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Drama Specialist Advisors

Nikki Axford
Jack Bradley
Lorna Duguid
Stewart Ennis
Nick Fearne
Sally Hobson
Alan Lyddiard
Ace McCarron
Adrian Osmond
Sita Brand (Née Ramamurthy)
Magdalena Schamberger
Stephen Stenning

Nikki Axford

Nikki Axford has worked with theatre companies of many shapes, sizes and forms throughout her career. She started with her own cross-art form performing company, as director, producer and performer, developing rural touring circuits and community projects.  Later she moved into administrative, managerial and producing roles with small-scale touring companies, large-scale producing repertory companies, a commercial West End producer, a year-long festival of drama in Manchester.... She has experience of young people’s theatre, repertory theatre, touring and site-specific events, the planning and operation of international festivals and has worked at both the Arts Council of Great Britain and the Scottish Arts Council.

Nikki moved to Scotland in 1993 as joint chief executive of the Royal Lyceum Theatre. She went on to work for the Scottish International Children’s Festival, Traverse Theatre and, most recently, was Chief Executive at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

At various times she has worked as a freelance consultant, advising and mentoring organisations such as the CatStrand, Perth Theatre, the Puppet Animation Festival and the Federation of Scottish Theatre on business development and planning and operational matters.  Nikki’s particular strengths lie in creative organisational development, strategic and operational planning and managing financial and personnel resources to deliver challenging targets.

Jack Bradley

Jack Bradley began work as a playwright in 1975 (Stepping Stones, Royal Court, Young Writers’ Festival) and continued to do so throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, with 20 productions to his name. Over time, he became more involved in play development and literary management and worked at the Soho Theatre (1989-94) before joining the Royal National Theatre where he was Literary Manager for 12 years, advising on the repertoire for Richard Eyre, Trevor Nunn and Nicholas Hytner, spearheading their new play policy.

As a dramaturg he has taught and run workshops internationally – from Belfast to Buenos Aires, Oslo to Soweto. He has taught on creative courses throughout Britain. He is now a freelance dramaturg and has resumed work as a playwright. In addition, he is Literary Associate to Sonia Friedman Productions in the West End of London.    

Lorna Duguid

Lorna Duguid has over 20 years experience working in theatre in a variety of contexts, including seven years as Marketing manager of the Citizens Theatre, and latterly as Executive Director of Dundee Rep. She is currently working as a freelance theatre  producer and consultant. She has worked for many companies including 7:84, TAG Theatre Company, Sounds of Progress, Untitled and V.amp productions.

Stewart Ennis

Stewart Ennis was born in Bridge of Weir in 1961. He worked as a journalist for Scottish Universal Newspapers, as a nurse and then a printer before training at East 15 Acting school and later at the Ecole Philippe Gaulier  and Darpana Academy in Ahmedabad, India.
In 1990 he co-founded Benchtours Theatre Co, appearing in and devising many of their earlier shows such as the award winning Peepshow, devised with Pete Brooks.
In 1997 he helped create a co production  between Scots and Malawian performers which toured villages around Malawi and Tanzania.  In 1998 he created For Your Pleasure Productions for which he has written and performed three shows, including The Dark Room and Robert Burns Celtic Complex.  Other theatre work includes The Arches, Communicado, Dundee Rep, TAG, Reeling and Writhing and Theatre sans Frontiers.   Stewart has worked on a number of T.V and Feature Films including “Play Me Something” by Tim Neat and John Berger.

As a teacher Stewart has taught devised theatre workshops throughout the U.K, Europe and in India.   For the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama he has worked as outside assessor for the Movement Dept, led a variety of workshops and directed for the M.A course at the Edinburgh Festival.  He was also Movement Director for the Arches show Caligari..  He has recently he has been involved with performance workshops organized by the Scottish Poetry Library.  Stewart is also performance reviewer for the National Council for Drama Training.

He is currently involved in creating a series of children’s poetry, music and theatre performances at the Kibble Palace in Glasgow. 

As a photographer he has taken photographs in Manipur India, for the International Workshop Festival , for Greentrax records as well as a number of newspapers, theatre companies and bands.  Two years ago he was one of the first Playwrights' Studio, Scotland Ignite Award winners for his play Red Lorry Yellow.  

Stewart continues to write plays, stories and poems.

Nick Fearne

Nick is currently Arts Development Officer with Moray Council where he has been in post for over eight years. In this time he has established an arts development team, hosted two visits by the Royal Shakespeare Company and commissioned the National Theatre of Scotland to present The Elgin Macbeth in the ruins of Elgin Cathedral as part of Moray’s Highland 2007 programme.  Prior to joining Moray Council Nick was Director of the Aberdeen Alternative Festival and Arts Development Officer with both Ross & Cromarty and Banff & Buchan District Councils.

In the distant past Nick was a teacher, before running away to the theatre - he worked at Cumbernauld Theatre for three years before pursuing a career as a freelance writer and director of community theatre across Scotland and in England. 

He has written and directed for youth theatre, TIE, Christmas shows and community plays. Recently he adapted Romeo and Juliet for three actors. The production, by Charioteer Theatre, had 53 performances to school pupils at the Piccolo Theatre, Milan.

Nick is currently working on a play that combines golf and Shakespeare as part of Homecoming year.

Nick is a member of the board of Promote YT.

Sally Hobson

Sally Hobson has worked for the Edinburgh International Festival since 1993 as Head of Programme Development devising and delivering projects and a programme of work for Edinburgh schools and Festival audiences. In 2003 the Programme Development Department won on behalf of the Edinburgh International Festival a Herald Angel for its outstanding work with adults and children.

In 2007 the Edinburgh International Festival Creative Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities University of Edinburgh.

In addition to working for the Edinburgh International Festival, Sally has been since 2003 a Specialist Drama Adviser to the Scottish Arts Council following four years as a member of Drama Committee.

She taught on the Contemporary Theatre Practise Course at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama for several years as a guest lecturer and theatre director in the area of theatre, education and community.

In 2001, Sally was awarded The Arches New Stage Directors Award for her play “Talking to Yourself”.

Sally has worked with the international theatre companies such as The Wooster Group in New York and Goat Island in Chicago.

Alan Lyddiard

Alan Lyddiard is an award winning theatre and film director, producer, and writer. His work has been seen in London, Paris, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Jerusalem, New York and the Philippines, as well as many other cities throughout Europe and the United Kingdom. His adaptation of George Orwell’s novel ‘1984’ is touring theatres across Europe throughout 2009.

He was Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Northern Stage, Newcastle upon Tyne, from 1992 to 2005, a building based Theatre Company producing, presenting and developing participatory projects throughout the year. He established an Ensemble Performing Company in 1994, which toured nationally and internationally and stayed together for 9 years.

Before moving to Newcastle, Alan lived in Scotland for 10 years. He was Associate Director at Dundee Rep from 1985 to 1988 and Artistic Director of TAG Theatre Company from 1988 to 1992. He served on the Scottish Arts Council Drama Panel in the late 1980's and was founding Chairman of The Scottish National Association of Youth Theatres.

He was Artistic Director of Dundee Community Festival that produced the large-scale community play 'Witches Blood' in 1987.

He is currently working on a number of independent film and theatre projects.   

Ace McCarron

Ace McCarron is a freelance lighting designer, who has recently undertaken creative writing courses with the OU. He has a long association with The Wrestling School, a company formed to produce the plays of Howard Barker, and with Music Theatre Wales, a contemporary opera producer.

Ace was, in the past, the Technical Director of Strathclyde Theatre Group, working with Hugo Gifford, before working at the Citizen's Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, the Almeida and the Royal Court, and then going freelance. His lighting design work ranges across a broad spectrum, and he is particularly proud of his work for black, and children's theatre companies, as well as the staged work of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

His more recent associations are with Sherman Cymru, The National Youth Theatre of Wales, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru,and Muziektheater Transparant of Antwerp. He wrote the libretto for 'The Howl in Arcadia' in a collaboration with composer Simon Thorne, and has a grant from the Kameroperahuis in Zwolle to develop an adaptation of 'Two Caravans' by Marina Lewycka, as a chamber opera with composer Guy Harries and director Ilonka van den Bercken.

Adrian Osmond

Adrian is a director of theatre and opera, and has been based in Glasgow for more than a decade.  He studied English Literature at Trinity College, Cambridge as a Choral Scholar, came to Scotland as Staff Director at Scottish Opera and subsequently won an inaugural Arches Award for Stage Directors. He is the Artistic Director of SweetScar Theatre Company.

Recent directing includes 4.48 Psychosis (SweetScar/Tramway/Cumbernauld), for which the text was pre-recorded by non-actors to create a soundscape that surrounded a solo performer; Sweeney Todd in Seoul, a mammoth production of Sondheim’s musical; and Sure Shots (SweetScar/Tron) a series of new short plays that aimed to pack a punch into a few minutes, and were presented for free.

Adrian’s writing has been produced in the UK, the States, Canada, and New Zealand, at the Royal Court and Riverside Studios. He has acted with the RSC and ENO, and recently performed his own script I of the needle at Oran Mor.

Sweeney Todd won Best Foreign Musical and Best Design in the Korean Theatre Awards, and was nominated for 11 awards in total.  Adrian’s production of Rigoletto (Canadian Opera Company) received a Dora Award Nomination for Outstanding Opera Production, and his production of The Turn of the Screw (English Touring Opera / Opera Theatre Company Ireland) was nominated for Best Opera Production in the Irish Theatre Awards.

Sita Brand (Née Ramamurthy)

Sita Brand is a director, actor, writer, dramaturg and arts consultant with more than 25 years of experience in the Arts. Her greatest strength is an ability to combine her creative talents with management expertise to establish projects.

As a consultant, her skills include developing a vision, writing business plans, devising fundraising strategies, developing partnerships, facilitating workshops and training.

She also has extensive experience working as a performer, director, writer and producer in the performing arts for a range of organisations in the UK, India and South East Asia.  She was the Artistic Associate of Haymarket Theatre Leicester (four years); Programme Director for decibel at Arts Council England where she raised £5 million and Associate Director of Theatre Centre. She has been on the board of several arts organisations including Vice Chair of East Midlands Arts (5 years) and a number of theatre companies. She is Board Member of Arts Council England, Yorkshire and a Fellow of the RSA.

Current/recent work includes-

  • Facilitating Leadership Training for Cultural Leadership Programme                                                       
  • Expert Advisor, Monitor and Mentor for Heritage Lottery Fund        
  • Evaluator for Maximise, national project for Arts Council England
  • Evaluator for BAME research for Heritage Lottery Fund
  • Director of Settle Stories
  • Partner of Edgehunter LLP
  • Touring one woman show
  • Memories of an Indian Childhood
  • Writing for High Spirits Magazine


Magdalena Schamberger

Magdalena Schamberger is a director, teacher, and performer. A founding member of Hearts&Minds, she has been the Company’s Artistic Director since 1999 and has created the Clowndoctors and Elderflowers arts-in-health programmes. She received a UNESCO bursary in 1998 and was Director in Residence at Espace Sobo Bade, an arts centre near Dakar, Senegal, running the theatre programme, training resident actors and directing a production of Anouille’s ‘Antigone’ – an experience which has deeply influenced her and continues to inspire her teaching and arts-in-health related work.

Magdalena trained in physical theatre with Philippe Gaulier, Monica Pagneux, Pierre Byland and Jos Houben and has 20 years of experience of performing, directing and teaching physical theatre and clowning in the UK and internationally. In the UK she has worked with companies such as Benchtours and Theatre Sans Frontieres. Most recently she directed ‘A Clean Sweep’ and the work in progress ‘By the Seat of Your Pants’ for Plutôt la vie.

Her teaching ranges from workshops and courses for professional performers, opera singers, acting students, nurses, social workers and people with mental health problems to developing and delivering comprehensive full time arts-in-health training programmes.

Magdalena has extensive experience in arts-in-health related work and has a keen interest in puppetry and theatre for children & young people.

Stephen Stenning

Stephen joined UZ Ltd. in 2007 as Senior Producer having been Chief Executive of Aberdeen International Youth Festival since 2003.  Whilst in Aberdeen, Stephen established the international festival as a major arts provider based in NE Scotland, receiving an award for services to tourism in the region.  He also arranged a Royal performance for HM the Queen at Balmoral. 

With UZ he now produces Scottish arts festivals such as Big in Falkirk and The Merchant City Festival as well as major outdoor performances such as WildWorks’ The Beautiful Journey (Royal Naval Dockyard Devonport Plymouth and Newcastle Gateshead) and the launch of Homecoming 2009.

Stephen has spent most of his career in theatre, first as an actor then a writer/director.  As a playwright/adapter he wrote commissions for West End producer Bill Kenwright and adapted European writers for the English stage including Dario Fo (Abducting Diana published in 1993) and Ginette Beauvais Garcin.  He has always been involved in Youth/Community Theatre and Theatre in Education.  In 1985 he was a founding member of Moving Theatre and in 1988 helped to set up the education team at Unicorn Theatre for Children in London.  In 1998 he moved to Scotland and joined the directorial team at Dundee Rep Theatre.  As a freelance director he has worked in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Sweden and Turkey, set-up co-productions with theatres in Bulgaria, Romania and the US and worked for organisations as diverse as The Home Office, The BBC and UNICEF.

Whilst at Dundee Rep he led the Community Company, one of the UK’s biggest and most widely respected deliverers of community arts.  In 2003 Stephen took over the Aberdeen International Youth Festival and he produced the National Theatre of Scotland’s launch ‘HOME’ production in Aberdeen.

Make-up and hair; Photo: Alan McAteer
Age of Creativity: Citymoves; Photo: Graham McIver
Eastgate theatre seating; Photo: Michael Wolchover
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