MAP OF WORK Performances Positions Research Digital Censored Work
I am a director, theatre-maker, writer and creative producer, whose practice intersects with activism, civil disobedience, politics and community organising.
I collaborate with some of the world's most radical theatre companies, artists and individuals. Together we use culture to fight for social and political change, building spaces where complex, radical, and censored stories can be told.
I have taken productions to over 20 countries, including the Schaubühne, Berlin and Skirball, New York, as well as 40 stages in the UK, from the Young Vic, Nottingham Playhouse, Liverpool Everyman, The Lowry, The Tron, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Oxford North Wall.
I am represented by Adam Welsh at Divergent Talent.
AWARDS & NOMINATIONS
WINNER - BEST PRODUCTION
Sharm El Sheikh International Festival
And Here I Am
My Role: Director & Dramaturg
K&C Mayor Award
Mutual Aid K&C
My Role: Co-founder & co-coordinator
NOMINATED - WRITING FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Writers Guild Award
The Host / Writer Nessah Muthy
My Role: Director & Dramaturg
NOMINATED - BEST PERFORMER
UK Offie Awards
So Many Reasons / Performer Racheal Ofori
My Role: Director & Dramaturg
I research, work and mobilise on the frontline with local and international artists, communities, justice movements and change-makers who are radical in thought & methodology and employ diverse tactics in the fight for equality and justice. This has taken me to the heart of pressing issues in the UK, including racism, housing rights, police brutality, austerity and mental health.
Internationally I have a unique and extensive track record of collaborating on the ground in multiple human rights struggles. This includes the occupation in Palestine, wars in Afghanistan and Yemen, disaster capitalism in Haiti, the refugee crisis in Lebanon, Jordan & Europe and undercover in the Syrian revolution. As well as The Marshall Islands, where the USA tested over 67 nuclear weapons and is soon to be underwater due to the climate crisis.
I collaborate with a diverse range of people from youth, refugees, activists, war correspondents, civic journalists, resistance fighters and everyday members of society. I work from the initial conception of an idea, often using devising, verbatim, testimonial theatre, adaptions, and supporting as a dramaturg throughout the process. I have also developed projects with some of Britain’s most exciting playwrights, including Anders Lustgarten, Nessah Muthy, Luke Barnes, Bola Agbaje, Hassan Abdulrazzak, Sonali Bhattacharyya and Racheal Ofori.
THE FREEDOM THEATRE, PALESTINE - ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
The key ideas behind the productions I create began to be formed in 2010 when I started work at The Freedom Theatre in Jenin Refugee Camp, Palestine. Co-founded by armed resistance fighter Zakaria Zubeidi and actor and director Juliano Mer Khamis, the theatre is renowned for its use of culture as a form of resistance and individual, social and political change through art. My experiences as an Associate Director across eleven years has allowed me to work in a 400-seat venue and drive a vision that combines politics, activism, community, youth and professional productions.
In 2011 Juliano Mer Khamis, the Artistic Director, invited me to co-direct an adaption of Alice in Wonderland. After 40 sold-out performances it became the theatre's most successful production at that time. One week after the final performance, Juliano was murdered outside the theatre.
In the immediate months and coming years, I worked as part of the team that continued the theatre’s vision, circumnavigating the void that Juliano left. The artistic and practical challenges have been immense. The Israeli army has attacked the building, death threats have been sent, and members of the theatre have been arrested and imprisoned.
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL TOURING
I have toured work to international festivals and theatres, including the Schaubühne in Germany, Skirball Theatre in New York, D-Caf festival in Egypt, HIFA in Zimbabwe, Vårscenefest in Norway, Red Theatre in Japan, Palestine Performing Arts Network, and Arab Arts Focus at Edinburgh Festival. I have also toured extensively in Europe, including France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. I was part of the Next Stage at the Dublin Theatre Festival, later being invited back to talk at The Abbey Theatres Symposium of Change.
I have toured work to main regional spaces, including Nottingham Playhouse, Liverpool Everyman, The Lowry, The Tron, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Oxford North Wall, and studio spaces including Birmingham Rep, The Unity Liverpool, Slung Low, The Boat Shed, Alphabetti and The Cut in Halesworth.
I create performances for site-specific and found spaces, that are creatively exciting, enhance the story and have a resonance with the community the piece represents. This includes directing an epic immersive theatrical experience across 1km of farmland, large-scale projections onto Parliament, Tate Modern and Trelick with artwork designed by Jamie Hewlett from the Guerrillas, and making a 30-foot loch ness monster to launch into the river for a performance at COP26. Other spaces include the street, refugee camps, community centres, prisons, schools, a caravan, a boat shed, and a church.
I have written multiple plays, including ‘The Fear Of Breathing’, which I researched undercover in the Syrian civil war. It was Time Out Critics Choice, featured on Al-Jazeera, BBC, and Sky News, was published by Oberon and transferred to Japan. More recently I wrote 'The Revolution’s Promise’ which uses a model of mass mobilisation to build cross-cultural solidarity and circumnavigate censorship and borders. So far it has been read and performed in Catalonia, the USA, France, Tunisia, Ireland and the UK.
I have written multiple articles for The Stage, and contributed to the books Rehearsing Freedom and Reshape. Funded by the Arts Count England DYCP grant, I am currently writing a book exploring movements that intersect between armed resistance, civil disobedience and culture and what we can learn from these in light of the climate crisis.
Published by Oberon Books
Evening Standards Pick Of The Festival
Northern Ireland, Britain, USA, Tunisia, France, Catalonia
WRITING FOR VIRTUAL REALITY
In A Thousand Silences
as a contributor
Left Word Books
Fuel / TJ Books
by Racheal Ofori
by Luke Barnes
by Hassan Abdulrazzak
By Omar El Khairy
The Purple Jigsaw
Shoreditch Town Hall
I Can’t Breathe
Elephant In The Room
Camden Peoples Theatre
I have worked with digital mediums to collaborate with people who are isolated because of war, borders and military occupation, circumnavigating censorship and physical restrictions by using social media, VR, documentary and live streaming.
I am currently creating ‘In A Thousand Silences’, a virtual reality film, celebrating Palestinian culture whilst highlighting the brutal censorship of artists. Combining dance, music, poetry and storytelling with performances from some of Palestine's most renowned artists, including actor Mohammad Bakri, musician Suhail Khoury and poet Dareen Tatour.
During the Pandemic I collaborated with two hundred young people from the National Youth Theatre, academics and community members on ‘Melt’. Together we explored the effect the climate emergency will have on the East Of England, creating digital responses including virtual reality, animation, film and music.
Other collaborations include a 10-year digital exchange with Theatre For Everybody, Gaza and AZ Theatre, London and a British Council-funded project with Ukrainian artists in Kharkiv, where we responded to the theme ‘Fear Into Action’.
I was the Associate Producer on Lost Nation a documentary following the effects austerity policies had on people across the UK directed by Topher Campbell.
My productions have featured in documentaries including World to Hear about the UK tour of the Queens of Syria and The Journey of Others with music by Roger Walters following the obstacles we faced from borders to deportation as we toured The Siege in New York.
TEACHING, WORKSHOPS & YOUNG PEOPLE
In the UK, Palestine and internationally, I lead workshops for people of all ages to discover who they are as actors and artists. I specialise in techniques that use arts to fight for change, devising from lived experience, verbatim, cultural leadership and applied theatre.
I was an associate artist at the National Youth Theatre developing new work and directing multiple productions including, 'The Last Harvest' devised by the company, 'Lost Boys' by Luke Barnes and 'The Host' by Nessah Muthy. I have also facilitated workshops, led auditions and mentored young directors, stage managers and creative teams.
I directed ‘Made In China’ by Dalia Taha for the 3rd year at RADA, devised ‘Tiny Acts’ at Shoreditch Town Hall for Central School of Speech & Drama, and taught in drama schools and universities across the UK and internationally from New York, to Catalonia, to Eygpt.
I am regularly invited to speak about my creative practice and collaborative process at conferences, most recently for the Clore Leadership Annual Conference and the Europe Union of Theatre Schools and Academies..
ARTISTS ON THE FRONTLINE - FOUNDER
Artists On The Frontline is a creative space for radical artists working at the forefront of social and political change and in the intersection between arts, activism, politics and community organising,
Whether through the latest digital technology, on the streets, or by inventing new prototypes, our work creatively responds to the multiple crises the world is facing.
Projects bring together agents of change who are challenging and rethinking the injustice systems we live in, finding ways to disrupt the status quo and contribute to large-scale systematic transformation.
OLD VIC 12 -
DIRECTOR ON ATTACHMENT
I was a director on attachment at The Old Vic as part of the Old Vic 12, working across one year in a laboratory with writers, designers, a composer and a choreographer.
CONSULTANCY - ART WORKER'S RIGHTS
As my practice intersects between culture, activism, politics & community organising, I have unique grassroots knowledge of working dynamics that are non-hierarchal and prioritise anti-racist, anti-capitalist, decolonial, queer intersectional feminist approaches.
I have worked as an artistic consultant on multiple initiatives, including across three years on ‘Reshape', a Creative Europe project conceived by major foundations including the British Council, Onda & Goethe Institute.
Using our experiences as independent artists, we outlined the problematic dynamics that are often adhered to in mainstream arts. We established 25 different areas that cause discrimination, exclusion and access.
THE RED ROOM - ASSOCIATE ARTIST
I was an Associate Artist at The Red Room led by Topher Campbell. We created work that combined theatre, activism, debate and multimedia, leading the conversation around equality, diversity, race, sexuality, feminism and class.
One of the highlights for me was building 'The Oikos Project', a pop-up theatre space made out of recycled materials designed by award-winning Berlin architects Kobberling and Kaltwasser, and built with over 1000 volunteers. The project specifically explored how sustainable theatre can be made and was nominated for the What’s On Stage Event and the Urban Intervention Award (Berlin) and won the AJ Small Projects prize and AJ Sustainability prize.
ICE & FIRE - CREATIVE PRODUCER
I was a Creative Producer at Ice & Fire one of the UK’s leading human rights theatre companies. Actors For Human Rights was specifically designed to create sustainable low-cost performances that could be performed anywhere. This unique model combined activism and theatre and consists of over 700 actors across Britain, who come together to perform weekly at conferences, festivals, churches, universities or similar spaces.
Bachelor of Arts, Directing
Drama Centre, Central St Martins
Vakhtangov School, Moscow
Acting & Directing
London Metropolitan Film School
Short Film Making
ACTIVISM, COMMUNITY ORGANISING & POLITICS
Outside of theatre, I ran in the E.U. elections in 2019 under the banner ‘Climate and Ecological Emergency’, and established and co-ordinated a team of activists working on climate issues within my local area.
I have collaborated on multiple direct actions with BP or Not BP to get oil out the arts, successfully getting the Scottish Ballet to drop BP sponsorship. As an activist at COP26, I collaborated with groups including Jubilee Debt and Glasgow Get Polluters Out. I am a member of the Stop Shopping Choir UK and currently collaborating with socialist political group Momentum on a reading group for Palestinian artists rights.
I co-founded and co-cordinated my boroughs award winning mutual aid group set up in response to coronavirus. It included a food bank, online advice hub, lunches and response to needs of refugees housed locally.