LAB | Almeida Festival, London
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Young Friends of the Almeida


by Roz Wyllie
Wed 7 Aug 2013 - Fri 9 Aug 2013

NOTE: The Box Office will be closed on Friday, 9 August from 3 - 5.30pm.

“This is not your world. But it could be.”

Anna’s parents have bought her a chance at the school on the hill. But the people here are tribal, ready to slap a label on you quicker than you can chug a drink down at The Fox. As political pranks by the village boys against the town’s privileged residents escalate, Anna is torn between two sides—and the choice she makes will ultimately govern her future.

Warning: this show contains Google-stalking, guerrilla gardening and a stuffed fox. A microwave mentality may also feature.


Watch the CommonWealth trailer here:

Please note: this show contains strobe lighting.


The Young Friends of the Almeida performance has been supported by the Noël Coward Foundation

An Almeida Projects Commission

Watch the CommonWealth trailer here:

LAB director Caitlin McLeod gives the inside scoop on what CommonWealth is all about:

LAB director Caitlin McLeod gives five words to describe CommonWealth:


LAB playwright Roz Wyllie and director Caitlin McLeod reflect on the first read-through for
CommonWealth in January:

Meet the Young Friends of LAB who will perform in CommonWealth at the 2013 Festival:


And check out this rehearsal footage from ICU, the Young Friends' curtain raiser for
The Turn of the Screw:



Roz Wyllie

Theatre includes: Green Beans (Customs House); Smoke & Mirrors (NTC); Watershed; Going Loco; Twin Telepathy; Dream a Little (Live Theatre); You Didn’t Stop; Free; Polaroids (Theatre 503); The Stone in My Shoe; Future Regrets (Royal Shakespeare Company / Live Theatre); Trust (Bare Bones / Old Red Lion); Blood & Money (Prague Fringe Festival); Been Up All Night (PLAYlist / Latitude Festival); Don’t Let Me Get Me (PLAYlist); Conflict Tourism (Rogue Writers); Paper Fortunes (Rogue Writers / Canal Cafe Theatre); I’m Sorry (Nabakov Present:Tense). 

Roz is the winner of the Ovation Theatre Award for Best New Writing 2010 and author of the novel Everything You Ever Wanted (Tonto Books).

"Roz Wyllie is an emerging writer who knows how to avoid cliches. Inventive and witty."
 J.P. Watson, on Paper Fortunes 

"Handles complexity of form and content with a growing skill - establishing herself as one of the best playwrights to emerge in the region in the last ten years"
British Theatre Guide, on Future Regrets 

Caitlin McLeod


As a Director: And I And SilenceNorthern StarFACTS  (Finborough Theatre); The Children’s Hour (RWCMD); And I And Silence (Public Theater, New York - rehearsed reading); Mahua (Royal Court - rehearsed reading); Love, Love, Love (Mousson d’ete Festival, France); Slaughter City (Royal Shakespeare Company - rehearsed reading); One Short Sleepe (South Bank Literary Festival); The Lady’s Not for BurningElephant’s Graveyard (Warwick Arts Centre); Seven Jewish Children (Capital Centre).

As an Assistant Director: Strange Interlude (National Theatre); Haunted ChildIn BasildonLove, Love, LoveLove and Information (Royal Court); Hamlet (Shakespeare’s Globe); By the Bog of Cats (Warwick Arts Centre); The Talented Mr Ripley (Royal and Derngate Theatre, Northampton); Touched (North Wall Theatre, Oxford).

As a Dramaturg: By the Bog of Cats (Warwick Arts Centre).

Caitlin received the Buzz Goodbody Best Director Award for Elephant’s Graveyard. She studied Theatre and Performance at the University of Warwick and was Trainee Director at the Royal Court Theatre from 2011-12.

Georgia Lowe

Theatre includes: The Ruling Class (English Theatre Frankfurt); Say It With Flowers (Sherman Cymru); Facts ; Fog (Finborough Theatre); Lift (Soho Theatre); Ignorance (Hampstead); Pericles; Song of Songs (Royal Shakespeare Company); After The Rainfall (Curious Directive);  The Dark Side Of Love (Roundhouse);  Amphibians (Bridewell Theatre); 

Opera includes: Acis and Galatea; Susanna (Iford Opera)

Georgia trained on the Motley Theatre Design course and was a Linbury Prize Finalist 2011. She was previously a Trainee Designer for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Elliot Griggs


Theatre includes: The Boy Who Kicked Pigs (The Lowry); Over The Bridge, FACTS, Somersaults, The Soft of Her Palm, And I and Silence, Northern Star (Finborough Theatre); Belleville Rendez-vous (Greenwich Theatre); MEAT (Theatre 503); Lagan (Oval House Theatre); Bitter Pleasures (Soho Theatre); Folk Contraption (Southbank Centre); Much Ado About Nothing (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry); Big Sean, Mikey and Me (Tristan Bates Theatre); Blues In The Night, Joe/Boy (The Last Refuge); Dealing With Clair, Nocturnal, dirty butterfly, Our Town (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art); The Lady's Not For Burning,West Side Story, By The Bog of Cats, Elephant's Graveyard (Warwick Arts Centre).

Elliot received the Francis Reid Award for Lighting Design from the Association of Lighting Designers for his design portfolio and the ShowLight Award for his design of Elephant's Graveyard. He trained in Lighting Design at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.

Max Pappenheim

Theatre includes: Being Tommy Cooper (Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford and National Tour); Facts, The Hospital at the Time of the Revolution, Somersaults, The Soft of Her Palm, The Fear of Breathing, Hindle Wakes (Finborough Theatre); Trojan Women, Kafka v Kafka (Brockley Jack Studio Theatre); Word:Play NWxSW (Bolton Octagon and National Tour); Freefall (New Theatre, Wimbledon).

Max is Director of Music at St Matthew's Church, Bayswater; he was nominated for an Off West End Award 2012 for Best Sound Designer, for Kafka v Kafka.

YFA Creative Pathways

Jemima Wilson
irecting Pathway

Jemima has been on the Creative Board for Young Friends of the Almeida Theatre for a year as Projects Officer and has been working as an assistant facilitator for Almeida Academy as well as on residencies at two schools in the area. She was part of the Year Out Drama Company in Stratford-upon-Avon before studying Criticism, Communication and Curation at Central Saint Martins.


YFA Creative Pathways

Tara Okeke
Writing Pathway, Peripheral Vision

Tara joined the YFA in September 2012, and as a keen writer, artist and drama enthusiast, couldn’t wait to hone her skills in these realms and develop new ones too.

Tara has had roles in several school productions, from the main part in her house’s entry in the Inter-House Drama competition to Claudio in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, but is equally comfortable working offstage as a writer, director or designer.

Tara has found her time as a Young Friend highly enjoyable, and the advice she has been given in order to adapt and improve her work has been invaluable.

Peripheral Vision, the curtain-raiser for CommonWealth, will be Tara’s first play to be performed on a stage.


Alice Brazil-Burns

Alice is on the Young Friends Creative Board as a Project Manager and this year has co-produced ICU for the Almeida. For the Young Friends of the Almeida Alice has been in The YFA Mini Dream and The Young Friends Touring Company. Other credits include The House of Bernarda Alba (Almeida Theatre); 1984; Dick Whittington and His Cat (Lyric Hammersmith).

As an actor, the YFA is second to none in the opportunities it provides for young people and LAB has played a significant part in my development and learning as an actor and understanding of theatre. The witty humour in Roz Wyllie’s writing has kept the cast on our toes in rehearsals and we can’t wait for the audience to enjoy it. 

Ivan Drovnin

Ivan joined the Almeida in September 2012 as part of the LAB company and selected for the performance pathway. This is Ivan's first production with the Almeida and working as a part of the YFA. Ivan's passion for acting began when he chose to study drama at A level. In his final year performance he was cast as the lead role of Joseph Kay in Stephen Berkoff's adaptation of Kafka's The Trial.

Having completed his A Levels, he was sponsored to attend a summer school at LAMDA where he trained with various directors and teachers at the school. That same summer he performed in BABEL, a project with World Stages London.

Ivan's enthusiasm has grown throughout being a part of The Lyric Young Company, where he performed in multiple showcases including the 2012 Christmas pantomime Cinderella and the recently held Fresh Faced Film Fest in association with BFI. Ivan is currently auditioning for various drama schools in pursuit of his ambition to become an actor.

Mae-Li Evans

Mae-Li has been with YFA with just under two years, and has been part of MiniLab, ScriptLAB and is on this year’s Creative Board as Marketing Officer. She is also keen on production, and has directed, filmed and edited trailers for other YFA projects including Monologue Showdown and last year’s LAB performance, Parallax.

Although only studying Drama up to GCSE, Mae-Li has since been involved in theatre through volunteering for other productions such as Headlong’s Decade, You Me Bum Bum Train, and Future Cinema.  She hopes to begin studying Drama: Theatre, Film and Television at the University of Bristol later this year.

Ciaran Forde

Ciaran has previously taken part in LAB, performing in last year’s show Parallax. Ciaran is currently studying Drama & Theatre in college in which he has co-produced many student-run projects.

Mohsen Ghaffari

Mohsen joined the Almeida Theatre in 2011 as a Young Friend. He has done many projects with them and participated in many different workshops. He was part of the Mini Lab project in 2012 during the Almeida Festival. The Project was a shortened version of A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare and Mohsen was playing the character of Bottom. 

In August 2012 he became a member of the Creative Board of the Almeida Theatre and took on a role as fundraiser and helped the Almeida to raise money in order to give opportunities to other young people. Mohsen has done many projects including One Act play Festival, Mini Dream (Mini LAB Summer 2012), Life Is Good (Mini LAB Winter 2012), Comedy Stand Up Workshop, Gala Project Flashmob, Lost Dog Dance Theatre Workshop, The Dark Room (YFTC Program 2013) and LAB 2012 -2013. 

He has participated in the one week Introduction to PG cert in Applied Theatre With Young People course, where he's been trained to be a workshop leader. 

Charlotte Hall

Charlotte has previously worked with the Lyric Theatre performing in Aladdin (panto), Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms, a musical for National Theatre Connections Alice by Heart and occasional open mic nights to scratch new work. This is Charlotte’s debut performance at the Almeida.

Kieron Manning

This is Kieron’s second project with the Almeida after participating in Mini Dream in July 2012. Kieron has been studying a diploma at Central School of Speech & Drama and has previously taken acting classes at Sylvia Young and Studied Meisner technique with The Actors Temple.

Luke Reilly

This is my first project for the Almeida. I’ve done a load of school plays including Lord of The Flies, Wind in the Willows, Brideshead Revisited and The Importance of Being Earnest. I’m a member of the Young Actors Theatre Agency in the Angel and have had auditions for professional TV and Film credits which has resulted in several recalls for auditions although no actual parts. I did star in a Short film called Writ in Water, and acted as Baron Hardup in Cinderella with the Young Actors Theatre Pantomime.

I also participated in a project for Blueprint theatre who were making a docudrama and archive exhibition of Islington in the 1980s. I contributed to the exhibition and wrote a section of the script for the docudrama called Don’t You Forget About Me.

Stephanie Sowaha

This is Stephanie's first project with the Almeida; she is extremely excited and happy to be collaborating with such a vibrant and supportive Group.

Stephanie graduated last year from the One Year Advance Acting Diploma Course at LSDA (London School Of Dramatic Arts). Months after graduating she was in the production at the Lyric Theatre Desire Under the Elms directed by Sean Holmes. She was one of the six ensemble girls to appear in the play. In March Stephanie and the 5 other girls from the production were given the opportunity to produce the Lyric Lounge Event called 32 Boroughs.

Stephanie is an aspiring actress with a lot of passion and love of the arts. When she is not acting you will find her at the theatre, galleries and cinema. As she is a fluent Spanish speaker she has taken on the task of learning French because it’s an interesting and a beautiful Language.

Dane Stephens

This is Dane's first project for the Almeida. Dane has been very active since 2010, performing in various plays and performances, mostly in and around the borough of Greenwich and Lewisham. Performances consisted of outdoor theatre in various parks and communities during the summer breaks and being a part of the One Million performance for the Greenwich & Docklands International Festival.

Toby Trussler-Rowland

Toby attended the WAC Performing Arts & Media College in Hampstead, from the age of 9-13. He then moved to the Stagecoach Theatre Arts School in Primrose Hill, to study acting, singing and dance techniques. While with Stagecoach, he performed at several London venues, including the Shaw Theatre and Her Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket.

In 2011, Toby joined the Lyric Young Company in Hammersmith, where he has worked with theatre companies including Tangled Feet and Knee High, and with playwright Simon Stephens and director Sean Holmes. He played the part of Big Brother in the Lyric’s adaptation of 1984 in 2011, and appeared in Wildworks production of Babel during WORLDSTAGES 2012. More recently he worked on a series of short films with the TEA Film Company, which were screened at the FATFACE short film festival, in conjunction with the BFI.

Toby is a highly skilled musician, and plays saxophone, clarinet, drums, ukulele and djembe. He will begin at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) in September 2013, studying Acting and Musical Theatre.

7, 8 & 9 August at 7.30pm

Click here to see the full schedule for the Festival

Please note: this show contains strobe lighting.


Full £15
Concessions* £10
Young Friends of the Almeida £5

*Concessions are available to full-time students, over 60s, those claiming Job Seekers Allowance, and Deaf and disabled patrons. Proof of eligibility may be requested.

Arts Council England ASP Group