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After Graduating from Hull University, Jo dabbled in the world of acting but found her passion in working with the community, as both a facilitator and director of theatre for young audiences.  Jo has worked in participatory arts for over 15 years. Jo worked at Blue Elephant Theatre in Camberwell London for 13 years, the majority as Co-Artistic and Participation Director. Alongside this, Jo has also worked for Artis Education, Bigfoot Theatre, Croydon Clocktower and Putney Arts Theatre. 


Working in theatres, schools and community settings, Jo has had the privilege to bring community work to some of the most iconic stages in the UK, without losing touch of the grass roots nature if the art. Above all, it's important to Jo that the people in the room are co-creators; no matter their age or experiences, everyone has a right to embrace their creative selves. She is passionate about reducing barriers to accessing the arts and gets huge satisfaction from enabling this.

Malcolm Graduated from Dartington College of Arts in 1991 with a Theatre Arts degree. Having joined the company in 2004, he has plays a massive part in helping to develop The Play House practice. Malcolm utilises the unique styles of participatory theatre and evolves the practice in Primary schools across the West Midlands. 


Malcolm has worked for the last 30 years in applied theatre and education settings both nationally and internationally. He has taught at St Paul’s school for children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, been a Course Leader for a Performing Arts Course at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College and worked with many of the Midlands leading Theatre in Education companies. 


He sometimes gets mistaken for Lee Evans though, as far as we know, Lee never gets mistaken for Malcolm.


Jo Sadler-Lovett

Artistic Director


Malcolm Jennings

Lead Actor-Teacher


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Juliet Fry

Juliet is a drama practitioner and storyteller based in Birmingham. She has created and delivered drama and storytelling projects for nurseries, schools, libraries and with heritage settings: gaining vast experience and understanding of child development (EYFS in particular) and how the arts can impact learning in a powerful way.


Juliet has a wealth of knowledge surrounding Theatre in Education, she was the artistic director of The Play House for four years and with the company for around 30 years all together! With Juliet's experience, she delivers CPD sessions and has a passion for sharing her knowledge with others - she began her career as a Teacher!


As a freelance artist Juliet has recently worked with Paperback Theatre, The National Trust, National Drama and Birmingham. Conservatoire. Juliet has a wonderful gift for Storytelling, she delivers The Play House storytelling residencies, storytrails and interactive storytelling workshops.

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Ariya Larker

Ariya began her journey as a teacher, qualifying in Primary and Secondary Education, specialising in computer science. After working as a Primary school teacher, Ariya completed a Master's Degree in Drama and Theatre Education at University of Warwick. She then went on to teach drama with different theatre companies and arts organisations whilst maintaining a professional acting career. Ariya enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences, she currently runs her own Performing Arts Academy in Redditch. 


Kayleigh Cottam

Kayleigh graduated from Dartington College of Arts in 2008 with a Degree in devised theatre. She also studied at Birmingham School of Acting and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. 

Since 2012 Kayleigh has worked with Bamboozle Theatre Company, touring the UK performing in SEN schools and theatre settings: Also joining the company on their residency to Shanghai Children's Art Theatre, China. In 2023 Kayleigh will begin training with Bamboozle to deliver CPD training in schools and theatre settings. Kayleigh has also toured with Oily Cart & National Theatre Wales: 'SPLISH SPLASH' an immersive performance set in hydrotherapy pools across England & Wales.  

Passionate about creating and performing high quality, engaging work for audiences with additional needs, Kayleigh recognises the power of Theatre in Education and has collaborated on various projects with The Play House in schools along with Arts and Cultural Venues to make the arts more accessible.

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Gaby Songui

Gaby is a freelance arts facilitator, writer and storyteller who works predominantly in the Midlands. She often explores topics to do with race, identity and heritage through a multidisciplinary storytelling style and facilitation approach. Her stories centre around human experience with a focus on empathy and self-exploration. Gaby frequently uses contemporary ground skills circus and movement in her storytelling and facilitation, and she also enjoys performing, with juggling as her speciality!


Sabrina Nabi

Sabrina trained at University of Wolverhampton and National Youth Theatre. She has taken to the stage in productions for The Birmingham Rep, The Old Rep, Crescent Theatre, Omnibus Theatre and the National Youth Theatre. Her credits also include feature films Panther In The Yard, Of Gods Men and BFI short film And The Music Mingles.


Sabrina believes Theatre in Education is fundamental in helping young people understand the sensitive issues they are faced with everyday whilst also equipping them with the ability to communicate and develop opinions on complex topics. Sabrina has collaborated with The Play House on the schools touring Programme along with delivering community projects. 


Lucy Bird

Lucy is a director and creative learning practitioner. She studied English and Theatre. Alongside her directing work, Lucy has worked for the education departments at Birmingham REP, Shakespeare’s Globe, and as a Creative Learning Associate at Stan’s Cafe. She received the JMK Regional Assistant Director Bursary in 2018 to work on a new adaptation of The Lovely Bones, adapted by Bryony Lavery and directed by Melly Still. 


Lucy has worked in schools all over Birmingham on everything from Shakespeare to exploring the history curriculum through drama. Outside of her work in schools and on the stage, Lucy runs her own theatre company Paperback who for the past three years have run the Little but LIVE! Festival in Moseley Park.


Charis McRoberts

Grace Bennett

Grace has a Pearson BTEC Level 3 Award in Education & Teaching and is a talented teacher-actor, storyteller, performance poet, author, book club facilitator, events host and organiser. Over the years she has worked with various schools, nurseries, libraries, art galleries, heritage sites and community organisations. Grace has headlined various poetry and storytelling events and has recently been published in the New Voices Anthology, Offa’s Press and Bedtime Tales: She is the Winner of local poetry competitions and finalist in the Ledbury Literature Festival Poetry Slam.


Grace prides herself on the diversity and learning experience that is at the heart of her work. Her aim is to ensure that the work she delivers is accessible, memorable, creative and inspiring.

Charis is an Irish writer, performer & arts practitioner, a BBC New Creative and one of thirteen poets selected for Poetry Ireland’s Introduction Series 2020. Previous work includes audio dramas Four (Rural Media, BBC Arts), Ballynahinch (United Kingdoms, BBC Radio 4) & The Raven’s Call (Tinderbox/BBC Radio Ulster). Charis's monologue ‘Our Last Adventure’ was recently published in COMMON, a new anthology by Team Angelica Publishing – which she performed at the Bush Theatre in London.


Charis loves working with young people & communities, she believes that art should be used as a vehicle for change. Passionate about Theatre in Education and Community Theatre, Charis has worked on various Play House Projects from Poetry workshops to issue based programmes. 



Keshena is proud to call Birmingham home, and began her time in the city working as Events Director for a grassroots collective: Project Birmingham, which aimed to platform local artists and creatives. Keshena has previously worked for Geese Theatre Company, a Birmingham-based arts in criminal justice charity, as their Business Development Manager.


Currently working as Youth Violence Prevention Programme Manager for the West Midlands VRU, Birmingham City Council and BVSC, Keshena is motivated by making a positive difference to the community. She believes in the power of the arts in creating opportunities to learn and grow - which is why she is a dedicated member (and co-deputy chair) of The Play House board. 

Keshena Bowie

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Tessa Taylor

Tessa has lived in Birmingham since studying at the University of Birmingham. She has worked in the charity sector for many years and is currently the Finance Officer for two local community centres.

Tessa believes it is important to share your skills with other organisations, which is why she is so passionate about her involvement with The Play House. She participates in the arts by singing with SO vocal, a community choir affiliated to the CBSO. Tessa is passionate about Theatre in Education because of its ability to deepen the learning experience of its participants. Tessa feels passionate about children's exposure to the arts in general and believes that young people can widen their learning experience with access to the arts. 

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Paul is a director, educator and academic researcher from Birmingham, who began his career as a Theatre in Education actor with The Play House.  Paul also worked with Schism, The Hearth Centre, Hanyong Theatre, and Stafford Gatehouse before relocating to London.  


As a director, he specialises in working with emerging artists and community groups and has staged work with the Almeida Theatre, Old Vic, Lyric Hammersmith, Southwark Playhouse, National Youth Theatre of GB and Studio 18 Malta alongside teaching across Further and Higher Education settings.  Paul is currently based at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where he is completing his PhD.


Paul Edwards


Alex holds a BA (hons) Dance Studies, MBA with distinction, MA Senior Leaders Apprenticeship (Arts and Culture) and a CMI Chartered Manager Qualification Level 7 in Strategic Management and Leadership.


She was the former Head of Learning and Participation at FABRIC (previously known as DanceXchange before the 2022 merger) and is currently Director of Anjali Dance Company.


As part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Alex was Senior Producing Lead (on behalf of FABRIC) for Critical Mass; the flagship £1.3million inclusive dance participation project, developed in collaboration with Birmingham 2022, FABRIC, Arts Connect and Dance Development Leaders Group (DDLG).


Alex believes in the transformational power of the arts and is proud to be a trustee of The Play House.

Alex Henwood


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Adaya Henry

Adaya Henry is a Birmingham based Spoken Word Artist, Poet, Actor, Facilitator and the artistic director of Women and Theatre.


Adaya works across the city and has been commissioned to write spoken word on campaigns for Birmingham City Council, NHS, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and was a featured poet on Benjamins Zephaniah's "Life & Rhymes" on Sky Arts. Along with this Adaya has also featured on 'Birmingham Live' with her Poem to Channel 4. 


Adaya is also the Community Lead at Yard Arts House in Birmingham, a multifunctional space which serves the local community.


We are currently recruiting for new Trustees to join The Play House Board. 

Please email Artistic Director, for more information or download the full application pack by checking out our most recent Blog post

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