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Biographies of the Take the Space team

Chris Barnes: performer for Hanging Hooke and Dolce Via / director for Sam & I

Chris' professional life began at eight years of age when he became a chorister at Westminster Abbey. After graduating from Durham University with an Honours degree in Music he ran away to Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey's Circus in America to train at Clown College.

Since then he has appeared alongside Robert De Niro, Michael Keaton, Keanu Reeves and Allan Bates in the films Much Ado About Nothing, Frankenstein and The Grotesque. On television he has appeared in Silent Witness, Wycliffe, Waking the Dead, Trial and Retribution, Dalziel and Pascoe, Midsomer Murders, Eastenders, Casualty and The Bill and featured in the dramas The Ebbtide, Hornblower and Ivanhoe. Currently he can be seen in the film Amazing Grace with Albert Finney and Michael Gambon.

Chris' theatre work has taken him all over the world. In this country he has played the Young Vic, the National Theatre, the West End, a season of Shakespeare at the Old Vic and for Actors Touring Company - a repertoire of original work at the Donmar Warehouse. He has also appeared at The Bush Theatre in London, the Traverse in Edinburgh and now for Take The Space he is performing Hanging Hooke, a solo piece about the great C17th genius Robert Hooke.

Chris has also written several plays, written music for many shows including Canterbury Tales at the Prince of Wales in London's West End and directed throughout his career. For Take the Space, he directed Sam & I and co directed Hanging Hooke

Siobhán Nicholas: performer for Sam & I  and Dolce Via/ co director for Hanging Hooke /writer for Sam & I, Hanging Hooke and Dolce Via

Before training as an actor at the Drama Centre, Siobhán graduated from London University with a BA Honours in History. Since then she has performed at most of the major reps in the UK including Birmingham Rep and The Royal Exchange, Manchester and has toured with companies such as Actors Touring Company, The New Vic, Hull Truck and The Natural Theatre Company. She has appeared in the films Down In the Valley, Little Dorrit, The Fool, Sparkle, Baby, Sparkle [Dublin Film Festival] and featured in two award winning pieces by the film maker, Roz Mortimer: Wormcharmer (London Film Festival) and Neverland (Films des Femmes, Paris). TV credits include Lucy Shaw in George Bernard Shaw with Brenda Fricker, Phyllis Blew in Shadow Of The Noose, Helen Mirren's Detective Parker in Prime Cracker, Minni in Bully - also Grange Hill, Hollyoaks, The Bill and Casualty.

She has written three plays for Take the Space: Sam & I, Hanging Hooke and Dolce Via. For children, she has written and directed two original plays and two adaptations.


John Ramm : director for Dolce Via

John has worked extensively in theatre and television. His performances include productions at The RSC, The National Theatre, The Donmar Warehouse, Shakespeare's Globe and London's West End. Recent TV appearances include The Palace and he has just played Scrooge in A Christmas Carol at The Rose Theatre in Kingston. For ten years John has been a member of The National Theatre of Brent.  

Lizzie Wyllie: design consultant/ costumes for Sam & I and Hanging Hooke

Lizzie has worked extensively in both Theatre and Opera. Productions designed include Cinderella and Loot for Theatre Clwyd, Canterbury Tales and Ghost Stories for the Welsh Drama Company and The Charge of the Light Brigade for the National Theatre of Brent. She made the clown costumes for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the animated toys for Mary Poppins and the Birds and Grasshopper for the Royal Opera house's production of Cunning Little Vixen. Every summer Lizzie works for the New Shakespeare Co in Regents Park.

Sharon Davey: costumes and set construction for Dolce Via

Sharon has worked extensively with Guildford's Yvonne Arnaud's Youth Theatre as their resident designer

Chris Umney: lighting designer for Sam & I

Since graduating from the Visual and Performing Arts (Theatre) BA course at Brighton University in 1995 Chris has been working as a composer, sound engineer, lighting designer & production manager for performance companies both in the UK & in Europe. He has toured the UK with numerous companies including High Spin; Sound & Fury; The People Show; Theatre & Beyond; Trio Con Brio; Voodoo Vaudeville; Quirk Productions; Bandbazi; Bright FX; Facepack Theatre; Intoto Theatre; Clout Dance Theatre; Barb Jungr; & Brighton Theatre Events.

From 1994 to 1998 he was fortunate to work throughout Europe with the Brighton based Divas Dance Theatre Company, & in 2001 Chris toured to 24 theatres in The Netherlands with Swamp Circus Theatre's production of "Moto". Most recently he has been working in London as Production Manager for Schtanhaus on BAC's Xmas show "World Cup Final 1966" & for Oxford Stage Company / Dumbfounded Theatre's 'The Last Waltz' Spring season at The Arcola.

Emily Laurens: lighting designer for Hanging Hooke

Emily was resident lighting designer at the Little Angel Theatre and then for New Perspectives on When Icicles Hang by the Wall and The Butterfly Lion, also making puppets for The Butterfly Lion and Long Way Home. She worked with Theatre-Rites on Finders Keepers, Shopworks and is now touring with The Thought that Counts.

Sarah Sage: lighting designer for Dolce Via

Sarah is the resident lighting designer and studio manager for The Mill Studio, Guiildford's Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Owen Johnston: sound for Hanging Hooke and Dolce Via

Owen has not spoken a word for over 20 years, preferring to communicate through the medium of electronic music. He does composition and sound design for film and theatre and will work for food.

Gus Munro: scenic artist for Hanging Hooke and design consultant for Sam & I and Dolce Via

Gus trained at RADA and Camberwell College of Arts. She has toured with theatre companies including Take the Space throughout the UK and abroad. With the artist Isobel Smith, she set up "Nosebag", a company taking art workshops and events to venues all over the UK and as far afield as The Ukraine.

Ken Hodgson : graphic design for Sam & I, Hanging Hooke and Dolce Via

Ken of Good Dog Design was kidnapped by Take the Space in 2005. They will never ever release him.

Annie Castledine: Dramaturge for Hanging Hooke

A nationally acclaimed theatre director, Annie was Artistic Director at Derby Playhouse and Associate Artistic Director at Theatre Clywd in Mold. Since then her work has included productions at The National Theatre and the Royal Court. For Theatre Complicite, she has been Associate Artist on a number of productions including - A Disappearing Number, A MInute Too Late and Measure For Measure.  Most recently Annie directed Medea at The Cambridge Arts Theatre.

Arthur Pedlar / Clown Vercoe: Magic and Comic Advisor for Dolce Via

Arthur's career spans an illustrious sixty years. One of his first engagements was at The Cirque Medrano in Paris playing a stooge for Buster Keaton who at that time topped the bill. Since then he has performed in the former Soviet Union, at the first World Clown Congress in Sweden and at festivals in the States, Scandinavia, Singapore, Japan and specially for Prince Rainier in The Throne Room at his palace in Monte Carlo. In 1988 he became tutor at Wisconsin University's Clown Summer School. He then had the honour of being the first living non American clown to be voted into the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Centre, Milwaukee. Arthur was also President of The World Clown Association from 2003 until 2004 and in 2002 became involved with the Circus School of Israel which teaches skills to Palestinian and Jewish youngsters together [ its raison d'etre] He is now their Honorary President. Arthur still performs throughout the UK and Europe and at seventy five rides a mean unicylcle. Furher details on www.goldiellepromotions.com   

Jean Tyler: research mentor for Dolce Via, advising on the world of Variety and Concert Artistes

Jean trained as a soprano and was a member of Doyle Carte before joining what became a hugely successful comedy and song duo. She was a Concert Artiste during the golden era of the fifties and the sixties, working with Ali Bongo, Max Jaffa, the great Geraldo, Cyril Fletcher, Pamela Condell and many other iconic figures.

James Carver - Grenside: photographer for Dolce Via production and press

Resident photographer for the Yvonne Arnaud Youth Theatre. Further details can be found on www.flickr.com/photos/jamescg