Meet our core company team members!



Laura Killeen

General Manager

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Emily Lewis

Business Development Manager

As General Manager Laura is responsible for the fundraising, development, implementation and management of the financial and operational needs of The Play House which supports the evolution and delivery of the organisations work. 

Laura has an MA in Arts and Project Management and she has held various roles in the arts sector: Working with Arts Council England, the National Theatre, Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Stan's Cafe, Laura has extensive arts administration experience. 

Alongside working at The Play House, Laura undetakes freelance work within the Arts Sector. She is also a Trustee for Zest Theatre and a visiting lecturer at Birmingham City University. 

Emily graduated from Newman University in 2017 with a First Class Degree in Drama Theatre and Applied Performance. Since her graduation, Emily has worked in business development and brings a wealth of knowledge to The Play House.


Emily has previously completed voluntary work with The Play House and Round Midnight Theatre Company. She has worked as a Drama Practitioner with NCS: The Challenge. Emily has also performed on the main stage at Warwick Arts Centre, The REP Birmingham, MAC and The Crescent Theatre.


An all-round Theatre lover, Emily's passion resides in Theatre in Education. It is her mission to ensure The Play House continues to thrive and flourish by combining her skills, knowledge and passion to drive company growth.


Jo Sadler-Lovett

Artistic Director

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 Jennings

Lead Teacher/Actor

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.

Meet The Play House Trustees!


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Deborah has been on The Play House board for 13 years and Chair since 2014. She has a deep love of theatre and live performance and firmly believes live theatre is life-enhancing and everyone should have access to it. All children should have the opportunity to experience it as it has the ability to enrich their lives both educationally and support their well-being. 


Deborah has worked as a solicitor for many years, most recently in the field of child protection for Birmingham Children's Trust. More recently, she has retrained as a person centred counsellor and now works at Anawim, a charity that supports women with multiple and complex needs, based in Balsall Heath. Deborah is also a Trustee of the Sir Barry Jackson Trust, which provides small grants for theatrical productions in the Midlands, and of The Eve Brook Scholarship Fund which gives financial support to Birmingham Care leavers in higher education.


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. 


Dan Jones


Dan is Creative Arts Lead at Allens Croft Primary School in Kings Heath. A graduate of the University of Birmingham and Newman University, he has been a teacher for 13 years and has always been passionate about creating arts opportunities for children in schools and using drama as a teaching tool. 


After The Play House visited his school to deliver a programme of work, he was so inspired by the power of participatory theatre he became a Trustee at the next available opportunity. Dan has a particular interest in the capacity of drama to support the social development of children and has recently completed his MA in this area. He regularly leads CPD sessions for Birmingham teachers at events run by Arts Connect, championing the creative ways arts can enrich the education and lives of children.


Alex graduated with a Dance Studies degree in 2015 and joined DanceXchange two months later as Programme Intern. Alex also completed her postgraduate studies at the University of Wolverhampton to gain an MBA with Distinction and an MA in Senior Leadership in the Arts and Culture Sector. Now Head of Learning and Participation, Alex also oversees various strands of work including Centre for Advanced Training Centre (CAT), Class Programme, Large-Scale Participatory and Community Projects. Alex was the Senior Creative Lead for a £1 million dance participation project, Critical Mass, in partnership with Birmingham 2022, forming a new integrated dance company of 300 across the West Midlands.


Alex’s passions are enabling young people to reach their potential, co-creation artistic practice and work towards positive systematic change in the arts and cultural sector. Alex thoroughly enjoys her position as a trustee on The Play House board and she is passionate about bringing her specialisms to help support the company achieve their vision.

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Adaya Henry is a Birmingham based Spoken Word Artist, Poet, Actor, Facilitator and a proud member of The Play House board. 


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.


Tessa has lived in Birmingham since coming here to study 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, hence her involvement with The Play House and her place on the Board. She participates in the arts by singing with SO vocal, a community choir affiliated to the CBSO. She understands practice and rehearsal are critical to performance and 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. 

Keshena Bowie

Co-Deputy Chair

Alex Henwood

Co-Deputy Chair

Adaya Henry



Tessa Taylor

Deborah Shaw