Contributors and Interviewees

Scenes from the Revolution: Making Political Theatre 1968–2018 would not be possible without the help of numerous amazing and talented theatre makers, many of whom began a legacy in 1968 by founding a theatre company to fight a worthy cause; are continuing a legacy today; or are well respected in the field of theatre.

Below are some of the amazing people we would like to thank for their help, in order of appearance in the publication.

Prologue
Lyn Gardner: Lyn writes about theatre for the Guardian and is associate editor of The Stage.

 

Agitprop and Political Theatre
Rod Dixon: Artistic Director of Red Ladder Theatre Company, a national touring theatre company based in Leeds, which was formed in 1968. Before working with Red Ladder, Rod was Associate Director at the Barbican Theatre in Plymouth and as a freelancer directed several shows at Plymouth Theatre Royal including Union Street with a cast of 230 local people. Rod ran the Hub Theatre School in Cornwall and before that was an actor with several touring companies including Kneehigh Theatre.

Kathleen McCreery: Kathleen was a member of Red Ladder Theatre from 1969–75. She went on to co-found Broadside Theatre (1975–81) and to write, direct, act and teach in the UK, Germany, Zimbabwe, Ghana, South Africa, Lesotho and Ireland. Her play When I Meet My Mother was chosen for In The Continuum and other plays (Weaver Press, 2009), and The Chambermaids was published in Workers’ Play Time (Workable Books, 2017). A trained counsellor, Kathleen has recently facilitated projects ranging from mental health to Travellers’ rights. With Richard Stourac, she co-authored the book Theatre as a Weapon (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986).

David Peimer: Born in South Africa, Professor Peimer was a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University. His many publications include his last play in the book he edited: Armed Response: Plays from South Africa; editing the digital nook, Theatre in the Camps, The Theatre of Images (Columbia University). He has won numerous prestigious awards for play-writing and directing. He has directed theatre in South Africa, New York, the EU Parliament in Brussels, Pinter Centre (Goldsmiths) where he is Senior External Researcher, Prague Quadrennial, Global Shakespeare Congress, Vaclav Havel’s Prague Theatre, Liverpool Slavery Museum, and others.

Rebecca Hillman: Rebecca works as a lecturer at the University of Exeter. Her teaching, research and theatre practice are informed by her work as a trade unionist and political activist. She is interested in the role of art in social and industrial movements past and present, and how this has (and hasn’t!) been documented. Rebecca has worked on a series of events to rebuild links between the labour movement and political artists in the UK, and to bring activists from a range of backgrounds together to share approaches. She is a trustee for the Future’s Venture Foundation, a charity that funds radical art interventions.

 

Working-Class Theatre
Bob Eaton: Bob began his career in 1971 as Assistant Director at the Victoria Theatre Stoke. He then spent several years working, mainly as an actor, in Alan Ayckbourn’s Scarborough company. In 1979 he became Associate Director of Manchester’s Contact Theatre and in 1981 was appointed Artistic Director of the Liverpool Everyman. In 1984 he became Artistic Director of the London Bubble and in 1996 Director of the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry. Since 2006 he has been heavily involved in the rejuvenation of Liverpool’s Royal Court. He has written over 30 plays and musicals, including Our Day Out, with Willy Russell, and with Sayan Kent, a new musical, Maggie May.

Lizzie Nunnery: Lizzie’s first play, Intemperance (Liverpool Everyman 2007), was awarded 5 stars by The Guardian and shortlisted for the Meyer-Whitworth Award. She co-wrote Unprotected (Everyman/Traverse 2006), and was awarded the Amnesty International Award for Freedom of Expression. The Swallowing Dark (Liverpool Playhouse Studio/Theatre503 2011) was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, as was Play With Songs, Narvik (Box of Tricks Theatre, National Tour 2017) which won Best New Play at the UK Theatre Awards 2017. Other recent work includes The Sum (Everyman 2017) and The Snow Dragons (National Theatre 2017). Lizzie is a singer and songwriter, and has written extensively for BBC radio.

Lindsay Rodden: Lindsay is a writer and dramaturge, born in Scotland and brought up in Liverpool and Co. Donegal, Ireland. She currently lives in North Tyneside, following a year’s writer-in-residency at Northumbria University and Live Theatre. She is a member of the Royal Court’s Northern Writers’ Group. Writing includes: The Story Giant (Liverpool Everyman, adapted from the book by Brian Patten); Cartographers (Theatre by the Lake); A Modest Proposal and Sunday Morning, Dandelion Seeds (women playwrights’ collective Agent 160); Man With Bicycle, ‘73 and Writing in the Dark (The Miniaturists); as well as numerous collaborations with musicians and other artists.

 

Theatre In Education
Anthony Jackson: Anthony is Emeritus Professor of Educational Theatre at the University of Manchester. He pioneered the teaching of theatre-in-education at higher education level; was co-founder of Manchester’s Centre for Applied Theatre Research; and directed the Performance, Learning and Heritage research project, investigating the uses and impact of performance as a medium of learning in museums and at historic sites (2005–8). A recipient of the Judith Kase-Cooper Honorary Research Award from the American Alliance for Theatre & Education (2003), he has guest-lectured in Europe, the USA, South Africa and Australia. His publications include Theatre, Education and the Making of Meanings (2007); Performing Heritage: Research, Practice and Innovation in Museum Theatre and Live Interpretation (ed. with Jenny Kidd, 2011); and Learning Through Theatre: the Changing Face of Theatre in Education (ed. with Chris Vine, 2013).

Tony Hughes: A Keele University graduate, Tony taught drama for eight years in Greater Manchester and Leeds schools. In 1978 he joined M6 Theatre Company, Rochdale and spent eight years working in TIE as actor/teacher and director. He then joined the Met Arts Centre, Bury as Deputy Director, leading on programming and expanding the building. In 1991 he was appointed Principal Arts Officer for Bolton Council, introducing arts and creative industries teams across council departments. He retired from his final post as Bolton Council’s Culture Special Projects Manager in 2005.

Justine Themen: Associate Director at Belgrade Theatre and leads on Diversity, Artist Development and Community & Education. Her creative and strategic work was instrumental in the Belgrade receiving the UK Theatre Award for the Promotion of Diversity in 2016. Recent directing work includes Rise (2017) and Red Snapper (2016) which emerged from the theatre’s acclaimed Critical Mass new writing programme for writers from BAME backgrounds. She is a fellow of the prestigious Clore Leadership programme. Before Coventry, Justine worked in Suriname as a theatre consultant, director and film-maker. Her documentary, Abigail, was selected for the Travelling Caribbean Showcase, a UNESCO heritage initiative.

Julia Samuels: Co-Artistic Director of 20 Stories High (20SH). For 20SH, her work includes creating/directing I Told My Mum I was Going on an R.E. Trip (subsequently adapted for the BBC); creating/directing Tales from the MP3; directing She’s Leaving Home, Black and Headz by Keith Saha, Whole by Philip Osment and Laurence Wilson’s Blackberry Trout Face. 20SH Youth Theatre shows include: Rain (with 84 Theater, Tehran), A Private Viewing, The Elasticated Sound System and Dark Star Rising. Previous to her work with 20SH, Julia worked in the education departments of the National Theatre and Theatre Royal, Stratford East and has also worked as a freelancer for companies including North West Playwrights, RSC, Z-Arts and Theatre Centre.

 

Women’s Theatre
Sue Parrish: Sue is Artistic Director of Sphinx Theatre Company, where she has been since 1991. A founding member of the Conference of Women Theatre Directors and Administrators and of the Women’s Playhouse Trust, Sue has remained involved in developing the feminist dialogue in theatre, producing a range of plays and theatre conferences, including ten years of the Glass Ceiling conferences from 1991, four Vamps, Vixens and Feminists conferences and two years of Women Centre Stage.

Mica Nava: Mica was a founding member of the Women’s Theatre Group and worked with the group from 1973–4. She subsequently became an academic and is now Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of East London. Her books include Changing Cultures: Feminism, Youth and Consumerism (1992) and Visceral Cosmopolitanism: Gender, Culture and the Normalisation of Difference (2007). She is currently working on a memoir and a film script about race relations in 1950s London.

Catrina McHugh: Originally from Liverpool, Catrina moved to Newcastle in 1993 after falling in love with a Geordie, Newcastle and the north-east. Driven by a passionate belief that great theatre can bring about social change, she co-founded Open Clasp in 1998. She has experienced working creatively with the most disenfranchised women and successfully works with communities to create risk-taking and exciting theatre, providing powerful stimulus for discussion and debate. She has been hailed as the ‘female Lee Hall only better’. Catrina was awarded an MBE for services to disadvantaged women through theatre in 2017.

Jill Heslop: Jill is a performer, writer and producer with a passionate interest in feminism, social change and the arts. She was Creative Producer for Open Clasp between 2013–17 and produced the multi-award-winning play Key Change (Best of Edinburgh 2015; New York Times Critics’ Pick 2016). She has a background in music both as a performer with contemporary folk band Ribbon Road, and as a promoter of political song and spoken-word events and festivals, and has a great interest in using the arts as a forum to discuss and debate contemporary issues. She is currently undertaking a research fellowship focusing on women who are creating change in working-class communities in the north-east of England.

Anna Hermann: Anna has been working in the field of theatre and social change for 30 years, specialising in theatre and education with marginalised groups in the UK and abroad. She has been with Clean Break since 2002 as the Head of Education, leading the company’s ground-breaking work. Anna is the author of Making a Leap: Theatre of Empowerment: a practical handbook in creating issue-based theatre with disadvantaged young people. She has an MA in Arts Education and a PG Cert in Race and Ethnic relations. She is a founding member of the steering group of National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance, a regular visiting lecturer at Applied Theatre courses nationally, and between 2006–18 was a trustee of Leap Confronting Conflict: a UK-based charity specialising in youth and conflict.

 

Queer Theatre
Don Milligan: Don was a rank-and-file trade unionist for many years, an active communist, and a veteran of the gay liberation movement. He is the author of The Politics of Homosexuality (Pluto, 1973); Sex-Life: A Critical Commentary on the History of Sexuality (Pluto, 1993); and is co-author with Michael Fitzpatrick of The Truth About the Aids Panic (Junius, 1987). Don writes the column ‘Off The Cuff’ and posts numerous articles on a wide range of topics on ‘Reflections of a Renegade’.

Julie Parker: Trained as an actress at Central School of Speech and Drama in 1970s; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; original member of First Gay Sweatshop Women’s Company touring in the original production of Any Woman Can by Jill Posener. Company member of Action Space 1978–81. Set up and ran London’s iconic Drill Hall Theatre from 1981–2011; leading producer and promoter of LGBT work in the UK and Internationally during this time; one of the founders of Stop Clause 28 arts lobby in the 1980s. She ran Outhouse London with her long-time friend, co-producer and partner in crime, Mavis Seaman from 2011–18.

Ruth McCarthy: Ruth is Artistic Director of Outburst Queer Arts Festival in Belfast. For the past 12 years she has supported the creation of new queer work in Northern Ireland, as well as developing events with established queer artists and writers for venues such as Ulster Museum, the MAC and the Lyric Theatre. Since 2015 she has worked in partnership with the British Council to support new initiatives and partnerships with LGBTQ+ artists and producers in the Global South, including Brazil, the Caribbean, Peru and Uruguay. She is a member of the British Council Arts and Creative Economy Advisory Group and a Director of the Black Box venue in Belfast.

Chris Goode: Chris is a writer and maker for theatre and live performance, and the artistic director of Chris Goode & Company. His work has been seen across a wide range of scales and contexts – from Sydney Opera House, Tate Modern and the Royal Court, to the most underground spaces on the London fringe. He is the author of The Forest and the Field: Changing Theatre in a Changing World.

 

Theatre and Race
May Sumbwanyambe: May is an Associate Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University and a former recipient of the Headley Trust Scholarship at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. As a playwright he has won several awards for his work, most recently the Alfred Fagon Audience Award for his critically acclaimed stage play After Independence, and BBC Pick of the Week for its subsequent adaptation for BBC Radio 4. He is currently writing new works for the National Theatre of Scotland, the BBC, Scottish Film Talent Network and Crab Apple Film Company. He also works as a Peer Reviewer for Creative Scotland.

Sudha Bhuchar: Sudha is an actor/playwright and co-founder of Tamasha Theatre, where she served as co-artistic director for 26 years. Landmark plays include Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings and a Funeral (winner of Barclays/TMA Best Musical) and Strictly Dandia (both with Kristine Landon-Smith). Solo plays include The House of Bilquis Bibi and the critically acclaimed My Name Is…, which she adapted for Radio 4. Sudha’s acting career includes EastEnders, Doctors, Casualty, Stella and Coronation Street. Recent theatre credits include Khandan by Gurpreet and Lions and Tigers by Tanika Gupta. In 2017 she launched her new company, Bhuchar Boulevard, with a critically acclaimed revival of Child of the Divide, marking the 70th anniversary of the partition of India.

Jingan Young: Jingan is an award-winning playwright. She is currently reading for a PhD in Film Studies at King’s College London. She was the first playwright commissioned and produced in the English language by the Hong Kong Arts Festival for Filth (Failed in London, Try Hong Kong). She was one of the first recipients of the Michael Grandage Futures Grant for play-writing and was a member of the BBC Writersroom invitation-only group London Voices. She is founder and artistic director of Pokfulam Road Productions and regularly commissions new writing from East Asian writers in the UK and China.

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