After training at LAMDA in London, Jess worked as a stage manager before developing an interest in disability theatre and dance, which she then studied at The Laban Centre. Before moving to Herefordshire, she ran classes at London Contemporary Dance and was the first director of Group 64 Youth Theatre in Putney. She has been Artistic Director of About Face for more than 25 years, as well as running successful youth theatre projects for the Courtyard in Hereford.
Jess says about theatre, “I love how powerful emotions are shown, how the unheard voice is listened to, how environments are created, how ideas are sewn together...”
A keen gardener, Jess also collects old photos of people, vintage fabric and Madonnas, which you will find all over her house.
In 1999, Juliet started working with the Contact Course at Hereford College of Arts, which gave her the opportunity to learn and teach all sorts of creative arts like drama, dance and music, as well as ceramics, textiles, photography and animation.
Juliet believes that theatre brings people together in a safe place to explore ideas with freedom and imagination. “I love the teamwork, the support and friendship, the fun, experiences and pride in our shared achievements,” she says.
Juliet’s spare time is spent with family, especially her grandchildren, with days out visiting parks, zoos or farms and short breaks at the seaside. She also likes being with her daughter's two pugs, Kevin and Jim, and Hugo, her French bulldog.
Cheryl is an artist maker in her own right and joined the About Face team in January 2022. She trained at Hereford College of Arts achieving distinction in her master’s degree in Contemporary Crafts in 2019.
She believes that theatre is about sharing ideas and freedom of expression. We all have a story to tell no matter how small they may seem, and theatre is a great way to tell those stories.
Cheryl grew up in rural Herefordshire and spent most of her childhood exploring fields and woods surrounding the family farm. She took time making up stories and collecting lost or broken things to
keep in an old shoe box under her bed.
Cheryl’s creative practice is inspired by her childhood experiences and traces of memory. She enjoys engaging with vintage and reclaimed textiles as they often have their own stories to tell. It is the intention of her hand stitched, often quiet textile pieces to communicate stories of childhood.
Cheryl loves using found objects in her work, sharing her processes and finding different ways to tell stories. She brings this creativity to her theatre work.
She often remarks that, “Objects provide their own narratives, especially those that are misplaced or abandoned. They can quietly speak of a previous life. An unfinished piece of embroidery or a worn and much-loved teddy have the power to evoke a story without words.”
In her spare time Cheryl loves to visit museums, art galleries, and the theatre. She loves wildlife and exploring her surroundings. She is a keen walker and amateur mudlark.
Martha is an artist, theatre designer and maker from the Welsh mountains. In 2003 Martha began her adventures by attending Hereford Art College, coming out with a distinction in textiles and a love of theatre. In 2005 Martha left the UK for sunnier climbs moving to Cyprus to work for the National Children's Theatre, Theatre Antidote. Intending to stay for only two weeks work experience and accidentally staying two years, becoming the companies head of design. During this time Martha designed shows that toured across Cyprus and Internationally while also cutting her teeth as a drama workshop leader assisting with weekly classes of students ranging in age from 4 – 19.
On returning to the UK Martha went on to study at Croydon College of Higher Education bagging a 1st Degree with hons in Design for stage. During her time at university, she launched her own company, The
Little Something Theatre, making puppetry centred accessible children theatre. In 2009 together with a team of artists with learning disabilities she co-founded the award winning accessible arts organisation, Club Soda; which fast became one of the UK's biggest disability arts events for adults. Martha also worked as a freelance designer for multi award winning multi-sensory theatre company, Oily Cart.
Martha is passionate about accessibility in the arts and providing meaningful, high quality creative arts opportunities for those less able to access the mainstream theatre and arts industry. She is also a lover of all things puppetry!
In her spare time, she loves to make things, walk her dog Betty Rainbow with her husband and daughters, cook and travel whenever possible.
Kate is the one to one support worker for the Friday Theatre Foundation group.
After a myriad of jobs Kate finally realised (at the age of 42) she was supposed to be an artist and went to study at Hereford College of Arts. Since graduating in 2018 Kate has worked on many creative projects and collaborations, including Mindwalks (exploring the rural landscape and living with Motor Neurone Disease), Walking the Pipe (a study of the Elan Valley Aqueduct), Finding a Way (navigating when living with Dementia) and Watershed Line (walking the perimeter of the Elan and Claerwen river catchment).
Her work has been featured on Radio 4, podcasts and in academic publications. In 2019 Kate discovered she could make up tunes, sing and perform. She then learned to accompany herself on the ukulele
and mountain dulcimer, but there is still a long way to go with her musical journey! Last year Kate was lead artist/curator of the Watershed exhibition at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham and is currently resident artist at the Sidney Nolan Trust in Presteigne with her project about Glacial Lake Wigmore, At the Water’s Edge.