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The RABBLE

Our Vision & Mission

A place where all young people have experienced the thrill of live theatre, where all adults have the power to change their own pathways and where all people are proud to say they come from Reading.

RABBLE stage unforgettable stories about Reading, inspired by and created with our diverse community. In incredible locations, we delight both local and global audiences, celebrating our heritage and bringing about change in the way Reading is perceived. We educate, inspire and employ young people and adults from all backgrounds. RABBLE Theatre is here for all of us, because theatre has the power to transform lives.

Meet the team

Dani Davies, Executive Director

Watching RABBLE grow from a tiny seed has been a thrilling experience and Dani is very proud to fill the role of Executive Director and to oversee the Education Department.

Dani grew up in Reading where she attended the Abbey School. She went on to study at Arts Educational in Chiswick and later at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

As an actor, Dani’s credit’s include Shakespeare at The Tobacco Factory, Bath Theatre Royal, Guildford Shakespeare Company and numerous UK tours. For RBL Theatre Company (RABBLE’s previous name), Dani played the Empress Matilda in the Conquerors trilogy, Olivia in Twelfth Night and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.

Dani also teaches stage combat and writes plays and stories for young people.

Toby Davies, Artistic Director

Producing world-class theatre in a joyful environment is the aim of our artistic director, Toby Davies.

After studying English Literature at St Andrews University, where Toby won the Contributions to Theatre Award having acted in some 32 shows, Toby trained professionally at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

As an actor, Toby’s credits include The Mousetrap (West End), Hampstead Theatre, Bath Theatre Royal, Tobacco Factory and numerous tours across the UK.

However, he soon committed to developing a high-quality theatre company for the diverse community of Reading – and it’s this desire to inspire, involve and embolden everyone from this colourful town and to get Reading on the cultural atlas, that gives Toby his relentless energy.

Toby is also on the executive board of Theatre and Arts Reading (TAR).

Away from theatre, he cooks and enjoys the outdoors.

Emma Lawrence, General Manager

Emma first met RABBLE back in 2012 whilst working at BBC Radio Berkshire. An instant fan, she supported the company first as a member of the audience and then regularly volunteered to help front of house and on the in-house bar.

In 2017 Emma joined the team as front of house manager and since then has taken on a variety of roles including coordinator of our wonderful team of volunteers, bar manager, production manager and box office manager.

She brings with her 10 years experience working in live events with The Big Chill Festival, 18 years honing her organisational skills at the BBC, a love of working with audiences and is passionate about helping people access theatre.

In 2020 Emma left her scheduling role at the BBC to join RABBLE full time as General Manager.

Tash Marks, Community Associate

Tash grew up in Reading and was part of RABBLE’s first production of Twelfth Night in 2012 as an ensemble cast member, and RABBLE Foundation’s first production of Jerusalem. These experiences with RABBLE inspired her journey to Higher Education. Tash found her spark and passion in community theatre, to which she trained at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, in Drama, Applied Theatre and Education.

Since then, Tash has gone on to direct, produce and facilitate a variety of young people’s and community projects with a range of theatres and organisations such as Kiln Theatre, Synergy Theatre Projects, Mousetrap Theatre Projects, Total Insight Theatre and many more. She is most passionate about projects which support people who are marginalised or facing challenges in their lives, to which creativity can offer people a richer sense of wellbeing, purpose and achievement. Having worked extensively within the criminal justice system, with looked-after young people and neurodiverse individuals, Tash is dedicated to learning, listening and opening new spaces which feel accessible to a range of people in Reading and, in turn, being reflexive in how this can shape our artistic work and approach.

Alongside her work, Tash practices meditation and yoga and enjoys exploring new places and meeting new people. She is really excited to be working in her hometown.

Emily Evans, Education Coordinator

Emily trained as an Actor and is currently in the final stages of completing her training to be a stage combat instructor.

Emily has been a part of RABBLE since it was established. Firstly taking part in the first Young Company production back in 2012. After completing her acting training Emily performed with RABBLE in productions; Twelfth Night, Off the Block, and Matilda the Empress. She also was assistant fight director on 2019’s production of Macbeth.

Alongside her acting career, her focus has been teaching young people and creating theatre. Emily has been teaching for RABBLE since 2017. She is thrilled to be joining the team as Education Coordinator.

Rebecca Welburn, Company Stage Manager

Becs brings with her 10 years’ experience of Stage Management & Technical Theatre. Since training at the University of Cumbria in Musical Theatre and Technical Theatre, she has worked in a range of theatres across the North West, South East and London, after discovering she much prefers the elusive life behind the scenes where stage management are the miracle workers.

As well as Stage Management, Becs is a credited Lighting Designer, previously working closely with BeastHouse Productions & The North Wall. She is dedicated to providing the highest quality of production support. Having been a resident Stage Manager for the last five or so years, Becs is thrilled to be joining an innovative and ambitious producing theatre company that is RABBLE.

Aside from spending 12 or more hours in a theatre, Becs loves to travel off-grid and explore diverse cultures.

Ania Haskins, Bookkeeper

After raising a family,  Ania returned to the accountancy profession (formerly she was a Chartered Accountant at Grant Thornton) and when offered the opportunity to join RABBLE as their bookkeeper in late 2019, Ania was delighted to join the team.

Ania is an avid theatre-goer and has attended all of RABBLE’s productions since moving to Reading and has enjoyed learning about Reading’s rich history in such an entertaining way, with the performances taking place in some of Reading’s amazing spaces.

Over the years, Ania has held a number of voluntary positions, often accountancy related. Currently, she is involved with Friends of Caversham Court Gardens and Reading Amateur Regatta as well as some of the local environmental groups.

Ania feels it is very important to support such groups who do so much valuable work in our community.

Ania’s other great loves are playing tennis and travelling.

Hannah Thurston-Smith, Administrator

Info coming soon

Sub Committees

As a charity, RABBLE is governed by a board of trustees. Beneath the board are our four sub-committees, each of which represent the values of our organisation.

Cultural Programming

 

Kirsti Wilson, Deputy Chair

Kirsti is head of marketing and fundraising at Launchpad. Kirsti has over 20 years of marketing experience and a strong network of local contacts – as well as a passion for Reading and the arts. Kirsti is MD at Connect Reading and was a Project Manager at Inside Reading Gaol (Artangel/MoJ) and a member of Get Up on Stage.

Charlotte Stroud, Trustee

Charlotte Stroud is an enthusiastic arts fundraiser, with experience working at Chichester Festival Theatre and The Watermill Theatre, Newbury. She is passionate about the benefits that theatre and the arts can bring to people’s lives.

Charlotte grew up in Reading and hugely values the creativity, innovation, and enrichment that RABBLE provides for its community. She is thrilled to be bringing her fundraising experience to the RABBLE Board.

Nick Flintoff, Trustee

Nick works at the National Theatre for the New Work Department developing new shows for the theatre’s main stages. He has grown up and spent much of his life living in the local area where he has worked at The Corn Exchange and occasionally the Watermill Theatre in Newbury. He is also a lighting designer and production manages. He feels very honoured to be able to bring his years of technical and production experience to the Rabble Team.

Rachel Sanger

Bio coming soon.

Finance, Audit & Risk

 

Stephanie Clark, Secretary

Stephanie is currently the Strategy Lead at Substrakt – a digital agency specialising in the arts and culture sector. In this role, Stephanie works with a variety of performing arts clients including the Metropolitan Opera, Almeida Theatre, The Bridge, Philharmonia and Saratoga Performing Arts Centre.

Prior to joining Substrakt, Stephanie held senior positions at Creative England, Royal Northern College of Music and Liverpool’s Everyman and Playhouse Theatres. She has extensive experience in income generation and Programme Management. Her most significant achievement to date was in securing £3.25m of funding from North of Tyne Combined Authority to run a three-year creative industries investment programme in the region.

Stephanie also has a background in Stage Management having worked in this field for a number of years after graduating with a BA Hons Drama and Theatre Studies Degree from Royal Holloway University of London.

Caroline Fox, Treasurer

Caroline is a Chartered Accountant and as treasurer is delighted to bring her financial skills to RABBLE. She has a passion for theatre and is keen to support the ethos to enhance access throughout the community. She holds the position of Ethics Moderator for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales qualification. She graduated from the University of Manchester and followed this with a spell working in the not-for-profit sector, working for a music charity and for Amnesty International. Her accountancy career has spanned the commercial and professional worlds. She has over twenty years’ experience in professional education and publishing. She has been integral in designing fair and robust examination processes including those for apprentices. She takes a special interest in promoting financial education to a wider audience. Her published work includes being technical editor for Financial Accounting for Dummies. She is the Treasurer and a trustee of The Arts Society Henley.

Julie Gregory, Trustee

Bio coming soon.

Emma Lawrence, Finance Manager

Emma first met RABBLE back in 2012 whilst working at BBC Radio Berkshire. An instant fan, she supported the company first as a member of the audience and then regularly volunteered to help front of house and on the in-house bar.

In 2017 Emma joined the team as front of house manager and since then has taken on a variety of roles including coordinator of our wonderful team of volunteers, bar manager, production manager and box office manager.

She brings with her 10 years experience working in live events with The Big Chill Festival, 18 years honing her organisational skills at the BBC, a love of working with audiences and is passionate about helping people access theatre.

In 2020 Emma left her scheduling role at the BBC to join RABBLE full time as General Manager.

Inclusivity & Relevance

 

Louise Gilmour, Chair

Louise first became aware of RABBLE when she went to see ‘Matilda, the Empress’ and knew that having local accessible work of such quality and dramatic impact meant that she knew she had to get involved. She has worked as Head of Drama at a large, state comprehensive school which had a Theatre Arts Specialism as well as being awarded an Arts Mark Gold for her 10 years there. She also brings her 10 years experience as a professional actress to her work with the company. For many young audience members, seeing a RABBLE show is their first experience of live theatre and she is proud to be associated with such an inventive, dynamic and company and help build the audiences of the future. And perhaps also the professionals too!

Nick Walker, Trustee

Nick is a Lecturer, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and PhD researcher based at the University of Reading. His research looks at theatre attendance – with a particular focus on West Theatre attendance – through the lens of consumer behaviour, marketing and ethnicity. He is an amateur musician and passionate about theatre as a tool to educate, inspire and unify increasingly divided communities. Nick brings over 20 years of experience working in the arts, marketing and education.

Danyl Johnson, Trustee

Reading-based Danyl Johnson rocketed to fame on The X Factor 2009, (50 million+ views on YouTube!). He went on to appear in the hit TV show, Benidorm, was a finalist on Eurovision: You Decide, hosted a weekly radio show for BBC Berkshire and created 2 podcasts; Best Thing & Little Help. In 2020, Danyl joined the 50th anniversary production of Godspell and is now a presenter on the People’s Postcode Lottery. He is an ambassador for several local and national charities, including Launchpad and the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. In 2015, he won the Community Champion award at the Pride of Reading Awards for his charity work. He loves his hometown and is a key member of the Pride of Reading Awards.

Having never missed a show since the beginning, Danyl is very proud to be a trustee for RABBLE Theatre.

Lizzie Sawyer

Bio coming soon.

Annie Becker, BSL Integration Consultant

Annie is a fully qualified British Sign Language Interpreter specialising in theatre. Having graduated from the Theatre Arts, Education and Deaf Studies degree course at the University of Reading in 2008 she has worked as a stage manager, sign language interpreter and sign language integrating performer. Annie’s belief in using sign language to enhance the performance for Deaf and hearing audiences alike, rather than simply an access tool, has led her to become an integrating performer. Having been born and raised in Reading, Annie enjoys her time working with Rabble, a Reading-based theatre, to create high-class accessible performances.

Sustainability

 

Jules James, Trustee

Jules James, MD of Voyage Brand & Communication, is delighted to throw her knowledge and creative support behind this inspirational team. She brings with her all things brand – strategy, storytelling, identity and concept development, design, brand architecture, messaging, value systems and purpose.

Madeleine Brain, Trustee

Mads Brain is passionate about all the opportunities that RABBLE Theatre presents in Reading and beyond, delivering the highest quality productions, drama and education for all, pushing the boundaries of conventional theatre with outstanding results.

Victoria Lavery-Ball, Trustee

Victoria has been with RABBLE since the beginning and loves being a part of such an innovative charity, bringing exciting and inspiring productions and educational programmes to the people of Reading and beyond. RABBLE’s aims of producing accessible, world-class, #MadeInRDG theatre are what attracted her to the role and she’s delighted to oversee this inspiring journey.

Chris Beales

Chris is a Hydrologist and Climate Change specialist. His particular interests are in helping people understand the impacts, and to get ready to adapt to the changes in extreme weather that we face. He is a former chair of the Reading Climate Change Partnership. He is also a local musician and is very keen on the potential for artists and performers to help us understand these issues on an emotional level.

Hugo Davies

Hugo Davies is an architect specialising in low-energy buildings. This means advising on choosing the materials with the highest energy performance, but lowest embodied energy. It also means designing buildings that use as little energy as possible to heat and keep cool.

Hugo trained in Leeds but returned to live in Devon, working on residential projects, including community-led self-built housing developments, such as Broadhempston Community Land Trust and other low-energy houses.

Harry Watkins

Harry is Executive Director of St Andrews Botanic Garden, where he works with researchers, conservationists and community groups interested in new approaches to sustainability. St Andrews Botanic Garden is undergoing a process of extensive regeneration and to date, notable achievements include a permanent reduction of 98% in energy usage within the past two years and the creation of a 1:1 scale experiment in the botanic garden, exploring the ecological drivers of evolution in Scottish grasslands. Harry participates in a range of community, industry and policy forums with a particular focus on biosecurity and urban ecosystems.

Our Creative Partners

WRITERS:

Beth Flintoff

Anna Wheatley

MOVEMENT DIRECTORS:

Gareth Taylor

Sammy Fonfe

Rebecca Randall

COMPOSERS:

SOUND DESIGN:

JOE MORRIS

LIGHTING DESIGNERS:

OLIVER WELSH

MICHAEL BRENKLEY

LUKE DRINKWATER