Artistic Associates

Our Artistic Associates contribute their wealth of creativity, expertise and experiences to SSF and help to deliver the Festival's Teacher-Director workshops.

Our Artistic Associates

  • John Lightbody

    Senior Artistic Associate

    John is an actor, voiceover artist and freelance director. Among his many classical roles he has played Richard III, Benvolio and the Ghost of Christmas Present. He has delivered SSF’s workshops for over ten years, and most recently in the role of Senior Artistic Associate has overseen the devising of Teacher Workshops.

  • Amy Leach

    Artistic Associate

    Amy works as a freelance Director, and has worked for companies including the Library Theatre & the Royal Exchange in Manchester, the Dukes in Lancaster and The Egg in Bath. She is currently Associate Director at West Yorkshire Playhouse. She enjoys directing both professional and young casts, and loves working for SSF as it feels a real honour to enthuse young people and their teachers up and down the country to revel in the performance of Shakespeare.

  • Brian Mullin

    Artistic Associate

    Brian works as a writer, deviser and dramaturg. He studied Theatre at Yale and went on to research Elizabethan theatre at Oxford. He loves SSF's approach to Shakespeare, letting young people jump into the imagination of the world's greatest dramatist.

  • Guy Hargreaves

    Artistic Associate

    Guy's experience of watching Shakespeare on stage varies greatly. He has seen both some of the most thrilling, vital & exciting nights in the theatre, along with some of the most dull & boring. Guy is very skilled at remaining optimistic and making an idiot of himself. He works for SSF because young people's take on the stories and language can be at the 'thrilling, vital and exciting' end of things.

  • Iain Jones

    Artistic Associate

    Iain is an actor, director and practitioner. As a director he has worked at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley, Greenwich Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre and Edinburgh Festival. He was introduced to Shakespeare at school and loved it. “He's a great storyteller and takes us on adventures that are full of extraordinary characters.” His favourite character is Puck, because he has so much fun.

  • Kate Hughes

    Artistic Associate

    Kate (stage name Kate Middleton) is an actor based in London and originally from the West Midlands. She performs in theatre and on screen, and has a penchant for anything period. 

  • Natalie Diddams

    Artistic Associate

    Natalie is a theatre director, practitioner and teacher based in Manchester. Last year she won the RoutesNorth Award with My Brother’s Country (The Lowry, ARC and Theatre in the Mill). She is also Associate Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she teaches modules on Acting and Shakespeare.

  • Rachel Ellis

    Artistic Associate

    Rachel is an actor, director and theatre tutor. As well as working in the mainstream as an actor Rachel has developed her interest in more experimental work involving physical theatre. She is currently Head of Drama at Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts and has her own theatre company - Faculty of Wonder.

  • Richard Weinman

    Artistic Associate

    Richard is an Associate Director at the Lyric, Hammersmith, where he recently directed Passin’ Thru as part of the Evolution Festival of work by young people. He has been an Associate for the National Youth theatre and the National Theatre Connections project. He is interested in theatre as a way to social inclusion and works frequently with hard-to-reach groups such as NEET young people and young offenders.

  • Tom Mansfield

    Artistic Associate

    Tom is a freelance theatre director, trained on the Birkbeck, University of London MFA in Theatre Directing. He is currently working as Youth Theatre Director at Birmingham REP and is a visiting practitioner at the University of Birmingham. He is Artistic Director of the new writing company Upstart and a founding director of Oscar Mike, a new company dedicated to exploring the boundaries between theatre and gaming.

97%
of teachers told us they developed strong leadership skills

We train and support teachers from primary, secondary and special schools to work actively and ambitiously with Shakespeare.

About our impact
95%
of special school teachers saw an increase in their students' resilience

We believe Shakespeare is for everyone. Every year children from very different backgrounds come together to perform on the same stage.

About our impact
79%
of special school teachers saw an increase in their students' confidence

We believe Shakespeare is for everyone. Every year children from very different backgrounds come together to perform on the same stage.

About our impact
87%
of teachers would strongly recommend the Festival to a colleague

We train and support teachers from primary, secondary and special schools to work actively and ambitiously with Shakespeare.

About our impact
As a result of the Festival process,
97%
of teachers are confident working with Shakespeare

We train and support teachers from primary, secondary and special schools to work actively and ambitiously with Shakespeare.

About our impact
As a result of taking part in the Festival,
97%
of teachers think they will stay in teaching for longer than 5 years

Every year we help thousands of young people from across the UK become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious.

About our impact
98%
of teachers developed a strong relationship with their students through the Festival process

Every year we help thousands of young people from across the UK become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious.

About our impact
97%
of teachers told us their students were better able to express themselves

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instil curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
86%
of teachers reported that their students' academic attainment improved

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
93%
of teachers told us the Festival improved their teaching

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
86%
of teachers said that their students' behaviour improved as a result of the Festival

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
95%
of teachers stated that students were more enthusiastic about learning

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
86%
of teachers reported that attainment in English improved

We work to promote educational attainment - especially in literacy, literature and the performing arts.

About our impact
10%
of participants have English as an additional language

We have used the power of Shakespeare to improve the life chances of thousands of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK and with children with special educational needs.

About our impact
11%
of participants have a statement of educational needs

We have used the power of Shakespeare to improve the life chances of thousands of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK and with children with special educational needs.

About our impact
12%
of participants are eligible for free school meals

We have used the power of Shakespeare to improve the life chances of thousands of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK and with children with special educational needs.

About our impact
27%
of participants are minority ethnic

We have used the power of Shakespeare to improve the life chances of thousands of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK and with children with special educational needs.

About our impact
More than
1,000
schools participate in the Festival

We work nationwide - from Aberdeen to Aberdare, Carlisle to Clacton.

About our impact
Our young people will perform in front of
65,000
people nationwide

At our core is our Festival - the world’s largest youth drama festival.

About our impact
In 2018 we will work with up to
30,000
young people

At our core is our Festival - the world’s largest youth drama festival.

About our impact
96%
of teachers said that their students were resilient as a result of the Festival

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instill curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
95%
of teachers reported that their students were better able to empathise with each other

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instill curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
99%
of teachers said that their students increased in confidence

Every year we help thousands of young people from across the UK become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious.

About our impact
97%
of teachers agreed that their students were better at working together as a team

Every year we help thousands of young people from across the UK become better at teamwork, more confident and more ambitious.

About our impact
94%
of students are more likely to seek out new opportunities

With us, young people change their attitude to learning; we instill curiosity, empathy and pride.

About our impact
More than
250,000
young people have taken part in the Festival

At our core is our Festival - the world’s largest youth drama festival.

About our impact

SSF is a cultural education charity that exists to instil curiosity and empathy, aspiration and self-esteem, literacy and teamwork - giving young people the confidence to see that all the world is their stage.

Learn more about us