I make bold, original and engaging theatre with people. All kinds of people.
From the Royal Shakespeare Company to the Common Lot – young and old, professional and amateur.
I use theatre skills to develop confidence, connect people and create great performance.
Based in Norwich, I work with theatre companies, community groups, schools, businesses and academics across East Anglia / the East of England as a producer, director, facilitator or performer.
My work has three strands:
- Community projects – sourcing and staging stories specific to a locality that are made for, with and by people of the area
- Professional production – bespoke performance commissions and small-scale, professional touring shows telling stories with local and national resonance to areas of low cultural engagement
- Training and facilitation – using my performance and facilitation skills to work with organisations to develop team confidence and creativity.
“Simon’s passion for community theatre is enormous. His patience and skill in taking non-performers and turning them into well-drilled and confident actors, is extraordinary. Marshalling local people to tell the stories of their own communities and their own histories, he’s created shows of imagination, warmth and wit.”Karl Minns
It’s 1549 and people find themselves struggling, starving and destitute as the land that they held in common and supported their livelihoods is being enclosed by rich landowners for profit. For years ordinary working people have been increasingly exploited for the private gain of a privileged ruling class that pay little heed to their calls for equality and social justice.
The show tells the story of what happened to them over six weeks of summer; from the establishment of their own system of fair representation and justice to their brutal repression by a hired army. Five actors use a blend of pathos, comedy and song, with plenty of opportunities for the audience to get involved. Find out more here.
THE TOUR – MAY 2018
Norwich Arts Centre
Workshop – Sunday 13th, 2.00pm, Show – Monday 14th, 7.30pm, Show – Tuesday 15th 7.30pm
Tickets available online here
Aylsham Town Hall or Dereham Memorial Hall TBC
Workshop – Thursday 17th, 2 to 5pm, Show – Thursday 17th, 7.30pm
Wymondham Fairlands Hall
Workshop – Friday 18th, 2.00 – 5.00pm, Show – Friday 18th, 7.30pm
Tasburgh Village Hall
Workshop – Saturday 19th, 2.00pm, Show – Saturday 19th, 7.30pm
Training & facilitation
As a theatre maker I have worked in prisons, drug rehabilitation centres and with people of all ages in the community. My work spans the Royal Shakespeare Company to the award-winning collaborative community project Come Yew In! I have also developed and performed my own one man shows and story evenings in numerous settings, including a perennially popular Macbeth One Man.
For 14 years I worked in substance misuse as an outreach worker and training manager; designing and delivering training across the charitable, commercial and public sectors. After working in volunteer coordination with an international college I moved into museum development. I am the architect and coordinator of SHARE Museums East, a ground-breaking regional development programme that is helping museums to share their skills, resources and experience to mutual and lasting benefit.
I am now taking the successful principles behind the success of SHARE into making theatre with, for and about local communities.
I aim to:
- ensure the development of effective public engagement in the making of high quality theatre
- provide participants and audience with creative experiences that increase individual and collective well-being and foster positive collaboration and co-operation with others
- support cohesion and understanding in communities
- expand the audience that experiences theatre – especially with people and places of low cultural engagement
- create original work develop employment opportunities for writers and participatory artists working in the region
- support the growth and development of businesses in the region.
I have been very impressed in the production values and artistic outcomes Simon achieves in working mostly with non-actors – supporting their activity through appropriate directing, mentoring and involving other professional practitioners to support the artistic aims of the projects.Pasco-Q Kevlin
My approach is one of belief, inclusion and support. Without the need for great expense or experience together we find the heart and the skills to make bold, original, engaging theatre about the stories that matter to us most. My work stands on three tried and tested principles:
- Everyone must benefit
- Everyone has something to offer
- We have what we need; and if we don’t, we can find it.
I make original theatre that supports well-being and social cohesion. I believe theatre has a responsibility to challenge conventional routes of access, and to develop its audience by actively seeking out new spaces, telling stories that resonate with our common humanity and adopting a style that is immediate, positive and empowering.
Simon has produced some truly memorable performances for Norwich over the years. We always know we’re going to get quality work and really excellent community engagement.Helen Selleck
Dr John Alban, former county archivist – working together on Imagined Land
Dr Jeannette Baxter – research lead on Come Yew In!; working on new projects for the future; co-director, New Routes, Old Roots: Literatures of Migration and Exile; co-director, Centre for Science Fiction and Fantasy; research convenor for English Literature, Anglia Ruskin University
Charlie Caine – musical theatre specialist
Mags Chalcraft – writer
The Common Lot – Norwich theatre collective
Duncan Joseph – theatre in education specialist
Karl Minns – writer and performer [Raining Diamonds, 1549] –
New Routes Integration – supporting integration of asylum seekers and refugees, partner for Come Yew In!
Giles Emery of Norvic Archaeology – working together on Imagined Land
Norfolk Archaeological Trust – lead partner on Imagined Land
Norwich Arts Centre – invaluable production support on 1549, Come Yew In! and Egg Café
Greg Powles – writer, performer, worked together on Blood on the Beach, Flintspiration, Lights Up
SyncNorwich – Norwich’s Tech and Startup Community. Promoting and enabling local tech business growth, making Norwich a truly thriving tech cluster in the UK.
Tin House – a Norwich-based community and participatory arts organisation engaging with groups and individuals
Writers Centre Norwich – Anguish, Imagined Land.
BLOG & NEWS
It’s always great doing that first school assembly. So many hours, weeks and months of planning and discussion to get to that point, and then, finally, we can tell the kids. In no time, I tell them, they are going to have their heads in a hole digging up the past and...read more
For some reason I’ve found myself agreeing to a three week deadline for a 4000 word article about Come Yew In! for an academic journal [Book 2.0]. They are after “a simple reflection on the process” and have tried not to scare me off by assuring me that lots of...read more
Casting is a delicious problem. Back in 2013, after not making theatre for far too long, I remember the rush of joy, excitement, responsibility and anxiety from seeing 30 odd A4 faces of all those who auditioned for Boudicca: the Pantomime spread across the kitchen...read more
The weather has hampered our start somewhat - with the first archive session led by Dr John Alban having to be cancelled not once but twice due to snow. We may have had a frustrated start, but the wheels of the community are still turning. I am a great believer in the...read more
Planning takes up a lot of time: schedules, spaces, venues, partners, auditions, press releases. It’s all necessary to make theatre happen, but a lot of it means sitting at my desk. I am happy to do it - but I'm at my best when hopping around the rehearsal room with...read more
I am used to recruiting large amateur casts –but the opportunity that the ACE grant has given me of using professionals – and the luxury of being able to be in a rehearsal room all day for 5 days a week, excites me enormously. Amateurs do it for the love; from Amar:...read more
I am based in Norwich, Norfolk in the United Kingdom, but am always pleased to hear from anyone, anywhere. You can contact me using the form, email me direct or ring me – details below.
By telephone: 07896 781 574
By email: email@example.com