Team Up

Founded by Artistic Director, Rachel Mary, StrikeUp Theatre is a growing company of Theatre Practitioners passionate about creating socially engaging theatre. We launched in April 2019 with our debut Arts Council-funded show, Silent Generation, a verbatim piece about the British Elder community, now in development for touring. StrikeUp is an inclusive, female-led company, committed to creating high-quality, provocative work.

We Pledge:

  1. To afford everyone we work with, in whatever capacity, the same respect, honesty and kindness.
  2. To make work that matters. To us, to our communities, to the people whose stories we seek out.
  3. To create theatre for its own sake, because it is relevant, it is powerful and it makes us human.
  4. To provoke audiences with our work, to make them think, and get them talking.
  5. To pay artists fairly for their work, always.
  6. To engage local communities in the creation process.
  7. To strive for better access to our workshops and performances.
  8. To remain female-led and to support and promote equal opportunities for female and male artists.
  9. To StrikeUp and nurture a thriving community of theatre-goers and doers and makers.

In June StrikeUp moved into digs at the beautiful Rising Sun Arts Centre in Reading, from which we run our StrikeUp Education classes and brand new Forum Theatre programme. Find us here: Rising Sun

Rachel Mary

Artistic Director | Performer
Rachel is the Artistic Director and founder of StrikeUp. Born in Reading, she trained as an Actor in London and at the Commedia School in North Italy, where she developed a deep love of physical theatre, clowning and physical comedy. Before that, Rachel studied in the Drama department at the University of Essex, specialising in Political Theatre. These two worlds of ‘physical’ and ‘political’ frequently collide in her work. Rachel drives to create work which empowers and engages local communities just as much as it provokes the theatre audience. Her debut piece for StrikeUp, Silent Generation, currently in development for touring, was crafted from more than 100hours of interviews with British Elders, and saw school groups, older peoples’ networks and a wider theatre audience engage in hot debate at the April sharings. In August, Rachel directed the company’s first community project, an open-air adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in collaboration with Reading Mencap. Rachel is excited for the future of StrikeUp, fuelled by it’s fantastically talented and driven creative team.

Joe Marsh

Associate Artist | Writer
Joe is a writer, teacher and actor based in the Derbyshire Dales. His plays often revolve around the intersection of personal and societal trauma, be that in his treatment of contemporary, hot-button issues or his historical dramas and adaptations. He has a longstanding interest in verbatim theatre and is currently developing Silent Generation for StrikeUp. Joe is Playwright on Attachment at the Finborough Theatre, First Story Writer in Residence at Landau Forte College Derby, and Lead Writer for Writing East Midlands Ashbourne Young Writers Group. He is a graduate of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and the University of Cambridge.

Stella Ross

Associate Artist | Performer
In 2007, after bringing up a family and running a successful business, Stella left the company to her employees (still booming) to train at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and make her return to acting. Striking out again in her fifties, Stella has forged a career performing across stage and screen for The Bristol Old Vic, The Watermill, The Attic Theatre, Channel 4 and The BBC. Stella is passionate about theatre as an exciting way to educate; to enlighten and to inspire change. So much about theatre has changed since her early work, but the reasons it feels so important, remain. In 2019, Stella joined StrikeUp in the debut company of Silent Generation, a project which resonated deeply with her as giving voice to a generation she sees as often overlooked. Stella is thrilled to join StrikeUp as an Associate Artist and to play a pivotal role in Silent Generation’s development.

Abbey Gillett

Associate Artist | Performer
Abbey trained at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts before becoming a member of the National Youth Theatre. As both an actor and performer Abbey strives to create meaningful, thought-provoking theatre. She believes in the power of truthful, funny, raw and impactful drama that can invite discussion and, hopefully, change. Monobog is her debut one-woman show which she is proud to be developing with StrikeUp where she is an associate artist. Abbey is a much-loved Acting Coach for StrikeUp Education.

Ben Hudson

Associate Artist | Composer |
Benjamin Hudson is a composer working predominantly in film, television and games. He recently worked on short films ‘The Sermon’ (Palms Springs Film Festival) and ‘Satan’s Bite’ (Cannes Film Festival) and is currently working on theatre productions with RBL (Genomes) and In Bed with My Brother (Tricky Second Album). He was nominated for a Music and Sound Award for his work on a projection mapping on Battersea Power Station, and has scored commercial films for Lexus, MTV, Nokia and Unicef among others. As a music producer and DJ (Brain Rays) he has performed all over the world including two live sessions at Radio 1's legendary Maida Vale Studios. Benjamin came on board with StrikeUp in March 2019, to create the powerful original soundtrack for Silent Generation.

Jack Taylor

Associate Artist | Writer & Production Assistant
Jack is a playwright and theatre reviewer for A graduate of UCL and Bristol University, Jack has written freelance for the Guardian since June, alongside developing his own folio. Jack came on board StrikeUp as production Assistant for Silent Generation and has subsequently adapted A Midsummer Night’s Dream for our community production this August. Jack drives to craft plays which are thoughtfully written and reflective of the socio-political complexities of our time. We are thrilled that Jack will be our first writer to present work for development at the StrikeUp Forum Theatre this Autumn. Tickets now available, contact

Charlie Ponder

Workshop Facilitator, StrikeUp Education
Charlie is a passionate and enthusiastic director, writer and teacher of theatre, who is always searching for engaging ways of communicating with people and telling stories. He enjoys the process of adaptation and playing with convention, which he has done with a number of productions, such as a multisensory performance of Hamlet for a blindfolded audience, and an audience led interactive version of Macbeth. Charlie is also keen on using music and movement in performance. His core aim for drama is to encourage meaningful work through collaboration, communication, creativity and fun. He is thrilled to be working for StrikeUp’s Education department, especially the Company's new Forum Theatre programme.

Anthony Bardos

Artist at Large | Digital Coordinator | Fixer of Things

Anthony has a degree in AI and a PhD in Colour Image Processing. He is a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He works on app and web development as well as on electrical installations. He is developing our funky website and other cool stuff for StrikeUp Theatre.

In theatre world he writes short plays some of which have been performed at the Arcola Theatre and Waterloo East. Back in the day he used to write photo stories for teenage magazines such as My Guy, Blue Jeans and Jackie.

He is also interested in making, and being in, films and has honed his performance skills at Strikeup Education Classes, which he whole-heartedly recommends.

Nick Sweeting

StrikeUp Company Mentor

Nick is a founder member of NPO, Improbable Theatre Company. He's produced all of Improbable's productions to date as well as a range of independent projects. Nick has had numerous successes producing work in the UK and internationally, including critically-acclaimed productions in London and New York, as well as fringe-first successes at Edinburgh. He is Chair of the Board of Directors at Theatre Bristol, a volunteer for ABC to Read and an all-round stand-up human who we’re delighted to have supporting our work. Nick first supported Artistic Director, Rachel Mary, as an independent mentor in the lead-up to the first stage of Silent Generation. After attending the R&D performance in April 2019, Nick agreed to come on board as company mentor for StrikeUp. .