Wonder Boy is a vision of the future: not just in the form and content of what you will see onstage tonight, but in the way the project evolved. The Open Session has for many years been a process where we invite writers from across the South West to send us scripts. The plays are read anonymously, and five writers selected to work with us across a year, developing their writing and their voice. This process has built up a formidable network of writers, including Bruntwood Prize winner Tim X Atack and Ross Willis, whose play Wolfie (staged at South London pub theatre, and new writing powerhouse, Theatre503 in Battersea) has since catapulted him onto the shortlists of commissioning theatres across Europe. So, in 2019, keen to platform some of the brilliant home grown plays we had encountered through The Open Session, we gathered some of their scripts and, with Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, presented a season of staged work and rehearsed readings called New Plays in Rep. Bristol Old Vic Associate Sally Cookson, whose productions of Jane Eyre, Peter Pan, Treasure Island and Monster Calls have delighted you over the last decade, saw one of those plays and fell in love with it. It was Ross’ first play, Wonder Boy, and tonight you will be able to see his extraordinary talent for yourselves. This production was born from collaboration between Bristol Old Vic and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, the charity STAMMA, and a string of local schools. It’s a vision for the future because it shows that the doors of creative opportunity are open to everyone in the region and that we can and must keep working to widen those doors even further. Ross was a remarkable West Country boy with a gift for storytelling who began his career as a teenager in this very theatre, showing audiences like you to your seats. Look around you. If we do our job right, you never know whose story we will be telling next. It might even be yours.
1Photo Ben Robins
Tom Morris Artistic Director
Charlotte Geeves Executive Director
It’s been nearly three years since I first spoke to Ross about Wonder Boy, having seen it performed as part of a New Writing Festival produced by Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.He wrote it when he was twenty. I was struck by the unique voice of his writing and his ability to get inside the body and mind of a teenage boy struggling to communicate. His writing is inherently theatrical and although themes of trauma, loss and shame are investigated with bold, gut-wrenching clarity, Ross’s playfulness and sense of mischief are ever present. As a director it was a dream come true to be given such a rich palette. Frustratingly, the production had to be postponed three times due to the pandemic but at least that gave me and Ross precious time to talk and get to know each other. Our ‘just phoning for a quick chat’ turned into three-hour conversations where we’d mull over the state of the world, the theatre industry, how we hated Zoom (despite it becoming a lifeline), leopard-skin wallpaper, favourite things, hated things, our different experiences of growing up and office chairs. We spent an afternoon together looking for a comfortable office chair – without success. As ideas formulated around the production, I reached out to the charity STAMMA to find out more about the work they do, and it was through the Bristol branch that I met the inspirational Simon Bailey, an important advocate and teacher of WOMS (Working On My Speech). Simon has made it his passion to - in his words - “share his experience and knowledge of stammering in order to help people change their stammering behaviour and replace it with great pride”. Simon gave up his time on several occasions to talk to the company about his lived experience, and invited us to attend support groups within the stammering community which were some of the most moving and memorable evenings we experienced. His support and knowledge have been invaluable, and it has been a privilege working with him. An important part of the process has been working with the Engagement Department at Bristol Old Vic. As well as using Wonder Boy as the source material for their own work this term, they also enabled an emerging artist placement to happen during the creation of the show. Ciaran O’Breen is now part of the team and is a rare talent with a lot to offer the theatre industry, both as a Deaf actor and a director. Cairan took part in the Engagement Department’s Made in Bristol scheme in 2020/21 - a year-long opportunity offered to young theatre makers to experiment and create together, under the guidance of professional artists. We look forward to seeing his career blossom. At the heart of Wonder Boy lies the theme of communicating and how powerless we become when prevented from doing that. We have had many discussions during the rehearsal process about how society stigmatises anyone who communicates differently. To use a quote from Ross: “the great inner operatic pain that comes from not feeling seen or being able to express oneself” is what we have collectively tried to shine a light on. We hope you enjoy it.
Sally Cookson, director Photo Steve Tanner
“There’s at least one impossible stage direction in every scene”
We talked to Ross Willis about finding new ways to tell stories. Was drama always important to you? I grew up in Bristol. Young Company or drama groups weren’t really on my radar growing up but it’s something I would have loved to do. I remember enjoying GCSE Drama a lot.
Wolfie showed us the desolation of being a child adrift in a care system – while your new play Wonder Boy is about a 12-year-old living with a stammer. Are you particularly drawn to writing about troubled teens?
Tell us how you got into theatre. What or who first inspired you? I remember as a kid watching a pantomime with Chris Harris at the Bristol Old Vic and it BLOWING MY MIND. My tiny brain hadn’t seen or felt anything like it! The anarchy and liveness of pantomime is still something which really inspires me. Then later as an adult, I was in London one day and my friend cancelled on me just as I arrived in Victoria so I needed something else to do. So I walked to the cheapest theatre and ended up at the Royal Court and watched Teh Internet Is Serious Business by Tim Price and The Wolf From The Door by Rory Mullarkey both in the same day. It was the first time I realised new writing was a thing and that theatre could be strange, surrealist, contemporary and not just adaptations and twee.
‘Surreal’ is a word used by many critics to describe Wolfie – does Wonder Boy have a surreal element? Jane Eyre, photo
How did you make the move into writing? I wanted to direct but luckily, I quickly realised I was very rubbish at it. Wolfie premiered at the Theatre503 in 2019 and went on to win awards. Not to sound too X Factor-y but it literally changed my life. I went from someone who wrote in the evenings or weekends to being a full time professional playwright. It’s allowed me to tell the stories I want to tell in the ways I want to tell them. 5
Ha! Yes - I’ve accidentally written two plays back-to-back about troubled teenagers which is why the next few plays I’m writing right now are about troubled immortal creatures instead. I like that quote Simon Stephens says about how every playwright is writing the same play over just in different guises – so maybe I’m just doing that? I think I’m more drawn to teen characters because I find their resilience incredible, more so than their trouble.
In the Bristol Old Vic description, we read that a ‘comic book hero of Sonny’s own creation helps him to soar above his bleak reality’.
We hear you spent time as an usher at Bristol Old Vic – what productions really impressed you during that time? Jane Eyre. It felt like a real event y’know? Inherently theatrical and endlessly creative. You could just tell it was made with love. Also Iphigenia in Splott with Sophie Melville because until watching that play I don’t think I knew theatre could be furious, visceral and political.
I’m so lucky that this happened pre-pandemic because it feels like the door is shut a bit more now? Most importantly Wolfie at Theatre503 it’s made me realise that what new artists need is long term support from theatres which isn’t just a scheme, everything needs to be heading towards a full production and that needs to be embedded into the theatre.
I think when a lot of people read a new play they think it’s going to be BORING and set in a kitchen and just have lots of boring talking. I’m not really interested in plays like that. In Wonder Boy there’s at least one impossible stage direction in every scene and it has a real, dazzling bright tone to it. It’s FULL of surprises hopefully.
You also tweeted ‘SALLY COOKSON SALLY COOKSON SALLY COOKSON (!!!)’ – well, quite!! What’s it been like working with Sally? She’s wonderful and she’s literally one of the greatest living directors. There’s such a joy and imagination to her work. Her mind is really special. Because I wrongly thought she was only interested in devising and not directing new plays, I just presumed a collaboration between us would never happen so this entire thing has been a great suprise. Our friendship began prepandemic so it was so special to have someone to regularly gossip and solve the problems of the world with. I inherently trust her as a theatre maker and person so that feels really special.
Another critic wrote “You feel his real interest lies in pushing the boundaries of what theatre can do” – do you agree? Ha! I never read reviews. I guess I’m interested in writing plays which could only ever exist as theatre. The idea has to be inherently theatrical to excite me. I want to use everything theatre has to offer. Sometimes it’s about metaphor, imagination, non literal storytelling, striking images, surprising audiences, FUN and other times it’s about simply changing the temperature of the room, moments of utter vulnerability. Theatre by it’s very live nature is a very emotional medium, it’s an incredible empathy machine. I don’t know if I’m pushing anything but I know I’m always going to be interested in new ways to tell stories and in the experience not being a passive experience. It should be something which is deeply felt, deeply imaginative and inherently live.
The full interview by Deri Robins appears in Bristol Life Magazine.
Photos Steve Tanner
The design for Wonder Boy has been a brilliant challenge. Ross the writer gave us a script full of amazing cinematic images. Although Sally and I knew that many of them would not be possible in a literal sense, we loved the energy and surreal nature of them. So I knew that the show would need a set that could ‘house’ a number of different locations, include a good surface for the creative captioning and give room to the big visual set pieces. Sonny has an extraordinary world going on in his head and a lot of which is triggered by comics and graphic novels. I decided the design should reflect the bold block colour style of that. I loved the episodic framing element of comics and so you can see the set is inspired by that as well as allowing lighting effects to enhance that idea with an LED “neon“ border. The island platforms were another way of framing intimate scenes, but also I wanted to create a literal gulf between actors at certain points to just support that idea of Sonny’s isolation. When a character joins Sonny on his “island” it lends significance to that moment, either a feeling of connection or intrusion. The costumes are again highly influenced by graphic novels. I knew the captioning would be brightly coloured and so the costumes needed to match that and yet still remain believable for the more naturalistic scenes. It’s a fine balance between the heightened quality of the show and the moments of real truth and honesty. The performers all need to move easily and particularly Ramesh playing Captain Chatter as he uses visual vernacular and therefore needs maximum freedom of movement. All the shoe, fabric, and clothing choices reflect all those considerations, as well as what works aesthetically for each character. You’ll see from my costume sketches that the costumes on stage might be different to the initial drawings – this is because I like to respond to the actors ideas and we often try a number of options, choosing ones that may be quite different from the drawing. This is all part of a normal design process once you have the whole team together and that collaboration is my favourite part of the job.
Katie Sykestu,me Designer Set and Cos
Erin Stoner is 16 years old and in July 2018 she won a top public speaking competition, making her case for people who stammer being the perfect communicators. My name is Erin and I’ve stammered since I was two.
Up to 2% of adults and 8% of children stammer to varying degrees. It’s not something we choose to do or not to do. It’s not a reflection of competence, skill, knowledge or personality traits. It’s just the way we’re built. Someone who stammers may repeat, prolong or get stuck on sounds or words. There might also be signs of visible tension as the person works to get a word out, or the person may find different words to get their message across. And some people choose to speak less so that they don’t have to deal with unhelpful or negative responses from others. Stammering isn’t good or bad. It’s just different. This is what we sound like. It’s how we talk. For information and support, see www.stamma.org
The people’s voice has been shown to be the most important voice we’ll ever hear; a voice which can, and shall, change the world. But what happens if you stutter? Early on I learned something simple: when I started stuttering, people stopped listening. Before I could work through my stammer, I was cut off and the conversation had moved on, my point lost in my stumped speech. Every debate would leave me annoyed – not because I didn’t win it (because in my head I did), but because I didn’t have a fair try at speaking, like everyone else did. I used to try and prevent my stutter so that I was listened to. This was until I realised that it is not what you sound like that matters, but what you are telling people. When I started debating in school, I ended up being more forceful than anyone on my team as I believed so fiercely in what I wanted to say that I didn’t care about how messy I sounded; I simply had to say it! My aim was to make people see through my stutter, and hear what I really wanted to say. I believe that people with stutters should not be hushed, should not be silenced. We are people just like the rest of the world, but our voices stand out. We need to use this to our advantage, engage in debates and explain our opinions no matter how silly we think we sound and no matter how long it takes us to say, because if speaking is going to be hard, it might as well be hard for a reason.
E? AM N WHATByISAkYOimUR a Harris Heart beating faster and faster Sweat from my palms like water r nd racing a thousand miles per hou
Should I just turn around and go? No, I can’t give up like this, no Tell myself I can do this It’s only one simple question The answer not hard to mention What is your name? 11
The people’s voice is not just your classic speech: it has thick accents, it speaks many different languages, it is high pitched and low pitched, it stutters and splutters. But those voices are important, because it is the content of what they say that matters instead of how they sound. If speaking is already a battle for us, we might as well make it a battle for something we believe.
“Accepting my stammer enabled me to connect with people in a way that I never thought was possible. Interacting with groups of people was always incredibly hard, and I would often be so overcome by anxiety that I’d have to remove myself from a social situation, or sit in silence. When I finally realised what it was that was creating that anxiety, stammering openly felt like unfastening the straitjacket that had long restrained my personality. I learned that by acknowledging my vulnerabilities, I could begin to form the meaningful relationships I’d always craved, and socialising became easy, even enjoyable. Something that was once so daunting was now unimaginably fun.”
– Thomas Parkinson Thank you to the people who shared their experiences as part of Your Voices stories, curated by stamma.org
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Core BSL Interpre t er Team Chris Curran,
Nikki Harris, Pascale Maroney, Rachael Merry, Kate Neill,
Management Intern Jonah Stein
Company Stage Design Placement Manager Shalom Fred-Jatto
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Deputy Stage Manager
Lighting Associate Mary Bennett
Assistant Stage Manager Kimberley Towler
Lighting Operators James Harrison & Mike Gunning
Operators Duncan Arnold & Aiden Connor
Producers Charlie Tapp
Wonder Boy is a Bristol Old Vic production First performed at Bristol Old Vic on 5 March 2022
With thanks to
Simon Bailey, Bristol STAMMA, Cotham School, Action for Stammering Children, Hille Education Products, Foam Cutting and Design.
The Company 15
Juliet Agnes Benji Bower Will Bower Juliet is known for (see Creative team biogs) her work on stage and screen. She was the lead role in the BAFTA nominated BBW, which was part of Channel 4’s ‘On The Edge’ series. Her other TV credits include You Don’t Know Me, People Just Do Nothing (BBC), and Meet The Adebanjos (MTA Productions). Juliet played the lead role of ‘Anansi’ in Anansi The Spider (Unicorn Theatre). Other credits include: Chicken Palace (Theatre Royal Stratford East), West Side Story (The Prince’s Trust, Hartshorn Hook); Rapunzel (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and The Interrogation of Sandra Bland (Bush Theatre).
Will is a multiinstrumentalist specialising in drums and percussion. He is co-founder of Bower Brothers and Unforscene with his brother Benji. He has composed music for television, theatre dance and film. Performance credits for Bristol Old Vic: Jane Eyre, Peter Pan (also in co-production with the National Theatre), The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Other musician credits include: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (West Yorkshire Playhouse); 101 Dalmatians, Cinderella (Tobacco Factory/ Travelling Light); Outpost (Green Ginger). TV composition credits include: Frozen Planet, Faster, Harder, Stronger (BBC1); Comics Britannia, Rude Britannia (BBC4); Cult of a Suicide Bomber (Channel 4); Wind Farm Wars (BBC2).
Raphel Famotibe Raphel trained at RADA, graduating in 2021. This is his professional stage debut.
Theatre includes: Tina Turner The Musical (Aldwych Theatre); Rock Of Ages (UK tour); Boudica (Shakespeare’s His film credits include Globe); Thoroughly the title role in Wale Modern Millie (UK Tour); (Dark Glass Productions); A Pacifist’s Guide To The We Love Moses (Teng War On Cancer (National Teng Films) and Rocks Theatre); Sister Act & Possum. Television (Aberystwyth Arts); includes: Damoilola, Soul Sister (UK Tour); Our Loved Boy, Casualty, The Blues Brothers Millie Inbetween (all BBC); (International tour); Guerrilla (ABC Signature). Ghost (Piccadilly Theatre); Rent (Garrick Theatre); Oliver! (Theatre Royal Drury Lane); Our House (Savoy theatre/UK Tour); Little Shop Of Horrors (Menier Chocolate Factory/Duke of York’s); Camelot, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Henry IV Part I (Regent’s Park). Television includes: The Alienist (Paramount), Crosswalk Musical: Mary Poppins (CBS), MI High (Kudos), EastEnders, Silent Witness (BBC).
Amanda Lawrence Theatre credits include: Angels in America (National Theatre, Broadway); Once in a Lifetime, The Government Inspector (Young Vic); Top Girls, Light Shining In Buckinghamshire, Here We Go, Greenland (National Theatre); Nell Gwynn (The Globe); Brief Encounter, The Wooden Frock, Tristan & Yseult, Nights at the Circus (Kneehigh); Firework Maker’s Daughter (Told by An Idiot). Film includes: Matilda, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, The Last Jedi, Summerland, Denial, Suffragette, Mr Turner. TV includes: Chloe, The Amazing Mr Blunden, Honour, White House Farm, Little Dorrit, Dr Who, Afterlife.
Ramesh Meyyappan A Glasgow-based Singaporean, Ramesh is a theatre maker who develops performances using an eclectic mix of visual and physical theatre styles. Ramesh continually seeks to develop and extend his theatrical visual vocabulary, for example incorporating circus techniques, bouffon, puppetry and illusion within his work. He enjoys the challenge of creating strong narrative visual work. Over the years, his solo performances and collaborations have toured nationally and internationally (over 20 countries) to much critical acclaim. He has been nominated five times for Best Actor at the Life! Theatre Awards (Singapore) and awarded the accolade twice. In Scotland he was nominated for a Total Theatre Award for Snails and Ketchup and for a CATS (Critic Award Theatre Scotland) – Best Male Performance for Off Kilter. 16
Ross Willis Writer
Ross is a playwright from Bristol. His debut play Wolfie premiered at Theatre503 to great critical acclaim setting him out as “a fresh and fearless voice” in British theatre. The play won Best New Play at both the Writers’ Guild Awards and the Off-West End Awards 2020 and also earned him a nomination for Best Writer at the 2019 Stage Debut Awards and Most Promising Playwright in the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. He won the 2019 Royal Court and Kudos Fellowship and the 2019 Channel 4 Playwright Award. Ross took part in the writer’s room for The Outlaws created by Stephen Merchant and is currently under commission to the Royal Court, Soho Theatre, Paines Plough, Lamda, Orange Tree Theatre and Almeida Theatre.
SALLYDirector COOKSON Sally Cookson trained at LAMDA and worked as an actor for ten years before embarking on a freelance directing career. In the midnineties she founded the Bristol Old Vic Youth Theatre with Heather Williams, where her passion for directing began. 17
She is an Associate Artist at Bristol Old Vic where her productions include: The Three Seagulls, Jane Eyre (transfer to The National Theatre), Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan (transfer to The National Theatre-Olivier nominated), Treasure Island, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Papa Please Get the Moon for Me, Clown, Strange Case, Pericles, Pains of Youth, and The Visit. Other theatre includes: A Monster Calls at the Old Vic (Olivier Award), The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe at the Bridge Theatre, La Strada at The Other Palace, Hetty Feather at The Duke of York’s (Olivier nominated), Romeo and Juliet at the Rose Theatre, and Cinderella: A Fairytale at The Other Palace (Olivier nominated). Sally’s numerous collaborations with Travelling Light Theatre Company include 17 & the Squeak Gobbler, Strictly Balti by Saikat Ahamed, 101 Dalmatians, The Ugly Duckling, Boing!, How Cold My Toes, Shadowplay, Cloudland, Lenny by Francis Monty, and Bob the Man on the Moon.
Katie Sykes Set & Costume Designer Theatre as Set and Costume Designer includes: The Great Gatsby (Wardrobe Ensemble); Living Spit’s Odyssey (Living Spit); Pippi Longstocking
(Royal & Derngate); Swallows and Amazons (York Theatre Royal); Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare’s Globe); Hetty Feather (West End); Romeo and Juliet (Rose Theatre, Kingston); Cinderella: A Fairytale, 101 Dalmatians (Tobacco Factory); Chloe and the Colour Catcher (Theatre Ad infinitum), Antigone, World Cup 1966 (Bristol Old Vic); La Strada (Coventry Belgrade); Up Down Man (Salisbury Playhouse); The Wind in the Willows (Mercury Colchester); Boing!, Into the West, Cloudland, How Cold My Toes, Mother Savage, Vixen (Travelling Light). Theatre as Costume Designer includes: Jane Eyre, Peter Pan (National Theatre/ Bristol Old Vic); Treasure Island, Sleeping Beauty (Bristol Old Vic); A Monster Calls (Old Vic/ Bristol Old Vic).
BenjiComposer Bower Benji is a musician, composer and MD whose work includes A Monster Calls (Old Vic, Bristol Old Vic); The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (West Yorkshire Playhouse, Bridge Theatre); Peter Pan, Jane Eyre (Bristol Old Vic, National Theatre); Hetty Feather (West End); The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Treasure Island, Papa Please Get the Moon for Me, Strange Case, Aesop’s Fables (all Bristol Old Vic); Romeo and Juliet
(Rose, Kingston); Outpost (Green Ginger); We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Kenny Wax); Varmints (Sadler’s Wells); 101 Dalmatians, Cinderella, Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves, Bob the Man on the Moon, Lost and Found, Ugly Duckling (Tobacco Factory/Travelling Light); Orpheus and the Furies, Table of Delights (Theatre Damfino); Pirate Gran, Tiddler, Stick Man (Scamp); A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (Little Angel/Kneehigh). He has also composed for TV & film and worked as a musician with Kneehigh, Bonobo, Alice Russell, 100 Strong, Mark Pritchard and Jamie Clement. Benji and Will Bower also perform as the band Unforscene, recordings include Sulston Connection, Pacific Heights, New World Disorder, Fingers and Thumbs and Return of the Wob.
Aideen Malone Lighting Designer Theatre credits include: Hamlet (Young Vic); A Kind Of People (Royal Court); Death of a Salesman (Young Vic & Piccadilly); A Monster Calls (Old Vic & Bristol Old Vic); Brighton Rock and A View From A Bridge (York Theatre Royal); La Strada (The Other Palace); Jane Eyre and Peter Pan (National Theatre & Bristol Old Vic); Fiddler On The Roof / Conquest To The North Pole (Liverpool Everyman); Hetty Feather (Duke of York); Frankenstein (Living Spit); Napoleon Disrobed and The Strange Tale of Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplin (Told By An Idiot); A Raisin in the Sun and Talent (Sheffield Theatre).
Musical credits include: Carousel (Regents Park Open Air Theatre); Worst Witch (Vaudeville). Dance credits include: Outwitting The Devil and Kaash (Akram Khan Co); Darbar Festival (Sadlers Wells); Raft (GED); Unkindest Cut (Sadhana); Time Over Distance Over Time (Liz Roche); La Tete (Jasmin Vardimon). Opera credits include: Ariodante, Turn of the Screw, The Marriage of Figaro, A Midsummers Night’s Dream, Mary Queen of Scots, Cosi Fan Tutte, Jenufa and Tosca (English Touring Opera).
Jonathan Everett Sound Designer Theatre credits include: Puss In Boots, Aladdin, A Christmas Carol (The Theatre Chipping Norton); Indecent, Spamilton, Pack Of Lies (Menier Chocolate Factory); The Wedding (Gecko); Rapunzel, The Scarlett Pimpernell, Arrivals, The Sloe Pickers, I Wish I Was A Mountain, Legacy, The Little Mermaid, Robin Hood, The Snow Mouse (The Egg); Big Up, Broke ‘N Beat Collective (Theatre Rites/20 Stories High); Touchy, I Told My Mum I Was Going On An RE Trip, Black (20 Stories High); Cinderella; A Fairytale, 101 Dalmatians (Travelling Light / Tobacco Factory Productions); Oz (Pins & Needles/Tobacco Factory Productions).
Tom Newell Caption & Video Design Tom Newell is a video designer and creative technologist who
lives in Bristol. He is a co-founding director of Limbic Cinema, an award-winning multimedia design studio specialising in projection mapping and immersive video environments. Limbic Cinema have designed multiple award-winning theatre productions. Their ongoing relationship with Bristol Old Vic began as part of the 250th Birthday celebrations in 2016. Limbic Cinema are proud to be working on Wonder Boy, their first show in the theatre. Theatre credits include: Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World, History of Shopping Malls in Tehran (Javaad Alipoor); Vigil (Mechanimal); Ergo Sum (Sleight of Hand Theatre); The Little Mermaid (Pins and Needles) and The Stick House, Ice Road (Raucous).
MaxAssociate Sutherland Director Max is an emerging theatre director based in London. She became deafened in 2018 but continued working as a musical director. She undertook the MFA Theatre Directing course at East 15, and is passionate about integrating music, BSL and creative captioning into theatre. Previous credits include: Dog (Drayton Arms Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (PSC); Treasure Island (Derby Theatre); The Rover (RSC). Musical theatre credits include: The Addams Family, Bring it On, Legally Blonde (DUMT).
Laila Diallo Movement Director Laila is an artist based in Bristol working with dance and movement. As movement director/choreographer for theatre and opera, credits include: Rigoletto, Otello, Un Ballo in Maschera (Opera North); Three Seagulls (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School), Aïda, War and Peace (Canadian Opera Company); Thérèse Raquin, All’s Well That Ends Well (National Theatre); The Prince of Homburg, Dance of Death (Donmar); Tis Pity She’s a Whore (West Yorkshire Playhouse). Recent works include short film 1:1, Produced by MAYK and commissioned by British Council #WomenPowerinCulture for WOW Istanbul, and In The Company Of Others, a work in development commissioned by Projekt Europa.
David Ellington Deaf Consultant David Ellington is a Deaf Consultant working across Arts organisations such as Watershed, Diverse City, and Independent Cinema Organisation (ICO). David’s roles have been diverse, including film, theatre, and television drama and presenting. Theatre credits: Extraordinary Wall of Silence (Ad Infinitum); Frozen (Fingersmiths); Paralympic Opening Ceremony/ The Garden/Against the Tide (Strange Fruit & Graeae); Bent / Diary of an Action Man (Graeae). Circus art and street theatre experience also includes 19
Extraordinary Bodies - What ---Am I Worth/Weighting (Diverse City & Cirque Bijou). Films and TV/adverts credits : Accessible advert - The Last Leg (C4), Paralympic accessible advert (C4), Smirnoff - Deaf dancer, Small World - Episode 2 (Mutt & Jeff Pictures), Otherside / Game of a Life (Neath Films), Stand By Your Man (BBC), I’m Spaziticus - The Comedy Lab (C4), The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (BBC), Holby City (BBC).
Jessica Straker Casting Director Jessica Straker is a Writer and Casting Director for Theatre, TV and Film. She started her career as a casting associate for Sarah Gavron’s critically-acclaimed third film, Rocks (2019); before assisting on the multi award-winning series, Small Axe (2020) from Academy award-winning director, Steve McQueen. Both projects received BAFTA wins for Casting. Now working on her own projects, she specialises in street-casting and authentic representation. Jessica is also a founding director of We Are Bridge, an organisation which provides aftercare and production welfare support; helping new, underrepresented and emerging talent transition into a sustainable career following their first major project.
Sophia Khan Costume & Wigs Supervisor Sophia is an experienced Wardrobe Supervisor and afro hair educator. Originally from Cardiff and now based in Bristol, she has worked on both small and large scale productions in the UK and internationally. As Wardrobe Supervisor: Beautiful Thing, A View From The Bridge, Macbeth (Tobacco Factory Theatre); Double Vision (Gaggle babble). As Wig Supervisor: The Little Matchgirl (Shakespeare’s Globe/Bristol Old Vic); Junkyard (Bristol Old Vic/Headlong); Night Must Fall (Original Theatre Company); The Rivals (Liverpool Playhouse/ Bristol Old Vic/Glasgow Citz).
Photos Steve Tanner
The Bristol Old Vic Team Amanda Adams Head of Communications Tundun Adebanjo Digital Marketing & Content Officer Duncan Arnold Senior Sound & Broadcast Technician Ben Atterbury New Work Producer Andrew Barton Daytime Receptionist Lee Barden Production & Operations Administrator Emma Bennett HR Assistant Kara Black Young Company & Schools Producer Giles Chiplin Head of Digital Exploitation Sam Collier Technician (Broadcast) Nicolás Conde Executive Assistant Andrew Cunningham CNC & CAD designer Becky Davies Deputy Operations Manager Hattie De Santis Engagement Producer Imogen Downes Communications Assistant Phil Duffy Food & Beverage Manager Richard Edmunds Purchase Ledger Clerk Mike Elliott Maintenance Supervisor Jack Fayter Head of Digital Marketing Charlotte Geeves Executive Director Lisa Gregan Young Company Director Mike Gunning Head of Lighting & Technical David Harraway Production & Operations Director James Harrison Technician Daniel Hart Duty Manager Sammy Holder Payroll Clerk Lucy Hunt Engagement Director Hannah Jarman Marketing Manager Simon Jenkins Head of Fundraising Henry Knight FOH Coordinator Elinor Lower Interim Assistant Producer (New Work) Mia Macleod Duty Manager Rowan Mead Duty Manager
Doug Middling Individual Giving Manager Kerry Mohide Finance Director Jack Merritt-Webster Evening Receptionist Rebecca Molloy Head of Ticketing & Audience Insight Maev Moran Marketing Officer Jim Molyneux Head of Stage & Workshops Catherine Morgenstern Senior Producer Tom Morris OBE Artistic Director Rebecca Ogundipe Operations Manager Sophia Oriogun-Williams Engagement Assistant Jack Orozco-Morrison Duty Manager Louise Parry Box Office Manager Ian Penny Workshop Coordinator Amelia Richards Director of Marketing & Communications Stuart Richards Weekend Evening Receptionist Imogen Senter Deputy Production Manager Andrew Stocker Duty Manager Skye Turner Workshop Assistant Holly Wallis Heritage Partnerships & Participations Manager Sian Weeding Projects Producer Alice Wheeler Head of Marketing (maternity leave) Chris White Head of Marketing (Maternity Cover) Robin Williams Box Office Coordinator Harriet Wilson Heritage Participation Producer Sam Woolley Finance Manager Timothy Worts Saturday Daytime Receptionist The Welcome Team Xahnaa Adlam, Tianna Aitman, Rhys Baker, Daisy Bates, Natalie Beddows, Hal Bennett, Thomas Besley, Jess Blakemore, Holly Brennan, Grace Bridges, Georgia Casimir, Isabella Considine, Isabelle Coughlan, Natasha Cross, Minnie Cunningham, Adriana De Azevedo, Lolly Deazley, Matilda Dickinson, Nicky Ebbage, Akosua Edwards, Lottie Elcoate, Rieko Kijima Elliott, Antony Fairclough, Adele Ford, Ben Foster, Henry Gadbrook-Coffin, Sofia Gallucci, Ruby Gilmour, Charlie
Gunn, Elliott Grant, Imogen Greenwood, Alex Hall, Ibbie Harris, Joseff Harris, Matthew Harwood, Madurawala Hettiarachchi, Gemma Hilton, Katy Hoste, Liz Kelly, Daisy Kennedy, Gabriela Kocena, Oliver Laird, Elsa Llewelyn, Daniel Loach, Elinor Lower, Krista Matthews, Carlota Matos, Sophie Mayhew, Charlotte McEvoy, Rose McPhilemy, Joy Middlebrook, Ayan Mohammud, Mary Morgan, Rosie Mullaney, Luigi Musa Baldo, Daniel Newman, Charlie Nye, Boden Osborn-Clarke, Conor O’Sullivan, Katherine Palmer, Sophie Power, Isabella Quennell, Lily-Grace Roxburgh, James Saul, Khadijah Sawyers, Samantha Sayer, Heidi Sholl, Clare Simkin, Pippa Sloan, Amy Smith, Ellie ‘Spin’ Coombs, Hector Sturrock, Joseph Thomas, Evelyn Tocher, Beshlie Thorp, Harvey Thring, Katrina Trim, Malinka Tyrakowski, Flossie Ure, Charlotte Vickers-Graham, Tom Wijesinghe, Jonah Wills, Elizabeth Wilson, Sol Woodroffe, Sharlie Yea, Eleonora Zampa. Associates Ad Infinitum Adam Peck Akiya Henry Black South West Network Bristol Design Assembly Christopher Shutt Diverse City Giles Terera Headlong Helen Edmundson Impermanence Julia Head Kwame Kwei-Armah Malaika Kegode MAYK Melly Still Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh Sacconi Quartet Saikat Ahamed Sally Cookson St Pauls Carnival Toby Jones Tristan Sturrock Ujima Radio Vanessa Kisuule Vicki Mortimer Wardrobe Ensemble Wise Children Board Bernard Donoghue (Chair) Sado Jirde (Deputy Chair) Cllr. Craig Cheney Klaus Goeldenbot Claire Hiscott Michael Lea Chinonyerem Odimba Oliver Rawlins Suneeta Sellers David Sproxton Dr Matthew Tanner MBE Kate Anthony Wilkinson
Our Valued Supporters CAPITAL SUPPORT Gold Ticket Holders Michael Bakwin Ann Ziff The Nisbet Trust The Edis Trust The Society of Merchant Venturers The John James Bristol Foundation The University of Bristol Guy Lancaster & Kate Mailer 250th Anniversary Silver Ticket Holders Dame Liz Forgan & Denis Burn Andrew & Anne Nisbet Michael & Clare Morpurgo Sir Daniel & Lady Day-Lewis Richard & Mara Aylmer Trevor & Mary Smallwood Guy Lancaster & Kate Mailer Bob Crowley Nick & Gloria Baker Simon Inch Ann Ziff Mary & Martin Bailey Michael Bakwin Ken & Karen Edis Anthony & Gabrielle Brown Andrew Garrad & Emma Balfour Phil & Claire King Chris & Jackie Booy Edward & Rosie Harford
William & Felicity Mather Annette & Nick Mason Alan Moore Christopher & Sarah Sharp Vanessa & Alan Stevenson Guy & Gill Stobart Lady Sylvia Macara Stephen & Bryn Allpress Lady Susie Sainsbury Constantine Orbelian Kean & Janet Seager Tony & Sarah Kenny Mark & Hilary Davison Peter Rilett & Sonia Mills George Ferguson David Sproxton CBE & Peter Lord CBE John & Mary Prior The Bellevue Trust Sarah Billinghurst & Howard Solomon George & Daphne Burnett John & Johanna Laycock Emma Stenning & Tom Morris Cameron & Ros Kennedy Martin & Dani Clarke Antony & Lady Virginia Gibbs Leila Maw Straus Peter & Janie Cadbury Trudie Styler Sue Elliott John & Maoko Caird Bill & Karen Ray Helen & Peter Wilde
Clerk to the Ticketeers Alan Moore And all who have donated to The Merchants’ Studio Appeal and The Macara Gallery Appeal. Trusts and Foundations Garfield Weston Foundation John James Bristol Foundation The Aurelius Charitable Trust The Linbury Trust The Foyle Foundation The Wolfson Foundation J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust The Kirby Laing Foundation Atkin Foundation Equity Charitable Trust The Mackintosh Foundation The Goldsmiths’ Company Garfield Weston Foundation Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation The Backstage Trust Genesis Foundation Harriet’s Trust Stanley Picker Trust The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust The Aspinwall Education Trust The Isla Foundation The Kirby Laing Foundation The Langdale Trust The Wingate Foundation Theatres Trust
PROGRAMME SUPPORT Major Supporters Clore Duffield Foundation The Hobson Charity Ronald Duncan Literary Foundation The Langdale Trust Charitable Trust Charitable Trust The Thistle Trust Genesis Foundation The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust The Aspinwall Education Trust The Langdale Trust The Wingate Foundation Theatres Trust Noël Coward Foundation The Veronica Awdry Charitable Trust John Ellerman Foundation The Mackintosh Foundation Bristol Old Vic Theatre Club
Directors’ Circle Bernard Donaghue Judith Jones & Tim Lockwood Jones Paul & Joanna Pearson Ashley Pharoah Tom Price Ian Sutherland Emily & Michael Williams Caroline & Richard York Associates’ Circle Claire Smith Iain Boyd & Emma Howard Boyd Principal Supporters
Champions Emma Balfour Simon Inch Rupert & Alice King William & Felicity Mather David Medlock John & Mary Prior Paul & Joanna Pearson
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