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Recoverist Theatre Project - Freelance creatives


Nell Hardy

Nell is an actor, writer, theatre director and facilitator, and the founder of Response Ability Theatre: a company that works to represent and support people whose lives have been derailed by trauma. Her work walks a fine line between the poetic and the everyday to expose audiences to hidden contemporary experiences in an uncompromising but hopeful way. Her solo show NoMad premiered at the Arcola Outside last year, and she is now a Resident Artist at Theatre Deli developing her second show, I, Lord. She has facilitated for companies such as Cardboard Citizens and NHS Maudsley Learning, and will soon guest lecture at UCLan, UCL and Queen Mary University of London.

Home | Response Ability Theatre

Nadia Al faghih Hasan

Nadia grew up to the sounds of drum rhythm and music in North Africa. In past years she travelled to various parts of vibrant West Africa and South Africa studying drum, rhythm and voice. 

After her travels, she joined a Carnival Steel Pan group & also Blema Sisters Pan African Dance Group, as a dancer, drummer and performer in various projects in London and the UK. Nadia ran interactive sessions with projects at Rich Mix, Nda Dance Company, Kumba Nia Arts theatre, as well as with various other groups in community education and performance.

Nadia currently sings and drums with Kan Beng, a band formed of many nations whose roots span from Gambia, North Africa, UK, Israel and Jamaica. 

She is called to the path of building confidence and well-being through her work and delivers music, creativity and empowerment in community and the creative arts with the aim of uniting people of different backgrounds through singing, drumming and dance. 

Melanie Hering

Melanie Hering is a drama and creative writing facilitator. She loves making art with people and hearing their stories.

She graduated from an MA in Applied Theatre at Goldsmiths College in 2016. She is passionate about creative inclusive spaces for play, and where people are free to use their imaginations and express themselves. Generating frameworks that have the flexibility to be adapted to the individual needs and wishes of the people she works with is central to her practice. She likes building things collaboratively with curiosity, and is more interested in the process of creating together than the outcome.

Melanie has wide ranging experience facilitating projects with individuals who have special educational needs as well as people from refugee backgrounds. She currently is an associate artist at MK Gallery and Project Phakama and also works for London Bubble Theatre, Immediate Theatre, and with various refugee aid charities (Action for Refugees in Lewisham, Young Roots) facilitating workshops with young people, families as well as older members of the community. She also runs her own monthly creative writing workshops.

Jess McKenna

Jess (she/they) is a theatre maker from East London. They have worked with many communities across London, including young people, mental health service users, migrants, and individuals who have special educational needs. They are passionate about collaborative practices, and theatre's intersections with advocacy and activism. They currently facilitate educational workshops for Tender, and have recently been commissioned by C&T to create digital applied theatre work which celebrates LGBTQ+ identities. Jess has also worked with participation departments at the Almeida Theatre, the Arcola Theatre and the Donmar Warehouse. They are currently writing their MA dissertation at Central School of Speech and Drama on the ways in which applied theatre practices might support recovery communities.

Lucy Dear

I am an applied theatre practitioner, theatre director and community producer from London with fifteen years’ experience of working in the applied theatre field. I design and deliver projects with mainstream & special needs primary and secondary schools and colleges, youth centres, youth theatres, hospitals, universities, museums, theatres and arts organisations. I specialise in working with inner city community groups - building confidence and creating positive experiences through the arts.

In the UK I have delivered projects with BRIT school, Soho Theatre, Young Vic, KIT theatre, Theatre Peckham, Poplar Union, Lyric Hammersmith, The Unicorn Theatre, Kiln Theatre, The Old Vic, The Southwark Playhouse, The Bush Theatre, The British Museum, The Gate Theatre, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Chickenshed, Graeae, SMART (mental health charity), Green Shoes Arts, New Wimbledon Theatre, Tender, Artis, Lost Theatre, Lewisham Youth Theatre, The Broadway Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, Blackhorse Workshop, Purple Moon Drama and have delivered projects internationally with Faust International and Dramatic English in Hong Kong and the Philippines. For more info visit:

Gaynor Smith

Gaynor is a theatre practitioner, facilitator and youth worker, who specialises in Theatre of the Oppressed. With over a decade of experience gained in the international development sector she has employed creative approaches to explore humanitarian issues, diversity and leadership. She also works with community groups with shared experiences, such as mental illness, homelessness and migration,and uses drama and art to foster a sense of belonging, self-esteem and communication skills. A trained laughter yoga teacher, Gaynor offers group workshops that tap into our playful natures to support enhanced wellbeing.

Gaynor runs Rehearse the Revolution; an informal and friendly collective of people, who are interested in playing with T.O. and using applied theatre for social change. The group is open to everyone, with or without prior experience.  

As well as offering workshops introducing Forum Theatre to practitioners and groups, Rehearse the Revolution is a space for people to get together and play Boal games, share ideas and practices relating to T.O. and devise work collaboratively. 

facebook: rehearsetherevolution

Laura Rae

Laura is a Poet and Creative Facilitator from Hull.

Laura moved to London to complete her MA in Applied Theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and has worked with Hull Truck Theatre, the Ministry of Stories, the National Literacy Trust and several London theatres. She has delivered drama and creative writing projects in various settings including schools, day care centres, homeless activity centres, colleges, prisons and theatres.

Laura toured as a Writer/ Performer on CROWDED, an immersive poetry performance for young audiences produced by Apples and Snakes and Half Moon Theatre, which won an Off West end award in the Best production for audiences aged 13+ category in 2020. 

Mark Rose

Mark has been an actor for 25 years. He is originally from Salford and trained at Bretton Hall in Leeds. His work as an actor has taken him around the country on regional tours and has seen him perform at The National Theatre, The Old Vic and The West End. He will soon be seen on Doctors on BBC1 and is in the company of The Glass Menagerie at The Duke of Yorks till August.

As a facilitator he has worked with children and adults in a range of settings and covering a wide variety of topics and subject matter. One of his favourite projects was in conjunction with the Crisis charity in which he helped people struggling to find homes find an artistic way of voicing their experiences. 

Mark has lived experience of addiction and recovery and is very proud to be part of this initiative.

Mark is also a co-founder of Blueprint Theatre and Film Company

Blueprint Theatre Company


Hannah Rudd

Hannah has been a professional dance artist for fifteen years. She trained at The Royal Ballet school and has danced with The Michael Clark company, Scottish Ballet, Rambert Dance Company and Birmingham Royal Ballet as well as freelancing independently throughout the UK and Europe in Ballet and contemporary works.

Hannah has a desire to facilitate human connection through the expression of dance and frequently collaborates with other artists in a range of mediums, musicians and creatives. She has created her own choreographic work within a range of organisations, including The Royal Ballet, Phoenix Youth Dance Theatre, Dance East England and for her own personal performance in theatre, film and festivals. 

She is also studying a Masters in Dance and she is interested in researching into the potential psychological effects of institutionalised training and work environments, and where there is need to revaluate frameworks, in order to cultivate lasting equity through the learning process. 

Hannah is a qualified yoga teacher and teaches this as well as dance alongside her professional artistic work. 

Hannah has worked with ‘Fallen Angels Dance theatre’ and ‘Outside Edge’ - organisations specialising in movement, dance and theatre for those managing addiction, addiction recovery and mental health challenges for the past six years. 

This work and her extensive dance experience propels her to collaborate and create with empathy, humanity and passion. She is currently an independent dance artist working, creating and facilitating in the UK and internationally. 

This will be her first time working with ‘Islington Peoples Theatre’ and she can’t wait to be in the studio with the artists.

Fallen Angels Dance Theatre (

Nikki Slade

Nikki Slade is a leading pioneer in the field of chanting, core voice and sound work in the UK. Nikki has inspired thousands of individuals to chant and has led chanting workshops in a wide variety of settings including corporations such as M&C Saatchi, Deutcshe Bank and Cisco. She has been resident Kirtan leader at triyoga London for 20 years and has also taken her cutting edge approach to working with the voice into Wandsworth men’s prison. She was the resident voice and sound facilitator at the Priory hospital in North London for 20 years where she impacted the recovery of hundreds of addicts and for the past 6 years she has been facilitating chanting workshops at the half-way recovery house Start 2 Stop.

Nikki has released 4 successful mantra and chanting recordings including: Nectarine, Monsoon, Soundscape and her latest double album Epiphany. She is also author of the popular book ‘The Healing Power of Chanting’. In recent years she has pioneered Kirtan in the mainstream areas of Glastonbury Festival and Latitude. She has travelled the world with her work to places including California, Singapore, NYC, Europe and Melbourne, Australia. She led a chant for over 2000 people at the 11.11.11 Mind, Body, Spirit show and at the 12.12.12 Oneness ceremony in London. Nikki is the founder of the first in the UK 200hr Learn To Lead Kirtan Foundation Training, accredited by The Yoga Alliance Professionals in 2016.

Home - Nikki Slade

Lucy Howgego

 My personal mission is to nurture a safe, peaceful and creative world full of possibilities and I focus on community, diversity and trauma.  I am an IFS informed transformation coach and 5Rhythms movement and dance teacher.  I have completed a Compassionate Inquiry practitioner (Dr Gabor Mate) training and will shortly be applying for accreditation.  I am currently in the middle of a 3 year Somatic Experiencing practitioner training (Peter Levene) and a Sensory Awareness Yoga teacher (Tias Little).  I have also attended foundation trainings and workshops with Trauma Research Foundation (Bessel van der Kolk), Diamond Approach (AH Almaas), Macrobiotics with Chinese Medicine (Oliver Cowmeadow & Michael Rossoff), Yoga (Donna Farhi) and Leaders Development Diversity Training.  I offer elements from all these modalities into my teaching when appropriate. 


Nicola Hollinshead

I’m an applied theatre and drama practitioner with a background in professional theatre, having worked as an actor for over twenty years. As a facilitator, I’ve worked with a variety of community groups, in a range of venues including treatment centres, approved premises, community centres, prisons & care homes.

The work has taken place with charities and organisations whose mission is to support and engage community & vulnerable groups with the benefits of using applied theatre, drama and creative arts processes, and includes; Seconds Out Theatre Workshop, Unity Theatre, Liverpool Playhouse Theatre, Reading Rep Theatre, Park Bench, Outside Edge, Southwark Playhouse, Arts for Dementia, Equal Arts, Safe Ground, Unlock Drama, Arcola Theatre, Leeds University, Dramavision, Pauline Quirke Academy, Jigsaw and Tom Allen Arts Centre.

I set up Islington Peoples Theatre in 2019 to work with community and marginalised groups in the borough, as well as UK wide, using applied theatre and creative practice to co-create change. I created, and am currently project-managing Recoverist Theatre Project, the company's first funded project, and will be leading a session on ‘Creating Characters’, as part of this new applied theatre and creative arts intiative.

Current work as a freelancer is with Safe Ground, working on their new community programme Make Your Mark, across three London Boroughs, with women with experience of the Criminal Justice System. 

My next project with IPT will be run in conjunction with Nell Hardy @ Response Ability Theatre. We are delighted to have been awarded Arts Council funding for this project, working with women from Pause Islington