Jo Byron - Founder
Jo has a deep-seated passion for theatre, specifically in physical theatre and collaborative devising. After obtaining her degree in Drama with Creative Writing from Bristol's UWE, she began working as an independent theatre practitioner; directing, teaching, writing, and facilitating theatre workshops. Her freelance career has included working with Off The Record's Mentality Project, with Chango World at Shambala music festival, touring theatre workshops, and with The Bristol Shakespeare Festival. Jo has worked additionally with Stagecoach Performing Arts Schools, and Bigfoot Arts Education. Jo founded Up The Ante in 2014.
Slavka Liskova - Actor
Slavka is a Slovakian actor with a great passion for acting, and has been dreaming about becoming an actress since she was ten. However, growing up in Czechoslovakia during Communism, she didn't have the opportunity to study acting as much as she would have liked. Yet, the desire to act was with her all the time, and she finally managed to get parts in Slovakian productions. When she moved to England, she was determined to continue her acting career. After improving her English, she took a one year foundation course at the Bristol Actors' Institute - taught by Bristol Old Vic staff, and recently gained an Acting Diploma with New Era Academy. Since then she has been regularly involved in theatre productions.
Leanda Hatten - Actor
Leanda Mochrie The arts captured Leanda’s imagination from young age. As a child she studied ballet, several musical instruments and never passed on an opportunity to act on stage. Whilst studying Drama and Theatre (BA) at Royal Holloway she became fascinated with site specific performance, dance theatre and the multidisciplinary approach. In Bristol she has explored dramatherapy, improvisation and physical theatre. In recent years she has pursued a variety of support work, engaging and encouraging vulnerable adults to have faith in their future. This has deepened a hunger to learn more about the therapeutic value of theatre and the arts as a tool for learning across cultures. Leanda feels privileged to work with Up the Ante and leave every rehearsal full of new questions and knowledge about the potential relationship with oneself, others and the world outside. ‘Theatre reminds us of the preciousness of the body, that we have CHOICE in our lives no matter how stuck we feel, and ultimately we are all just children that want to play games’.
Michael Brumby - Film & Media
Michael is a professional freelance photographer and filmmaker with a BA in Photography. Years of experience in Photography have taught Mike that no two shoots are alike, and as such he is well trained within a variety of disciplines in the photographic field. He is very excited to be onboard working with Up The Ante and brings a great deal of ideas and enthusiasm to the artistic process.
Lucy Hannam - Composer & Vocal Coach
Lucy Hannam is a singer and composer who has a BMus Degree from Cardiff University. She studied classical singing and techniques. Lucy is the vocal coach for Up the Ante and incorporates voice techniques in the rehearsal processes. She focuses on safe technique to improve actor’s control and awareness of their own voices.
Kara Wheatley - Director & Actor
Kara is a versatile and intensely committed actor who graduated from Winchester University with a first Class BA Hons in Street Arts. Additionally, she studied for her FdA at Wessex Academy of Performing Arts with vigorous training in disciplines under numerous practitioners and genres. She is also the Artistic Director of Irrational Behaviour, an emerging company creating innovative work in Street Art and Theatre Performance.
Emily Merrifield - Creative Marketer & Blogger
Emily is a part-time actress who enjoys working on creative projects which so far have included making street theatre video, blogs, and a stop motion animation for UTA. She has also been part of various student/short films and is currently building up her acting showreel.
Igne Barkauskaite - Writer & Workshop Facilitator
Igne is an actor and theatre maker, and recent graduate of l’Ècole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. She is seeking to create a daring poetic work through the use of inventive theatrical language, strong physical expression and musicality.
Georgie Fenwick - Actor
Georgie is a versatile actor and writer with a penchant for the absurdist and satirical. After gaining a 2.1 BA in Drama and Criminology at UWE, Georgie has worked with several theatre companies across Bristol and Bath and has performed twice at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She is determined to work in creative industries in any capacity and believes performing arts to be liberating and vital to society.
This year Georgie will be performing her debut solo show ‘8-Bit On the Side’, a piece about the personal positive impact of video games under her poetry persona Groggs Penwick. Georgie has recently moved back to Bristol and is ecstatic to be back collaborating with Up The Ante.
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