ABOUT ME & THE WORK I LIKE TO MAKE
I am a neurodiverse theatre director / theatre-maker based in Newcastle upon Tyne. I am the Artistic Director of national touring theatre company The Six Twenty (thesixtwenty.com); which became an associate company of Live Theatre in 2018 (live.org.uk).
Setting fire to what theatre can be, I believe it should begin well before the curtain rises and long after it drops. This isn’t ‘sit down, shut up’ theatre. This is theatre for a good night out.
Touring throughout the UK to theatres, outdoor spaces and unexpected places, I make loud new theatre and playful re-imaginings of classic and contemporary plays.
I like to fuse new writing, live music, devised and verbatim theatre together to make shows that are relevant and responsive to the modern world.
Social and provocative, my projects are immersive. They often include pre and post show elements to help create the world of the show e.g. music / spoken word gigs, art installations, debate forums, informal post show chat events etc. I think theatre works best as a social event with a reason to come early and stay late.
Being a Newcastle based theatre-maker is vital to my practice and I’m committed to creating work in the North East and being an advocate and champion for the NE creative scene.
As a director I’m interested in how live performance connects, is relevant to and has a consciousness of diverse audiences.
Inclusivity is core to my work. I make work for newer theatre goers; people who might feel more comfortable going to a music / comedy gig or the cinema but are less likely to come to the theatre for a night out.
I’ve created work with partners including Live Theatre & Northern Stage (Newcastle), Traverse & the Underbelly (Edinburgh), Soho Theatre, the Albany & BAC (London), ARC (Stockton) and CAST (Doncaster).
With a background in English Literature, I began my career at Theatre503 as a script reader and was shortlisted for the RTYDS Associate Directors role at Northern Stage. I’m also an invited member of the Young Vic’s Northern Directors programme and work as a freelance producer for Gateshead International Festival of Theatre (giftfestival.co.uk) and, from 2017-20 for verbatim theatre company The Paper Birds (thepaperbirds.com). I’m a guest lecturer at Northumbria University where I lead theatre-making masterclasses and workshops.
HEADLONG ORIGINS PROJECT IDEA: MOSHPIT
Building on the immersive and interactive nature of my previous show Fans, my next show I Died in a Moshpit is a queer coming of age gig-theatre show set in the underground mosh pits of Leed’s punk rock scene.
Feat. an original headbanging soundtrack and raucous live music, I Died in a Moshpit is about not fitting in at school, rebelling against your parents, falling in love and figuring out who and what it is you want to be.
It’s the mess, self-doubt, and uncertainty of adolescence, but refusing to stop dancing. It’s plastic cups of cider, kissing on the dance floor, and screaming at the top of your lungs. It’s about being on the cusp of change, not sure what tomorrow will bring, but maybe holding someone’s hand whilst that band plays that song will help.
It’s a celebration of music and the people it brings together. It’s a show for anyone who’s found their place and their people amongst the sweaty bodies, neon lights, and hazey dance floors – because anyone can have a go in the pit.
I Died in a Moshpit will be made with the next generation of North East multidisciplinary theatre-makers and some of the most exciting artists around.
It’s a new collaboration between The Six Twenty and theatre makers from The House of Love queer punk cabaret theatre collective.
The show is loosely inspired by true events and is written by up-and-coming playwright Rebecca Glendenning and the music / sound design is created by NE based singer/songwriter MXYM who’s music ‘carries relatability and understanding which transcends identity itself” (NARC. magazine).
This is an ambitious new project. With the guidance of the Headlong team, I’d like to realise this as my first mid-scale piece.
WHY HEADLONG ORIGINS
I’m really excited about the possibility of working as one of your Headlong Origins Directors. Your ethos and breath of work inspires me. You are a ground-breaking theatre company with a strong identity for the work you make and a clear awareness of your audience. My reasons for applying include:
- I want to learn from a company that cultivates, supports and champions emerging directors to create fearless work
- Chances to pitch ideas to the Headlong team and gain feedback on my work
- Advise on taking the step up from small to mid-scale
- Chance to see a broader range of work in different regions to inform my practice and develop new approaches to creating
- Develop my skills as an Artistic Director of a North East theatre company and learn how I can better sustain TST and my directing practice with advice from the Headlong team
- Chance to immerse myself in your artistic planning and engage with different rehearsal room processes
- Reflect on my practice and develop / hone new skills with the guidance of Headlong creatives and peer Headlong Origin directors
A PIECE OF WORK I MADE THAT EXCITED ME
“A head-banging show that is energetic, loud and tremendous fun” Everything Theatre
“Absolutely loved it and can honestly say I’ve never related to a show more than this.” Audience feedback
I’m particularly proud of creating Fans a high-octane gig / theatre show based on people’s love affair with music. In 2016, it won the Bridging the Gap award from ARC (Stockton) and was further developed in association with Live Theatre in 2018.
I developed Fans from initial concept through to R&D and into full production. Having enjoyed a sell-out North East tour in 2016, Fans returned in 2018 (in association with Live Theatre) and toured nationally. Fans is a collaboration with emerging playwright Nina Berry and four top North East theatre-makers / musicians.
It’s the story of four friends and band members from completely different backgrounds, united by their love of music, searching for not only a sound and a philosophy but also a name. It’s an exhilarating mix of new writing, verbatim theatre and raucous live music, which places the audience at the heart of the action.
I like to make work that is socially engaged and encourages first time theatre goers to cross the threshold and try something new. Fans is an exciting example of this. It’s relevant, provocative and fun, attracting a lot of new audiences to the theatre (e.g. 48% first-time bookers at Northern Stage). I like making shows that can work across a variety of spaces; Fans toured to theatres, nightclubs and record stores.
“Loved, properly loved Fans. You have to see it. It makes you love life” Mark Calvert (Associate Director, Northern Stage)
“Perfectly pitched to appeal to the next generation of theatre appreciators. Just brilliant.” Audience feedback