ADF Associates

We aim to support as many BAME leaders as we can. Here are some of our core network of directors.

Matthew Xia

Pooja Ghai

Gbolahan Obisesan
Suzanne Gorman
Miranda Cromwell
Ailin Conant

Amanda Huxtable

Ria Parry

Franko Figueiredo
Emerald Crankson
Anthony Ekundayo Lennon
Natalie Ibu

Yasmin Gurreeboo

Anastasia Osei-Kuffour

Anthony Lau
Milli Bhatia
Yolanda Mercy
Vera Chok

Sandra Thompson-Quartey

Kumiko Mendl

Simone Watson
Aleasha Chaunte
Linda Miller
Emma Dennis-Edwards

Ken Birk
Sian Davila
Anna Himali Howard
Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh
Diyan Zora
Daniel Bailey

Tessa Hart

Jonathan Man

Tajpal Rathore
Erica Miller
Nkhanise Phiri
Taio Lawson

Lakesha Arie-Angelo

Steven Kavuma

Matthew’s most recent appointment is as the Associate Artistic Director of the Manchester Royal Exchange. In 2013 he was the recipient of the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme bursary and took up the post as Director in Residence at the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatres where he directed the premier of Daniel Matthew’s Scrappers and was Associate Director of the Everyman Opening Ceremony – Lights Up. In the same year he won the Young Vic’s Genesis Future Director award.

Pooja is Resident Director at the Theatre Royal Stratford East.

Gbolahan is currently developing Black and Blue for Eclipse Theatre Company as well as a Screenplay with EMU Productions.

In 2009 Gbolahan also won the Jerwood Directors Award at the Young Vic Theatre for which he directed the critically acclaimed SUS by Barrie Keefe. He was recipient of the Bulldog Princep Bursary and made Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio 2008/2009.


Suzanne Gorman is a Director, Dramaturg and Producer. She is Artistic Director of Maya Productions, a company making theatre that reflects and celebrates diversity.

She is also Artistic Associate at Soho Theatre, where she previously led the creative learning department and directed over fifteen new writing productions, managed the unique young writers programmes and pioneered the company’s groundbreaking site specific and digital work with communities. 

Suzanne is a Clore Fellow 2015/2016.


Miranda is a freelance director and artistic director of Twisted Theatre. Specialising in large-scale devised ensemble work. Previously Young Company director at Bristol Old Vic and most recently she was assistant director for Hang at the Royal Court. Miranda is currently directing new work for Islington Community Theatre and Talawa Studio firsts.

Ailin Conant is a Japanese-American freelance theatre director passionate about socially engaged work that presents untold and undertold perspectives. She is artistic director of London-based devising ensemble Theatre Témoin, and has worked freelance for Theatre Day Productions (Gaza), Clown Me In (Mexico), The Catalyst (Switzerland), and Satellite Théâtre (Montreal); directs showcase work for East 15 and Fourth Monkey; and has directed outreach work for The Young Vic Theatre.

Amanda Huxtable Theatre Director / Producer trained at the Manchester Metropolitan University and Leeds University respectfully. This led to her lifelong commitment to both the Social Sciences and the Performing Arts. Together with Marcia Layne she runs Hidden Gems Productions a Theatre Company, Black British and Bold.

Ria is Joint Artistic Director of Iron Shoes, an alumni Associate Company at the Bush Theatre.

For Iron Shoes, Ria directed the sell-out UK national tour of the critically acclaimed Mad About The Boy by Gbolahan Obisesan, and the Scotsman Fringe First award-winning Crush 
by Paul Charlton. She was awarded the Leverhulme Bursary for Emerging Directors in 2010, becoming Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio.

Franko is one of the founders of StoneCrabs Theatre Company. He started his career as an actor and writer and worked at Gamboa, Vila Velha, Castro Alves and CDL Theatre in Brazil (Bahia) and Gate and Royal Court in the UK.

After obtaining an MA in Theatre Practices (Directing), he completed a practical research in the Theatre of Tadeusz Kantor supported by a bursary from the Local Network Foundation. Previous to StoneCrabs, Franko jointly founded and ran Gatos Noir Theatre Company in Brazil.

Emerald is a Actor and Director from London at the beginning of her career. Emerald first began Acting; training and performing with the National Youth Theatre and the Young Vic's Taking part team as a teenager. Emerald then went on to do a Drama and English degree at Brunel University. Still acting, she began her directing career, with her first assisting job, winning the Boris Karloff Award in 2013  for 'The Island' at the Young Vic; after taking part in directing courses at the Young Vic.

Anthony recently completed his role as assistant director on Iqbal Khan’s Royal Shakespeare Company production of ‘Othello’ (Royal Shakespeare Theatre) during which time he also directed the Othello understudy company performance. This engagement follows on from his first work at the RSC in 2014 assisting Jo McInnes for the Midsummer Mischief Festival of new writing (Courtyard Theatre – The Other Place). He has been assistant director for Talawa Theatre's ‘Moon on a Rainbow Shawl' (UK Tour).

Natalie Ibu is the artistic director of tiata fahodzi. Previously she was the Creative Producer for In Good Company, launching the regional artist development programme in the East Midlands for Derby Theatre, Embrace Arts Leicester and Create Mansfield. As a freelancer she has produced for Openworks Theatre and Maison Foo, worked as a Literary Consultant for Fifth Word and a dramaturg for Spilt Milk Dance.  In 2014, she was the Programme Manager at the Roundhouse.

Yasmin Gurreeboo is the founder and artistic director for Foul Play, a South Australian theatre company and co-producer for the Directors’ Collective South Australia. Yasmin was Artistic Director of the West Wing Arts Centre in Slough; Artistic Programme Manager at Harrow Arts Centre and Bite Associate (producing) at the Barbican (Theatre & Dance). Yasmin’s focus is creating theatre through the prism of modern feminism and in 2016 will begin development of a new work ‘The Persephone Project'.

Anastasia works mainly in theatre and trained as a director through the Young Vic Directors Programme. Anastasia is currently creative associate at the Gate Theatre, and resident assistant director at the Finborough Theatre. As artistic director of Wrested Veil Theatre Company she received the Talawa studio firsts award for developing a new dance theatre play 'Hosea's Girl'.

Anthony is the Laboratory Associate Director at the Nuffield Theatre, kindly supported by the BBC Performing Arts Fellowship.

Anthony trained as a Director at LAMDA.

Milli, 22, is a director with a focus on community based work, new writing and political theatre, and is currently on the MFA Theatre Directing at Birkbeck. Her directing and assistant directing credits include Hampstead Theatre, The Stephen Joseph Theatre (NSDF), The Garage Theatre Norwich, The Hen and Chickens, The Rose Theatre at Rose Bruford College, The National Youth Theatre and The Deptford Albany. She is currently a resident assistant director at Birmingham Rep.

Yolanda Mercy is an emerging performer, playwright and director. She trained at the renowned Brit School, Laban and Central School of Speech and Drama. Yolanda is currently the Resident Artist at the Roundhouse, which allows her to develop and nurture her craft. In addition to that, she was selected from hundreds of applicants by Fin Kennedy (Tamasha's Artistic Director) to join his writing course. Yolanda has dedicated the past year to writing and researching 'On the Edge of Me'.

I'm a performance maker, writer, and actor drawing on theatrical tradition as well as on my training in science, poetry, and anthropology to create form-pushing performance. I work across media and genre and create socially-aware ensemble work. Real and imagined spaces are built to investigate the possibility and duration of human connection.

saltpeter, my experimental theatre company, produces large-scale and micro pieces.

As a strong believer of taking responsibility to help create change and opportunity for diverse talent, Sandra founded Writer's Avenue in September 2009 and launched the first show in January 2010. To date Sandra has produced over 25 new writing events, competitions and showcases for the company predominantly at Soho Theatre and The Pleasance, some which have included her own writing, directing and performance. Writer’s Avenue is currently developing the winning script for 'The First 20 Minutes'

Kumiko trained at the Jacques Lecoq Theatre School in Paris. Since then she has worked as an actress, teacher, storyteller, movement director and director. As an actor she has worked with the National Theatre, Northampton Royal & Derngate, The Young Vic, Tara Arts, Polka Theatre, The Gate and LIFT as well as for TV and Radio.

She is Artistic Director of Yellow Earth Theatre, the UK’s award winning British East Asian Theatre company and co-Artistic Director of A Thousand Cranes.

Simone is co-founder & co-creative director of Shea Black Productions and The Galloping Cuckoos Theatre company. She has independently written, directed and produced a number of sell-out new writings plays, including Knickers To That! which received 4 star reviews on the London fringe. She continues to make theatre, write, direct and produce work independently. 
Simone is currently working on a freelance basis as a presentation and communication skills trainer and a Performing Arts Practitioner.

After founding and running two fringe companies in London I traveled to Poland to train with Teatr Piesn Kozla. Now based in Liverpool I work with community groups and setting up and managing multidisciplinary space projects that offer support to local artists and charities while also researching a performance piece based on an ancient fairy tale.

Linda trained at Arts Ed Drama School on the BA Acting course and as a director on Di Trevis's Intensive Director Training Programme and Springboard (Young Vic 2014)

She is one of the co-producers and directors of Write Club a new writing platform, founded in 2013 to develop new writing supported by the White Bear Theatre.

Emma trained as an Actor at East 15 Acting School and works as an Actor in Theatre and Film.

As a director Emma made her directing debut at the Talawa Firsts with Rebecca David’s play DEEP. Emma is a graduate of the Stone Crabs Young Director’s programme and directed Nightingale and Chase at the Deptford Albany as part of the Play.ground festival.

Ken is an emerging director and has trained with the Young Vic on their Introduction to Directing Course. Credits include a staged reading of an all Caribbean "The Taming of the Shrew" with the Arcola Theatre Lab, directing the one woman show "She's Starving thats what she was" for The King Heads Theatre Solo Festival and a sharing of "Boy gets Girl""at The Young Vic. He recently directed and produced a radio documentary with The Roundhouse in association with Falling Tree productions. Ken is also an actor in theatre and film and recently appeared in the play "Full Tilt" at Stratford East Theatre. 

Sian is a writer and director. Previous experience includes devising with Belarus Free Theatre at the Young Vic and training as a director with the Stonecrabs Young Directors’ Programme. Her work includes Collected Stories at the Albany and assistant direction on Ask at Bernie Grant Arts Centre with Islington Community Theatre. She co- produced Labyrinth, a showcase of new-writing at the Almeida Theatre’s as part of their Greek Season. Sian is currently a script reader and assistant director at the Royal Court Theatre. 

Anna Himali Howard is a director, theatremaker and performer who recently graduated from the University of Warwick. She is a Creative Associate at The Gate Theatre, where she recently assistant directed Nina Segal’s In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises), and a member of the Birmingham REP Foundry artist development scheme. She is a performer and maker with Breach Theatre in The Beanfield. 

In 2001 Nazli was awarded an Arts Council England Bursary to train as a theatre director at Leicester Haymarket Theatre. Whilst at Leicester Haymarket Theatre she gained a five star review from the BBC for her original new work called Safe Passage. Nazli then went on to become Staff Director at Derby Playhouse.

In 2004 Nazli founded ZENDEH with the support of the Scottish Arts Council, and in 2005 was awarded an Amnesty International Commendation at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for her production of Waiting Room by Isabel Wright. In 2006-7 Nazli was Associate Director at Theatre Workshop Edinburgh.

Nazli has freelance directed theatre, short film and radio for a range of national companies in the UK. 

Diyan is a British Iraqi theatre director. She recently directed a series of play on women in revolution which toured to Liverpool, and included writing from Hassan Abdulrazzak and Martin Crimp. Her production of ‘Gather Ye Rosebuds’ won Best New Play at the Brighton Fringe Festival before transferring to Theatre503. As assistant she has worked with Nicolas Kent and Philip Osment (both Arcola), James Macdonald and Richard Twyman (both Royal Court) and Ian Rickson as staff director

(National). She has led and assisted on workshops at the Arcola, the Young Vic and the Theatre Royal Haymarket 

Daniel Bailey is the RTYDS Resident Assistant Director at the Birmingham Rep, having previously been Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio, Resident Assistant Director at The Finborough Theatre. Daniel has since started a theatre company New Heritage Theatre that works with new writers and theatre makers to produce unheard voices and thought provoking work for all audiences. 

Tessa Hart is a London-based actress, director, producer, writer and activist. She is the Artistic Director of The Bread & Roses Theatre in Clapham (South London), a new and innovative fringe pub theatre, as well as of Goblin Baby Theatre Co., an activist theatre company set out to challenge the confines of conventional theatre. Tessa holds an MFA in Acting (International) from East 15 Acting School (2011) and a BA in Theatre Studies from the Free University of Berlin (2009). She also has completed further performing arts work and training in Bali, London, Berlin, Brussels and Moscow and currently works across fringe theatre venues in London. 

Jonathan Man is a freelance theatre director based in London, UK. His work embraces an interest in working transnationally, interculturalism and in pioneering new stories, working with writers of all backgrounds and diverse cultures. He was producing Co-Artistic Director at Yellow Earth Theatre, a British East Asian touring theatre company. His directing credits include “Monkey!” (Polka Theatre); “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Southwark Playhouse); “wAve” (a modern ‘Medea’ for Yellow Earth/ UK national tour); double-bill “Magical Chairs” by Mary Mazzilli and “There’s Only One Wayne Lee” by Roy Williams (for Lumenis Theatre at Southwark Playhouse and Beijing People’s Arts Theatre as part of the Beijing International Fringe Festival); "Much Ado About Nothing" and “Shelter” (Shanghai Repertory Theater); “Turandot Reimagined”, a new version of Puccini’s opera (Tete A Tete).

Jonathan has been guest artist at Shanghai Theatre Academy, Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, and the University of Michigan. 

Taipal Rathore has continuously worked in the media industry since he was 16, garnering a vast array of skills that have only fed into his first passion of acting. He has worked as a producer and presenter for the Leeds International Film Festival, and has worked on various BBC Learning and Outreach events, and in 2010 was compere for “Strictly Come Dancing” on tour. He is a published entertainment journalist and film reviewer, with an expert knowledge of Indian cinema and has written his own scripts and screenplays.

In 2013, Tajpal co-founded Tribe Arts, a philosophically inspired, radical-political theatre company based in Leeds/Bradford. Along with Samran Rathore, he is the current Artistic Director, and produced Tribe's launch event, Tribe Talks, a unique format of performance and discussion, which is aiming to tour across the country.

Tajpal has a degree in Theatre, Film & TV and a LAMDA Award with an acting distinction. 


My name is Nkhanise Phiri and I am an aspiring write, director and actor. I am active member and Website and Liaisons manager of the Warwick Repertory Theatre Company. Having recently directed my first sold out play Bitchcraft , a tale of sisterhood, misfit vibes and learning what it means to be a witch which was received to many positive reviews I am looking forward to exploring and nurturing this art form. 

Taio is a Director from South London, living in North London but wanting to move to Tokyo — purely to watch anime, read manga and eat Ramen.

Having worked in a few theatres around the country, he has come to the conclusion that he will never know it all.

He studied Anthropology at university, focusing on the ritualistic nature of the actors process, and the possible identity formations within that.

He believes that in theatre, simplicity is paramount, but hard to do well. Order him a small Carmenere at the bar — he would be very grateful. 

Lakesha is a Resident Assistant Director at Finborough Theatre where she has assisted on P’Yongyang, Treasure and Vibrant 2015- A Festival of Finborough Playwrights. Theatre includes: The Colored Museum (Edric Hall). She is the Artistic Director and playwright of Pidgin Playhouse, whose work includes a staged reading of Sugar, Rum, Molasses (The CLF Theatre at The Bussey Building). Stage Management includes: Love is Not Enough (The CLF Theatre at The Bussey Building), When Nobody's Looking (ArtsDepot), Sarafina! (Edison Theatre, St.Louis, USA). Lakesha also assists the Introduction to Playwrighting course at The Royal Court and an Assistant Tutor at Clean Break. 

Steven Kavuma is the founder and executive director of The Sargeant and Kavuma Project, a project that aims to explore the issues around Black and Asian actors within the performing arts industry. We are now resident young company at Hackney Showroom, currently working with the Royal Court theatre and recently written and directed Haringey Shed’s summer theatre show. Steven has been professionally developed as a creative artist by The National Theatre and Almeida Theatre Company. He was one of few people who were selected to participate in Almeida Directors Workshops led by leading theatre directors such as Sacha Wares and Rupert Goold. Steven is studying Drama, Applied Theatre and Education, BA: Writing for Performance at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He will be one of the first people to graduate from the course.