Sally Mackey

Sally was the ‘principal investigator’ on Challenging Place, leading the ideas and research. Working closely with Half Moon and Oldham Theatre Workshop project facilitators, she has overseen the whole project. She’s professor of applied theatre and performance at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and has been fascinated with our relationship to place for many years now. See my profile.

Mike Pearson

Mike was one of the two ‘co-investigators’ on the Challenging Place project. He is a Leverhulme Research Fellow and Professor of Performance Studies at Aberystwyth University. As a practitioner, academic and author of several books on the subject, Mike’s work has always been about site and place – since being an artistic director of Brith Gof in the 1980s and ‘90s. Sally says of Mike: ‘Mike’s work has probably had the most influence on this area of practice (and on me) for over 20 years.’

Samantha Adams

Samantha is a trainee drama-therapist at Roehampton University and has been a professional actor for 20 years, most recently as a member of the Unicorn Ensemble. She is also a storyteller and highly experienced facilitator in primary and secondary education as well as a writer, director and devisor of Black History interactive story programmes that have toured to schools for the past 10 years. She is currently a learning associate facilitator at the National Theatre, a member of the ensemble of facilitators at Almeida Theatre and a freelance facilitator & director with Half Moon Young People’s Theatre.

Chris Elwell

Chris is the Director/CEO of Half Moon; a Challenging Place partner. Chris curates Exchange for Change - a sector significant artform development programme that challenges perceptions and engages artists from non-theatre backgrounds in creating work for young people - where material from Challenging Place was presented in June 2012. Chris is a director/writer, trainer and theatre producer specialising in professional theatre for young audiences. He is also an enthusiast of seaside walks, sunny holiday climates and searching for places to create new work.

Craig Harris

Craig has worked on the Challenging Place Project as part of the team at Oldham Theatre Workshop. He co-facilitated drama and theatre sessions with groups of migrant families. The work included non- traditional theatre practices which looked at ‘everyday’ activities, community connectedness, family responses to new places and other related issues. Craig has been the Applied Theatre Practitioner at Oldham Theatre Workshop for the past 9 years. This work has brought new perspectives to Craig's work and his relationship with local communities.

Margaret Ames

Margaret worked as Co-Investigator on the project with her company Cyrff Ystwyth. Her roles included academic investigation as well as directing and producing the performance by Cyrff Ystwyth. She is a Senior Lecturer at Aberystwyth University in the Department of Theatre Film and Television Studies. Her research is focussed on dance-theatre work made by people with learning disabilities in the rural west of Wales. Before becoming an academic she was a performer and also Artistic Director of Dawns Dyfed Dance, the community dance project that worked in Ceredigion, Pembrokshire and Carmarthenshire.

James Atherton

James is the Artistic Director of Oldham Theatre Workshop, a 'Challenging Place' partner. James co-designed and delivered a series of workshops and interventions with new migrant families currently living in Oldham. This work led to the formation of a new group who meet regularly to discover, share, explore and perform local places. James is also a composer and musical director working across theatre, television and film. He loves listening to the changing sounds of different environments and being by the sea.

Jo Scott

Jo worked as a research assistant on the Challenging Place project. Her roles have included editing audio-visual material from the Half Moon sessions and helping to formulate this website. She is a teacher and practitioner-researcher, based at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and her research is an exploration of live media performance practice (see Jo loves snooping around cities and is always on the look-out for new places…

Vishni Velada Billson

Vishni was director of the Half Moon’s Young Company for the Challenging Place project and was fascinated by the project conceptually and the way in which the young people engaged in unexpected ways throughout the devising process. She has been a theatre practitioner and director for the past 20 years and is currently Assistant Head of Education for Clean Break Theatre. She spent the year of 2010 travelling in India with her partner and three children, where her understanding of the different ways in which ‘place’ can be disturbed and perceived was vividly realised. The Challenging Place project enabled robust engagement and exploration of ‘performing place’ and this continues to inform all aspects of her work.