People and Partners
Face Front benefits from the dedication of a wide range of people, from our small core team to many associates and partner organisations.
FACE FRONT PATRONS
Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE
“Face Front leads the way in consistent, accessible, high-quality theatre and arts to the widest audience. With the continuing fragile economic environment, Face Front remains a charity worth investing in and as a charity they invest in great theatre for their participants, who in turn experience art and inclusive practice as a tool for personal and artistic growth, which in turn affects and influences the greater arts community.”
“I was first introduced to Face Front when I worked on Sex FM as an actor and facilitator. I saw how their work can change and sometimes even save lives. I feel that Face Front simply opens its eyes to people (actors and audiences) who are traditionally excluded from the arts and makes them entirely included. Face Front continues to reach out to young people in the community and further. Impacting lives with sensitivity, honesty and fun. I am proud to help spread their work.”
Onjali Rauf MBE
“I am so honoured to be a Patron of Face Front and am looking forward to championing its fantastic works in exciting - and for me, as yet unexplored - ways. I joined Face Front’s wonderful board group after seeing for myself the impact that their anti-domestic violence play Whisper Me Happily Ever After had upon the children and teachers it was being performed to. It was an honour to serve in my own small way and try to contribute to what I regard as an amazing group’s desire to establish not only a diverse and fully accessible arts platform in every way, but to tackle subject matters which few other arts initiatives dare to take on.”
“Theatre has the power to transform the lives of people who make and watch stories unfold on stage. It can radically alter their real lives for the better. When you put those tools in the hands of children who’ve experienced domestic violence, it can be overwhelmingly powerful and lead to them beating the oppression that keeps them down and finally succeeding in real life. Face Front do this work with passion and have the experience to help these young people help themselves.”
Mayor Doris Jiagge
Mayor of Enfield, Doris Jiagge, has had a long-standing relationship with Face Front – first on the board, and now as a patron. A resident of Edmonton for 27 years, she knows the area and its communities well. Her focus on domestic violence and its impact on children aligns with the work Face Front does with our touring show Whisper Me Happy Ever After. She is proud of her association to our partnerships in local schools and outreach work saying “Face Front is at the heart of so many communities in Enfield and beyond.”
“When I think of Face Front Inclusive Theatre I see teams of people from all walks of life, ages and abilities, exploring how best to entertain, inform and empower those that participate and those that watch its shows. It is led by a small, dedicated team that produces work huge in ambition and content. We are all richer having Face Front in our community and beyond. I am honoured to have been asked to become a Patron, after serving on the Board of Trustees. Long may its work continue.”
“I’m super excited to become Face Front’s newest patron! Being an actor myself, I know the power of what theatre can do, especially when it tackles important topics and is representative of its audience and community - as Face Front so expertly does. Having seen first-hand just how valuable, inclusive and fun their work is, and having already worked with some of the Face Front family in the past, I’m really looking forward to being a greater part of this amazing company as a Patron!”
BLUE SKY ACTOR'S PATRONS
“I’m extremely pleased to be a Patron of the Blue Sky Actors. My sister is a much-loved and long-standing member of the group having joined in 2012! The group has grown in popularity with 30 members and a long waiting list. In recent years, their shows have always sold out - which just goes to show the importance of theatre.”
“I was delighted when I was asked by Blue Sky Actors to become one of their patrons. I attended Stratford Circus Arts Centre at Christmas with my family to see my niece perform in their panto in front of a packed out theatre. It was great to see so many different people all having a moment to shine but most importantly working together to succeed as team – something I know a bit about as a retired professional footballer. I also know how important and valuable it is for people who are under-represented in a field to have access and opportunities to succeed in doing what they love.”
Artistic Director & Co-CEO
Ray Downing has worked for Face Front since 2005 as a freelancer and, for 6 years Artistic Director and Co-CEO. Ray is a dyslexic award-winning theatre-maker specialising in youth, inclusive and community-led arts. He was an Associate Artist at Stratford Circus Arts Centre and an Associate Director at Theatre Venture and the Ramira Arts Collective.
He is a double-graduate from the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama and in whatever project he’s involved with, he always starts the process by saying ‘A play is called play because you play - so let's play!’
"Face Front is brilliant because of its methodology by with and for our beneficiaries - for example our work is by young people with young people, for young people. So we are not dictating, or patronising we are all encompassing. We provide an escape, an opportunity to reflect and inspire, to challenge, to provide wonder - a sense of community - community arts through and through and a connection with people."
Annie Smol MBE
Annie has worked within the arts in education, health and social care for 30 years specialising in inclusion, forum theatre and community arts.
She has worked for numerous arts companies such as Watford Palace, GLYPT, Graeae Theatre, London Bubble, Half Moon, Art Start, Finchley Youth Theatre, Freshwater Theatre, and was a founder member of the Theatre in schools Partnership.
As former Artistic Director for Face Front Inclusive Theatre she created many inclusive theatre programmes for disabled and non-disabled people of all ages working as a project manager, director, trainer and performer.
In 2017 She received an MBE for services to theatre and inclusion.
"Face Front works inclusively using the transformational power of theatre in order to challenge inequality and improve emotional well-being. True stories from our diverse communities are at the heart of all Face Front's work, their voices bring authenticity, joy and raise awareness leading to a fairer and more inclusive world."
Executive Director & Co-CEO
Jon French is a founding member of Face Front and Executive Director.
He is an accomplished actor, dancer and director.
Before Face Front, he was a founding member of CandoCo where he performed and taught both in the UK and worldwide.
At Face Front he is the director of Broken Silence (Sandwich Man – The Musical, Our Island, Zap).
He has performed in numerous productions including (Princess of The Graveyard Palace, Counting the Ways, Opening The Can).
Jon leads on the finances of the company.
"Face Front give opportunities to people who would not get that opportunity else where and we maintain the high standard of work, starting with the research and then throughout our participation and professional programmes."
Jacqui started life off as a community arts facilitator, performer and adult education tutor with Chats Palace before moving into education.
She is a former Head of School and was in primary education for the last 20 years. Throughout the time she managed a range of subjects and areas including, teaching and learning, philosophy for children, phonics and drama. She has managed all key stages including early years and provided INSET training for a range of stakeholders throughout school.
The arts have always been her passion and she decided to take leap back to community arts to become a facilitator, visual artist and story teller. Since then she has had the pleasure to work with Bigfoot Arts, Kilburn Grange School, InterACTion, Blue Sky Actors, Stratford Circus and Blue Elephant Theatre. She now spends time writing/devising, designing and making set and costumes as well as delivering workshops and performing.
"The inclusive and cross generational work that Face Front does makes it a warm, rich and diverse place to be. It brings individuals and groups together giving them a sense of belonging and purpose. It then helps to unlock their creative voices and gives participants a safe place to take risks, blossom and grow."
Lauren Phillips has worked for Face Front since 2019, initially joining as a placement student from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where she graduated with a first in BA: Drama, Applied Theatre and Education.
Since then at Face Front she is a facilitator within four of their participatory theatre groups, lead producer of the digital TiE resources - It’s My Choice & Whisper Me Digital, producer of the annual CLICfest and manager of Face Front's social media channels.
Lauren is a neurodiverse theatre maker, facilitator and climate justice activist and has worked with various art companies such as Freshwater Theatre, The Hive Kids, The Forest School Way, Fresh Arts Theatre, FLUX Rotherham.
Lauren is a founding member of GeoTone CIC and is an artist in residence at ArtsDepot and Newhampton Arts Centre.
"Face Front not only creates barrier-breaking theatre but also brings joy to its community.. It is a fantastic and diverse workforce, it is a space where you feel valued, supported and difference is celebrated! I am so proud to be part of such an impactful and life-changing charity."
Sarah-Jane is twice a graduate of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with a Degree in Drama and Education and an MA in Advanced Theatre Practice. She spent four years working as an FE lecturer in Performing Arts and setting up the award-winning TAB Youth Theatre.
She then turned to working freelance as a performer, puppeteer, youth theatre director and facilitator. She is also the co-founder of arts collective 'Handheld Arts' who have create installations and design-led performances with massive heart.
She has performed in several Face Front productions including 'It's My Move', 'Whisper Me Happy Ever After', and is looking forward to being part of the upcoming national tour of 'The Hero Next Door'. She is often to be found assisting in many of Face Front's participatory arts groups - and loves to use emojis wherever she can 😎 😀 🙄
“For Nearly 25 years, Face Front have been providing and engaging their local community and beyond in high quality artistic experiences and opportunities. Through workshops, Theatre-in-Education tours, participatory groups, seminars, mentoring, working with partners, apprenticeships… the list of the ways they have shown dedication to developing and championing creative communities that are inclusive and accessible to all is exemplary. As they continue to evolve in response to the changing needs and nature of society, I am proud to be a part of an organisation with such an rich and impactful past and future.”
I have worked at Face Front for 2 years in this new part time role, and my first experience as Development Manager was in lockdown.
The company was rapidly making amazing changes during the pandemic and supporting the FFIT family and their needs as the world changed.
My background is initially in dance, performing, choreography and teaching before developing an interest in producing projects and events across the performing arts, which led me to all things about funding and making an idea happen.
Over the past 25 years I have designed and delivered a variety of projects and events in Theatre, dance, music, visual arts and film in a wide variety of settings be it, education, professional and community environments.
"Face Front is one of the most vibrant and enthusiastic places I have worked and where the whole team are so supportive and dedicated. The inclusive projects, touring and programmes are transformative for so many people of all ages and there have been many highlights during my time here. It’s been a big year for fundraising in these difficult times and we as a team endeavour to keep all the work and company active and resilient."
Eliza Wilson is a freelance project manager, producer and education consultant with over 20 years experience in the creative learning sector. Eliza started her career at Bromley Council delivering arts projects in the community and then went onto lead the Education team as Head of Education at Stratford Circus Arts Centre for 10 years.
While there she set up their award winning children’s theatre programme and community education programme, as well as developing a pioneering partnership scheme for schools. Since becoming self-employed Eliza has focussed on working with arts organisations on development, project management and producing.
She has a particular interest in audience development and evaluation.
"Face Front's work raises awareness, promotes equality, gives a voice to people from diverse communities, and has inclusivity at its heart. I am delighted to be part of such life-defining work."
Having worked in communications for multiple organisations, Katherine Bruce is now a copywriter, fundraiser and mother of two.
She has been working with Face Front since 2018, researching and completing many of the grant applications needed to raise funds for each of the Face Front projects.
Through her work with the charity, she has developed an in-depth knowledge of each of the programmes of work and has a particular interest in exploring new funding opportunities.
“I first discovered Face Front through Ray Downing, who at the time was freelancing for them and is now Artistic Director. My work for Face Front gives me a great opportunity to not only learn more about their work, but also to see its impact and reach. The work they do, whether through the weekly participation groups, the schools tours or the training, is truly life-changing – I’m proud to be involved.”
Emily joined the team in 2022 to help research and apply for the grants that are vital to running Face Front's many projects.
Having worked in the financial services industry for most of her career, she loves a spreadsheet and now uses her skills to research new funding opportunities. She has a particular interest in the overall strategy and processes that support successful fundraising.
Emily has four children and in her free time enjoys drinking coffee, running and family camping trips.
“The first time I saw Face Front in action was the Blue Sky Actors panto, and I was blown away. The opportunities that Face Front create are incredible and make such a difference to so many people’s lives. I feel proud and lucky to be part of such an inspiring team."
Nigel is a Film-maker, visual artist and graphic designer. With Face Front he has devised video projections and publicity designs for the Determined and the Damned, Our Island, Sandwich Man, The Originators and It’s My Life. He also designed the Face Front logo. With Tower Hamlet's 'A' Team Arts he devised the award winning Hidden Heroes animation. Recent film-making projects include Suffrage Tales with the National Archives and Jimmy Up and Down. www.nigelkellaway.co.uk
Taj-Levi is an actor, facilitator and musician. He recently worked with Face Front on the most recent tour of Whisper Me Happy Ever After as well as The Hero Next Door's R&D process. He said "Face Front embodies a lot of my values and ideologies with their approach to theatre. Face front balances fun and entertainment, with socially aware conversations with the aims of educating and empowering children and adults alike. The face front team are a blessing and I’m honoured to be a part of the team."
Natasha is professionally trained in musical theatre. She has a BSc Honours Degree in Social Sciences and is currently studying a Masters in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership at Bayes (formally Cass), one of Europe's top Business schools. She has performed in the West End, in regional theatres and has toured around the UK in various productions. She received a Laurence Olivier award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a musical for Jerry Springer the Opera and continues to perform and choreograph around the UK. Natasha is one of the original performers from SexFM and returned to reprise her role in 2020. She recently choreographed Exchanging Dreams for Jazanne Arts and worked on the R&D for The Hero Next Door. Natasha also runs her own arts company called Actively Seeking… CIC www.activelyseeking.co.uk
I am energetic, determined and motivated. Over the last 15 years I have gained extensive experience working with Face Front and a wide range of other educational settings, I have helped, taught and motivated thousands of young people with various needs on a vast number of meaningful and life changing projects that have been very successful. I have worked as a support staff member, mentor, workshop leader, Teacher and facilitator; through all these roles I have always developed strong relationships and a strong understanding with students and co-workers.
Penny Gkritzapi is a theatre practitioner from Athens, Greece. She graduated from the University of Fine Arts- Department of Theatre Studies in Nafplio and then trained as an actor in one of the oldest drama schools of Athens, Traga Drama School. Following a few years of acting, directing and drama teaching around Greece, Penny came to London to train as a stage director and got her MA in Theatre Directing. She has been directing shows for Polymorph Theatre since 2015 and works with a number of theatre companies globally. She is part of SDUK. Also, she is a Drama Teacher for RM Drama. Penny joined the Blue Sky Actors and Face Front Theatre in 2013. https://www.pennygkritzapi.co.uk/
Francesca Marie Claire
Francesca is an Actor, Writer, Director and Workshop Facilitator. She works with Little Fish Theatre, Tender and Growing Against Violence. She is the co-writer and director of "Sex FM" for Face Front. Francesca is also a producer at Masked Pony Productions, a female focussed production company producing online comedy content for women.
Angie is a director, writer, actor and storyteller. She has worked with Jon French running the Broken Silence group for Face Front since 2013, during which time they have produced four full-scale original, devised, productions. As an actor Angie has worked at Shakespeare’s Globe, The National Theatre Studio, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Hackney Empire, Soho Theatre, Guildford Shakespeare Company, West End and National tours. In film, Angie has worked with Mike Leigh, Michael Apted, Edgar Wright and Christine Edzard.
I started at Face Front some twenty years ago, taking part in youth music and drama workshops. Since then I have done so much and have gained the skills and confidence to grow as an artist.
I have performed in many of Face Front's productions - including their professional school tours, worked as a support worker in the many theatre groups, facilitated groups, written scenes and songs for productions, and so much more.
Outside of Face Front, I have completed courses in dance and creative writing and look forward to pursuing other interests, which thanks to Face Front I now have the confidence for.
Rona is a passionate talented Actor and Director. Since graduating from Theatre studies at University of East London Rona has not only taken part in a range of performances she has also facilitated fun and engaging drama workshops for children and young people. With Face Front Rona acts in the yearly touring production 'It's My Move'.
Chi-Lin is a British-born Chinese actress whom has had the privilege of acting both on stage and on screen. Her credits include: Stan Lee's Lucky Man S3 (Sky One), Disney's Artemis Fowl, Wonder Woman 1984, and Whisper Me Happy Ever After (TIE Tour). She is passionate about acting as well as impacting people's lives and is very excited to be on a national tour with Face Front for Hero Next Door.
Laura is an Actor, Director, Workshop facilitator and fully Quailifed Youth Worker. She is the Artistic Director of Fixation Academy of Performing Arts specialising in community theatre. Laura has worked for Face Front for the passed 6 years as a facilitator and assistant stage manager for shows. She has also led the Speech Bubbles Project for KS1 & 2 in primary schools for the past 4 years for Face Front. www.fixationacademy.co.uk
Emma is the Director of Tiger Monkey UK Limited a mixed media arts organisation based in Enfield. Emma has worked with and for Face Front for over 15 years - mostly working with young people and the DDM group. Emma has linked DDM to a number of programmes including the successful Catalyst Programme funded by A New Direction and Enfield Youth Support Service which resulted in whole group Silver Arts Award Success. More recently DDM graduates achieved Gold Awards and took their play to Fleecefield Primary School together with an accompanying workshop. Current DDM group have been making short films for their Gold Awards and looking at ideas and themes for their own play and workshop. www.tigermonkey-uk.com
Ellen has performed with a number of drama and dance companies, including Face Front Inclusive Theatre, and is Lead Artist for Blue Sky Actors at Stratford Circus. She has also written and recorded her own album Four O’ Clock in the Morning and co-written and co-directed her own project called the Princess of the Graveyard Palace (ACE funded). She graduated from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2013. In addition to her work in the arts, she regularly gives training on inclusive education at numerous events here and abroad. www.ellengoodey.co.uk
Charlene is an experienced dance artist running her own projects teaching, performing and choreographing people with learning difficulties and disabled participants of various ages from 1-95yrs for the last 15years.
Sardines Dance, a collective of exceptional, integrated, contemporary dance artist’s was brought together by Charlene in 2010. Sardines’ work extends to those with profound multiple learning difficulties in various settings, from that of a relaxed community sharing to a national televised platform. This has led her to work with companies such as Royal Academy of Dance, CandoCo, East London Dance, Entelechy Arts, Protein Dance, South Bank Centre, Unicorn Theatre and many more. www.sardinesdance.org
Roger Cowe (Chair)
Dr Siwan Thomas-Gibson
Ayo Oyebade (Treasurer)
VOLUNTEERS AND PLACEMENTS
Alex Garfath, Amit Tailor, Angela Hart, Anna McKerrow, Andrew Bradford, Apria Benmbarek, Danny Charalambous, Daisy Hodges, David Sloan, Debra & David, Demetris Antoniou, Chris King, Claire Hoskin, Ellen Goodey, Frankie Brady, Grace Parsons, Greg Baxter, Hannah Elshaw, James Fuller, Janine Robles, Jane Hermans, Jacquelyn Shreeves-Lee, Jude Habib, Julian Hilaire, June & Troy, Leesa Gazi, Lissa Hermans, Linda Jordan, Lynda Lynn, Lynda Brennan, Mo Cross, Natasha Cox, Oscar Ellis, Patrick McCarthy, Peter Faventi, Ruth Angel, Rebecca Seabrook, Richard Costello, Rose Bramble, Ros West, Ruth Alltimes, Sita Brahmachari, Shanil Tailor, Taj-Levi Matthews, Trevor Duke.
FREELANCERS: CREATIVES, CAST & CREW
Angie Wallis, Alex Garfath, Awa Jagne, Briony Dillion, Chris Wood, Chi-Lin Nim, Darl Stenering, Daniel Addae, Danny Charalambous, Darnell Appleton, Emily Bradley, Ellen Goodey, George Freeman, Greg Williams, Gopal Gautam, Grace Firth, Howard Read, Jacquie Livingstone, Jacquelyn Shreeves-Lee, John Fuller, Julie McNamara, Jim Smith, Jessica Konzon, Katie Anna McConnell, Kymarni Appleton, Leon Wonder, Liz Smith, Liz Adams, Lia Weber, Luke Ricketts, Lucy Atkinson, Mayo Trikerioti, Martha Lamotte, Martine Drake, Matthew Ballantyne, Mark Ratcliff, Mehmet Zorba, Molly Richards, Natasha Cox, Natasja Desir, Nigel Kellaway, Onaji Raúf MBE, Paul Barnes, Paul Wild, Penny Gkritzapi, Porl Cooper, Richard Rudnicki, Robin MacDonald, Ros West, Rona Namudu, Russell Dean, Sarah Warner, Sally McNeil, Scotty Watson, Sue Smith, Taj-Levi Matthews, Trish Smith, Theo Holloway, Will Smith, Warren Adams.
Sam Carpenter, Chris Wood, Ray Downing, Sarah-Jane Wingrove, Angela Sharpe.
FUNDERS AND COMMISSIONERS
We would like to thank the following for their financial support and commissioning:
Arts Council England, Brian Murtagh Charitable Trust, Can & River Trust, BBC Children in Need, Co-op, David Dolomon Trust, The D’Oyle Carte Charitable Trust, Emergence Foundation, Enfield Council, Enfield Connections, Foyle Foundation, The Hilden Charitable Trust, Haringey Council, John Lyon’s Charity, L & Q Foundation, Leathersellers’ Company Charitable Foundation, Marsh Christian Trust, Meridian Water Community Chest Fund, Morris Charitable Trust, National Lottery Community Fund, Portal Trust, People’s Health Trust, Sussex Community Foundation, Tottenham Grammar Foundation.
We would like to acknowledge donations and income from:
Amazon Smile, Anne McGilchrist, Denis Stoller, Haringey Education Partnership, Herts Inclusive Theatre, Jane & Lissa Hermans, JaZaane Arts, Park Avenue Resource Centre, Ripple & Co, Stratford Circus Arts Trust, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Trevor Duke, Will Smith, Anon.
Special thanks to:
Ashdown Phillips, Claire Fenwick, Community Links Enfield, Community Links Edmonton, Joe Katona, Hamida Ali, Michael Emanuel, Platinum Performing Arts, Rebecca Bird, Rosemary Mann, Sabri Marsaoui, Shamima Rahman, Staff & year 6 students of St.Edmund’s School, Toolbox Marketing, Park Avenue Resource Centre, parents and carers and our unsung supporters.