Fun Palaces is a campaign for culture that everyone can join – combining arts and sciences, welcoming and free, at the heart of communities. Clean Break’s Fun Palace features a new play devised by students on our education programme with acclaimed playwright Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and musical director Suzy Davies, looking at secrets past and open futures, drawing on the history of our building in Kentish Town and the residents who have lived and worked here over the years.
A note from the director
What a dramatic journey...in devising this piece, we have shared as much drama in the rehearsal room as we will share with you on stage today! It has been a unique and creative experience. This cast of twelve supported by the extraordinary talents of Morgan and Suzy have worked with dedication and commitment to create this piece entitled This is Where We're From. It has been an example of collaboration in its purest form. To have worked intensely with these twelve women - women who have given so generously - has been privilege. Equally, this opportunity to give voice to our historical fore-mothers has been an honour.
The Fun Palaces project has given us the opportunity to reflect upon what Clean Break means for all the women who have contributed to making our company what it is today. Amusingly, as we began to pull the piece together, we realised that the result was not necessarily ‘fun’ in the straightforward meaning of the word, and in the way that ‘Fun Palace’ might suggest!
However, we had a fun time creating this work and we hope that the enthusiasm and joy of the cast will engage, celebrate, and shine brightly - and that ultimately we will have created a piece of 'good theatre [that] draws the energies out of the place where it is and gives it back as joie de vivre.’ - Joan Littlewood.
Erin Gavaghan is an experienced executive arts manager who has worked within both new writing theatre and contemporary dance / choreography.
Erin has been Executive Director and joint CEO of Clean Break since October 2018. Previously at Siobhan Davies Dance, she held several roles; most recently as Executive Director (from 2014). Prior to that, she was the General Manager of Soho Theatre (2008-2012), having also followed a path of progression from Front of House Manager (2005-2007) and Deputy General Manager (2007-2008). Since moving to London from Canada in 2000, Erin has also worked at the Royal Albert Hall as the Stewards Administrator and Natural History Museum managing catering services.
Erin studied English Literature and Theatre (Directing) at the University of Victoria (Canada) and attained an MA in Arts Policy and Management from Birkbeck in 2005. She has a passion for life-long learning.
Anna Herrmann has been working in the field of theatre and social change for twenty seven years, specialising in theatre and education with marginalised groups in the UK and abroad. She has been with Clean Break since 2002 as the Head of Education, leading the company’s award winning work with women in the criminal justice system and women at risk of entering it. Anna is co-author of Making a Leap: Theatre of Empowerment: A Practical Handbook for Creative Drama Work with Young People (Jessica Kingsley Publishers). She has an MA in Arts Education from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and a PG Cert (Distinction) in Race and Ethnic relations. She is a regular visiting lecturer on Applied Theatre courses at Universities across the Country and between 2006 and 2018 was a trustee of Leap Confronting Conflict; a UK based national charity specialising in youth and conflict. Anna sits on the Steering Group of the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance and is also a trained coach and regularly mentors artists in participatory settings.
Róisín McBrinn is a theatre director with over fifteen years experience working in the UK, Ireland and internationally. She has been with Clean Break since 2016 as the Head of Artistic Programme and during that time has directed Joanne (Soho Theatre and RSC) and House/Amongst The Reeds (Yard Theatre) for the company. She was formerly Associate Director at Sherman Cymru where she oversaw the commissioning and developing of new Welsh writing. Róisín has directed for the Donmar Warehouse (Noveccento), Sheffield Theatres (Afterplay), West Yorkshire Playhouse (Yerma), Prime Cut (Villa/Discurso), The Abbey Theatre (No Escape, Perve, Heartbreak House). She has developed new work for Soho Theatre, The National Theatre, The Bush, The Abbey and Sherman Theatre. This summer she is directing a stage adaptation of Roddy Doyle's The Snapper for Dublin's Gate Theatre.