Things I’ve done/am doing

On this page I go into a bit more detail about some of the projects I’ve been working on.

GOG (2021 – ongoing)

GOG (Guild of Gwens) is a new collaboration between Gwen Hales and Gwen Thomson. Starting life in a residency provided by Action Hero, this project is both an idea for a show and a new partnership of two Gwens who are both interested in making engaging physical productions that draw on our combined experience in storytelling, stage-craft, circus, puppetry, sound design & outdoor art. We’ll be attending the Surge residency for established artists up on the West Coast of Scotland in January 2023 to work on early ideas for a new show.

Watch this space.

Insane Root – Hansel & Gretel (2021)

As Assistant Director, my role was to support Hannah Drake the director with rehearsals, noting performances, the logistical difficulties of working outside in the winter, and to help with movement direction & choreography in the show. I wanted to work with Insane Root because of their reputation for creating interesting site-specific theatre. This show combined an atmospheric promenade through the spooky Arnos Vale cemetery with brilliant storytelling and singing.

Archive film of the show.

The Farmyard Circus (2021/22)

I directed this full length outdoor circus-theatre show. Working as a collective, the FYC team had already produced a number of acrobatic and juggling sequences and my job was to combine these with new devised scenes to create a coherent show that made dramaturgical sense and was aligned with the company’s ethos of community spirit. This was all achieved over zoom plus 2 weeks in a Covid-safe bubble at the 101 Creation Centre for Outdoor Arts in Newbury in 2021, with a premiere at Just So Festival. We had some time in 2022 to rework the show around their new set, alongside introducing 2 understudies into the company, and the show is touring extensively in 2022 and beyond. Here are the current tour dates.

The Sexual Health Circus (2019-ongoing)

The Sexual Health Circus began as an idea in Jess Herman’s head and is now bringing engaging sex and relationship education to schools in the UK. I mentored Jess (a circus performer and sexual health educator) through several funding applications, two pilot versions of the show, and the production management involved in such an endeavour. The process has culminated in me directing an hour-long production combining circus skills and RSE that successfully deals with icky subjects such as porn, sexting and self-pleasure. Plus, in Covid times we created a video-version of the show that doubles up as 5 x lesson plans for teachers to deliver.

You can see the trailer here.

The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe (2017/18 & 2019 & 2021/22):

I was/am aerial director on this production which has evolved through three different versions. My role involved working closely with the theatre’s technical team and the set designers Rae Smith & Tom Paris to enable aerial elements to be incorporated into a show that initially turned the West Yorkshire Playhouse into the round, then was adapted for the Bridge Theatre and then again was recreated as a touring version for 2021/22.

Trailer for the 2021/22 version.

The Borrowers (2018/19):

My role on this production was to work with the creative team from inception to create an exciting show with as much ‘clambering about’ as possible within the constraints of the Tobacco Factory Theatre space. In addition to designing the structures used, I trained the actors to move safely around the set and worked on all the movement sequences where large props were puppeteered. This show was directed by Nik Partridge.

Trailer for The Borrowers show.

Angels in America (2017):

Working as aerial director, I designed the counterweighting system and trained counterweighters and actors from scratch to bring the director Marianne Elliot’s vision to life. This is a short behind the scenes documentary made about my collaboration with the puppetry director to create the flying Angel effects:

Documentary on the flying for Angels in America.

Hetty Feather (2014-18):

As circus director on this show, I worked with the creative team from the very beginning – helping to design the set, train the actors, and work alongside the director throughout rehearsals to embed the circus elements fully into the storytelling. This show was directed by Sally Cookson.

Trailer for Hetty Feather.

Peter Pan (2012 & 2016/17 & 2019):

I was aerial director on this production (directed by Sally Cookson). which was a transfer from Bristol Old Vic to the National Theatre and then again to the Troubadour Theatre. This show involved almost everyone in the cast being in the air at some point, using a variety of complicated harness work and counterweighting. This video is a short glimpse into the rehearsal room at the National Theatre:

Video from the 2016/17 version at the National Theatre.

Pirates of the Carabina (2011-15):

I was co-creator and co-director of this company. FLOWN was our first production, combining aerial stunts, circus performance, clowning and comedy. Performing as ‘Gloria Darling’, the Prima Donna of the show, I toured with FLOWN for four years.

Trailer for the 2013 version of the show.