Sarah-Jane Watkinson – General Manager
Originally from Ilkeston in Derbyshire, Sarah-Jane has lived in Birmingham since 1985 when she studied Theatre Design at Birmingham Polytechnic. Following this, she worked as a designer and workshop leader on community and education projects, the start of her ongoing commitment to participatory arts. As well as her part time role at the Play House, she works freelance as a Project Manager and Producer with companies such as ATRESBANDES theatre company from Barcelona. She is also Chair of Black Country Touring. Previously, she was General Manager with Women & Theatre, Programme Manager with Sampad South Asian Arts and Development Manager for Worcestershire Arts Partnership. Other freelance work includes Sandwell Arts Festival, Theatre Writing Partnership in Nottingham and Lichfield Festival. She’s worked on a variety of projects ranging from a three year participatory arts in health programme in Tipton to building giant ostriches at the Womad Festival.
Gavin Medza – Arts Administrator
Gavin joined The Play House in 2008 as the new Administrator. Before joining the company Gavin studied a variety of media related courses and has a degree in Media, Culture and Film Studies as well as a BTEC GNVQ in Media & Communications and a City & Guilds in Print & Radio Journalism. Alongside working as a freelance journalist for local newspapers, Gavin also developed skills in finance, administration and website design. Gavin is also a keen musician and has been the frontman to Indie band Dinky since 2001. The band released their new album ‘Falling Satellites’ in 2015 and have toured in the UK and Ireland.
Juliet Fry – Head of Programmes
Juliet was a drama teacher for three years before joining the company. She has worked at The Play House since 1996. Most of her work for the company has been as a Language Alive! Teacher/Actor and as well as devising and touring she has directed several theatre programmes for the company. She has also been The Play House Healthy Living Centre Co-ordinator, a five year project supported by New Opportunities Fund. During her time with The Play House she has been to Nigeria as part of a three year theatre for development partnership with The Nigerian Popular Theatre Alliance, represented the company delivering teacher training in Mauritius and participated in national and international drama conferences.
Malcolm Jennings – Teacher/Actor
Malcolm Trained at Kidderminster College and Dartington College of Arts and has worked consistently since with most of the regions small scale, community and TIE companies. Three shows for Pentabus including The Greeks which he subsequently toured independently with great success. For Big Brum he played Len in Heads or Tails, a significant piece that discussed the arts and education. He has stage managed for Women and Theatre, been drama teacher in St Pauls School, Balsall Heath and supported new deal apprentices at C&T. He has also toured nationally with Yorkshire Theatre Company and in Play Me False, Macbeth, The Great Smile Robbery and The Gloop Monster for the Custard Theatre Factory Company. He has toured in several programmes for Language Alive! as a freelancer and, after a three-year sojourn as a course leader in performing arts at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, joined The Play House in February 2004.
Simon Turner – Teacher/Actor
Before joining The Play House in September 2010, Simon trained as an actor at the Birmingham Theatre School. Having completed the course, he then went on to work with several touring theatre companies, BBC Pebble Mill Television Centre and Buzz Radio FM. Wanting to work with children and young people using theatre as a teaching tool, Simon accepted the position of Company Assistant at The Play House in 1999. Simon then joined Loudmouth Educational Theatre Company for 5 years, where he toured nationally, delivering predominantly Sexual Health & Training programmes for young people and professionals who work with young people. He then became a freelance actor/facilitator using theatre, puppetry, multi media and live music. He worked extensively with Midland-based T.I.E. companies Gazebo, Women and Theatre and The Play House, delivering sessions to different Key Stages and Adults. He was also part of the original Shakespeare Aloud! team, based in Stratford upon Avon playing Hamlet and Romeo. When not working Simon enjoys playing guitar, surfing and spending time with his family.