Who Are Imagine If?
Chesca Joy – Founder & Artistic Director
Chesca is the Founding Artistic Director of Imagine If Theatre as well being a writer, social change maker, performer and producer. Chesca founded Imagine If in 2014 and has grown the company from its initial inception to a fully operational theatre company and registered charity raising over £250,000 in funds. Chesca has worked in theatres, prisons and within disadvantaged communities across the UK, in India and America. Through Chesca’s working class roots, exposure to the care system and abuse on her doorstep, she uses her first-hand experience to inform the excellent theatre and prison interventions that Imagine If creates and she is passionate about working with those underrepresented in the arts.
Deborah Dickinson – Independent Adviser
Deborah has been with Imagine If since its inception and has supported us every step of the way. Deborah is a freelance Creative Theatre Producer and works as Producer at Mind the Gap, previously as Assistant Producer at the Octagon Bolton. She has 20 years of experience in production including management of large-scale projects and budgets. Deborah has worked for a number of theatre companies including Full Body and the Voice (now Dark Horse), a theatre company for adults with learning difficulties where she produced five national touring shows. She joined Freedom Studios in 2009 as Creative Producer and took over as Chief Executive in 2011, producing a range of ambitious and exciting large scale, site specific theatre events for the company. Deborah has also worked as a television researcher and producer on one-off documentaries, drama and series at the BBC and as a freelancer. She had her own production company Foxy Films whilst living in France which specialised in documentaries about warfare.
Tamsin Cook – Community Director (Prisons)
Tamsin has been with Imagine If since 2017; initially coming on board as a Facilitator for our flagship course, ‘Bird on the Wing’, in prisons. Then becoming an Outreach Support Worker for our prison work before securing the role as our first ever ‘Community Director of Prisons’ meaning Tamsin now manages all our prison work across the UK. Tamsin also co-runs MAFWA – a theatre company for refugees also based in Leeds. Her previous work spans across diverse community groups including veterans, homeless young men, unemployed people and women with refugee/asylum seeking status.
Errol White & Davina Givan – Associate Movement Directors
As choreographers, performers and teachers Errol and Davina have over 25 years of experience, including five years as Rehearsal Director’s performers and choreographers with Scottish Dance Theatre. Between them Errol and Davina are recipients of multiple awards – for example Errol is a recipient of the Dance Europe Magazine’s Critics Award for Best Male Performer (2003/2004), and Davina received the Critics Award by Dance Europe Magazine (Best Female Performer 2001/2002). White & Givan’s productions include the successful and critically acclaimed works Three Works (2009), IAM (2012) and Breathe (2014). They have also collaborated with Traverse Theatre on Swallow, Tracks of the Winter Bear, Milk, Grain the Blood, Girl in the Machine and most recently Meet Me at Dawn. In 2019 they were awarded funding from Creative Scotland for the creation and tour of their new production Worn premiering in Spring 2020 followed by a tour in Scotland. In 2016 White & Givan were invited to work with Francesca Joy and Imagine If Theatre for the first regional tour of You Forgot the Mince followed by re-joining the Imagine If team in 2017 for the revamped national tour and Edinburgh Fringe run of You Forgot the Mince. More recently White & Givan came back to Leeds for Imagine If’s 2019 production of Jadek.
Lee Affen – Associate Sound Designer
Lee began working with Imagine If in 2018 on their research and development stage of Jadek and he returned to work with us in 2019 on the UK premier tour of Jadek. Lee is a composer and sound designer based in Sheffield who works with theatre, dance and film. His recent work includes composition and sound design for ‘Fallen Angels’ collaboration with Birmingham Royal Ballet for the show ‘The War Within’. He’s also composed original live scores for silent films Metropolis, Nosferatu and The Passion of Joan of Arc. 2020 sees Lee working with Sheffield Theatres, Fallen Angels and Theatr Clwyd. Lee is an associate artist of The Dukes Theatre, The Bare Project and Imagine If Theatre. Alongside this, Lee also runs music workshops in composition and sound design.
Lydia McGuiness – Facilitator (Bird on the Wing)
Lydia studied Applied Theatre and Community Drama at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and graduated in 2019 with a first class degree. She now works as a Freelance Facilitator for Imagine If on the ‘Bird on the Wing’ interventions in various prisons (HMP Lindholme, HMP Moorland and HMP Haverigg). As well as working in the Criminal Justice System, she has experience of working in schools, pupil referral units and with local community groups. She is very grateful to Imagine If for allowing her to facilitate their fantastic rehabilitation project and she hopes to work on many more in the future!
Anne Danby – Drama Practitioner
Anne has freelanced for Imagine If since 2016 on a variety of projects including community theatre projects with recovering addicts to delivering our flagship prison intervention ‘Bird on the Wing’. Anne has twenty years experience working as a freelance Facilitator, Performer, Writer and Director and has worked in a variety of theatre, community, education and corporate settings. Having started out as an actor, Anne found herself becoming increasingly focused on developing and delivering drama based participatory projects in community settings. This led her to undertaking an MA in Applied Theatre at The University of Manchester and specialising in working within the Criminal Justice System. Underlying all of Anne’s work is the belief in the possibility of individual change and the potential or capacity that every person has to take responsibility for their life and the decisions and choices they make.
Kate Horsfield – Arts Administrator
Kate is an experienced administrator having previously worked for the Civil Service for over 17 years. She has also worked in administration and Front of House roles with Interplay Theatre, the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Impact Community Theatre and Leeds Light Night, and is delighted to be back working in arts administration. Kate has a BA (Hons) in Humanities/Social Studies from Manchester Polytechnic and an MA in Arts Administration from Anglia Ruskin University and is keen to combine her interests in the arts and social issues in her role with Imagine If. In her spare time, Kate enjoys going to see a range of theatre productions, tap dancing and spending time with her husband, two daughters and cat.
Hannah Tookey – Trustee
Hannah is a freelance theatre and film producer focused on making work that tackles social and political issues. In 2016, she was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship to travel to the USA and India to research how the arts can effectively combat and raise awareness about issues of social injustice. She is an alumni of The Clore Emerging Leaders course, Stage One, and Raindance. Theatre credits include: Dry Land (Jermyn Street Theatre, Damsel Productions); All The Little Lights (UK Tour, Fifth Word); Eggs (Vault Festival, Orphee Productions) and Astronauts of Hartlepool (Vault Festival, Tim Foley). Film credits include: Broken Meats (Robin Linde Productions); and the London Calling funded short Wargames (working title).
Susan Burns – Trustee
Susan Burns is the CEO/Creative Producer of Chol Theatre, which specialises in cultural education and community theatre projects. She has worked for the Arvon Foundation, Short Stay Young Homeless Project, Alone in London Service and the National Association of Writers in Education. She has an MA in Writing from Sheffield Hallam and a degree in English and History from Leeds University. Originally from Liverpool, she now lives in Hebden Bridge.
Andrew Salthouse – Trustee (Chair)
Andrew has had a long career in financial services both customer facing and back office. He holds qualifications in Banking from the Institute of Financial Services and in Project Management from Prince2. Whilst principally running his Business Support Consultancy, Andrew also works regularly as a Supporting Artist for Film and TV. Having always had a passion for performing arts and also a strong sense of social justice, being a Trustee of Imagine if Theatre represents a perfect meeting of the two things close to his heart.
Sarah Brown – Bookkeeper
Sarah is a freelance Theatre Producer and Bookkeeper. Sarah’s financial experience comes from her role as a Company Development Manager at Open Clasp Theatre Company and Company Secretary at Ant Brown Ltd. She has recently completed her AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting. Prior to this she worked as a Programmer and Assistant Producer for Northern Stage, Newcastle. Having completed a degree in acting at Italia Conti, Sarah has remained passionate about working in the theatre.
Jo Stafford – Support Worker
Jo has over a decade’s worth of experience in project management and support work in the homeless sector, social enterprise and specialising in community engagement. With a background in Fine Art, Jo has a long history of facilitating projects & workshops with people with convictions, making use of unwanted items to create and upcycle new artworks, reducing waste and building self-esteem in participants. Her work approach to community organising has seen Jo hosting fundraisers and calendar events that bring people together and help create cohesion locally, whilst foregrounding the individual every step of the way. Jo is leading our theatre programme in the community for people with convictions.
Sarah Oldknow – Assistant Support Worker
Sarah joined Imagine If as a volunteer for ‘Bird on the Wing’ at HMP Lindholme last year. With a working background in different hostel environments, Sarah’s work is grounded in trying to make a difference. She works in film, theatre and voiceover. Most recently she has toured nationally in Mark Wheeller’s hard hitting play about anorexia; Hard To Swallow, played the Mum in the short Not My Kid and shot a Barnardo’s Commercial. Sarah is currently researching the life of Leonora Cohen and in the process of this is creating a series of online webinars to be used as a resource for girls and women. She is thrilled to be able to support ‘Bird on the Wing’ Graduates in this role.
Mary Morris – Assistant Support Worker
Mary is a recent Drama student from The University of Manchester. Since graduating in 2019, she has pursued theatre facilitation opportunities in Leeds and Manchester. Her previous work spans across various community groups, including offenders, homeless adults and sex workers. Most recently she has delivered workshops with TiPP Manchester and Tandem Theatre- work which has reaffirmed her belief in the restorative power of theatre. Mary is incredibly fortunate to be supporting the ‘Bird on the Wing’ graduates and is grateful for the opportunity to work for Imagine If.
Elle Money – Assistant Producer (Volunteer)
Elle is an MA Performance Design student at The University of Leeds. Whilst doing an undergraduate degree in Economics at Newcastle University, Elle was a member of the Newcastle University Theatre Society (NUTS) and was part of the creative team on 15 shows in 3 years. She has directed, designed and produced at a number of venues, most notably Northern Stage in Newcastle, Stage@Leeds and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She worked as Assistant Producer on Jadek and loved going on tour with the Imagine If crew! Elle also enjoys writing plays, going to gigs and festivals, and holidays to Europe (especially Berlin).