Take the Space - The People


Chris Barnes: Performer; Director; Co founder of Take the Space

Chris Barnes in STELLA

Chris Barnes in STELLA

Chris graduated with an Honours degree in Music from Durham University, and then spent two seasons as band instructor for Barnum and Bailey’s Circus Clown College in the USA.

On screen, Chris has appeared alongside Robert De Niro, Michael Keaton, Keanu Reeves and Allan Bates in the films Much Ado About Nothing, Frankenstein, The Grotesque and Amazing Grace. On television he has appeared in Silent Witness, Wycliffe, Ivanhoe, Trial and Retribution, Dalziel and Pascoe, Midsomer Murders, Eastenders, Holby City, Casualty, The Bill,  Waking the Dead, New Tricks, Endeavour and The Musketeers. He also played lead roles in the dramas The Ebbtide and Hornblower.

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. Chris was a founder member of Actors Touring Company and whilst with the company received the Kaleidoscope Award for best performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

He has also performed at The Bush Theatre in London, the Traverse in Edinburgh, Liverpool Playhouse and now for Take the Space, he directed Sam & I, performs Hanging Hooke a solo play about Robert Hooke,  performs the role of Freddie, a fading comedian; plays William Herschel and Bill in STELLA,  a story of women, their men and astronomyand now plays Jimmy Mac, the Quaker - Boxer in White Feather Boxer.

Chris has also composed music for many shows including Canterbury Tales at the Prince of Wales in London’s West End.

Siobhán Nicholas in Dolce Via

Siobhán Nicholas in Dolce Via

Siobhán Nicholas: Performer; Writer; Co founder of Take the Space

Before training 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 and appeared in the films Down In the Valley, Little Dorrit, The Fool, Sparkle, Baby, Sparkle, Wormcharmer and Neverland.  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.

In 2003, she was commissioned - by the Samuel Pepys Tercentenary Festival for the City Of London - to write her first play, a solo play about Elizabeth de St Michel, the wife of Samuel Pepys, which she also performed.

In 2005, Siobhán, with Chris Barnes, founded Take the Space and Sam & I embarked on the company’s first ACE funded national tour.

Siobhán’s second play, Hanging Hooke, a solo play about Robert Hooke, was short short listed for the Meyer Whitworth Prize.

In October 2011, Take the Space were invited to perform Hanging Hooke and Sam & I for the One Culture Festival at The Royal Society and in 2013, STELLA, her fourth play {in which she also plays Caroline Herschel and Penelope} was nominated by Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre for the Susan Smith Blackburn prize. 

STELLA by Take the Space

STELLA by Take the Space

David Fielder: Associate Artist

David Fielder has been a member of Equity and the acting profession for over forty three years. 

He trained at The Central School Of Speech & Drama and since then he has played leading roles at The Globe, The Royal Shakespeare Company, English Touring Theatre, Shared Experience and the Royal National Theatre. Also major roles in many rep theatres across the country and across the decades. He has performed Prospero all over the world in a site specific production of ‘The Tempest’ with the AB&C Theatre Company and created the role of The Ref in “Trafford Tansi”, on tour and in the West End. David worked with Beckett in Paris in the 80s. and performed an unpublished collection of his work called ‘Beginning To End.’

David was our mentor during the development of Dolce Via and was our co director on the second tour of STELLA and also for White Feather Boxer

Chris Barnes in STELLA

Chris Barnes in STELLA

Polly Irvin: Co Director

Polly is a Time Out award-winning theatre director and former head of the BA programme in theatre directing at Rose Bruford College in London

Irvin trained as an actress at Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and upon graduating worked as an actress in theatre and television for nearly a decade before turning to directing. She founded Wild Iris theatre company in 1992, for which she directed theatre productions at the Bristol Old Vic theatre, the Tricycle Theatre, the Bush Theatre and the Battersea Arts Centre. As a freelance director she directed Shakespeare’s As you like it at the Bristol Old Vic, and a devised adaptation of Hansel and Gretel for the Lyric Hammersmith in London.

In 2002, Irvin published her first book, Directing for the Stage, a series of interviews with contemporary theatre directors including Deborah Warner, Robert Lepage and Trevor Nunn. Polly was our co director on STELLA, a story of women their men and astronomy.  

Actress Sian Webber

Actress Sian Webber

Sian Webber:  Associate Artist

Sian trained at Dartington College and has been a performer for over thirty years.

A familiar face on television, she starred as Dr Melanie Kilpatrick in the ITV series Bliss with Simon Shepherd and has since played featured roles in Linda la Plante’s Trial and Retribution, Above Suspicion and Silent Witness. Since 2005, Sian has played Ritchie Scott in Eastenders. Recently she appeared in the new ITV dramas “Without You” with Anna Friel Midsommer Murders and . Her film work includes Thin Ice and Young Blades. 

Onstage, Sian has played roles in major reps across the UK including Bristol Old Vic. With a commitment to new plays, her London appearances have included work at The Young Vic, The Gate, Battersea Arts Centre and recently at Theatre 503 in Hydrocracker’s production of The Consultant with James Wilby.

She has just premiered a solo show about the American journalist, Martha Gellhorn in the “Ways with Words” Festival at Dartington.  Sian played Jess in our second tour of STELLA, a story of women, their men and astronomy. 

Kathryn Pogson as Jes in STELLA

Kathryn Pogson as Jes in STELLA

Kathryn Pogson: Performer

Kathryn trained at the Drama Centre and her stage appearances began with community theatre then progressed to seasons at The Royal Court through to classical lead roles  with The RSC and The Globe.

She received an Obie award and a Drama Desk Award nomination for her performance in the 1986 New York production of Aunt Dan and Lemon. More recently Kathy played Eurydice in Ivo van Hove’s production of Antigone with Juliet Binoche at The Barbican and on tour.

Her numerous television appearances include We'll Meet Again, Midsommer Muders, Foyles War and Reckless whilst on film, Kathy has had featured roles in Brazil, Company of Wolves, Breakfast on Pluto, Millions and The Arbor.  

In 2014 she was invited to take up the post of  Artistic Director at the London Dramatic Academy
For Take the Space, Kathryn played Jess in the first tour of STELLA, a story of women, their men and astronomy

Sketches for Take the Space's production of Dolce Via

John Ramm : Director

John has worked extensively in British theatre.

 His performances as an actor include lead roles in seasons at The RSC, The National Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre, The Donmar Warehouse, The Rose Kingston, and Shakespeare's Globe,  Most recently he performed in The Low Road at The Royal Court and played the dual roles of Sir Thomas More and Henry Norris in the RSC production of Wolfe Hall; Bring Up The Bodies in Stratford, London’s West End and then New York. John has just played Benedick in Theatre Clwyd’s production of Much Ado About Nothing.
His numerous appearances on screen, include roles in Robin Hood, The Palace, Foyle’s War and Shakespeare in Love.

For over ten years John has performed with The National Theatre of Brent as “Raymond Box”. and plays Sergeant Brunswick in the BBC Radio comedy drama series, Inspector Steine.
For Take the Space, John directed Dolce Via.

The set of White Feather Boxer

Chris Hannan: Dramaturgy

His work has been staged by the RSC, The Globe, The Traverse and the National Theatre of Scotland.

In 1996 Chris was nominated for the Lloyds Bank Playwright of the Year for SHINING SOULS which premiered at The Traverse in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The play was again produced at the Old Vic in 1997 by Sir Peter Hall’s Company. SHINING SOULS was revived by the Tron in 2003 and won a CATS (Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland ) Award for Best Production.

THE EVIL DOERS won numerous awards when first performed at the Bush Theatre in 1990 including a Time Out Award and Best Play London Fringe

ELIZABETH GORDON QUINN, first produced by The Traverse in 1985, was revived by the National Theatre of Scotland in 2006, its inaugural year. 

THE BABY which was directed by Michael Boyd and premiered at the Tron in 1990, was then revived by Polly Irvin for her production for The Bush in 1993. 

In 1991 the RSC commissioned and staged Chris’ adaptation of Ibsen’s THE PRETENDERS which was directed by Danny Boyle at the Barbican and then in 1992, Chris’ version of Gogol’s GAMBLERS was produced at the Tricycle, starring Mark Rylance, Phil Daniels and the Russian actor Oleg Menshikov. 

Recent work includes The Three Musketeers and the Princess of Spain {staged by English Touring Theatre, Coventry Belgrade and The Traverse}  which won the 2011 CATS Award, the Critics' Award for Theatre in Scotland, for Best New Play.   That same year The God of Soho opened at Shakespeare's Globe. His adaptation of Crime and Punishment premiered at the Citizens' Theatre on 5 September 2013 and subsequently toured to the Liverpool Playhouse and Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh.

Julia Masli as Jo in White Feather Boxer

Julia Masli as Jo in White Feather Boxer

Julia Masli: Performer

Who plays Jo in White Feather Boxer, trained at Ecole Philippe Gaulier for two years. She is Russian born in Estonia and speaks fluent English. At the school, Julia performed in second year clown, vaudeville and bouffon shows directed by Philippe Gaulier. 

On graduation she created a solo show called 'Radiator' which was performed at Tristan Bates Theatre and toured to Sardinia as part of Rooted Moon Festival. 'Radiator' is written by Madeleine Bye and directed by Sam Bailey. Julia participated in workshops led by: Marcello Magni, Rene Bazinet, Annabel Arden, Jos Houben, Clive Mendus and Declan Donnellan. As a result of a Complicite workshop a show called 'The Dragon' was created and performed at The Rag Factory. 

Gus Munro's set design in Hanging Hooke

Gus Munro's set design in Hanging Hooke

Gus Munro: Design

Gus trained at RADA and Camberwell College of Arts.  She has worked extensively with theatre companies touring the UK and abroad, both on stage and behind the scenes.  

In recent years, together with Brighton artist Isobel Smith, she set up “Nosebag”, a company taking art workshops to venues all over Sussex and the UK and as far afield as Ukraine
Gus has been our design consultant and scenic artist all five productions for Take the Space: Sam & I, Hanging Hooke, Dolce Via, STELLA  and White Feather Boxer

Pavillion image for Take the Space's production of Dolce Via

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 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. 

Siobhan Nicholas in Dolce Via

Siobhan Nicholas in Dolce Via

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.

Judith Hibberd; Production Consultant

Judith Hibberd has had over 20 years experience in the arts as Programmer, Producer and Arts Manager. 

Trained at Goldsmiths Judith produced and programmed theatre and dance at Battersea Arts Centre and ran the National Young Directors Award before being selected by Royal National Theatre and London International Festival of Theatre, to take part in an international artists' exchange in Romania. This led to a range of international exchanges in Eastern Europe over a ten year period, a festival of British work in Romania and a major festival of work from the Baltic States.

At Watermans Arts Centre, Judith ran the theatre and produced large scale work on the Thames before moving to Arts Council England where she was Head of Performing Arts. She has now her own company, 'Judith Hibberd Associates' and is  currently producer for Vincent Dance. Judith mentored Take the Space’s development and production of STELLA.

Ken Hodgson : graphic design for Sam & I, Hanging Hooke , Dolce Via, STELLA and White Feather Boxer

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

White Feather on Black Background

Hanging Hooke at the Royal Society's One Culture Festival

Hanging Hooke at the Royal Society's One Culture Festival

Annie Castledine RIP: Dramaturg for Hanging Hooke 

A nationally and internationally acclaimed theatre director, Annie was Artistic Director at Derby Playhouse and Associate Artistic Director at Theatre Clywd in Mold. 

Annie's extraordinary range of work in theatre included productions at The National Theatre, Cambridge Arts Theatre, The Arcola and the Royal Court. For Theatre Complicite, she was Associate Artist on a number of productions including - The Winter’s Tale, A Disappearing Number, A Minute Too Late and Measure For Measure.  
For Take the Space, she was a source of inspiration and rigorous support. 


Lizzie Wyllie RIP: design consultant/ costume designer and maker for Sam & I and Hanging Hooke

We will always remember Lizzie who worked extensively in both Theatre and Opera. Productions designed included 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 worked for the New Shakespeare Co in Regents Park.