Jim Pope (CEO and Co-Artistic Director) and Philip Osment (Co-Artistic Director) lead the artistic processes of writing and devising new work, directing performances and planning for each programme of work with a producer.
There are two associate artists Jill Power and Michael Amaning who act as peer mentors, co-facilitate engagement workshops, perform in scratch and professional performances and contribute to strategic planning at company meetings. Both Jill and Michael were engaged through Playing ON’s outreach and engagement work and are role models for the vision of the company.
There are several Associate members who participate in devising sessions with new user groups, perform in scratch and professional performances and attend regular company meetings.
Philip is a highly experienced writer, director, dramaturg and teacher. He has written and translated plays for a wide range of organisations including Method and Madness, the RSC, 20 Stories High, Theatre Centre, the Unicorn Theatre, BBC Radio, the Royal Court, Red Ladder Theatre Company, The National Youth Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Theatre Royal, Stratford East. He directed for Gay Sweatshop, Theatre Centre, Red Ladder, at the National Theatre Studio, The Bristol Old Vic and Teatrul Dramatic, Constanza, Romania. In 2011he created and directed MAD BLUD, a verbatim piece about knife crime for the Theatre Royal Stratford East and won the 2013 Best Play for Young People Writers Guild award for his play WHOLE produced by 20 Stories High.
He wrote and co-directed INSIDE and wrote HEARING THINGS.
Jim created the Playing Up programme for the National Youth Theatre, which was committed to delivering level 3 accredited learning to young people who were not in education, employment or training. In its first year 14 out of its 18 strong cohort achieved places in top drama schools including RADA, Rose Bruford, ALRA and Central as well as leading universities Bristol and London Metropolitan.
He is a trainer for Leap Confronting Conflict and for the past year has been leading the START programme at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith for young people who have been excluded from mainstream education. He has provided teaching, training and consultation for the Roundhouse, The Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, Cardboard Citizens and the NYT in peer mentoring and working with challenging behaviour and taught on BA and MA courses at Central SSD and Brighton University. He has extensive experience as an actor, director and teacher and performed the role of Liam in INSIDE, co-directing the Roundhouse production. He directed HEARING THINGS
If someone had told me Id be writing this bio a year ago I would have said they were MAD.
Indeed, I didn’t know until I met Playing on that I could write, I didn’t even know I had something to say. I came to a Playing ON workshop as a service user at the Albany Theatre in May 2017 and found myself on a stage reading out my work to the public. NUTS. I have always been a very shy introverted spirit and kept my voice to myself. Through Playing ON I have found a passion yearning to be let out. I have found I have lots to say and have been using my writing as a tool for recovery and making sense of a very fragmented self. Now late in life
I am coming together.
I found writing for playing ON became my medicine
I found using creativity to heal my trauma is medicine
I found seeing the unmentionable, the dark world glaring at you on paper is medicine
I found letting go of stored up images, owning them, thereby shrinking them is medicine
I found finding my voice is medicine
I found Acting out, acting up … Playing On .. in this moment, in this life, is medicine.
Michael is an actor and facilitator and originally met Jim in 2003 through Blue Sky Arts and Media, a New Deal regeneration initiative in South Kilburn for which Jim designed the curriculum. He subsequently joined the Playing UP course at the NYT and created the part of Jamal in the production of INSIDE.
He has a degree in Theatre Studies and completed his PGCE in English and Drama, 2017. Michael has worked with different groups of young people and adults across London and is enthusiastic about the arts and social change. .