OLADIPO AGBOLUAJE Writer (Pirates of Somalia)
Oladipo Agboluaje is an award-winning playwright and a significant force in British drama. Described as an ‘exciting, vital new voice’ (Time Out), Agboluaje demonstrates his versatility to write plays that transcend African and British cultures. Born in Hackney and educated in both Britain and Nigeria, he began writing short stories at a young age. After completing his BA at the University of Benin, West Africa, he returned to London in 1995 and attended the London Metropolitan University where he received an M.A. in Literature. He later wrote a doctoral thesis at the Open University on West and South African drama. His first play Early Morning, was produced by Futuretense and performed at Oval House Theatre in 2003. Since then, he has gone on to write several more plays, such as The Estate, For One Night Only and Mother Courage and Her Children (African adaptation for Eclipse Theatre). He is the winner of the prestigious Alfred Fagon Award, and a received a 2010 Olivier award nomination for Outstanding Achievement In An Affiliate Theatre for his 2009 play for Iya – lle (The First Wife).
MPUMELELO PAUL GROOTBOOM Director (Pirates of Somalia)
Paul Grootboom is a playwright and director who epitomises the new direction and vision of the performing arts in South Africa. His poignant approach to challenge and reflect the human condition through theatre singles him out as an imaginative and outstanding artist. With his classical adaptations of Sophocles and Shakespeare, a relevant platform of expressing, exploring and reflecting the South African socio-political situation was realised. He is Resident Director at the South African State Theatre, in charge of the dramaturgy, the theatre’s development programme and staging his own original productions. His plays have travelled internationally to the UK, Australia, Germany and Austria. He is well known for the hard-hitting plays Relativity: Township Stories, Cards and Foreplay. He has two Naledi Theatre awards for Directing (for Relativity: Township Stories and Foreplay). OW (which toured all over Europe) continues to present a platform for debate and documentation in historical and political productions like The Rivonia Trial. Paul is also a major contributor in South African film and Television.
MARTIN RILEY Writer (The God Racket, The Boggits)
Martin’s writing spans theatre, television and opera but is grounded in his work in the community, in schools, in pubs, at festivals – on the beach! Martin is a founder director of Alive & Kicking Theatre, Leeds which specialises in interactive drama and theatre for children.
Martin’s many TV credits include Grange Hill and Emmerdale and his own series, Gruey, Kevin’s Cousins, Wilderness Edge with John Coombes and The Worst Witch (BAFTA nominated). Amongst his theatre and libretti are a best-selling dramatisation of The Canterbury Tales published by Oxford University Press, Gwyneth & The Green Knight (Academy Award) and House of The Gods for Music Theatre Wales, The Face In The Mirror, for Welsh National Opera, and Captain Blood’s Revenge with Lynne Plowman for Glyndebourne in 2013. Martin’s collaborations with composer Stephen Deazley include Dr Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow for Scottish Opera and Death’s Cabaret, a Love Story for Matthew Sharp. Chanticleer & The Opera Fox with Joe Cutler was nominated for the 2012 British Composers and Songwriters Awards and Burning of the Boats, a libretto with music by David Burridge for the 2013 Deal festival will be performed again this autumn when Martin will be helping to deliver his new site specific two day interactive, Killing Cousins, a Tudor Time Travel adventure for Welsh National Opera.
Sharon Watson Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre ( Co-Creator, The Shadow of a Dream)
Sharon trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance. She danced with Spiral and Extemporary Dance Theatre, before joining Phoenix as a dancer from 1989 to 1997. Sharon formed her own dance company, ABCD, in 1998. Focussing largely on working with live music, ABCD has toured both nationally and internationally. Sharon returned to Phoenix in 2000 as the company’s Rehearsal and Tour Director. Sharon became the 7th Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre in 2009 and in 2010 was named as one of the Cultural Leadership Programme’s Women to Watch. Phoenix Dance Theatre has grown to be one of the UKs leading contemporary dance companies. For over three decades Phoenix has performed, educated and inspired people across the globe.
Allyson Devenish Artistic Associate
Allyson is from Ottawa, Canada where she studied piano and violin privately and at the Conservatoire de Musique du Quebec. She completed her undergraduate studies at Oberlin College (Ohio, USA), following which, she came to London to do postgraduate work at the Royal Academy of Music.
Allyson has been much in demand as a chamber musician, musical director, recitalist, repetiteur and teacher. Internationally, she has performed in France, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Canada, the United States as well as throughout the United Kingdom. She has played for masterclasses at the Banff Centre (Banff, Canada) and the Britten-Pears School (Aldeburgh). Allyson was Music Director for the premiere of Looking At The Sun (BAC), Kismet (Arcola Theatre) and Assistant Music Director for Porgy and Bess (Lisbon). She has recorded for the BBC, CBC, Radio France, and RTE 1 (Eire).
Allyson created the chamber ensemble ‘syncopation’ early in 2004 with the aim of highlighting and performing unknown, undiscovered and unheard music by black composers.Tweet