jones on the long running British Television series 'Grange Hill', on which she spent 3 years. She was the one actress, out of a cast of hundreds of actors spanning over 25 years, specially chosen by BBC producers to represent the television series when it won a BAFTA award in 2001, alongside Todd Carty and Gwyneth Powell who played Tucker Jenkins and Mrs. McCluskey in the original series. She was also asked to participate in BBC 1's 'Live and Kicking Castaway Special' to represent the show on a survival-challenge match against the cast of Byker Grove.
As well as being a successful actress Renée is also a trained mezzo soprano singer and has appeared in various West End musicals. As a child she played Princess Ying Yeowlak, performing the finale death/goodbye monologue at the age of four in 'The King and I' alongside film legend Yul Brynner and Virginia McKenna at the London Palledium.
As a teenager she returned to the West End stage in the hit musical 'Miss Saigon' at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane where she played the role of Yvonne and understudied and played both Gigi and the lead role Kim at the age of 18. She is the only British born Filipina to play the lead role in the West End.
She trained at Sylvia Young's Theatre School, London before studying Shakespeare and Acting at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (summer syllabus) as well as training in The Meisner Technique at The Impulse Company with Scott Williams for 2 years.
In 2008 she was auditioned, and then personally chosen and invited by Bernard Hiller himself to fly out to Los Angeles to take part in his intensive LA Acting Masterclass in order to be presented to Hollywood's most elite producers, directors, agents and casting directors as one of the top 40 best actors in Europe. Casting Director of 'Lost' and 'Star Trek' the movie, April Webster, said of Renée "She has such presence."
Her theatre credits include playing a Royal Wife and Singer in Raymond Gubbay's 'The King and I' at The Royal Albert Hall, directed by Jeremy Sams, Freda in 'Dangerous Corner' (Landor Theatre), Emma in 'Betrayal' (Tristan Bates Theatre), Ensign Carla Velasquez, and understudy Liat, in Trevor Nunn's adaptation of 'South Pacific'(Royal National Theatre), 'Miss Saigon' directed by Nicolas Hytner (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) where she played the part of Yvonne and understudied and played the role of Gigi as well as the lead role Kim, cast member of 'Hey! Mr Producer', Cameron Mackintosh's Royal Gala for the Queen (Lyceum Theatre), Liat in 'South Pacific' with Apollo Leisure Ltd on a number 1 UK tour, a Royal wife and u/s Tuptim for 'The King and I' at the Covent Garden Festival, Maria Clara in 'Noli mi Tangere' (Touch Me Not) worldwide debut at the Covent Garden Theatre Museum, Princess Jasmine in 'Aladdin' with Hammond Productions(Chatham Theatre) Alice Fitzwarren in 'Dick Whittington' (Greenwich Theatre for Stratford East) and Cinderella in 'Cinderella,The Glass Slipper' at the Brewhouse theatre.
Television credits include playing a specialist doctor on 'Coronation Street' (ITV), the role of Jacinta in 'Lewis' (ITV) (alongside an all star cast including 'Friends' Helen Baxendale, Joanna Lumley and Simon Callow); the Peking Princess in 'Harry and Cosh' (Two Hats Film and Television) which she filmed alongside her sister Rhoda Montemayor (The Pink Power Ranger in Disney's 'Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive') who played Mai in the same episode; a siren on 'Blue Peter- Quest'; guest starring in 'Live and Kicking's Celebrity Castaway Special', where she was left on a tiny deserted island to complete various physical challenges with her Grange Hill co-stars against the cast of Byker Grove; the legendary BBC TV series 'Grange Hill' where she played the role of Briony Jones as a regular character for over three years; 'Hollyoaks' as Sarah (Channel 4), various roles in many episodes of 'Agony' (Live TV); a Thai waitress in 'Respect' (Yorkshire TV); a promiscuous Sally in 'Dear Dilemma'; a peasant in 'Swank' and 'Teenage Health Freak' (Ch4) where she played the part of Lyndsay.
Film work includes playing a sexy drug dealer called Morag in 'Don't Walk' (Channel 4); a fiery red-haired burger assistant in Luc Besson's 'The Fifth Element'; Nikki in the comedy 'Chopped Liver' by Bethan Story; and the sexually confident Naomi in the short film 'Naomi, Kate, Kylie and Me' which she starred in opposite Hollywood heart throb Matthew Marsden.
Presenting work includes 'Teachers TV'; 'An English Adventure' for Disney and Pearson Education; 'The Frame' (BBC); 'Roar TV' the music magazine show for Europe and being the face of Cathay Pacific's Inflight entertainment, where she presented many travel features on location including a documentary about the Philippines, where her parents are from, as well as interviewing many well known Asian celebrities including violinist Vanessa Mae, director Clara Law and international shoe designer Jimmy Choo and most recently in 2018 presenting for the international company Tetrapak.
Renée has had extensive experience on many high profile commercial projects from Music Videos to Television Commercials to Voiceover and Modelling work etc. Some of her most notable ones are; the featured floating girl in the huge worldwide Baileys advertising campaign, the part of the lover in Ultimate Kaos' music video entitled 'My Lover' and a singer on the recording of Coca Cola's new song 'This is Our World'.
Renée made her directorial debut in October 2010 when she assisted American director Niki Flacks on a Mike Folie play 'Love in the Insecurity Zone', for its UK debut.
Renée co-produced, directed and presented 'Angels By Candlelight', with her husband Julian Essex-Spurrier, in 2012, a star studded concert in aid of Animals Asia and the Hurricane Sandy victims.
She also wrote, directed and produced a Micro Horror Film called 'Let's Play' for the Raindance 15 Second Short Halloween Film competition in 2017.
Most recently she has been co-producing and directing 'That 80's Night' with Julian Essex-Spurrier at That Entertainment Company. She performed one of the numbers from the show, a live performance of Madonna's 'Like a Prayer', for the Grange Hill 40th Anniversary Gala at BBC White City in September 2018.
Renée is also a best selling author having written a true story 'Losing Hope' in the book 'Whispers of the Heart' for Visionary Insight Press in 2015. She was also a contributing author on the book 'Pearls of Wisdom for Living a Richer Life' in which she wrote the story 'Today Is The Day I Meet My Soulmate' (Crane's Nest Publishing) and has one of her mediations 'Starting My Day The Miraculous Way' included in the book '111 Morning Meditations' by Sunny Dawn Johnston publishing.