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.
Letty works with Juliet in the Drama for All session and has recently taken on co-leading the Stagecraft group. Letty’s early love of theatre comes from her dad, who was involved in amateur dramatics.
Letty went to university to study media and performance. “I got into comedy, improv and stand-up,” she says, “and also did some radio work, ending up presenting a Saturday morning show”.
Letty loves all aspects of theatre work, from making costumes and sets to devising performance pieces and watching live shows.
When not at About Face, she loves to travel, visit friends and heads off on her motorbike when the weather is fine. Her other hobbies include getting tattoos, most of which are of cats!
Suzie helps Jess with the Performance Company and now
co-leads the Stagecraft group with Letty.
She says, "I have been fortunate to work in the arts, training at Hereford Arts College, Aberystwyth University and Dartington, working with local theatres in Herefordshire, supporting tours abroad and meeting incredible people”.
Suzie loves stories told in unconventional ways and is particularly drawn to the visual side of theatre, from set design to puppetry, masks and props. “I love the quirky and unpredictable,” she says.
In her spare time Suzie walks, collects old junk and likes cooking and making things. In the summer she works at festivals with The Fetch Theatre. “I love the outdoors, and I love visual arts, so festivals are really inspiring”.
Nick’s role involves promoting the work of About Face, managing the website and social media, helping with bookings and tours, as well as other tasks such as photography, video and music production.
Nick says he wanted to act from an early age. He was fortunate that his high school had a really well equipped theatre and an ambitious drama department, meaning he was cast in productions ranging from Bernard Shaw to Shakespeare and Arthur Miller. He then progressed to the National Youth Theatre and to a drama degree at Warwick University, before getting side-tracked into
writing and playing music. He then combined the two, touring the UK and abroad with a Theatre in Education company for several years and later developing an approach to theatre within an Arts & Health setting for Birmingham Mental Health Trust.
In his spare time Nick still plays music and enjoys recording and music production as a hobby. He plays tennis for a local club and, “Appropriately enough for a Baker, I enjoy making bread, which I do every day. Otherwise, I’ll be out riding my bike – which again I do every day clocking up thousands of miles a year…”