Human Story Theatre was established by Amy Enticknap and Gaye Poole, with an aim to explore health and social care issues through the medium of theatre and to raise awareness of important issues that affect communities everywhere.
Human Story Theatre harnesses the power of theatre to convey important messages about real issues faced by the health and social care sectors today. Human Story Theatre works to unite communities, to raise awareness of the support available by signposting local resources and making support networks more accessible. The ‘pay what you can’ policy means that performances, taking place in local community centres, libraries and theatres, are open to all and fully accessible.
Human Story Theatre not only informs but actively involves their audience, encouraging people to share experiences and to play an active part in the discussions and debate surrounding the issues faced. An important by-product is the resultant understanding between individuals within communities affected by the themes, the further strengthening of relationships and the promotion of individual responsibility regarding the particular issues. Human Story Theatre partners with local community groups, health and social care professionals, charities and organisations working to support those affected by the issues explored in each play. Members of these groups lead post-show Q&As with the aim of signposting the audience to relevant resources within their local services.
Human Story Theatre was formed in August 2016 and registered as a charity (CIO) in June 2017. The company has already achieved national acclaim for its outreach work to date, in raising awareness of health and social care issues through new writing, and delivering accessible performances in studio theatres and community spaces.
Human Story Theatre has established a strong portfolio of partnerships since it was established and has a strong track record of reaching new audiences.
Thus far Human Story Theatre have created more dementia aware communities with Connie’s Colander, recruited volunteers for organisations that support lonely and isolated people with Flat 73, spread breast-checking messages with The Fourth Dog, encouraged audiences to interrogate their own drinking habits in DRY and recruited domestic abuse champions with Happy Even After, our most recent play which is about domestic abuse.
MEET THE TEAM
Amy and Gaye met over twelve years ago while on a medical role-play job, in Oxford. Together, and separately, they work as role-players and facilitators in teaching communication skills to medical students, qualified nurses, doctors and midwives. Straddling the two worlds of make believe and the real life certainly crystallised the idea of Human Story Theatre which has become the perfect vehicle for Amy and Gaye’s concerns regarding health and social care. They would like to help communities in some way and as actors the tools available to them are to convey important messages in theatre form.
Joint Artistic Director
After completing her degree in Drama and Theatre Studies at Roehampton University, Amy trained at The Oxford School of Drama. She has worked as an actor for over 18 years, mainly in theatre but also in film, TV and radio. She works regularly as a voice-over artist, often voicing children and squeaky animals and has narrated over 60 children’s audiobooks. She honed her theatre producing skills on the job, first in co-running SatMatCo and now Human Story Theatre.
Joint Artistic Director
After training as a general and then a psychiatric nurse, Gaye retrained as an actor at East 15 Acting School. Always favouring community theatre, Gaye set up WILD an integrated youth theatre company for people with and without learning disabilities and has enjoyed running reminiscence workshops for older people, in between acting jobs. Restarting her acting career after raising her sons, she toured Memory Exchange to day centres which also kick-started her love of writing.
Dr Marion Lynch
Special Projects Advisor
Marion (Maz) holds senior posts in the NHS as a Deputy Medical Director and in academia as a Visiting Professor. Her strategic role ensures person centred care is at the heart of policy making, her professorial work enables her to gather the evidence needed to support arts in health.
She is also a Charity Founder and Director of Fiona Foundation for Kids an international charity to care for children in need and empower women.
She is Trustee for Paintings in Hospitals developing social media campaigns and volunteers with Alzheimer’s Cafes and Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust by being the medic on recovering children’s sailing manic holidays
Project Outreach Worker
Sarah has over 10 years experience using facilitation and participatory theatre techniques to explore social issues. Her practice draws on a masters in Applied Theatre from Goldsmiths University, and has included work on a range of community engagement and arts projects with the Red Cross, Arts for Action and Plutonyka Theatre. This has included using storytelling to explore migration, forum theatre on social justice, and image theatre with intergenerational groups on what it means to be a woman in Oxford.
Alongside outreach work, Sarah also works as the Inclusion Manger at Arts at the Old Fire Station. In 2019 Sarah worked with Reducing the Risk to develop Human Story Theatre’s outreach workshops on Healthy Relationships alongside their production of Happy Even After.
Design & Digital Marketing
Alex has been with Human Story Theatre from the start. He created our visual brand identity and continues to design marketing collateral for our ongoing projects, as well as providing support through digital marketing strategies.
Alex is an experienced Senior Graphic Designer with a demonstrated history of working in the Design industry for over 10 years. Skilled in Design for Print, Web Design, Logo Design, Branding, Marketing Creative and Photography, he runs AW Design based in Oxfordshire.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Chair of Trustees
Neil has worked in the retail financial services sector for 30 years, holding senior executive positions that have included leading large UK based operational teams, and building and maintaining strategic partnerships with operational third party providers both in the UK and India, with responsibility for operational budgets of up to £35m. He was awarded Nationwide Building Society “Leader of the Year” and “Employee of the Year” in 2011 in recognition of his transformational impact on his part of the business.
Neil is delighted to join Human Story Theatre as a trustee, and is enjoying applying his commercial experience to a theatre group that offers such a relevant, challenging and inclusive programme of work.
Maureen Fairweather Hole
Having been helped to read by my first drama teacher I have had a life-long interest in drama and theatre. After leaving school, having unsuccessfully auditioned for drama schools, I was not sure in what direction I wanted to go and started working in a library, as a personal assistant and then in an occupational therapy department of a psychiatric hospital engaging patients through drama and music. This helped me make my decision to train as a teacher with drama as my specialism initially with the view to working specifically with pupils with learning difficulties.
I have since been privileged to work in schools, with a wide range of students, in Kent and Oxfordshire as a drama teacher, head of department and faculty, Senior management and my final role was as Director of Visual and Performing Arts specialism which entailed working with the arts across the school, local community, partnership primary schools and with artists and companies developing projects in a range of arts medium. This was a role I thoroughly enjoyed and where you could observe the difference the arts can make to community well-being and cohesion.
Being involved with Human Story Theatre is a way of supporting a theatre company that is delivering exciting opportunities, promoting health and well-being but also thought provoking theatre that is reaching out to wider audiences.
Dr Ruth Wilson
Ruth qualified as a doctor in 1985 and has been a family doctor in East Oxford since 1992. She is also a lecturer at the University of Oxford and teaches undergraduate students in their clinical years.
Ruth says it's a tremendous privilege to be allowed to share in the lives of her patients and to witness their own human stories. She believes the rich knowledge and insights gained, help in her general practice work but also help in her teaching, where she tries to add human and real life context to more purely academic studies.
Ruth's favourite definition of culture is "the stories we tell of ourselves".
It's therefore with great excitement that she has become a trustee of Human Story Theatre.
She hopes her experience will add additional authenticity to writing as well as making sure stories are factually correct when referring directly to clinical issues.
Her connection with wider communities and support groups mean that Ruth can suggest and enable more wider access and involvement to promote the true value to us all of the shared human story.
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