Click on staff names to contact us.
: CEO (on maternity leave)
: CEO (Maternity Cover)
: Director of Research
: Director of Business Development
: Artist Support Associate
: Artist Support Associate
: Artist Support Associate (on maternity leave)
You can contact all ASAs by emailing – whoever is available first will respond.
For website enquiries email
: Cultural Curriculum for Bristol
Theatre Bristol is governed by a board of directors, currently:
Nick Sweeting (Producer, Improbable Theatre)
James Stenhouse (Artistic Director, Action Hero)
Laila Diallo (Choreographer)
Claire Reddington (Creative Director, Watershed)
Sarah Dickenson (Dramaturg and Project Manager)
CEO: Mel Scaffold
I love experiments, particularly ones with explosions. As CEO I help design and shape new ideas that we think could make large-scale change in the arts. Part of my role is being out and about developing relationships and partnerships that will bring new opportunities to the sector. And a lot of it is about working out how these experiments can benefit the most people, connect beyond our existing boundaries and create a healthy environment where more people can participate in and make a living from brilliant art.
Before this role as Company Producer I gave senior producing support to a number of artists of proven excellence, resulting in new national and international commissions, new partnerships and better company infrastructures. In addition to business development, I also scavenged props from charity shops and wrestled with the vagaries of international taxation systems.
Until 2015 I was also Development Facilitator for Create Gloucestershire, an organisation instigating change in the arts sector through collective thinking and working.
Previous incarnations include producing live art and dance at Arnolfini, spoken word at Apples & Snakes and new writing inspired by biomedical science at Theatrescience. I also squeezed in an MA in Performance Research to develop my own practice around the interplay of different performance languages, and am particularly interested in creating high quality work and experiences for and with young people, which I’ve pursued with Travelling Light, Real Ideas Organisation and Theatre Royal Plymouth.
I’m Chair of Trustees for Firebird Theatre, a company of disabled actors, and I love a good horizon.
CEO (Maternity Cover): Laura Drane
I am an independent creative producer and facilitator, based in Cardiff and working across the UK – and also now part-time CEO of Theatre Bristol as Mel’s maternity cover! It’s such a privilege to do this and I am looking forward to my Bristol adventure in 2018.
Having been freelance since 2002, I have been based in Edinburgh, Manchester, and West Yorkshire, and I’ve worked on a wide variety of projects across artforms and sectors. Contracts have included producing, programme development/ delivery, feasibility, research, consultation and evaluation. To give a few examples, I’ve produced science festivals and community arts projects, toured dance productions to 13th century castles, delivered major outreach projects for government departments, and managed venues at Edinburgh Fringe. Nothing if not varied!
I’m a Fellow of The RSA, a trustee of Theatr Iolo, a National Adviser to Arts Council of Wales, co-founder of What Next? Cardiff, and co-leader of Cardiff Read, the city’s open access book group.
I am a mother, a cooker, a reader, a TV-watcher, a city-lover, a walker and cycler, a northerner (now only at heart), and a Welsh learner (dysgwr).
Director of Research: Tanuja Amarasuriya
I’m Theatre Bristol’s Director of Research, which essentially means I focus on designing, analyzing and sharing TB’s ideas, thinking and learning. It’s a new role from 2017, and we hope it’ll help TB to be even more useful to more people.
I’m a theatre director and dramaturg, also doing bits of sound design and filmmaking when I get the chance. I mostly make work through my company Sleepdogs, an interdisciplinary collaboration with writer/composer Timothy X Atack. We make theatre, film, and sound work characterised by surprising storytelling and visceral, sensory aesthetics. We’re into genre and modern things, and how we exist as humans in a technologically and culturally dispersed world. Sleepdogs’ work has been developed and presented nationally and internationally including at the National Theatre (London), Bristol Old Vic, Seattle International Film Festival, BBC Radio, Manchester Royal Exchange and BIOS (Athens).
Theatre Bristol always strives to champion independent artists, so my role is also about making sure that the lived, current experiences of being a practicing theatremaker influence TB’s direction and decision-making at a senior level. With initiatives like this Director of Research role, the Artist Support Associates and TB Agents we hope TB can keep increasing the profile of independent artists as strategic experts in our industry.
If you want some ancient history: I joined Theatre Bristol in 2005, after being Live Art & Dance Coordinator at Arnolfini for 5 years, after working on Arnolfini’s box office for 2 years. I was Associate Producer at In Between Time, working on their first 4 festivals and international touring projects. Before all that, I worked in a bookshop (national chain, still eking out an existence) and a record shop (independent, now sadly, defunct).
I’m a human woman. Born in Sri Lanka, raised just outside Durham, living in Bristol. Sci-fi fan. Pedant. Optimist. I try and see as much work as I can, so if you see me out and about and what to introduce yourself, rock up and say hello.
Director of Business Development: Sarah Kingswell
(Biog to follow)
Administrator: Miriam Battye
So I’ll try and give you an overview and not the extended dance mix: I’m Theatre Bristol’s Administrator, which means doing all kinds of stuff to keep TB, and our website alive and kicking. I’m the first port of call for a lot of people when they first engage with TB and I generally see my role as being enthused about all things Theatre Bristol and all things Theatre in Bristol. You may see me wielding my pom poms on social media, or in a theatre or event near you. I am, in general, quite an enthused person.
As well as my role at TB I am a playwright, which basically means I enjoy writing chat, and hearing people chat said chat. I’ve been lucky enough to have plays on at all manner of places and collaborated with a stonking bunch of top tier folks. I’m a writer on attachment at that lovely place called Bristol Old Vic, and recently I’ve writ plays for Theatre Royal Bath, Bristol Old Vic, National Youth Theatre and the egg. I’ve also just started writing for the radio and the telly, more on this when it sufraces on your various devices in roughly 2000 years.
Originally from Manchester I have traded the North West for the South one, but I am loving it though vehemently resisting the long A sound (I like my baths like I like my maths). If you want to talk TB, or T or B, or have any questions, .
Artist Support Associate: Gemma Paintin
Gemma Paintin has is one half of Bristol based company Action Hero, the collaborative, interdisciplinary performance practice between herself and James Stenhouse, spanning theatre, live art, installation, one on one work and participatory projects. Over the past 11 years, Gemma has created and toured her work with Action Hero to over 25 countries across 5 continents, presenting at some of the worlds most well respected arts venues and festivals, including PS122 in New York, Shanghai Grand Theatre, Brisbane Festival and Theatre de la Ville in Paris. She works in multiple roles within the collaboration, as co-director, performer, writer, devisor, designer and producer. She also works as an occasional lecturer, and is currently teaching Masters students at Central School of Speech and Drama.
In 2016, along with her regular collaborator James, Gemma was shortlisted for the world’s only prize for live art; the Anti Festival International Prize for Live Art, for her contribution to the field.
Artist Support Associate: Emma Williams
Emma has been directing theatre for over 20 years. She works for a wide range of theatre makers in varying roles that include director, facilitator dramaturge and writer. She has worked with acclaimed puppet company Pickled Image, award winning composer Verity Standen, and she recently co-directed Vic Llewelyn and Kid Carpet’s Edinburgh fringe hit The Castle Builder. She has directed shows for The Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bath Theatre Royal and Mayfest.
Emma also works outdoors and has directed large outdoor productions for Inside Out Festival in Dorset, Farnham Maltings and Cheltenham Literary festival. For the last eight years, she has been performance Director for The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama’s Design and Puppetry production. Three years ago, she began to develop performance work that responded to landscape with established theatre designer Mary Drummond.
Emma collaborates with inventor and puppet maker Max Humphries to develop new techniques for commissioning writers for puppetry, she curates the professional development strand of The Bristol Festival of Puppetry, and she teaches performance at City of Bristol College.
Artist Support Associate: Karla Shacklock (on maternity leave)
Since graduating with a 1st class BA (Hons) in 2002 and a PhD in dance in 2005, Karla has toured her own work extensively throughout Europe and performed internationally with various dance, circus and physical theatre companies. She has delivered masterclasses throughout Europe, held a senior lecturing post at Bath Spa University, had her book and numerous articles published and been commissioned to choreograph works for dance, theatre, opera, film and youth groups.
Karla was the Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of multi-award winning physical theatre and multimedia company ‘Precarious’, which produced and toured works for five years and now runs the award-winning ‘Karla Shacklock Company’ based in Bristol. Karla regularly works as a Movement Director for other large-scale theatre productions – most recently she collaborated with Tom Morris (Warhorse) on ‘World Cup Final 1966’ and with Michael Oakley on ‘The Life and Times of Fanny Hill’, both at Bristol Old Vic.
Karla’s heart is well and truly in Bristol and over the past 12 years has committed much energy to the city and its artists. She is looking forward to continue to do this in her new role as ASA at TB.
Laura Street (Cultural Curriculum for Bristol – dance lead)
Laura Street trained at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance and has been a Bristol based Dance Artist for the past 10 years. She has worked as a performer, choreographer and teacher on a wide range of projects, productions and tours for some exciting and brilliant organisations and companies. These include Dance South Gloucestershire, Oily Cart Theatre Company, the egg, Edge Arts and Travelling Light Theatre Company, of whom is she an associate artist. She is the Artist Director of aboutNOWish who make immersive and interactive work for young people and who are associate artists of the egg, Bath.