I began training in the performing arts as a dancer from ages 5-11yrs old and then as an actor from 11-16yrs old, both at local youth groups. I began working at an award winning Tudor Re-enactment called Kentwell Hall aged 10yrs old and spent a week each summer living as a travelling troubadour in a mummers troupe called the Suffolk Howlers, we are still performing together today, 26 years later, making us somewhat specialists in our field (no pun intended).
I studied theatre throughout GCSE's & A'Levels, completing A'Level Theatre Studies at Colchester Sixth Form College in 1996, then in 2001 I completed a degree in English at Nottingham Trent University. Whilst there I directed Equus and Alice Through the Looking Glass as part of the Nottingham Trent Drama Society.
When I left university in 2002 I set up and edited Flow Magazine - a radical online feminist webzine, which one of the first of its kind, and it became national news when Julie Burchill wrote about it in her column for the Guardian and then she subsequently wrote for Flow Magazine itself.
In 2003 I became a semi-finalist in the "So you think you're funny?" stand-up comedy awards resulting in me performing at the Gilded Balloon. Trained in contemporary clowning with Angela De Castro and became a member of the HaHaHarmonics choir. Off the back of this I met John Jordon (of Reclaim the Streets fame) and supported him with setting up and training the Clandestine Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA).
In 2003 I established Kriya Arts a cutting edge arts and production company. My first contract was with Zap Arts as Project Assistant helping to produce The Streets of Brighton, a 3 day street arts festival that was part of the Brighton Festival and also the National Street Arts Meeting, where practitioners from all over the world got together to discuss the future of street arts.
Between 2003 and 2004 I moved to a large squat in Berlin and was part of Piratinnen Puppeteen theatre company. We travelled around the squat bars of Berlin presenting videos and puppetry performances on the theme of piracy.
From 2004 to 2008 I moved back to Brighton and worked as part of a new media collective called Nothing to See Here Productions where we spent our time making websites, music promos, short films and branding for the likes of Fat Boy Slim, Alice Russell, Quantic Soul Orchestra and Juliette Lewis. We also worked with artists such as Matt Sewell and Adam James on live art events like the first ever You, Me, Bum Bum Train. During this time we were all hands on deck so learnt a myriad of production skills as well as being the in company’s house actress.
From 2007 to 2008 I trained in acting at the Academy of Creative Training in Brighton.
In 2008 I began working with a world famous fool called Jonathan Kay as his producer with the grand job title of Director of Fooling and after a couple of years I also began training with him too. Together we created the Nomadic Academy for Fools, which is still running to this day. After a few years the graduates from the academy, myself included, began touring professional work under the company name Theatre of Now. I now teach at the academy.
From 2012 on wards I focused on producing theatre. First of all I produced Tangram Theatre's multi-award winning Scientrilogy, which was three science comedy musicals covering Darwin, Einstein and Marie Curie. Then I produced and performed a cameo role as a cat nun in the award winning Backstage in Biscuit Land by Touretteshero, which explored and celebrated the creativity and spontaneity of Tourette’s Syndrome. We won the Total Theatre Emerging Artist Award and were selected to be part of the British Council Showcase, which meant we subsequently toured all over the world taking us to Australia, Canada, the US, Sweden and Norway to name but a few. It was then selected to be part of the Live from Television Centre on the BBC, where four theatre companies performed an extract from their plays, back to back live on TV, we were the last people to perform at the London BBC Television Centre. Then in 2017 I also produced TESOSTERONE for Rhum and Clay Theatre Company, which explored the toxicity in masculinity through the eyes of a new man, called Kit Redstone, who is a transgender writer and performer.. His unique perspective allowed us to explore what it really means to be a man. This was also selected to be part of the British Council Showcase, which meant we toured to Kazakhstan, Canada and Brazil.
I began working on my first one woman show called HIP in 2015, which premiered at the Brighton Fringe Festival in 2016 then went on to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it was nominated for a Broadway Bobby Award. Based around found objects, this semi-autobiographical one woman show started by introducing you to a flat caught between two timelines and personalities: the home of Anne Clarke during 70s bohemian Brighton, and a squat established I in 2002 where I discovered that Anne’s life had accidentally been left behind after she’d passed away leaving the flat as a time capsule Through exploring Anne's life I discovered the history of Brighton's counterculture scenes and this led to an interactive promenade experience called the HIP Trip of Brighton: A Psychedelic Wander in 2017, where I lead audiences around Brighton and introduced them to where the punks, hippies and beatniks used to hang out and with the help of a famous local street artist recreated an infamous mural on a shop that used to house a place called the Unicorn Bookshop, and I included a dedication to the old shop owner and original mural artist on the side. The tour received critical acclaim and a sold-out run. In 2018 this led to me creating, with the help of my co-creator Lucy Malone, a new project called the Museum of Ordinary People (MOOP), MOOP is a new kind of museum that tells the stories of ordinary people, exploring and considering the magic and mundanity of ordinary life, chronicling hidden narratives and celebrating the ripples that we leave behind. MOOP was a temporary / pop-up museum running for one week during the Brighton Fringe Festival at The Spire last year, presenting collections created by and about ordinary people, as part of a wider programme of events that included performances, talks and workshops. It won the Brighton Fringe Visual Arts Award and the plan for 2019 is to take MOOP to the Edinburgh Visual Arts Festival.
Also in 2018 I wrote and devised a new feminist play Sisterhood, which introduced audiences to a sisterhood caught between two timelines: the witch trials of the 16th C and modern-day women facing a world in political and environmental upheaval. I took Sisterhood to the prestigious Pleasance venue at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it met with critical acclaim.
Whilst in Edinburgh with Sisterhood, I created a series of scratch performances called La Luna that marked the different phases of the moon throughout the Fringe. The feedback from these scratches was fantastic and now I’m seeking to research and develop these scratches into a full production for the Brighton Fringe Festival this year.
I am also a writer. My first novel The Girl Who'll Rule the World was published by the Kings England Press in 2016, this was the first in a planned series called Saturn Returns, where the reader drops into the life of character Esmeralda every seven years. In the first novel she is 28 to 29 years old. In my second novel Never Worn, published by Kings England Press in 2018, Esmeralda is 35 years old. The third novel entitled The Meaning of Life is due for publication in 2021 and in this one Esmeralda will be 42. Before that, I’ve been asked to turn my play Sisterhood into a novel, which is what I’m currently working on at the moment.
"I create safe spaces within which audiences can relax, open up and explore. My work is extra-live, which means that the usual rules of theatre etiquette do not apply and therefore anything can happen.
In the background to my practice I'm interested in the history of performance, from our earliest forefather's attempts at explaining how they'd survived death by performing elaborate ceremonies, to the power of show business today. I'm exploring how theatre can be used as an act of subversion, healing and discussion. I'm continually delighting in its inherent magic, the act of creation being the most magical act of all.
But the forefront of my practice comes with a mainstream face. I work with cutting edge mediums, performance artists, designers and producers so that the interface with the audience is edgy and enticing.
I'm interested in how theatre can be used as a tool for change. Theatre allows for a safe and sacred space within which issues can be discussed without fear of retribution. But to get people there in the first place the work needs to be accessible and inclusive. It needs to look like fun. The face of my practice has taken many guises, but behind the mask, my practice is always about working with the audience to challenge and crack open our preconceptions (especially my own).
The question mark is my crucifix."