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.
Respond. Research. Realise.
My work has two strands:
- Projects and productions – bespoke performance commissions and small-scale, professional touring shows telling stories with local and national resonance to areas of low cultural engagement. I also run community-based projects – sourcing and staging stories specific to a locality that are made for, with and by people of the area.
- 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.”
Anglia Square – A Love Story
Come and join me and the Common Lot for our new project, ‘Anglia Square: A Love Story’ as we investigate and celebrate the long history of the area at a time of imminent and radical change.
Throughout 2019 we are creating:
- a citizen research group
- a community choir and song writing team
- schools exhibitions
- a true stories live event
- an open-air theatre production
- a songbook
- a souvenir publication
Projects and Productions
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.
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.
BLOG & NEWS
This morning the schools director Duncan and I took Wensum Junior’s year 6 kids on a guided walk around the square and surrounding area, hoping so to bring alive some of the history that is currently being unearthed by our small army of community researchers. Rather...
I like the notion of the “Magic Coffee”. Once you get a hint of mutual benefit, the natural thing is to arrange a first date; time just to sit down together and talk informally- a neutral environment in the daytime, no pressure. And like any first date, you both know...
Nearly 3 years ago – when The Common Lot and I were having that brilliant year with the RSC on their Dream 2016 project (http://www.dream2016.org.uk/amateur-group/the-common-lot/ ) they asked us to fill out a little profile questionnaire for their website. What is...
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...
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...
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...