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FUSE Playwrights & Directors

FUSE Playwrights & Directors

Meet our FUSE creatives

FUSE Directors


Alex Mitchell

Alex is the Artistic Director of Hull based new writing company Silent Uproar, a supported company of Hull Truck Theatre, Hull City of Culture 2017, and an Emerging Company 2016-2017 for the New Diorama Theatre (London). Their latest show is A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) by Jon Brittain.

Alisdair Pidsley

From Wetherby, Ali is the founder and co-Artistic Director of Barrel Organ. For Barrel Organ he has directed Nothing and Some People Talk About Violence. Other recent credits include A Girl in School Uniform (Walks Into a Bar) by Lulu Raczka, West Yorkshire Playhouse; and Blasted by Sarah Kane, Styx Tottenham.


Chloe Christian

Sheffield based Chloe is a freelance director whose recent credits include Child’s Play with her company Kalon Theatre at Zoo, Edinburgh. As assistant director she’s worked on 12 Million Volts with The Outbound Project at New Diorama, Musical Differences with National Theatre Connections at The Crucible Studio, Sheffield, Departures with Verismo Theatre at NSDF16 and Pleasance Theatre, London.

Fiona McCulloch

Leeds based Fiona is First Floor Officer at Leeds Playhouse. At First Floor, Fiona has directed a number of productions with young people including Angles, Hood, It Snows and Status Update all as part of National Theatre Connections. She also created the community tour companion piece for Kes (2016, Leeds Playhouse) and was Young Peoples Company Director on Romeo and Juliet (2017, Leeds Playhouse).

Gitika Buttoo

Gitika is an early career theatre director from Leeds. After studying Drama & English at University in Liverpool she became Trainee Assistant Director at Leeds Playhouse, supported by the JMK Trust, through which she assisted James Brining on Ode to Leeds as well as working within our Creative Engagement department and producing teams. Gitika is now the Participation Practitioner for the Octagon Theatre in Bolton.

Kash Arshad

Kash is currently Trainee Artistic Director for Freedom Studios and is directing two monologues for Royal Exchange Manchester as part of Come Closer: Memories of Partition, and assistant director to David Thacker on The Threepenny Opera at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton.

Most recently Kash recently directed Vinay Patel’s Free Fall for his own company Rogue Bones as part of the Manchester Fringe Festival.

Lois Naylor

Yorkshire based Lois has been working on The Warrior Trilogy since 2016, an ongoing project of devised work and new writing about the Matriarchy, with her company Rhubarb Triangle. Before that, she worked on Falling Out with Frantic Assembly at the Lyric Hammersmith in July 2016, a devised piece about falling out of love.


Matt Woodhead

Sheffield born Matt is the Artistic Director of LUNG.  He is an Associate Artist at The Lowry and works regularly with Battersea Arts Centre. Matt trained on the National Theatre Directors Programme and as Trainee Director at Leeds Playhouse.

Natasha Hyman

Natasha was, until recently, Trainee Director at Leeds Playhouse. With us, she assisted on a variety of shows as well as directing the rehearsed reading of Ode to Leeds by Zodwa Nyoni. Her other directing credits include M by Alan Fielden, The Daily Plays, Pleasance Theatre, Islington; La Dispute by Marivaux trans. Neil Bartlett, Hamilton House, Bristol; Hedda Gabler by Ibsen, trans. Brian Friel, The Alma Tavern Theatre, Bristol.

Olivia Furber

Olivia is Co-Artistic Director of Ivo Theatre. As director, she has made In the Vice Like Grip of It, The Lowry, ARC, Theatre in the Mill, Camden People’s Theatre; Aviatrix, Amy Johnson Festival; Dough! Creative Scene/National Tour; Spirits of the Sea, Theatre Hullabaloo/National Tour.

Omari Swanston-Jeffers

Leeds based Omari Swanston-Jeffers is a Writer-Director and founder of Ol’ Man Swanny Productions. He was Trainee Assistant Director, supported by RTYDS, at West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2016 during which worked as Assistant Director on Vilette.

Paul Smith

Paul is Artistic Director of Hull based theatre company Middle Child who specialise in gig theatre. With Middle Child he has directed many shows including the MTN Award winning Weekend Rockstars and the Bobby Award winning Ten Storey Love Song. Away from Middle Child he worked on Debris Stephenson’s Poet In Da Corner at the Roundhouse.

Pauline Mayers

Originally from a dance and choreography background, Leeds based Pauline is Associate Artist at Leeds Playhouse, and since 2012 has been an Associate Artist of Chris Goode and Company. She is Artistic Director of The Mayers Ensemble with whom she made her solo show What If I Told You which was short listed for the Amnesty Freedom of Expression award at EdFringe

Sam Berrill

Leeds based Sam Berrill is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Manic Chord theatre. Theatre credits with Manic Chord since 2012 include After What Comes Before, Don’t Let Go, Treading Water and The Economy of Ecology. Alongside this work he has developed and create a programme for young people called Generate.

Simon Brewis

Leeds based Simon is Artistic Director of theatre company Common Chorus with whom he has directed Drink With a Chimp and If Say Jump. Simon has worked as assistant director for Red Ladder and directed site based performances for Multi Story Water, including After the Flood at Leeds Waterfront Festival.

Fuse Playwrights


Adam Hughes

Adam is an award-winning playwright from Leeds. Having trained on writers groups at the Royal Court and Soho Theatre, his plays have been performed at the Southwark Playhouse, Theatre503, Stratford East Theatre Royal, Sheffield Theatres and the Bush. He is a previous recipient of the OffWestEnd Adopt a Playwright Award and was a finalist in the BBC WritersRoom Script Room. He is currently Playwright-on-Attachment at the Finborough Theatre and a member of the Soho Theatre Alumni Group. His debut play Marching On Together achieved critical acclaim during its London run before touring working men’s clubs around Yorkshire.

Anne-Marie Draycott

Anne-Marie Draycott writes comedy with her writing partner Charity Trimm and their first play Class Mates was recently performed at the Edinburgh Festival by A Dash of Theatre/Edinburgh Napier University.  She also writes on her own and is currently developing a play Ash which was borne out of the Playwrights One scheme at Leeds Playhouse.  She is also an actress and credits include Coronation Street, Kay Mellor’s In the Club and Leeds Playhouse’s production of The Market at Kirkgate Market.


Deborah Newbold

Debs Newbold is an award winning theatre maker and actor and writer who makes fresh, playful work with the spoken word at its heart.  One of the UK’s leading performance storytellers, Debs has worked for prestigious venues such as the Royal Opera House, the Southbank Centre and Shakespeare’s Globe.

Debs consistently seeks ways to bridge the divide between performer and audience. Her genre-defying work with renowned director John Wright (Told by an Idiot) has re-defined contemporary storytelling resulting in two acclaimed shows, Under Her Skin & Lost In Blue.  Her one-woman adaptations of Shakespeare’s tragedies have toured internationally.

Debs is Storytelling Consultant for Shakespeare’s Globe and has recently directed actors in a season of Shakespeare-inspired solo performances for children.

Photo credit: Toby Farrow

Kamal Kaan

Kamal is an actor and writer. He read Architecture at Cambridge University and MA TV Fiction Writing at Glasgow Caledonian University. He has been selected to be part of BBC Writersroom Drama Room 2017. Recently awarded silver at World Stage Design 2017 with The Weather Machine. He is an Associate Artist with Freedom Studios and completed The Emerging Writer’s Scheme with The Bush Theatre in London. His latest BBC Radio 4 Drama Breaking Up With Bradford is currently available eon BBC iplayer.

Kevin Phillips

Kevin Phillips (AKA Page of Danger) is an emerging Leeds based writer. He often writes with a minimalist, idiosyncratic, rhythmical prose that utilises damaged grammar and crumpled punctuation to mimic the way the common folk talk. Kevin lands emotion evoking, and thought provoking stories in and around a thousand words.
Kevin can be found at many of the open mic venues in and around Leeds.

You can find him on Facebook… K. D. Phillips author page, on Twitter… @pageofdanger You can also check out his YouTube channel – Page of Danger – and hear him read his work.

Leanna Benjamin

Leanna Benjamin is a writer, performer, blogger, disability rights activist and fundraiser.
Leanna enjoys using her creativity to share stories that inspire, encourage and to provoke a change.

Leanna has won first prize at the Ilkley Literature Festival for her hilarious monologue Sister Joy. Leanna performed her piece ‘I Smile’ at the West Yorkshire Playhouse last year, at WOW BRADFORD and at the Southbank centre as part of the WOW London festival.

Leanna completed her first playwright course in April at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and is working on a new play about what really it’s like to be an overcomer and challenging society’s definition of disability.

To find out more about Leanna Benjamin please check out her new blog or email

Lydia Marchant

Lydia is a Supported Artist at Hull Truck Theatre and member of Soho Theatre’s Writers Lab 2016-2017. Her recent work includes Defiance, for Hull Truck Theatre, The Dancing Dead, for Middle Child and Taxi Plays for Assemble Festival. She’s also written short pieces for Paines Plough’s Come To Where I’m From and Theatre 503 and Derby Theatre’s Rapid Response.

She is a Script Reader for the Leeds Playhouse, and Workshop Leader of the Writing Squad’s Hull group.

Maureen Lennon

Maureen is a Hull based writer and director and co-founder of Bellow Theatre. She has a BA in English and Drama from Bristol University and MA in Writing for Performance and Publication from Leeds University.

Her recent writing credits include BARE SKIN ON BRINY WATERS, (Bellow Theatre/HeadsUp Festival/ Hull City Of Culture 2017), GOBBLE (Bellow Theatre/ Assemble Fest 2017), A LONG MORNING QUIET (Sheffield Theatres 4×15), COME TO WHERE I’M FROM (Paines Plough/Hull truck Theatre), THE WASHERWOMEN’S WARNING (Bellow Theatre/Assemble Fest 2016) and THE CAUTIONARY TALE OF HORRID HAM CARVER (Assemble Fest 2015, LittleFest 2015).

Download BrochureAutumn / Winter 19
Download BrochureAutumn / Winter 19
Major funders
Arts Council England Leeds City Council The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation
Principal Capital Partners
Principal Capital and Access Partner
Irwin Mitchell Solicitors