About

Told by an Idiot explores the human condition through theatre that is bigger than life. We acknowledge the artifice of performance & make no attempt to put reality on stage, but we inhabit the space between laughter & pain which exists in the real world. Our work is rooted in the live event & thrives on a sense of spontaneity & risk, celebrating the unpredictability of performance. Through playful collaborative writing, anarchic physicality & a comedic sensibility we create genuinely spontaneous experiences for audiences.

Through our work on stage & through our Taught by an Idiot participation work we foster a sense of openness, curiosity & the desire to play.  We consistently experiment with what art can be & who can be involved, & in doing so our work blurs the lines between artist, participant & audience. Our commitment to accessibility informs the entwined relationship between our productions & our participation work. We take creative risks, we tell universal stories & we include everyone.  CONTACT: info@toldbyanidiot.org / 02074074123

WORK WITH US: We are looking for a new Participation Manager, for further information and how to apply, click here

 

  

Company Quotes

‘No one else is making theatre as creatively and ambitiously as Told by an Idiot. They are a unique phenomenon – intelligent, ingenious and genuinely popular.’ Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate

'A company with a gift for inventive physicalityEvening Standard

'Wonderfully nutty and inventive' Times

'Artfully controlled chaos' Stage

'Theatre about as inventive, imaginative and fantastical as it gets' Time Out

'Their work is never less than sublime' Independent

Our History

Told by an Idiot was founded in 1993 by Hayley Carmichael, Paul Hunter and John Wright.

The company’s first production was On the Verge of Exploding, which premiered at the 1993 Edinburgh Festival, where it was nominated for the Independent Theatre Award, followed by a run at the London International Mime Festival. Since then, the company has produced a wide range of work, both on the small and middle scale with a variety of partners including the Royal Court, Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, West Yorkshire Playhouse, the RSC, National Theatre Wales, National Theatre of Scotland, Unity Theatre, Barbican Centre London, Royal Exchange Manchester and Theatre Royal Plymouth.

We have performed throughout the world, working with celebrated artists including Michel Faber (The Fahrenheit Twins), Carol Ann Duffy (Casanova), Zoe Rahmen (I'm a Fool to Want You), Philip Pullman (The Firework-maker's Daughter), Richard Wilson (Playing the Victim) who subsequently became our patron and Simon Armitage (I Am Thomas).

Productions include: Heads Will Roll (UK tour); I Am Thomas (UK Tour); The Ghost Train (Royal Exchange Manchester); Never Try This At Home (Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Soho Theatre); Get Happy (Barbican Centre); Too Clever By Half (Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester); My Perfect Mind (Young Vic, Drum Theatre Plymouth and UK Tour); You Can't Take It With You (Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester); The Comedy Of Errors (RSC); The Dark Philosophers (National Theatre Wales) and Six Seeds (National Theatre).

Our Team

Paul Hunter

Artistic Director

Paul Hunter is co-founder and artistic director of Told by an Idiot, having worked on all Idiot shows to date as director, devisor or performer.

Other acting credits include: Tartuffe (Birmingham Repertory Theatre) Much Ado About Nothing, The Globe Mysteries, Troilus And Cressida, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare's Globe), Rapunzel & The Red Shoes (Kneehigh), Under The Black Flag (Shakespeare's Globe), The Water Engine (Young Vic/Theatre 503), The Play What I Wrote (West End), Oliver Twist, Pinocchio (Lyric Hammersmith), Into Our Dreams (Almeida), the title role in Richard III (English Shakespeare Company), Animal Farm and Sir Toby Belch in Twelth Night (Northern Stage), Les Enfants Du Paradis (RSC), and the title role in The Servant With Two Masters (Sheffield Crucible).

Other directing credits include: Every Last Trick (Royal & Derngate, Northampton) The Mouse And His Child (RSC), Low Pay, Don’t Pay (Salisbury Playhouse), Senora Carrar’s Rifles (Young Vic), Not With That Hand (BAC), Ordago (for Punto Finco in Bilbao). As Associate Director at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton Paul Hunter directed: The Venetian Twins, The Beauty Queen Of Leenane (Best Production, Manchester Evening News Award), Accidental Death Of An Anarchist and Cleo, Camping Emmanuel And Dick.

Film and TV: Cinderella (directed by Kenneth Brannagh); Pan (directed by Joe Wright); Alice Through The Looking Glass; Marvellous (BBC).  

Paul Hunter
Artistic Director

Hayley Carmichael

Co-Founder

Hayley Carmichael trained at Middlesex Polytechnic and is co-founder of Told by an Idiot.

Theatre credits include: Forests (Brimigham Rep), Hamlet (Young Vic), Sweet Nothings (Young Vic and national tour), Fragments (Theatre des Bouffes du Nord/international tour), Bliss (Royal Court), Cymbeline (Kneehigh/RSC), Theatre Of Blood (RNT), The New Tenant (Young Vic), Loser (Newbury & Drill Hall). The Birds (RNT), Mother Courage (Ambassadors, UK Tour & Spoleto Festival, South Carolina), The Dispute (Lyric Hammersmith/RSC), King Lear (Young Vic), The Servant Of Two Masters (Sheffield Crucible), The Street Of Crocodiles (Theatre de Complicite/RNT), Gormenghast (David Glass Ensemble), David Copperfield and Metamorphosis (Dundee Rep).

Television credits include: CGI Sketch Show/Wrong Door, Mitchell + Kenyon, Viva Blackpool, Little Robots (voice for animation), Tunnel Of Love, Life's A Bitch And So Am I, National Achievement Day (Channel 4) and The Bill (Thames TV).

Film credits include: One Day, Anazapta (Enterprise Films), Emperor's New Clothes (Bonaparte Films), The Many Cinderellas (Projector Productions) and Simon Magus (Silesia Films).

Hayley Carmichael
Co-Founder

Jenni Grainger

Executive Producer

Jenni Grainger joined Told by an Idiot as Executive Producer in November 2012. 

Prior to this she was General Manager at Headlong Theatre for 6 ½ years working on over 20 productions including The Effect and Earthquakes in London (National Theatre, UK tours), ENRON (Chichester Festival Theatre, Royal Court, West End, UK tour, Broadway), Decade (site-specific production reflecting on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11), and Six Characters in Search of an Author (Chichester Festival Theatre, West End, UK tour, Australia).

Before joining Headlong Jenni was Administrator at Actors Touring Company (ATC) for 2 ½ years following her completion of an MA in Arts Management at Goldsmiths, University of London. Jenni is a Chair of site-specific company In Site Performance and a Trustee of Hull Truck Theatre. 

Jenni Grainger
Executive Producer

Jennifer Holton

Assistant Producer

Jen joined Told by an Idiot in November 2015. Since graduating from Queen Mary University of London with First Class Honours in Theatre, Jen has been working in theatre and film production.

Previously, Jen has worked as Production Assistant for Iris Theatre, Assistant Producer for Theatre503 and Assistant Producer for site specific company Look Left Look Right. She also co-produces for her own theatre company; Cloakroom Theatre.

Alongside producing theatre, Jen directs and produces short films with primary school children which form The London Primary School Silent Film Festival which is annually held at the Criterion Theatre in London's West End.

Before joining Told by an Idiot, Jen had been touring with BBC Learning on their Make it Digital tour, bringing performances to audiences across the UK.

Jennifer Holton
Assistant Producer

Julie Renwick

Finance

Julie is Told by an Idiot's Finance Manager. She directs, designs and produces spreadsheets, management accounts, wages and settlements to critical acclaim and loves nothing more than a balanced budget. She maintains a low public profile but rare sightings have been recorded at the Headlong HQ. Over the last 20 years her roles have included administrative, management and finance positions for The Customs House South Shields, The Samling Foundation, Arc Stockton, Box Clever Theatre Company and Gecko Theatre Company. 

All companies have been safe in the knowledge that Julie has no aspirations to perform and indeed, her recurring nightmare is to find herself on stage in front of an audience. She is full of admiration in awe of those who do. Her route into theatre was somewhat circuitous. She studied photography, made frocks, dressed windows, recruited blood donors, assessed grants applications, sold stationery and managed a health & fitness club. She was delighted to eventually find her niche in Theatre and loves to work with creative people. In this time of ever-reducing budgets, funding cuts and disappearing theatres she feels privileged to be part of such a talented and accomplished company.

 

Julie Renwick
Finance

Amanda Castro

Participation Manager

Amanda Castro joined Told by and Idiot as Participation Manager in June 2014. She also currently works at the (Bush Theatre) as their Community Producer, after working there as an Assistant and Associate Producer.

Prior to this she worked for Clean Break Theatre Company and has also worked as a facilitator for various young people’s and community theatre projects.

She has directed and produced her own theatrical projects, including XY for Edinburgh Fringe and Latitude Festival, Stuff for the Bush Bazaar and short plays at Theatre 503, Southwark Playhouse, Tristan Bates Theatre, The Old Red Lion and Riverside Studios. 

Amanda Castro
Participation Manager

Our Associates

John Wright

Associate/Co-Founder

John Wright is a co-founder of Told by an Idiot. He is an internationally renowned teacher and director, teaching workshops all over the world and his book Why is that so funny? is a must buy for actors, directors, students and teachers. John was also a founding member of Trestle. His version of Dr. Faustus with IIIParty won the Peter Brook Award and Coal Theatre's Fragility of X won a spirit of the fringe award at the Edinburgh festival. He is currently working on a new book provisionally titled Acting Without The Bullshit.

John Wright
Associate/Co-Founder

Annie Fitzmaurice

Associate Idiot

Annie has worked with Told By An Idiot as a deviser and perfomer in And The Horse You Rode In On and Shoot Me In The Heart. She has led a number of workshops for the company and with Jazier Marzan directed their Royal Exchange Intergenerational Project On Second Thoughts I’ll Dance With The Cows Until You Come Home.

Annie is co-founder of Coal and has conceived, created and performed all of their work - Johnny Come Lately, The Fragility of X and Pub in association with the Royal Exchange Theatre and Not With That Hand with Unity Theatre Liverpool and BAC.

Other work includes; Accidental Death of An Anarchist, (Bolton Octagon dir. Paul Hunter), Rock n Roll (Library Theatre), Meeting Myself Coming back (Soho Theatre dir. John Wright), George’s Marvellous Medicine (Birmingham Stage), Tom’s Midnight Garden (Library Theatre Manchester), Animal Farm (Northern Stage, Young Vic, International Tour), Twelfth Night (Northern Stage), Throwing Stones (Royal Court), Fraulein Pollinger (Theatre Box). Development projects; The Geezer (RSC), River, Nice Girls Do, Fear (NW Playwrights/Oldham Coliseum), Muhammed Molloy (Unity).Television includes; 2 series of the Welsh comedy drama Cerddwn Ymlaen, Emmerdale (2 years), The Street, Waterloo Road, Powers, The Royal, The Good Thief, Cold Feet, Coronation Street, Holby City. Film includes; Extremely Dangerous and Dead Man’s Cards. Radio includes; devised sitcom The Newbury Arms.

Annie Fitzmaurice
Associate Idiot

Stephen Harper

Associate Idiot

Stephen has worked with Told by an Idiot many times on productions including: Never Try This At Home, Get Happy, I'm a Fool to want you, Shoot me in the Heart, I Weep at My Piano and Don't Laugh It's my Life. He has also run many Taught by an Idiot education projects.

Stephen's recent work includes; The Mouse and his Child and Merry Wives of Windsor at The RSC, Mass Observation at the Almeida with Inspector Sands, War Horse and Theatre of Blood with the National Theatre, Laurel and Hardy at the New Vic Theatre, Only Fools No Horses with Contemporary Clowning Projects, Home from Home at Polka, 1966 World Cup Final and Ben Hur for BAC, Commonnonsense at Reykjavik City Theatre and The Bicycle Bridge with Rejects Revenge. He has also worked with Trestle, Hoipolloi, Brouhaha, English Shakespeare Co., Clod Ensemble, The Gate Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Sheffield Crucible. He can also be seen in the pop video Absurd playing Gazelle Boy and The Man Who Falls On Bread.

Stephen specialises in Clown, Mask, Commedia Dell Arte, Improvisation and Devising.

Stephen Harper
Associate Idiot

Iain Johnstone

Associate Idiot

Iain has collaborated with Told by an Idiot on numerous productions including: The Dark Philosophers, The Comedy of Errors, I Weep at My Piano, Shoot Me in the Heart, A Little Fantasy, The Firework-Maker's Daughter and I Am Thomas.

Iain is a musician, actor and director who has worked with most theatre companies in Scotland. Recent credits include: Treasure Island, One Giant Leap, The Emperor's Kilt (Winner of the Critics Award 2008 for Theatre in Scotland Best Show for Children and Young Adults) and the award-winning Arthur, The Story of a King.

Other credits include: The Wolves in the Walls with National Theatre of Scotland and Wee Stories with whom he is also Co-Artistic Director. Outside of Scotland he has spent many years with Northen Stage, Newcastle, Theatre Sans Frontieres, Sheffield Crucible, Lyric Hammersmith and the Stadsteatern, Stockholm.

Iain Johnstone
Associate Idiot

Michael Vale

Associate Idiot

Michael has worked on numerous productions and participation projects and workshops with Told by an Idiot. Recent Told by an Idiot designs include Heads Will Roll, Never Try This At Home and My Perfect Mind. He has designed the sets and costumes for over 180 theatre and opera productions both in the UK and abroad including those he has directed.

Companies he has worked with include: The Royal Shakespeare Company; The National Theatre; The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; English National Opera; Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Opera North; English Touring Opera; De Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp; Los Angeles Opera; New Zealand International Art’s Festival; Galaxy Theatre, Tokyo; Warsaw Globe Theatre Company; Munich Biennalle; Lyric Hammersmith; Almeida Theatre; Soho Theatre; Manchester Royal Exchange; West Yorkshire Playhouse; Sheffield Crucible; Northampton Theatre Royal; Liverpool Playhouse; Nottingham Playhouse; Bristol Old Vic; Plymouth Theatre Royal; Edinburgh Royal Lyceum; Bolton Octagon; Oldham Coliseum; Manchester Library Theatre; Salisbury Playhouse; Colchester Mercury Theatre; English Touring Theatre; The Royal Festival Hall; The Queen Elizabeth Hall; The Sage, Gateshead; Battersea Arts Centre; along with Told By An Idiot, Spymonkey and Kneehigh Theatre companies.

His work has been nominated for two Olivier Awards; an Irish Times Theatre Award; a Manchester Evening News Theatre Award; a Charrington Fringe First Award and an Off West End Theatre Award.

Michael Vale
Associate Idiot

Joanna Holden

Workshop Leader

Joanna Holden first worked with Told by an Idiot on the streets of Portobello market many moons ago and most recently in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Svenska Theatre.

Other theatre credits include Cirque Du Soleil, The Soho Theatre, Northern Stage Ensemble, RNT, The Royal Court, The Bush theatre, Bolton Octagon, Perth Rep, The Gate and various theatre companies including Kneehigh.

Joanna has studied clown with John Wright, Cal McCrystal, Spymonkey, Angela De Castro, Dr Brown , Mick Barnfather, Gaulier. She has devised with Told By an Idiot, Ridiculusmus, Nutshell. She also teaches for The Globe and Trestle Theatre Company.

Joanna Holden
Workshop Leader

Sophie Russell

Workshop Leader

Sophie has worked as a performer with Told By An Idiot on You Can't Take It With You (Manchester Royal Exchange), The Comedy of Errors (RSC), and Get Happy (Barbican).

Other recent theatre work includes; Every Last Trick (Spymonkey/ Northampton Theatre Royal), Big Idea: Collaboration (Royal Court), Stuart; A Life Backwards (Hightide/ Sheffield Crucible/ Watford Palace), King Lear, As You Like It, The Drunks, Oxygen, Antony and Cleopatra, American Trade (RSC), Stories From An Invisible Town (Hoipolloi/ Barbican), Spyski! (Peepolykus/ Lyric Hammersmith) and The Good Soul of Szechuan (Young Vic).

Film and Television includes; The Invisible Woman (BBC Films), Casualty and Wire In The Blood.

Radio work includes; Marley Was Dead and A Disappearing Town (BBC Radio 4).

While at the RSC Sophie completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching Shakespeare with Warwick University. She also teaches workshops for the RSC. 

Sophie Russell
Workshop Leader

Ged Simmons

Workshop Leader

Ged Simmons trained at East 15 Acting School.

Previous theatre includes: Unknown Male (Birmingham Rep); Never Try This At Home (Birmingham Rep/Told By An Idiot); The Mouse and His Child, The Merry Wives of Windsor (RSC); We Love You, City (Belgrade, Coventry); West Side Story (Number 1 Tour); Beauty Queen Of Leenane, Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle & Dick, What The Butler Saw (Octagon, Bolton); A Little Fantasy (Told By An Idiot); Twelfth Night, Animal Farm (Northern Stage Company); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Taming Of The Shrew, Macbeth (Cannizaro Park); The Zoo Story (Vienna’s English Theatre); As You Like It (A&BC Theatre Company); Waiting For Godot (Theatre Âtre); Coriolanus (Theatre Plastique).

Previous television/film includes: Code of a Killer (ITV); New Worlds (Channel 4); Outnumbered (BBC); Downton Abbey, The Bill, Primeval, Coronation Street (ITV); Hunted, Waterloo Road, Spooks, Eastenders, Holby City, Doctors (BBC); The Kindness of Strangers, Touching Evil (ITV); The Rotters’ Club, Nature Boy, In a Land of Plenty, Heartburn Hotel (BBC); Eleven Men Against Eleven (Channel 4); Shiner (Wisecroft Films).

As well as appearing in several productions directed by Told By An Idiot’s artistic director, Paul Hunter, Ged has worked on many development workshop’s for Paul and the company.

Ged Simmons
Workshop Leader

Board of Trustees

Andrew Comben

Chair

Andrew is Chief Executive of Brighton Dome and Brighton Arts Festival. Previous positions include Artist Manager for Young Concert Artists Trust and for Music International, Director of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme and Head of Artistic Planning at Wigmore Hall.

Andrew Comben
Chair

Ayesha Antoine

Ayesha first professional touring experience was with Told by an Idiot's Firework Maker's Daughter and marked the beginning of an expansive theatrical career, most recently returning to the directorship of Paul Hunter in The Ghost Train at the Royal Exchange. Ayesha has appeared on screen in national favourites Doctor Who and Holby City and regularly appears in radio dramas on Radio 3 and 4 as well as theatres across the country and in the West End. Ayesha also writes and produces short films: her debut Frayed premiered at 62nd New York Film Festival and can be viewed on indieflix.com.

Ayesha Antoine

Justin Audibert

Justin is a freelance theatre director who has worked with Told by an Idiot on several projects. He has been Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio and was the recipient of the 2012 Leverhulme Award for Emerging Directors.

Justin Audibert

Tori Dance

Tori is an experienced communications professional, specialising in campaigns with culture and creativity at their core. Tori began her career as a broadcast journalist and producer for programmes such as Radio 4’s Today programme, CBBC Newsround, BBC Breakfast and Sky News. Since making the transition into PR she has brought her journalistic insight and strategic nous to campaigns for clients such as Artichoke, The Courtauld Gallery, National Centre for Circus Arts, Latitude Festival, City of London, The Crown Estate, Dreamland and The View from The Shard.

Tori Dance

Louise Jeffreys

Louise is Director of Programming at the Barbican Centre in London. Previous roles include Head of Theatre and Arts Projects (Barbican), Head of Production at Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich and Technical Director at the English National Opera.

Louise Jeffreys

Chris Martin

Chris Martin qualified as a chartered accountant with PWC and spent 21 years in the City, primarily with Credit Suisse.  He retired in 2000 to farm in Dorset.  He is now a governor and chair of the Audit Committee of the Arts University Bournemouth, and a trustee and chair of the Finance Committee of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Chris Martin

Robert McCreath

Rob is a solicitor and a partner in niche employment law firm Archon Solicitors, based in the City. He was previously a partner in a large international firm. He advises a wide variety of organisations, including universities, colleges, charities, commercial companies and professional firms, on employment and governance issues.

Robert McCreath

Jacqui O’Hanlon

 

Jacqui is Director of Education for the RSC, responsible for education's strategic direction and management. Prior to this Jacqui was a freelance practitioner working in a variety of theatres and arts organisations and schools across the country.

Jacqui O’Hanlon

Alison Porter

Alison is a former business woman having worked in the private sector for large corporates including BT plc and also smaller start-up companies. She is currently a Non Executive Director for The Crown Prosecution Service where she advises on issues including strategy, technology and change management. Alison is also a professionally trained actress and writer who was recently long listed for the National Poetry prize.

Alison Porter

About

Told by an Idiot explores the human condition through theatre that is bigger than life. We acknowledge the artifice of performance & make no attempt to put reality on stage, but we inhabit the space between laughter & pain which exists in the real world. Our work is rooted in the live event & thrives on a sense of spontaneity & risk, celebrating the unpredictability of performance. Through playful collaborative writing, anarchic physicality & a comedic sensibility we create genuinely spontaneous experiences for audiences.

Through our work on stage & through our Taught by an Idiot participation work we foster a sense of openness, curiosity & the desire to play.  We consistently experiment with what art can be & who can be involved, & in doing so our work blurs the lines between artist, participant & audience. Our commitment to accessibility informs the entwined relationship between our productions & our participation work. We take creative risks, we tell universal stories & we include everyone.  CONTACT: info@toldbyanidiot.org / 02074074123

WORK WITH US: We are looking for a new Participation Manager, for further information and how to apply, click here

 

  

Company Quotes

‘No one else is making theatre as creatively and ambitiously as Told by an Idiot. They are a unique phenomenon – intelligent, ingenious and genuinely popular.’ Simon Armitage, Poet Laureate

'A company with a gift for inventive physicalityEvening Standard

'Wonderfully nutty and inventive' Times

'Artfully controlled chaos' Stage

'Theatre about as inventive, imaginative and fantastical as it gets' Time Out

'Their work is never less than sublime' Independent

Our History

Told by an Idiot was founded in 1993 by Hayley Carmichael, Paul Hunter and John Wright.

The company’s first production was On the Verge of Exploding, which premiered at the 1993 Edinburgh Festival, where it was nominated for the Independent Theatre Award, followed by a run at the London International Mime Festival. Since then, the company has produced a wide range of work, both on the small and middle scale with a variety of partners including the Royal Court, Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, West Yorkshire Playhouse, the RSC, National Theatre Wales, National Theatre of Scotland, Unity Theatre, Barbican Centre London, Royal Exchange Manchester and Theatre Royal Plymouth.

We have performed throughout the world, working with celebrated artists including Michel Faber (The Fahrenheit Twins), Carol Ann Duffy (Casanova), Zoe Rahmen (I'm a Fool to Want You), Philip Pullman (The Firework-maker's Daughter), Richard Wilson (Playing the Victim) who subsequently became our patron and Simon Armitage (I Am Thomas).

Productions include: Heads Will Roll (UK tour); I Am Thomas (UK Tour); The Ghost Train (Royal Exchange Manchester); Never Try This At Home (Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Soho Theatre); Get Happy (Barbican Centre); Too Clever By Half (Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester); My Perfect Mind (Young Vic, Drum Theatre Plymouth and UK Tour); You Can't Take It With You (Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester); The Comedy Of Errors (RSC); The Dark Philosophers (National Theatre Wales) and Six Seeds (National Theatre).

Our Team

Paul Hunter

Artistic Director

Paul Hunter is co-founder and artistic director of Told by an Idiot, having worked on all Idiot shows to date as director, devisor or performer.

Other acting credits include: Tartuffe (Birmingham Repertory Theatre) Much Ado About Nothing, The Globe Mysteries, Troilus And Cressida, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare's Globe), Rapunzel & The Red Shoes (Kneehigh), Under The Black Flag (Shakespeare's Globe), The Water Engine (Young Vic/Theatre 503), The Play What I Wrote (West End), Oliver Twist, Pinocchio (Lyric Hammersmith), Into Our Dreams (Almeida), the title role in Richard III (English Shakespeare Company), Animal Farm and Sir Toby Belch in Twelth Night (Northern Stage), Les Enfants Du Paradis (RSC), and the title role in The Servant With Two Masters (Sheffield Crucible).

Other directing credits include: Every Last Trick (Royal & Derngate, Northampton) The Mouse And His Child (RSC), Low Pay, Don’t Pay (Salisbury Playhouse), Senora Carrar’s Rifles (Young Vic), Not With That Hand (BAC), Ordago (for Punto Finco in Bilbao). As Associate Director at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton Paul Hunter directed: The Venetian Twins, The Beauty Queen Of Leenane (Best Production, Manchester Evening News Award), Accidental Death Of An Anarchist and Cleo, Camping Emmanuel And Dick.

Film and TV: Cinderella (directed by Kenneth Brannagh); Pan (directed by Joe Wright); Alice Through The Looking Glass; Marvellous (BBC).  

Paul Hunter
Artistic Director

Hayley Carmichael

Co-Founder

Hayley Carmichael trained at Middlesex Polytechnic and is co-founder of Told by an Idiot.

Theatre credits include: Forests (Brimigham Rep), Hamlet (Young Vic), Sweet Nothings (Young Vic and national tour), Fragments (Theatre des Bouffes du Nord/international tour), Bliss (Royal Court), Cymbeline (Kneehigh/RSC), Theatre Of Blood (RNT), The New Tenant (Young Vic), Loser (Newbury & Drill Hall). The Birds (RNT), Mother Courage (Ambassadors, UK Tour & Spoleto Festival, South Carolina), The Dispute (Lyric Hammersmith/RSC), King Lear (Young Vic), The Servant Of Two Masters (Sheffield Crucible), The Street Of Crocodiles (Theatre de Complicite/RNT), Gormenghast (David Glass Ensemble), David Copperfield and Metamorphosis (Dundee Rep).

Television credits include: CGI Sketch Show/Wrong Door, Mitchell + Kenyon, Viva Blackpool, Little Robots (voice for animation), Tunnel Of Love, Life's A Bitch And So Am I, National Achievement Day (Channel 4) and The Bill (Thames TV).

Film credits include: One Day, Anazapta (Enterprise Films), Emperor's New Clothes (Bonaparte Films), The Many Cinderellas (Projector Productions) and Simon Magus (Silesia Films).

Hayley Carmichael
Co-Founder

Jenni Grainger

Executive Producer

Jenni Grainger joined Told by an Idiot as Executive Producer in November 2012. 

Prior to this she was General Manager at Headlong Theatre for 6 ½ years working on over 20 productions including The Effect and Earthquakes in London (National Theatre, UK tours), ENRON (Chichester Festival Theatre, Royal Court, West End, UK tour, Broadway), Decade (site-specific production reflecting on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11), and Six Characters in Search of an Author (Chichester Festival Theatre, West End, UK tour, Australia).

Before joining Headlong Jenni was Administrator at Actors Touring Company (ATC) for 2 ½ years following her completion of an MA in Arts Management at Goldsmiths, University of London. Jenni is a Chair of site-specific company In Site Performance and a Trustee of Hull Truck Theatre. 

Jenni Grainger
Executive Producer

Jennifer Holton

Assistant Producer

Jen joined Told by an Idiot in November 2015. Since graduating from Queen Mary University of London with First Class Honours in Theatre, Jen has been working in theatre and film production.

Previously, Jen has worked as Production Assistant for Iris Theatre, Assistant Producer for Theatre503 and Assistant Producer for site specific company Look Left Look Right. She also co-produces for her own theatre company; Cloakroom Theatre.

Alongside producing theatre, Jen directs and produces short films with primary school children which form The London Primary School Silent Film Festival which is annually held at the Criterion Theatre in London's West End.

Before joining Told by an Idiot, Jen had been touring with BBC Learning on their Make it Digital tour, bringing performances to audiences across the UK.

Jennifer Holton
Assistant Producer

Julie Renwick

Finance

Julie is Told by an Idiot's Finance Manager. She directs, designs and produces spreadsheets, management accounts, wages and settlements to critical acclaim and loves nothing more than a balanced budget. She maintains a low public profile but rare sightings have been recorded at the Headlong HQ. Over the last 20 years her roles have included administrative, management and finance positions for The Customs House South Shields, The Samling Foundation, Arc Stockton, Box Clever Theatre Company and Gecko Theatre Company. 

All companies have been safe in the knowledge that Julie has no aspirations to perform and indeed, her recurring nightmare is to find herself on stage in front of an audience. She is full of admiration in awe of those who do. Her route into theatre was somewhat circuitous. She studied photography, made frocks, dressed windows, recruited blood donors, assessed grants applications, sold stationery and managed a health & fitness club. She was delighted to eventually find her niche in Theatre and loves to work with creative people. In this time of ever-reducing budgets, funding cuts and disappearing theatres she feels privileged to be part of such a talented and accomplished company.

 

Julie Renwick
Finance

Amanda Castro

Participation Manager

Amanda Castro joined Told by and Idiot as Participation Manager in June 2014. She also currently works at the (Bush Theatre) as their Community Producer, after working there as an Assistant and Associate Producer.

Prior to this she worked for Clean Break Theatre Company and has also worked as a facilitator for various young people’s and community theatre projects.

She has directed and produced her own theatrical projects, including XY for Edinburgh Fringe and Latitude Festival, Stuff for the Bush Bazaar and short plays at Theatre 503, Southwark Playhouse, Tristan Bates Theatre, The Old Red Lion and Riverside Studios. 

Amanda Castro
Participation Manager

Our Associates

John Wright

Associate/Co-Founder

John Wright is a co-founder of Told by an Idiot. He is an internationally renowned teacher and director, teaching workshops all over the world and his book Why is that so funny? is a must buy for actors, directors, students and teachers. John was also a founding member of Trestle. His version of Dr. Faustus with IIIParty won the Peter Brook Award and Coal Theatre's Fragility of X won a spirit of the fringe award at the Edinburgh festival. He is currently working on a new book provisionally titled Acting Without The Bullshit.

John Wright
Associate/Co-Founder

Annie Fitzmaurice

Associate Idiot

Annie has worked with Told By An Idiot as a deviser and perfomer in And The Horse You Rode In On and Shoot Me In The Heart. She has led a number of workshops for the company and with Jazier Marzan directed their Royal Exchange Intergenerational Project On Second Thoughts I’ll Dance With The Cows Until You Come Home.

Annie is co-founder of Coal and has conceived, created and performed all of their work - Johnny Come Lately, The Fragility of X and Pub in association with the Royal Exchange Theatre and Not With That Hand with Unity Theatre Liverpool and BAC.

Other work includes; Accidental Death of An Anarchist, (Bolton Octagon dir. Paul Hunter), Rock n Roll (Library Theatre), Meeting Myself Coming back (Soho Theatre dir. John Wright), George’s Marvellous Medicine (Birmingham Stage), Tom’s Midnight Garden (Library Theatre Manchester), Animal Farm (Northern Stage, Young Vic, International Tour), Twelfth Night (Northern Stage), Throwing Stones (Royal Court), Fraulein Pollinger (Theatre Box). Development projects; The Geezer (RSC), River, Nice Girls Do, Fear (NW Playwrights/Oldham Coliseum), Muhammed Molloy (Unity).Television includes; 2 series of the Welsh comedy drama Cerddwn Ymlaen, Emmerdale (2 years), The Street, Waterloo Road, Powers, The Royal, The Good Thief, Cold Feet, Coronation Street, Holby City. Film includes; Extremely Dangerous and Dead Man’s Cards. Radio includes; devised sitcom The Newbury Arms.

Annie Fitzmaurice
Associate Idiot

Stephen Harper

Associate Idiot

Stephen has worked with Told by an Idiot many times on productions including: Never Try This At Home, Get Happy, I'm a Fool to want you, Shoot me in the Heart, I Weep at My Piano and Don't Laugh It's my Life. He has also run many Taught by an Idiot education projects.

Stephen's recent work includes; The Mouse and his Child and Merry Wives of Windsor at The RSC, Mass Observation at the Almeida with Inspector Sands, War Horse and Theatre of Blood with the National Theatre, Laurel and Hardy at the New Vic Theatre, Only Fools No Horses with Contemporary Clowning Projects, Home from Home at Polka, 1966 World Cup Final and Ben Hur for BAC, Commonnonsense at Reykjavik City Theatre and The Bicycle Bridge with Rejects Revenge. He has also worked with Trestle, Hoipolloi, Brouhaha, English Shakespeare Co., Clod Ensemble, The Gate Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Sheffield Crucible. He can also be seen in the pop video Absurd playing Gazelle Boy and The Man Who Falls On Bread.

Stephen specialises in Clown, Mask, Commedia Dell Arte, Improvisation and Devising.

Stephen Harper
Associate Idiot

Iain Johnstone

Associate Idiot

Iain has collaborated with Told by an Idiot on numerous productions including: The Dark Philosophers, The Comedy of Errors, I Weep at My Piano, Shoot Me in the Heart, A Little Fantasy, The Firework-Maker's Daughter and I Am Thomas.

Iain is a musician, actor and director who has worked with most theatre companies in Scotland. Recent credits include: Treasure Island, One Giant Leap, The Emperor's Kilt (Winner of the Critics Award 2008 for Theatre in Scotland Best Show for Children and Young Adults) and the award-winning Arthur, The Story of a King.

Other credits include: The Wolves in the Walls with National Theatre of Scotland and Wee Stories with whom he is also Co-Artistic Director. Outside of Scotland he has spent many years with Northen Stage, Newcastle, Theatre Sans Frontieres, Sheffield Crucible, Lyric Hammersmith and the Stadsteatern, Stockholm.

Iain Johnstone
Associate Idiot

Michael Vale

Associate Idiot

Michael has worked on numerous productions and participation projects and workshops with Told by an Idiot. Recent Told by an Idiot designs include Heads Will Roll, Never Try This At Home and My Perfect Mind. He has designed the sets and costumes for over 180 theatre and opera productions both in the UK and abroad including those he has directed.

Companies he has worked with include: The Royal Shakespeare Company; The National Theatre; The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; English National Opera; Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Opera North; English Touring Opera; De Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp; Los Angeles Opera; New Zealand International Art’s Festival; Galaxy Theatre, Tokyo; Warsaw Globe Theatre Company; Munich Biennalle; Lyric Hammersmith; Almeida Theatre; Soho Theatre; Manchester Royal Exchange; West Yorkshire Playhouse; Sheffield Crucible; Northampton Theatre Royal; Liverpool Playhouse; Nottingham Playhouse; Bristol Old Vic; Plymouth Theatre Royal; Edinburgh Royal Lyceum; Bolton Octagon; Oldham Coliseum; Manchester Library Theatre; Salisbury Playhouse; Colchester Mercury Theatre; English Touring Theatre; The Royal Festival Hall; The Queen Elizabeth Hall; The Sage, Gateshead; Battersea Arts Centre; along with Told By An Idiot, Spymonkey and Kneehigh Theatre companies.

His work has been nominated for two Olivier Awards; an Irish Times Theatre Award; a Manchester Evening News Theatre Award; a Charrington Fringe First Award and an Off West End Theatre Award.

Michael Vale
Associate Idiot

Joanna Holden

Workshop Leader

Joanna Holden first worked with Told by an Idiot on the streets of Portobello market many moons ago and most recently in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Svenska Theatre.

Other theatre credits include Cirque Du Soleil, The Soho Theatre, Northern Stage Ensemble, RNT, The Royal Court, The Bush theatre, Bolton Octagon, Perth Rep, The Gate and various theatre companies including Kneehigh.

Joanna has studied clown with John Wright, Cal McCrystal, Spymonkey, Angela De Castro, Dr Brown , Mick Barnfather, Gaulier. She has devised with Told By an Idiot, Ridiculusmus, Nutshell. She also teaches for The Globe and Trestle Theatre Company.

Joanna Holden
Workshop Leader

Sophie Russell

Workshop Leader

Sophie has worked as a performer with Told By An Idiot on You Can't Take It With You (Manchester Royal Exchange), The Comedy of Errors (RSC), and Get Happy (Barbican).

Other recent theatre work includes; Every Last Trick (Spymonkey/ Northampton Theatre Royal), Big Idea: Collaboration (Royal Court), Stuart; A Life Backwards (Hightide/ Sheffield Crucible/ Watford Palace), King Lear, As You Like It, The Drunks, Oxygen, Antony and Cleopatra, American Trade (RSC), Stories From An Invisible Town (Hoipolloi/ Barbican), Spyski! (Peepolykus/ Lyric Hammersmith) and The Good Soul of Szechuan (Young Vic).

Film and Television includes; The Invisible Woman (BBC Films), Casualty and Wire In The Blood.

Radio work includes; Marley Was Dead and A Disappearing Town (BBC Radio 4).

While at the RSC Sophie completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching Shakespeare with Warwick University. She also teaches workshops for the RSC. 

Sophie Russell
Workshop Leader

Ged Simmons

Workshop Leader

Ged Simmons trained at East 15 Acting School.

Previous theatre includes: Unknown Male (Birmingham Rep); Never Try This At Home (Birmingham Rep/Told By An Idiot); The Mouse and His Child, The Merry Wives of Windsor (RSC); We Love You, City (Belgrade, Coventry); West Side Story (Number 1 Tour); Beauty Queen Of Leenane, Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle & Dick, What The Butler Saw (Octagon, Bolton); A Little Fantasy (Told By An Idiot); Twelfth Night, Animal Farm (Northern Stage Company); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Taming Of The Shrew, Macbeth (Cannizaro Park); The Zoo Story (Vienna’s English Theatre); As You Like It (A&BC Theatre Company); Waiting For Godot (Theatre Âtre); Coriolanus (Theatre Plastique).

Previous television/film includes: Code of a Killer (ITV); New Worlds (Channel 4); Outnumbered (BBC); Downton Abbey, The Bill, Primeval, Coronation Street (ITV); Hunted, Waterloo Road, Spooks, Eastenders, Holby City, Doctors (BBC); The Kindness of Strangers, Touching Evil (ITV); The Rotters’ Club, Nature Boy, In a Land of Plenty, Heartburn Hotel (BBC); Eleven Men Against Eleven (Channel 4); Shiner (Wisecroft Films).

As well as appearing in several productions directed by Told By An Idiot’s artistic director, Paul Hunter, Ged has worked on many development workshop’s for Paul and the company.

Ged Simmons
Workshop Leader

Board of Trustees

Andrew Comben

Chair

Andrew is Chief Executive of Brighton Dome and Brighton Arts Festival. Previous positions include Artist Manager for Young Concert Artists Trust and for Music International, Director of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme and Head of Artistic Planning at Wigmore Hall.

Andrew Comben
Chair

Ayesha Antoine

Ayesha first professional touring experience was with Told by an Idiot's Firework Maker's Daughter and marked the beginning of an expansive theatrical career, most recently returning to the directorship of Paul Hunter in The Ghost Train at the Royal Exchange. Ayesha has appeared on screen in national favourites Doctor Who and Holby City and regularly appears in radio dramas on Radio 3 and 4 as well as theatres across the country and in the West End. Ayesha also writes and produces short films: her debut Frayed premiered at 62nd New York Film Festival and can be viewed on indieflix.com.

Ayesha Antoine

Justin Audibert

Justin is a freelance theatre director who has worked with Told by an Idiot on several projects. He has been Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio and was the recipient of the 2012 Leverhulme Award for Emerging Directors.

Justin Audibert

Tori Dance

Tori is an experienced communications professional, specialising in campaigns with culture and creativity at their core. Tori began her career as a broadcast journalist and producer for programmes such as Radio 4’s Today programme, CBBC Newsround, BBC Breakfast and Sky News. Since making the transition into PR she has brought her journalistic insight and strategic nous to campaigns for clients such as Artichoke, The Courtauld Gallery, National Centre for Circus Arts, Latitude Festival, City of London, The Crown Estate, Dreamland and The View from The Shard.

Tori Dance

Louise Jeffreys

Louise is Director of Programming at the Barbican Centre in London. Previous roles include Head of Theatre and Arts Projects (Barbican), Head of Production at Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich and Technical Director at the English National Opera.

Louise Jeffreys

Chris Martin

Chris Martin qualified as a chartered accountant with PWC and spent 21 years in the City, primarily with Credit Suisse.  He retired in 2000 to farm in Dorset.  He is now a governor and chair of the Audit Committee of the Arts University Bournemouth, and a trustee and chair of the Finance Committee of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Chris Martin

Robert McCreath

Rob is a solicitor and a partner in niche employment law firm Archon Solicitors, based in the City. He was previously a partner in a large international firm. He advises a wide variety of organisations, including universities, colleges, charities, commercial companies and professional firms, on employment and governance issues.

Robert McCreath

Jacqui O’Hanlon

 

Jacqui is Director of Education for the RSC, responsible for education's strategic direction and management. Prior to this Jacqui was a freelance practitioner working in a variety of theatres and arts organisations and schools across the country.

Jacqui O’Hanlon

Alison Porter

Alison is a former business woman having worked in the private sector for large corporates including BT plc and also smaller start-up companies. She is currently a Non Executive Director for The Crown Prosecution Service where she advises on issues including strategy, technology and change management. Alison is also a professionally trained actress and writer who was recently long listed for the National Poetry prize.

Alison Porter