Inspired by the power of Commedia Dell 'Arte half masks to create visual impact in the streets and tell stories without words to audiences of all ages, languages and cultures, I directed my first show, Foolish Folk, with Faceless Arts in 1990. This idea has underpinned all my work to date with Driftwood in 2016 exploring the refugee crisis and How Much is Enough?, in 2015, using a Slovenian folk tale to explore human exploitation of nature.
Mask, puppetry and visual theatre provide the poetic language in my directing work with professionals and communities. Static, crowd gathering shows create opportunities for deeper narratives, whilst walkabout street theatre increases access to live performance on street corners, in fields and on people's doorsteps.
"Thanks so much for all your hard work and creativity – it was absolutely brilliant, from beginning to end. It was great to see people lining the streets, in a town that’s so often very quiet, and where people feel that nothing ever happens"
Hazel Colquhoun, Arts Consultant, Selby 950 Parade
"Incredibly powerful ... beautifully moving"
Audience member for Driftwood at Utopia Fair, June 2016
Please click on an image in the gallery for further information about each show. Apologies for the quality of some of the images towards the end of this gallery - some of them are nearly 30 years old!
A story board parade with finale pageant written and directed for Holmfirth Arts Festival 2021 and created with Edgelands Arts. photo by Richard Asquith
2020 for Wakefield Council, A puppetry project telling Wakefield people's verbatim stories of lockdown, self-isolation and social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic. Created by me (with the help of my daughter) at home, on my kitchen table, using 3D printed puppets made my Nik Palmer.
2019 for Selby District Council with Edgelands Arts. Direction and production of a Parade project involving 250 local people to celebrate the 950th anniversary of the founding of Selby. Project directed and produced by Bev Adams, Parade Director: Tony Wade, Choreographer: Gemma Fisher, Composer: Charlie Wells, Drama Director: Louise Record
2016-2018 for Faceless Arts. A driftwood boat, with a manifest of fragile puppets, sets sail across troublesome seas in search of safe harbour. An outdoor arts performance and family workshop exploring "welcome". The show premiered at Utopia Festival, London and went on to Bloomsbury Festival, London; Journeys Festival International Leicester and Manchester. With Tony Wade (Maker); Maria Jardardottir (Composer); Simone Lewis and Joe Gilmour Rees (performers).
2015 for Ana Desetnica International Street Theatre Festival. A tragic story of love, greed and our relationship with the natural world, based on a traditional Slovenian folk tale. Devised with students of the Sugla School for Street Theatre (actors), Jonny Dixon (Puppet Maker) and support from Ana Monro Theatre, Ljubljana, touring to 12 cities in Slovenia. Photo Bostjan Lah.
2007-2017 for Faceless Arts. The farcical trials and tribulations of a stressed-out Maitre D' who is desperately trying to establish and develop his business whilst his 'café' has a mind of its own. Outdoor performance with live music, created with Tony Wade (Maker), Helen Thomas and John Welding (Designers) and a host of talented performers. Toured across the UK and Slovenia. Photo Bojan Okhorn.
2007 - present for Faceless Arts and Edgelands Arts. A friendly, gracious, eye catching bird that towers above the crowds but reaches down to create wonderful intimate interactions. Puppet created by Andrew Kim. Tours throughout the UK
2013-2015 Arts Council funded Strategic Tours for Faceless Arts. Created from the shared and collected stories of cast and community about the importance of stopping to see what’s around you, told through the metaphor of children’s play using a modular building block set. Touring to East, West, North and South Yorkshire. Photo Amanda Crowther.
2011-2017 for Faceless Arts. Short of competitors, our Snailathletes recruit from the audience, training them to compete in the most gruelling, slowest, race in Snaildom. With Tony Wade and Ruth Telford Brown (Makers), Pictured Simone Lewis and Claire Hills (Performers). Toured across the UK and to Spain
2000-2017 for Faceless Arts with Richard Stack (Designer/Maker). Mischievous Snowmen come with their own Christmas soundtrack, adding atmosphere and attracting attention during their hilarious mischief making over the Festive Season. Toured across the UK.
2007 adaptation of Conference of the Birds as shadow puppetry for Faceless Arts with Lawrence Batley Youth Theatre
2010 for Faceless Arts funded by Youth Music. Direction of celebratory performance of world music project at Wakefield Theatre with Godfrey Pambalipe, Stephanie James and Getty Musiwa (Musicians/Community Artists)
Direction of the Gruffalo with primary school children in Leeds with Tony Wade (community artist)
2012 Peer led theatre in education project on antisocial behaviour for Groundwork with Airedale Academy
1990 - 2017 for Faceless Arts. A mesmerising, morphing and playful triptych of living sculpture which moves between spaces, animating the public realm as it explores the dynamic aesthetics of the human form. Touring across the UK
2000-2017 for Faceless Arts. Fuelled by an atmospheric seafaring soundtrack, the ships use old fashioned charm and nautical naughtiness to seek the assistance of their audience as they strive to regain course. With Richard Stack & Tony Wade (Makers), Soundtrack (Tony Wade). Pictured Tony Wade and Erin Braithwaite (performers). Toured across the UK and to Austria
2007-2012 for Faceless Arts. Adapted by Bev Adams for the outdoors from the 13th century poem and Brook/Carriere play using mask, puppetry and the music of Nitin Sawhney. An epic journey in search of enlightenment. Working with John Wright from Told by an Idiot (Mentor), Tony Wade (Maker), David Mayne (Sculptor), Ruth Telford Brown (Costumes) Andrew Kim, Matt Rogers, Andrea Heaton, Luke Dickson, John Afzal, Charlie Hanson (Performers), Al Orange (Company Manager). Toured across the UK
2005-2006 for Faceless Arts. An independent cafe struggles to survive in an increasingly franchised world. Co-Directed by Natasha Holmes, with Mark Turner, Luke Dickson and Nicola Woods (performers). Lars Jensen (acting company manager) Original music by Jostine Loubser. Toured across the UK.
2000-2004 for Faceless Arts. A street theatre adventure about friendship, told physically with few words, striking visual imagery, puppetry and original soundtrack. Matthew Knowles (Composer), Tony Wade (Maker), Erin Braithwaite, Pavla Beier, Deborah Sanderson, Luke Dickson and Simon Kerrigan (Performers). Toured across the UK
1998-1999 for Faceless Arts. An anarchic street pantomime weaving a “Noises Off” type sub plot with traditional panto storylines, songs, puppetry and characters. Cath Tyrell (performer), Tony Wade and Richard Stack (performer makers)
1996-1999 for Faceless Arts. Cartoon, physical theatre charting the battle between the pastoral and urban with pyramidal climbing frame set. Boris Howarth (Co-Director), David Matthews (Composer), Richard Stack and Greville White (Makers), Ian Turton, Simon Kerrigan, Spencer Wakeling, Erin Braithwaite nee O'Neill, and Sam Davis (Performers)
1991-1995 for Faceless Arts. Exploring the theme of need and greed through Commedia half mask with Tony Hughes, James Callaghan and Katie Ballard (perfomers)
1990-1991 for Faceless Arts Half masks and contemporary clowning combining walkabout with impromptu set pieces with Mark Duncan, Toby Hughes and Richard Stack (performers)