Claybody People

Human stories are the clay.

Claybody shapes new and ambitious drama from the unique cultural heritage and contemporary lives of the people of North Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent.

Conrad Nelson Artistic Director

Conrad Nelson is a critically acclaimed director, actor and composer with a vast body of work in theatre, television, film and radio. As an actor his work has included roles such as Richard III, Henry V, and Iago with Lenny Henry as Othello. Conrad’s directing work includes productions for Hull Truck Theatre, Three Stones Media, Bolton Octagon, Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre Chester, and New Vic Theatre. Conrad is best knows for his 25 year association with Northern Broadsides Theatre Company, where he was Artistic Director from 2018-19.

Deborah McAndrew Creative Director

Deborah McAndrew is an award winning playwright. Her many playwriting credits include work for Northern Broadsides, Hull Truck Theatre, Leeds Playhouse, Mikron Theatre Company, Octagon Theatre, Bolton, Esk Valley Theatre, Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre Chester, Derby Theatre and New Vic Theatre. Deborah’s moving WW1 drama An August Bank Holiday Lark won awards for Best New Play 2014 at the UK Theatre Awards and Manchester Theatre Awards. In her acting career, Deborah has worked extensively in television, theatre and radio. She is best known for her role as Coronation Street regular, Angie Freeman, in the 1990s.

Helen Slevin Producer

With a background in Stage Management and producing, Helen came to produce our highly successful site specific play Dirty Laundry. Since then Helen has worked with us on Hot Lane, The D Road, Greenwood Dreams, The Silver Arrow, The Card and numerous one-off events.

Helen is now focusing her work for Claybody on our EDUCATIONAL projects and output. 

Prior to joining Claybody, Helen spent seven years working for the New Vic Theatre, where she produced their Hoard Festival. This large-scale event was made up of 21 new pieces of work, all taking the Staffordshire Hoard as their inspiration. Away from Claybody, Helen works as a freelance Producer and Project Manager. 

CLAYBODY BOARD MEMBERS

CATHERINE RALPH (Chair) is a freelance artist and consultant working in arts, culture, and heritage. She provides specialist training and facilitation on many of our skills development programmes, including the Worcester Arches project, WebinArt, and British Council projects. In her role as Executive Director at Walk the Plank, Cath led a change management programme for the company to include the development of a new Centre of Excellence for Outdoor Arts. She has a wealth of experience in the design and delivery of business support initiatives for the creative industries. Stoke born Cath’s former roles include Enterprise Development Manager at Staffordshire University and Chief Executive at Burslem School of Art. Cath was one of the founding partners of Claybody Theatre.

REV. GEOFF EZE is an Anglican Priest in charge of All Saints Church Hanley, and on the Ministry team at Stoke Minster. London born Geoff is a well-loved local personality and presents a regular show on BBC Radio Stoke. Geoff’s Jamaican and Nigerian heritage, and work with local people, gives him unique insight into the needs of diverse communities in the city. Geoff was a guest on our Claybody Carpool videos, so you can see him talking about his journey, here: https://claybodytheatre.com/claybody-carpool/

MARK GREGORY is Visiting Professor of Business Economics at Staffordshire University following retirement from his role as Chief Economist of Ernst & Young in 2021. He is a member of the UK Government’s Trade Advisory Group and was previously Chair of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Towns from 2017-2022 and a member of the UK Government Covid Recovery Task Force 2020. During more than a decade at EY he worked extensively with sporting and cultural bodies to help identify, measure, and improve their economic, environmental and social impact. His first book, More Than a Game: Saving Football from Itself was published by Penguin Random House in 2021.

KATIE HAMBLETON is a Higher-Level Teaching Assistant at St. Luke’s C.E Academy, Endon, where she is Online Safety lead member of the school safeguarding team. She is also currently the Computing curriculum lead, teaching this within five out of seven classes. Katie’s love of dance and great appreciation for the performing arts, led to her to Claybody Theatre. She has been a member of the Claybody Community Company since its inception in 2017, and taken part in many projects, including The Card, where she was Community Company Coordinator. Katie represents the company’s volunteers at Board level.

SAUL HEWISH is one of the country’s leading practitioners in the use of drama and theatre with marginalised groups, especially those in prison. He was a founder member and former director of Geese Theatre UK (1987) and a deputy director of Geese Theatre USA. In 1999 he co-founded the arts charity Rideout (Creative Arts for Rehabilitation). In addition to his practice-based work, Saul is a teaching fellow in theatre practice at the University of Warwick. He is a co-author of Challenging Experience: An Experiential Approach to the Treatment of Serious Offenders (2004) and was a recipient of a 2005 Butler Trust Certificate Award, a national award which recognises exceptional work by staff in HM Prison Service.

RAY JOHNSON MBE is an independent filmmaker, actor, and writer, and Emeritus Professor of Film Heritage and Documentary at Staffordshire University. He is Director of the Staffordshire Film Archive, a Director of the Media Archive for Central England and former Director of Screen West Midlands. Ray’s documentaries have been widely broadcast and he continues to supply archive film material to television. His theatre work includes the West End, regional Rep and touring, the Edinburgh Festival (with a Fringe First award) and the 1995 Royal Variety Performance. Ray is President of the North Staffordshire Drama Association, Vice President and Chair of the Arnold Bennett Society, a Fellow of the Film and Video Institute and a long-service member of Equity.

DR JANE KRISHNADAS is Director of Legal Outreach, Keele Law School, and Undergraduate Module Leader for Family Law, Law in Action & International Human Rights. Prior to her PHD studies Jane volunteered for the CHAI India earthquake relief camp, before joining Oxfam, and the Minority Rights Group in Mumbai as a Community Development Project Officer. During this time Jane worked with women and youth groups, for which street plays were a key part of the rehabilitation process and social justice agenda. Jane is the Convenor of the Community Legal Outreach Collaboration, Keele (CLOCK) which draws upon the India experience as a ‘Transformative Methodology’ to provide legal assistance to those most in need. She just been appointed as the academic lead for the Social Justice, Global Challenges Pathway.