J Adamthwaite – Writer, Producer
J Adamthwaite is a fiction writer with a particular interest in exploring the world through magical realism. She has written monologues for Stand Up Tragedy and co-produced fiction podcasts for Rethink Audio. Her short fiction can be found in various literary publications and on the GPS-triggered app experience, Hackney Hear. She is currently seeking representation for her first novel.
Dave Pickering – Writer, Producer, Host
Writer and producer, Dave Pickering is the creator and host of Getting Better Acquainted. He is part of the Spark team who made Truth Be Told for BBC Radio 4 and have a very popular podcast that has been recommended by The Telegraph, The Guardian, Buzzfeed and Mashable. He has been nominated for a Sony Radio Award and a Radio Production Award. He co-wrote and produced the Cbeebies Radio Series, Ministry of Stories featuring Jenni Murray. Dave runs a successful live night and podcast called Stand Up Tragedy that has been recommended in The Guardian and The Independent. www.davepickeringstoryteller.
Leila Al-Jeboury – Jane Sullivan
Leila has been working as an actress for 10 years. In that time, she has appeared in several plays, films and adverts. However, she has appeared in so many training videos that you’re most likely to have seen her in a film telling you how to behave at work. She’s just completed filming for BBC’s Silent Witness and is very excited to be part of The Family Tree.
Zack Polanski – Ben Sullivan
Zack Polanski is an actor and theatre maker with a strong belief in the power of art to provoke and guide social & political change. He trained at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and went on to further work in Atlanta, Georgia. Recent credits in 2016 include Rikki Beadle Blair’s ‘Elemental’ at the Bush Theatre and a new twist on the teenage years of Jesus in Alexander Nye’s ‘Son of Man.’ Zack is also very proud to work both at Arts Educational Schools and the National Centre for Circus Arts. (@zackpolanski).
Natasha Magigi – Kora Baptiste
Natasha trained at Rose Bruford College. Her recent credits include; Operation Black Antler, Blast Theory/Hydrocracker, Brighton Festival, Sonnet Walks, Shakespeare’s Globe, Redefining Juliet, Many Rivers Films for BBC4, Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s Globe, Streetcar Named Desire, Leicester Curve, Redefining Juliet, Barbican, To Kill A Mockingbird, Regent’s Park/Fiery Angel, Grimm Tales, Teatro Vivo and Storylines, Ampersand Media.
Joz Norris – Nathan Sullivan
Joz Norris is an award-winning comic writer and performer. His solo shows have played comedy and arts festivals nationwide and received critical acclaim, and he is a member of the Chortle Award-nominated collectives Weirdos and Comedian’s Cinema Club, and an Honorary Board Member of the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society. As an actor he has appeared in Talkback’s @elevenish, Dave’s The Dave Talks, Wild Seed’s Shambles and Turtle Canyon’s Santageddon. He wrote and starred in his own hit webseries The Girl Whisperer, produced by Little Rock Pictures, and his first short film, Double Act, will be released by Turtle Canyon later this year.
Lucy Aryton – Melissa Sullivan
Lucy Ayrton is an award winning poet and story-teller. She is currently developing her third full length spoken word show – High On The Storm Torn Coasts, an examination of the role tragedy plays in our lives.
She has performed at Glastonbury, Standon Calling, Chipping Norton Literary Festival, Secret Garden Party, Stoke Newington Literary Festival, and has written and performed two five star spoken word shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. She frequently host cabaret nights and poetry slams, and co-hosted Oxford’s Hammer and Tongue slam for two years. She has lectured at Bath University and runs frequent poetry workshops.
Vera Chok – Melanie Sullivan
Vera Chok is an actress, writer and maker. She was recently on stage with The Kenneth Branagh Company, The National Theatre, and in the multiple award-winning Chimerica. In 2015, she was selected as What’s On Stage’s 15 Theatre Faces to Watch and nominated for a BBC Audio Drama Award for Best Debut Performance. On film, she’s acted for Catherine Hardwick and Lone Sherfig and features opposite David Gyasi in the British indie, Panic. As a poetic writer, Vera has been published by The Rising, Yauatcha Life, The Brautigan Free Press, and Ether, and her essay on race and on being an immigrant in the UK, Yellow, will appear in The Good Immigrant, a collection of essays by writers of colour, out in September 2016. Vera makes naughty pieces that investigate and play with the construction of meaning, connection, and the performativity of language. www.verachok.org
Krishna Istha – Sam Thorpe
Krishna Istha is a genderqueer performance maker and actor. Their work takes the form of comedic political acts and alter egos that focus on themes of queer culture, gender politics and feminism. Currently playing Little Prince in a queer production of ‘The Little Prince’ at the Arcola Theatre and performing in the Sex Worker’s Opera at the Pleasance Theatre.
Charles Adrian – Reverend Phillip Beech
Charles Adrian is a performer, writer and podcaster living in London. Having trained in Paris at the École Jacques Lecoq and with Philippe Gaulier, he has worked as a performer and deviser for theatre companies in the UK and continental Europe and has been a key member of the Tabori-prize-winning Berlin-based ensemble Nico And The Navigators since 2007. His alter-ego Ms Samantha Mann, meanwhile, is the holder of a ‘Merv’ Spirit Of The Fringe Award for her show Stories About Love, Death & A Rabbit and was a finalist in the 2015 Old Comedian Of The Year competition. Both Charles Adrian and Ms Samantha Mann can be heard on internet radio station TRC3 and Charles Adrian is the host of podcasts Page One and Muselings. More information is at charlesadrian.com.
Mark Stevenson – Mark Sullivan
Mark Stevenson trained at RSAMD and VGIK. He is the Artistic Director of Ampersand Media and an associate artist with Teatro Vivo for whom he has appeared in roles ranging from Odysseus and Romeo to a ventriloquist’s dummy and a feckless prince. He has played various Shakespearean roles including Feste, Mercutio, Lysander, and Caliban, represented the UK in international improvisation competitions, and been killed in horrible ways in films such as ‘Frankenstein’s Army’ and ‘The Last Horror Movie’. On TV his appearances include portraying a serial killer mime artist, the dodgiest of drug dealers and presenting a daily quiz show. He’s played the Albert Hall with his band ‘The Boppin’ Heads’, recorded the entire English dictionary for a CD-Rom and has created theatre in supermarkets.
Michael Brunström – Nigel Masters
Michael Brunström is an award-winning alternative comedian from London. He has created four solo shows for the Edinburgh Fringe: The Human Loire, The Golden Age of Steam, The Hay Wain Reloaded and Parsley. He is also a member of the Weirdos Comedy Collective, and has acted alongside Ed Aczel and Gabby Best in Double Act, a short film written by Joz Norris. Before turning to alternative comedy, he directed a number of improvised capers, including the Improvised Greek Tragedy and the Curt Hatred Trilogy.
Cameryn Moore – Jocelyn McKinnon
Cameryn Moore is an award-winning playwright/performer, sex activist and educator, sidewalk pornographer, and a long-time phone sex operator. Her work in theatre, literature, and activism/advocacy is both a challenge and invitation to adventurous audiences everywhere. She is the writer and performer of five solo shows: Phone Whore, slut (r)evolution, for | play, Desire (six people talk about sex), and nerdfucker. To date, she has toured these shows to over 50 cities around the world. She is the creator and frequent host of Smut Slam, a storytelling open mic featuring real-life, first-person sex stories, and BEDx, a bar education night for sex geeks. When not performing, Cameryn sets up her world-famous traveling Smut Stand, providing bespoke typewritten erotica on the spot to happy drunks and discerning passersby.
Giselle Nirenberg – Violita Souza
Giselle Nirenberg has been twice nominated best actress, as well as for best Dramaturgy, together with Companhia B de Teatro, the multiple awards-winning and critically acclaimed company she toured with in Brazil and Portugal for six years before moving to London, where she completed her Masters Degree at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. She now devices intimate and investigatory work in durational live performances, dance theatre pieces, community dance projects, short films and animations. As a voice over artist, she integrated Somos Brazil, award-winning project by Marcus Lyon, featured at The Guardian, BBC and Creative Review. Recent credits include live performances at Tate Modern, Royal College of Arts, Trinity Laban Conservatoire, The Place, Propinquity Festival Sheffield and Resolutions.
Rita Suszek – ‘Skarbek’
Rita Suszek is an artist with a strong preference for writing and performing content, which includes stage plays, poetry, comedy and songs. Self-written works include Girlfag (Theatre Royal Stratford East 2015, stage play, rehearsed reading, directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair), Fuck It I’m Thirty (Camden Comedy Club 2017, solo comedy show), No Such Place As London (Nie Ma Takiego Miasta Londyn – Polish language solo show, various venues, premiered 2016). Rita performs regularly as a stand-up comedian and poet, as well as an improviser – credits include the upcoming show Machine For Fools (Etcetera Theatre, Camden Fringe, 21-22 August 2017, format by Michael Such), Panic at the Piano (The Nursery Theatre, solo act, improvised singing) and gigging with Queer Improv, coached by Stephen Davidson. Rita was part of The Living Songbook, an improvised songwriting duo; they were commissioned to write and perform for Humanimalism The Musical (Theatre Royal Stratford East, 2015, directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair). Currently Rita is working on relaunching The Jobstealers Podcast (premiered 2017, co-authored and hosted with Lisa Burscheidt, now on hiatus), writing the stage play My Country (That I Live In) and the upcoming show Fucking European (will premier at Camden Comedy Club, 7th November 2017). Rita can be found on Twitter (@RitaSuszek) and Instagram (@rita_vision).
Photo credit Mariana Feijó (FB: @MFFPhotos)
Bisha K Ali – Shajahan
Bisha K Ali is a writer and comedian. She has been featured on BBC 3, The Guilty Feminist and the BBC Asian Network, and hosts a monthly comedy night in The Camden Comedy Club called ‘Bisha K Ali Presents Comedians she Loves’. Find out more about her work at www.bishakali.com or follow her on Twitter as @bishakali.
Nicole Henriksen – Klara Johansson
Nicole Henriksen makes many kinds of art. They have written, performed and produced theatre, comedy, online content and all kinds of multimedia and different content. They started performing by doing stand-up comedy in 2011 in Sydney, Australia, and created dense, subversive, high-energy solo comedy shows, which they toured around Australia and the UK. They then moved to create theatre shows to more fully explore topics of gender, ethnicity, sexuality and mental health, which you can read more about here. As of 2018, they have created, written, performed, directed and produced eight full length solo shows. The most recent was Card On My Sleeve, which explores ethnicity, culture and fetishisation, and A Robot In Human Skin, which explores anxiety with honesty and whimsy. Their online content can be found on their YouTube channel, where they have parodied journalists, created a three minute sketch show, shared some Stripper Stores and more!
Jackie Hagan – Jackie Hagan
Jackie Hagan is a multi award-winning poet, playwright, performer and activist. She is passionate about making theatre and creativity accessible for everyone, and this doesn’t just mean putting ramps on a building. She is a working class, queer, dyslexic amputee with systemic sclerosis. She’s down to earth, disarming, furious and energised by her anger at the barriers put in front of good people. She is bedsit avant garde and good with folk. In 2018 she became a Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellow and was nominated for a Women of the World award for effecting social change using spoken word. She has been awarded ‘Best Spoken Word Show’ Sabotuer award in 2016 and 2018 and is a regular on Radio Four. She has worked extensively for the British Council. She represented the UK in slam poetry in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro and was the subject of a Channel Four documentary short. She has delivered over two thousand workshops in prisons, schools, hospitals and internationally. She has written for Attitude magazine, Diva magazine, Gay Star, and regularly crops up on BBC Radio Four, and BBC Ouch! She is a guest lecturer at Manchester Met university and an accessibility consultant.
Tony Pickering – Artist
Tony Pickering is an illustrator and artist currently working in the North East. He likes to scribble local landscapes and buildings – and occasionally the odd person who stands in the way! Taking his cue from the poetry of Simon Armitage, he has tried to move from “reportage to cosmic parable”, carrying a sketchbook with him wherever he goes.
Alexander Cameron – Composer
Alexander Cameron is a long time writer of music. Originally from Cardiff, he is influenced by folk music and computer sounds and uses a combination of their sounds in his compositions. He is currently working on developing a live techno act as well as other soundtracks for a number of other projects.
George Lewkowicz – Composer
George Lewkowicz is a filmmaker, composer and writer from Brixton. His podcast novel The White Beyond the Wall is an excuse to talk about his teenage failures with girls in a fantasy setting. In 2016, with his production company Tea Fuelled, he won the London 48 hour film competition with The Application.
Matt Hill – Special Effects Producer
Matt is an audio producer and sound designer. He has never been on Dave’s other podcast Getting Better Acquainted, but will if this target is reached.
Andy Goddard – Special Effects Producer
Andy Goddard is an award winning Director and Producer of audio drama and sound designer. His work includes Wooden Overcoats (Prix Europa nominee, Best Drama British Podcast Awards) Inside Donald Trump (BBC Audio Drama Awards – Best Online) and The Miniaturists Podcast. He is also a playwright and regular performer as part of The Night Company at Brasserie Zedel.
Getting Better Acquainted
Created by Dave Pickering, Getting Better Acquainted is an in-conversation podcast that has been featured on BBC Radio 4’s In Pod We Trust and recommended in The Guardian, The Financial Times and Time Out, amongst other places. Debuting five years ago, it has built up a large archive of conversations with all kinds of people, the conversations characterised by being about openness, honesty and truth.
“Amazingly personal” Miranda Sawyer, BBC Radio 4’s In Pod We Trust