About us

Eclipse Theatre

Eclipse theatre company ltd is the leading black-led national touring company.

“Eclipse Theatre will influence and instigate change that leads to a more diverse and equitable theatrical landscape.”

Who we are

Dawn Walton
Dawn Walton
Director

Dawn Walton began her directing career at the Royal Court Theatre, going on to be awarded the first Jerwood Young Director’s Award at the Young Vic. After a year as Acting Head of Studio-National Theatre Dawn formed eclipse theatre company ltd in 2010.

Previous theatre productions include, The Letter -Lyrikal Fearta (Sadlers Wells). For eclipse theatre: One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show, The Hounding Of David Oluwale (TMA: Best Director nomination); Michael X. For Royal Court Theatre: Oxford Street (Olivier Awards Nomination); 93.2fm; Drag-On; The Shining. For Young Vic Theatre: Winners; The Blacks. For Sheffield Theatres: There’s Only One Wayne Matthews. Also Urban Legend (Liverpool Everyman), Effie May (Oval House), Glow (Theatre Centre), The Changeling  (Mamamissi Productions), Strings (Clean Break), Of Mice and Men (Southwark Playhouse), Splinters (Talawa).

Dawn recently developed produced and directed ‘10by10’ a series of 10 short film dramas for the digital arts platform The Space (ACE/BBC)

Mission delivery

Eclipse Theatre Company is at the vanguard of delivering diverse programming in regional theatres. It is our mission to use the Black British experience to create new work that will enrich the cannon of British Theatre.

Led by Artistic Director Dawn Walton, Eclipse is a National Portfolio Funded Organisation with Arts Council England. We are the only Black-led NPO who deliver an annual middle scale tour to regional theatres. Alongside our core touring work, we have also delivered projects such 10by10 – a series of 10 short film dramas for the digital arts platform The Space with the BBC – and this year we announced our new three year Arts Council's ‘Exceptional Award’ funded project - Revolution Mix.

"Revolution Mix is about doing, not talking. When the subject of Diversity comes up – people gather in rooms and talk. If you sit in that room you will hear more reasons why things can’t change than why they can. But there is no question that there is an appetite for change. Revolution Mix is about what we are all going to DO.” – Dawn Walton, Artistic Director.

Revolution Mix is a three-year equality initiative designed to act as a catalyst for permanent change in British Theatre – spearheading the largest ever national delivery of Black British stories in regional theatres. It will run from 2015 – 2018 with the aim of provoking major change, tackling inequality and creating a lasting legacy within the UK’s theatrical landscape – both on stage and off.

Eclipse will work with 11 Partner Venues and 15 writers to develop and produce an ambitious body of work which will include a series of middle scale tours, two small scale tours, two films and a series of short dramas for radio. The project will culminate in 2018 with a yearlong festival created by artists based all over the country.

The Revolution Mix writers are: Akala, Perrie Balthazar, Maurice Bessman, Leah Chillery, Lorna French, Tyrone Huggins, Afshan Lodhi, Archie Maddocks, Courttia Newland, Zodwa Nyoni, Chino Odimba, Janice Okoh, Juliet Gilkes Romero, Shamser Sinha, Paula B Stanic.

The Revolution Mix Partner Venues are: Belgrade Coventry, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Hull Truck, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Northern Stage, Royal Court Theatre, Royal Exchange Manchester, Salisbury Playhouse, Sheffield Theatres and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Eclipse Board Members

Karena Johnson (Chair)
Karena Johnson (Chair)
Artistic Director & CEO of Hoxton Hall

Karena Johnson (Chair) is founder of Loud Talkin’ and Artistic Director of Hoxton Hall.

She has worked for many years as a director, producer and facilitator of emerging artists and commentator. Her pioneering career includes roles as Acting Artistic Director of Contact Theatre in Manchester, Artistic Director of touring theatre company Kushite, Head of Theatre Programming at Oval House Theatre and  Associate at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nottingham Playhouse and NOW festival.

Karena is an award winning practitioner with her work recognised with a “Highly Commended Business person of the year Barking and Dagenham” award an Arts and Business Award  for diversity and was a nomination for a special TMA award “for theatre with cojones”

Preena Gadher
Preena Gadher
MD & Co-Founder of Riot Communications

Preena Gadher is MD and co-founder of the award-winning Arts and Culture communications agency Riot Communications. Having started her career in PR at Penguin Books, she set up Riot Communications in 2009. Seven years on, in their home in East London, the agency continues to flourish. Clients include: Arts Council England, Southbank Centre, World Book Day; Moomins; Luna Cinema; Mammoth Screen; The Royal Society; Alice's Adventures Underground; PenguinRandomHouse; Book Trust and Waterstones. Riot Communications is the most decorated agency in its field. 

Nadine Marsh-Edwards
Nadine Marsh-Edwards
Director of Greenacre Films

Nadine is a partner in Greenacre Films which has a strategic partnership with Wall to Wall Media.

She has produced and exec produced a number of award winning short and long form dramas including: An Englishman in New York, The Grey Man, Two Thousand Acres of Sky and Sea of Souls. Bhaji On The Beach, Looking for Langston and Young Soul Rebels. She has been a board member of Film London, on the steering committee for Guiding Lights - a film industry mentoring scheme and she was a tutor on the MA screenwriting course at The LFS.  

Nadine continues to be a passionate advocate for the training and promotion of talent new to Film and television.

Chanelle Newman
Chanelle Newman
MD, The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company & Director, Illa State Ltd.

Chanelle is the co-Founder/MD of The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company and Director of UK independent record label Illa State, her career spans several areas of the creative industries.

With an extensive 10 year legal background at Sony Music Entertainment (RCA/Syco TV/Syco Music), Buena Vista International, entertainment firm Sheridans and a couple of top US corporate law firms - she has added Artist Management to her bucket list since 2011.

Paula Rabbitt
Paula Rabbitt
Communications Manager, Royal Exchange

Paula is the Communications Manager at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre. Prior to this she was the Head of Marketing and Communciations at West Yorkshire Playhouse and had been a member of their communications team since March 2007, previously holding the position of Head of Press. In the past Paula worked as freelance marketing and press officer in Scotland working regularly with companies such as Vanishing Point and Suspect Culture. Paula has a post graduate diploma in Marketing from Strathclyde University and a degree in Theatre and Philosophy from the University of Glasgow.

Sarah Shead
Sarah Shead
Creative Producer & Founder of Spin Arts

Sarah Shead is a reputable Creative Producer and Consultant working across the UK. She has over ten years of experience working in artistic and business development roles for organisations such as; Dance4, Creative Partnerships, Yorkshire Dance, Cida Co and 2Faced Dance.

In 2011 she founded Spin Arts; through fundraising, consultancy, training and producing Spin Arts supports artists to realise and exceed their creative ambitions. It’s here that she has enabled artists/companies to receive over one million pounds of funding to research, develop, produce and tour new work. Spin Arts has a wonderful, diverse and consistent portfolio of exceptional artists that are award winning, critically acclaimed or credited as ‘ones to watch’.

Down to earth and driven by the fear of being average, Sarah has devoted her career to cultivating brilliant makers. Her dynamic and proactive approach has led her to instigate numerous training and talent development schemes with HE institutes, organisations, conservatoires, agencies and venues.

She’s a certified Relational Dynamics Coach, Associate Coach for PANDA and joined Eclipse Theatre’s board in early 2016.

Eclipse team

Emma Beverley
Emma Beverley
Producer
Emma is an independent producer working mainly in dance, live art and contemporary theatre.
Alongside her work with Eclipse, Emma also collaborates with Selina Thompson, Katy Baird, and The Place for their EU programme Pivot Dance. 
Emma is on the Steering Group for Leeds’ bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023, is an IETM Campus alumni, and leads The Producer School. 

History

Eclipse theatre began in 2003 as an ACE initiative in agreement with a consortium of regional theatres. The project aimed to address the absence of Black Theatre on the regional middle-scale touring network and quickly proved to have an impact.

2003 – 2008
The eclipse theatre initiative toured: Moon on a Rainbow Shawl by Errol John, Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht, adapted by Oladipo Agboluaje, Little Sweet Thing by Roy Williams, Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov, adapted by Mustapha Matura, Angel House by Roy Williams, (nominated for Best Actress in a visiting production – MEN awards)

2008
Dawn Walton is appointed Artistic Director and under her leadership eclipse theatre grows in confidence in its ability to create high quality work from a Black British perspective that not only engages a regular theatre going audience, but also attracts a new audiences.

2009
Eclipse theatre develops its unique audience development programme to support that years tour The Hounding of David Oluwale by Kester Aspden, adapted by Oladipo Agboluaje Directed by Dawn Walton(nominated for Best Director TMA awards). This new approach brought substantial new audience bookings for this production, including 40% new bookers in Leeds.

2009/2010
Eclipse Theatre Company Ltd was formed and this new company moved to a permanent home in the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield During that time the company produced SUS by Barrie Keeffe (co-production with Young Vic). eclipse theatre also developed and produced Michael X by Vanessa Walters and starring Clint Dyer.

2011
In March 2011 Eclipse Theatre Company Ltd was confirmed as a National Portfolio Funded Organisation.

2012/2013
Eclipse Theatre Company Ltd developed, produced and directed ‘10by10’ a series of 10 short film dramas for the digital arts platform The Space (ACE/BBC)

The Tricycle theatre offered Eclipse theatre company its first London Opening for One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show by Don Evans starring Jocelyn Jee Esien (NB originally toured in 2012 as European premiere in co production with Sheffield Theatres) 

Eclipse TV launched in October 2013, showing Black British dramas online.

2014

Sizwe Banzi is Dead, a co-production with the Young Vic toured in the spring of this year.

Eclipse Theatre Company Ltd was again confirmed as a National Portfolio Funded Organisation for the next 3 years.

We took our first production up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where we gained a 4 star review for Journeys Beyond, a co-production with WAC Arts with the very talented cast of 11 graduates gaining their first professional contracts.

Eclipse was awarded an Arts Council Exceptional Award for our ambitious Revolution Mix project which we launched in October 2014.

Eclipse's website had a revamp to coincide with the Revoution Mix launch

2015
Our 16 Revolution Mix writers were chosen from almost 300 applicants and the week long residential workshop took place in Sheffield to start off this project.

2016
Spring 2016 saw our highly successful production of Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun touring to Sheffield, Ipswich, Southampton, Liverpool, Watford, London and Coventry. This co-production with both Sheffield Theatres and The Belgrade played to over 8,000 people and saw us increasing our new bookers rates yet again this year.