Meet the fourteen artists, including writers, directors and producers, who will be supported by Sheffield Theatres for the next 12 months. They will find a home in The Bank, a dedicated space for talent development, which opened today.
Nadia trained at Manchester School of Theatre and has worked on productions with BBC Radio Drama, the Royal Exchange Theatre and the Stephen Joseph Theatre, where she was awarded a placement from Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme. She was also a part of the SJT’s fantastic OutReach team, running workshops with their community and youth theatre groups, and then similarly with Odd Arts in Manchester. Her first poetry film won the WEX Short Film Competition and was screened as part of the BFI Northern Exposure Short Film Programme.
Nadia said: "I’m really excited to be a part of this co-hort to get to know other people making work in this fantastic city! It’ll be great to learn alongside one another and I hope that one day we can then pass our knowledge on to the next generation of Sheffield makers."
A Ugandan born, London trained and Sheffield bred and based theatre maker. He trained as an actor at Rose Bruford College of Performing Arts. Since graduating, John has worked on several project as an actor, and directed Paul Sirett’s Bad Blood Blues. Most recently, John has worked as Assistant Director on Sheffield Theatres’ The Last King of Scotlandand both wrote and performed in Far Gone.
John said: "The Bank is an opportunity for the Sheffield theatre scene to broaden and develop, and for the creative future of the city to really blossom. I am so grateful to be a part of the pioneering group of this incredible initiative, which will offer artists such as myself a chance to grow and learn."
Elin is a director and theatre maker working primarily in new writing and artist development - working dramaturgically with writers to create new plays is a great interest to her. Previously, she has directed work at HOME, New Diorama, York Theatre Royal, Theatre503 and Royal Exchange. Elin is also the Young Company Director at Sheffield Theatres.
Elin said: "I can’t wait to get started! It’s such an exciting time to be at Sheffield Theatres. I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of the group, collaborating and learning from each other, as well as being mentored by Rob [Hastie] and other industry professionals. It’ll be great to get into the new space too!"
Sheffield born and raised Hassun El-Zafar aims to create boundary-pushing art with compelling stories which stimulate thought about the world around us and beyond. Hassun's directorial credits include My Name Is Rachel Corrie (Theatre Delicatessen, 2019) and the soon to be released There Is No Planet B (Theatre Delicatessen, May 2020).
Hassun said: "I’m incredibly excited to join Sheffield Theatres as a member of the Directors cohort for The Bank. I look forward to using the experience, mentorship and support of this initiative to continue my journey into creating powerful and empowering art from my hometown of Sheffield."
James is an aspiring producer based in Sheffield. He co-founded The Backpack Ensemble, which had considerable success with its debut show. Prior to this, James worked with Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, The Lincoln Company and Egg Box Theatre and now wants to produce on some exciting projects, engaging audiences who don’t normally engage with theatre by telling really good stories.
James said: "I am over the moon to be a part of the inaugural cohort. I’m ready to be engaged and get fully immersed in the programme alongside a team of like-minded, creative, incredible individuals. It's an exciting opportunity to cross-pollinate and collaborate to create something special and it's one I can't wait to get started on."
Hannah is a producer and production manager originally from Scotland and based in the beautiful Peak District. Her first loves are folk music, community theatre and storytelling. Fresh from working in some of London’s most-loved subsidised theatres, she is thrilled to be back in the land of fresh air and long walks.
Hannah said:"I’ve always adored Sheffield’s ethos and programming. They’re making some of the best new work seen on UK stages right now, and The Bank will form an integral part of that melting pot of ideas to tell important and exciting stories for the very first time."
Alfie Heffer is an artist, workshop facilitator, and producer. As a producer, he is exploring how young people can collaborate on artistic projects and shape arts organisations. Tales from the Playground, for example, aims to put young people at the heart of their creative offer.
Alfie said: "I am very excited to be part of the first cohort. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in, meeting some new people, hearing about their experiences in and learning all I can from the development scheme."
Miriam runs Cellar Theatre, a 30 seater venue renovated from a disused beer cellar in Sheffield City Centre that programmes new work, queer open mics, experimental comedy and burlesque. Her interests lie in experimental and female-led theatre that is shameless, outrageous and crude.
Miriam said:"I am thrilled to be part of this new artist development project at Sheffield Theatres. It is very special to learn alongside people who are impassioned to make theatre and want to learn as much as possible in this experience."
Ella is a playwright and contemporary performance artist based in Sheffield with a background in mask, movement and verbatim theatre. Ella has recently completed her MA in Theatre and Performance at the University of Sheffield, her works focus on exploring current issues and concepts which she finds beautiful and interesting.
Ella said: "I am incredibly excited to be part of the new cohort! Being a playwright has always been a dream of mine, I am still developing my style and confidence in my voice and I am thrilled by the level of guidance and support that is being offered here at Sheffield Theatres."
Todd is an actor and writer from Crookes, Sheffield. He trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School after studying English at Manchester. His first script was longlisted for the Papatango Prize 2018, and was workshopped as part of Sheffield Theatre’s Summer Residencies. He has acted in over 12 stage productions since leaving Bristol in 2013, and has been in a handful of commercials and short films
Todd said:"I am hugely excited to be part of the first Bank Cohort. As a local artist, I feel Sheffield Theatres is the perfect partner for me to develop my work, and to be learning and working in my home town with one of the best theatres in the world is a real privilege, I cannot wait to get started!"
John works as a freelance script-reader for several TV production companies and has previously had work performed at The Lowry, Barbican and Singapore Arts Festival. John’s favourite collaboration was immersive family adventure Emergency Story Penguin, produced by Slung Low and which nested in the Crucible Studio for Christmas 2015.
John said: "I'm really hoping this long-form scheme allows me to develop and sustain longer projects. I'm eager for the ongoing mentorship but also the continued support along with being able to bounce ideas and share successes and stresses with the other participants (as long as that's alright with them)."
Laura trained as an actor at Arden School of Theatre in Manchester, gaining a 1st class Honours degree in Acting from The University of Manchester. Since graduating she has worked extensively on new writing and devising processes, and wrote and produced two full-length plays, Hidden (2013) and Parallel (2016), which toured nationally to studio theatres.
Laura said: "I’m delighted to be part of the first cohort of this exciting scheme at Sheffield Theatres. It is a great opportunity to develop my voice and refine my process. Writing can be a very lonely process thwarted by procrastination, so I am very grateful to have some structure, discipline and accountability, alongside inspiration and guidance from a fantastic mentorship programme and peer group"
Kat is an actor/writer who has worked with Northern Broadsides and Shakespeare’s Globe. Her play £1 Thursdays was workshopped with Out of Joint. She also writes for BBC Children’s. Kat is happiest when walking her dog and eating dessert.
Kat said: "I am dead excited to be part of the cohort - looking forward to getting stuck in, learning loads and being part of the lovely team at Sheffield Theatres."
Tim is a writer-performer from Sheffield who’s been writing for the stage on-and-off since 2012. As well as the theatre, he draws inspiration from speculative fiction and video games. His writing often explores mental illness and trauma, using a funny and intimate approach to make it safe for the audience.
Tim said: "It’s a real privilege to be part of the inaugural group at the Bank. As well as the development programme itself, the cohort is a really exciting group of people, and it’s an honour to be able to learn and grow alongside them."
Also appointed is Sarah Sharp as Talent Development Coordinator, with a remit to curate the programme at The Bank, collaborate with the supported artists and connect with talented people across the city region.
Sarah has worked on a variety of projects and festivals for HOME including Push Festival, a cross art form talent development festival of new work that runs every January at HOME, and their artist training around live streaming theatre shows in their T2 space. Sharp was previously the Producer and Programmer at Theatre Deli Sheffield. She oversaw the creation of two temporary theatres whilst she was with Theatre Deli; one was in an ex-Woolworths building which ran from September 2014 - July 2017 and most recently the ex-Mothercare building which Theatre Deli have been in since October 2017. Since graduating in 2014 Sarah has also worked on Flare International Festival in 2015 as their Artist Liaison producer. Sarah was the co-founder of Migration Matters festival, an annual festival that runs as part of Refugee Week in Sheffield city centre each June, since 2015.