Storyteller, writer, performer, creativity enthusiast!
I started out in community theatre at the age of 14 & by 17 I was paid (!!) Assistant Director of our local community play. I went on to study at Glasgow University and then train as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. I worked all over the world, but I started to realise that I was looking for something else!
"Working with Jo is always a joy. Her enthusiasm is matched by her professionalism and dedication to improving the lives of children and families, and her creativity and energy is an inspiration to others."
Mary Devlin, Crown Lane Primary School & Children's Centre
"I cannot praise Jo highly enough, she was fantastic with the class despite many of them being on the Special Needs Register or having behavioural problems"
Emma Rutherford, Year 3 Teacher, St Joseph's Junior School, Camberwell
In 2004 I started 3 years as Practitioner in Residence at Shakespeare's Globe and finally got to combine my passion for theatre with working with communities and children. I ran hundreds of workshops and projects in some of the most deprived areas of London. I learnt so much from the wonderful people who shared the journey with me; children, parents, teachers, practitioners and the world class actors and staff at the Globe.
Then I became a mum, got a rare thyroid condition (that nearly finished me off) and started on a whole new adventure, which I'm very glad to say, I survived!
Now I'm a storycycler - I recycle, revive, rejuvenate and rejoice in stories from folklore to great literary classics. Some of it must have rubbed off on me too as I am now a writer with a real, live (quite frankly amazing) literary agent who works between London, Chicago and New York.
I'm continually evolving and enthused and excited about working on creative projects and helping people to believe in their own stories and abilities.
Storyteller and Drama Specialist
2008 - present
I create opportunities for creative play, learning and fun through workshops, performances, storytellings and events.
Recent clients: Southbank Centre, Peabody Housing, Pushkin Press (Letter for the King and Secrets of the Wild Wood), Storystock at the Bush Theatre, The Shambala Festival, Starry Skies Festival, Schools, Nurseries and Children's Centres. I am also a regular visiting artist for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Practitioner in Residence, Globe Education
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Bankside, London
2004 - 2007
I worked in the wonderful Borough of Southwark in schools, colleges, nurseries and community settings leading long term projects based on Shakespeare's work. I worked with the public, international students, and leading theatre practitioners from all over the world.
Freelance Theatre Practitioner
1996 - 2004
When I left drama school I worked as an actor, director and writer for a number of years. Theatre is not a stable profession, but I did get to go round the world doing what I loved. I worked in the UK, Europe and New Zealand, on projects as diverse as playing in Aesops Fables in a 3month tour of Italian schools, working with Pacific Island kids for the 'I have a Dream' Educational Charity in Auckland, New Zealand and a life changing trip to the Arctic Circle with International NGO 'Peaceboat' with young people from world conflict areas using forum theatre for conflict resolution. I was writer and artistic director of Passionfruit Theatre from 1998-1999.
"Jo was amazing at setting a whole day of activities to suit all our learners and their varying abilities. Her energy and enthusiasm was fabulous" Lauren Robins, STA Library and Literacy, World Book Day 2014, St Joseph's Specialist School and College
"I wanted to say thank you personally for the brilliant Shakespeare day on Tuesday... we’ve had a huge amount of universally positive feedback from the children, the staff and the parents (as the children apparently went home and talked of nothing else!)"
Katy Lawrence, Deputy Head, Edward Betham Primary School, Ealing.
"I worked with Jo on my first short film Ruby. ... Her flair for writing was in evidence throughout the whole process and she was always very approachable. Since directing Ruby, I have gone onto establish a career in directing television drama. This is wholly down to having been fortunate enough to collaborate with Jo on Ruby." Alex Jacob, TV Director
CI/Contemporary All Star Dancers for Amnesty International at Dogstar Brixton, Dress up Divas Photo: waynethomas.co.uk
"The right to play is the child’s first claim on the community. Play is nature’s training for life. No community can infringe that right without doing deep and enduring harm to the minds and bodies of it’s citizens”
David Lloyd George