Social & Community Theatre Experience
2020 – 2021 (current)
Joanna has been helping and supporting young and older people to achieve healthy growth and build self-confidence. You could call this working from the ‘Inside-Out’. What we often see with this approach is a new and strengthened sense of identity and resilience. At this time (under Covid conditions) this has involved working with feelings of grief, anxiety and rage. Clients have included a young teenager, a number of mothers and grandmothers and a group of parents. This is part of an ongoing approach adopted within applied theatre work using EFT and drama techniques.
Response to Covid 19
August 2020 … The Red Shoes … 2 outdoor performances with Sarah Mooney directed by Joanna – see video under projects
Sierra Leone – Wood Green Online Arts Platform Joanna ventured into Online In person facilitation (see projects page). This project began with an exploration of culture, place and the impact of lockdown, COVID-19 and connecting African Caribbean – African Community experiences. This was the start of a longer-term engagement, aiming to create joint creative expression through online channels.
Joanna directed (and appeared in) ‘Heartbeat’: Lockdown has created a situation for many where we have been cut off and isolated from one another and the familiar way of life that we knew. Live performances were stopped and online connection took over, but as the weeks and months passed, people craved that live, visceral contact.
Heartbeat is a joint project with Wassail Theatre, funded by Arts Council England. The project aims to create theatre which is tactile, intimate, and touching (in the heartfelt sense!). Performances create a sense of fun and connection, bringing joy and recognition to the local community.
Funded by the Arts Council England and Westhill Endowment Trust, Pattern Up The Play completed its second run in February 2020.
Joanna worked with dramaturg Mongi Mthombeni and writer Marika McKennell to develop the original script and embolden the story. The cast worked with Rubs Stevenson to incorporate African dance into the play and actor Jae Marcus X developed a number of acapella songs based on traditional African chants and gospel. New actors Jeremie Kadi and Amaarah Roze joined the cast.
Pattern Up toured to 8 locations (9 performances) in early 2020 and was performed in theatre settings, including the Arcola Theatre, Hackney and McQueen’s Theatre at Karamel, Wood Green, as well as at City Hall (Greater London Authority Council Chamber), a church hall, a community college, an Academy High School, and an Alternative Education Provision.
Joanna directed Somerset Charabanc 2019 “Egg Day” in association with Wassail Productions and Somerset Wildlife Trust. This year, the Millers Cart drawn by Suffolk Shire horses, blazed a trail through Westhay Nature Reserve with the audience on board and exploring the land where the action took place; a story of greed and deception against the backdrop of climate change and conservation.
Joanna completed work on Pattern Up the play, the result of the ‘Lifes a Carnival’ project. A readthrough May 18 highlighted the enthusiasm of some 40 members of the local community, as well as providing valuable feedback on where the script can be improved. Funding for this phase was provided by Arts Council England and Westhill Endowment. Joanna devised Pattern Up over 18 months with ken Hinds and June Tuitt, community activists in the Tottenham African Caribbean community and directed the production. Pattern Up was performed 9 times in all, mainly at community centres in North London, the College of Haringey, Enfield and NE London (twice) and two venues in Leicester where June grew up. Approximately 600 attended the performances. After each show the cast held a discussion with the audiences and gave information about the proposed work of Communities Against Violence Haringey, a grassroots community organisation founded by Ken, June and other community activists in Haringey, North London. See Current projects page.
Joanna just completed directing a one man show for the Coker Arts Festival with Nick White and Wassail Productions. Based on the character “Pete” from “Somerset Charabanc” it followed his character (played by Nick) and his girlfriend “Babs” (a puppet with personality) around the villages of East and West Coker, performances taking place in pub, meadow, playground, cafe and even a butcher shop!
Joanna, made a film with Mary Renouf, her partner from imaginAge. “Care As You Are” is about the emotional impact of caring for parent or spouse with dementia. The film was being written by Mary and directed by Joanna. Joanna working with dementia expert Jane Dalrymple, is working closely with commissioners and carers’ groups in Somerset to create a series of workshops based on the film as a development tool for professional carers, health workers and community groups in order to stimulate carers to meet and talk about the content – to normalise the conversations about caring for a relative or spouse with dementia and the impact it has.
Arts Council England funded the research and development phase of “Life’s A Carnival” (resulting in Pattern Up” the play) and workshops and interviews in the community were held, whilst writer Marika McKennell and Joanna developed the script with input from June Tuitt and Ken Hinds two community activists from Tottenham whose lives the play is based upon.
Joanna started a new venture – imaginAge – a website and YouTube channel for older age people to create and watch creative content together based on ‘connections’. Connecting with nature and connecting through events in people’s lives’. We are also making short videos ourselves.The first was filmed as part of dementia week in Langport, Somerset with a group of people in a care home, their spouses, carers and a group of children and was on the theme of ‘kites’.
The Somerset Charrabanc rides again! The Arts Council funded Wassail Productions to produce an extended version for 2017’s Langport Festival in September. Joanna directed the production and this year there was additional community involvement in the production in additional to the professional actors.
2016 – 2017 ongoing
“Life’s A Carnival” Joanna is developing and working on a show pivoting around the lives of Ken Hinds from the heart of Tottenham, London – a mediator between police, community and gangs, and with a powerful story to tell – and June Tuitt, a lone mother from that community, who has raised 7 boys and girl, whose boys have experienced issues relating to being stabbed, stop and search and mental health. The aim is to develop the show in a way that shows that there is an alternative to cycles of racism, exclusion and violence. We are adding in workshops to engage local community to develop the themes and have been joined by a mother living in Tottenham.
A key development is that the production will promote Communities Against Violence in Haringey, a grassroots organisation aiming to engage members of the community to divert young people away from knife crime and gangs.
Joanna developed an innovative approach to local storytelling in Somerset, working with Nick White, Wassail Productions, funded by the Arts Council. Working with 4 actors and Nick White, writer, a show was devised and performed in September taking a ‘mythology’ of the Somerset Levels as the basis for the show. “The Somerset Charabanc” was performed on a large Millers Cart, drawn by two Suffolk horses, which wound its way around Langport and Muchelney, as the audience were invited to witness an ‘illicit’ wedding and the resolution of a dramatic and fateful event 100 years ago connected to the flooding of the Levels (all performed on the moving cart carrying the audience across the Levels!)
Lomakatsi: delivered drama-based activities to a group of young people at an acute mental health ward in Edgware. Also has been co-opted onto Lomakatsi’s practise advisory group.
Funding received to direct a play developed with the writer, to be performed for community audiences. The play ‘With Full Conviction’ incorporated the idea of how a spiritually-focused community might come into being through a collective search for the truth in the context of exclusion, social conflict and responsibility. Production was directed by Joanna and rehearsed over 3 months, and was performed by non-professional actors who drew on their own experiences of exclusion. The 1 hour 15minute play was performed over 3 nights to great audience acclaim in Brighton and Bognor Regis.
Delivered a one-day drama workshop for 25 Young Carers in Somerset, developing confidence, creativity and group working, acknowledging the qualities of being a young carer and using drama to create scenes together
Working with a group of local Somerset people affected by memory problems and their carers – the ‘Forget-Me-Not Cafe’ – providing songs, stories and improvisation on memories shared
Facilitating workshops on a staff engagement process for Kids Company
Facilitation of drama sessions to support rehabilitation of wounded soldiers and veterans recovering from injury and illness, with an emphasis on improving confidence, social skills and interaction with strangers. Help for Heroes, Tedworth House Recovery Centre, Wiltshire.
Kids Company. Staff Workshop, Bristol co-produced a staff development day with 87 people using drama to create a ‘positive organisation’ that supports intensive educational and therapeutic services for children and young people. (Kids Company promotes and supports emotional wellbeing children and young people.)
Creation of drama workshops for ex-offenders to support an ongoing programme of personal empowerment, in both London and Somerset. Coaching for a concert performed by the client group. Sponsored by Key 4 Life; a charity that creates solutions to help reduce youth offending and gang warfare using a programme to rehabilitate young people pre and post release.
Romeo and Juliet – directed and adapted a version of Shakespeare’s play to highlight the theme of ‘gangs and choice’. Alperton Community School, Wembley.
Facilitated an arts week for special needs primary school children incorporating drama and art and puppets. Manor School, London (Working during World Book Day for a week on large arts project with a final performance)
Taught crime prevention to special needs children through Drama. Vernon House, Village School, Woodfield and Manor Schools, London (Sponsored by Wembley Crime Prevention in promoting crime prevention awareness for vulnerable children and young people)
Drama workshops for Sir Oswald Stoll, a charitable organisation for ex-servicemen and women. (Stoll provides rehabilitative support to vulnerable and disabled ex-Service men and women)
Every Chick Tells Tales – Wrote and directed original work for young women at risk. Sponsored by Wembley Crime Prevention and Brent Council.
Co-wrote and directed The Notebook – performed at The Imperial War Museum – London – sponsored by ABF – The Soldiers’ Charity
Wrote and directed Edges, an original work, for Ex-Military and homeless people, for ‘The Warrior Programme’
Five Original One-Acts – wrote, directed, and produced Working with Youth and Community – War affected youth Sierra Leone, Africa sponsored by The Leverhulme Trust and Environmental Foundation for Africa
Theatre Research Project for Refugees/Migrants- Athens, Samos, Patmos, Greece. World Stages Now
Odysseus and The Sirens – adapted and directed recovering addicts for The Swan Project, a charity supporting recovery for alcoholics in Bristol.
Remembering Medea Tour – Marseille, The Alps, France. World Stages Now. Co-wrote and directed theatre to raise awareness of the plight of African migrants.
Conducted a drama workshop with The Coldstream Guards, in London, using voice and bodywork as well as improvisation to create a final performance for their peers and senior officers. This was considered to be part of army training to promote self-confidence in guardsmen, to help the platoon bond as a unit more efficiently.
2004 – 2007
Conducted drama workshops using voice, body work, improvisation and creative writing – particularly the use of storytelling – as a tool for engagement amongst the elderly, particularly those with memory loss and other related issues. St Vincent’s House a residential home for the elderly in Hammersmith, London St Vincent’s House.
Conducted training workshops in film making with vulnerable youth. Taught all aspects of film making, from script writing, pre-production and directing, to all aspects of post-production including editing. YCTV (Youth Culture TV), London
1998 – 2004
Created workshops for children and young people at festivals created by (ISTA), International Schools Theatre Association in France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Egypt and Belgium. Directed pieces focusing on a chosen theme to create a performance within the international schools community.
The Tricycle Theatre, London working with refugee children from different countries in ongoing workshops using a variety of drama techniques to build and support them with language, communication and integration skills through drama.
Conducted a workshop for the children’s festival at The Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford. Devised a participatory show and educational workshop around The Tempest, Midsummer Nights Dream for young children to introduce them to Shakespeare.