Tonic Celebrates

Wednesday 21 February 2018 | 19:00

Ever wondered how leading women in theatre got to where they are? Now’s your chance to ask them.

Natasha Bucknor (Executive Director of Talawa Theatre), Karena Johnson (Artistic Director of Hoxton Hall) and Sam Jones (Casting Director) will join Tonic Theatre’s Director Lucy Kerbel to discuss their work and successes, with anecdotes and advice from their inspirational careers.

The first half of the evening will be chaired by Tonic Theatre’s Director Lucy Kerbel, before the floor will be opened to the audience for questions.

This season has been made possible by the generous support of Arts Council England, Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Girls Guild for Good Life and Noel Coward foundation.

Natasha Bucknor is executive director of Talawa Theatre, whose recent credits include Guys and Dolls, a co-production with the Royal Exchange Theatre which saw the hit musical relocated to Harlem in the UK’s first all-Black cast production, and Half Breed, the Alfred Fagon award nominated co-production with Soho Theatre. Natasha joined Talawa Theatre Company as Executive Director in 2014. She has a background in theatre administration and general management, and has worked for a number of organisations, including the National Theatre Studio, Almeida Theatre, Arts Council England and the Southbank Centre.

Karena Johnson is Artistic Director and CEO of Hoxton Hall. She has worked for twenty years as a theatre director, producer and facilitator of emerging artists. Previous roles include Artistic Director of The Broadway in Barking, Director of Loud Talkin’, Acting Artistic Director of Contact Theatre in Manchester, Artistic Director of touring theatre company Kushite and five years as Head of Theatre Programming for Oval House theatre. She has also been an Associate at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nottingham Playhouse and NOW festival, and she was a recipient of a Jerwood Young Directors Award. Directing credits include: Forty (Hackney Empire), Safe (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Sweet Yam Kisses (Lyric Hammersmith), The Oddest Couple (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and The Key Game (Riverside Studios).

Sam Jones‘s first job in casting was as an Assistant at the RSC. She became Casting Director at the Almeida Theatre and then subsequently cast Terry Hands’ first two seasons at Theatre Clwyd for which they won a TMA Best Theatre Award. Her London work included work for the Royal Court, Gate Theatre, Young Vic, Old Vic, Hampstead, Lyric Hammersmith and numerous West End productions including: Journey’s End, Another Country, The Royal Family, Lady Windermere’s Fan and Mrs Warren’s Profession (with director Sir Peter Hall). She then became Head of Casting at the Royal Shakespeare Company. On leaving, she became first Casting Director of the newly formed National Theatre Wales, going on to cast many award-winning productions in its first six years. She is a member of the Casting Directors’ Guild and an Honorary Fellow of the RWCMD.