Stephen Givnan

Stephen is the founder and creative director of Freeclarity. He trained as an animateur in Liverpool and then worked in professional theatre touring internationally with various theatre companies acting, writing and directing.

He then moved to Sheffield in order to live in a Buddhist community. During this time he established Sheffield District Advice Centre (SDAC) which provided specialist advice and guidance for substance users within the NHS and several substance misuse counselling charities.

He has taught meditation and Buddhist psychology for almost 20 years, he is an educator and facilitator, delivering theatre, creative thinking, mindfulness and social policy workshops at community centres, prisons, hostels, schools and universities. He is also a trustee at Bens centre for vulnerable people Sheffield.

Juliet Ellis

Juliet is a theatre maker, actor, live-art practitioner and emerging film-maker. She has worked continuously in the interdisciplinary sector to produce a number of works.
Her artistic vision is stimulated by a creative and personal need to discover new aesthetic approaches, expand theatre vocabulary and explore the boundaries of performance together with the possibilities and limitations of the human spirit.
Awarded TIFF (Toronto Independent Film Festival) Talent Lab commission.
Awarded Blank Slate Commission by B3 Media to create her first short film BRO 9, selected for the London Film Festival.
Resident Artist the Greenroom 2004-2005 funded by Black Regional Initiative in Theatre, resulting in Two pieces of work A Hurricane is coming and Meeting Place, Toured nationally
Awarded Black Progress Trust Award for contribution to Arts and Media.
Nominated Best Actress ‘You hang upFirst’ Manchester Evening News Awards.

Debbie Howard

Debbie Howard is filmmaker, actor and drama facilitator. She set up Big Buddha Films in Sheffield almost ten years ago and has made many award winning shorts fiction and documentary films .She recently completed her first feature documentary, Still Loved. Before making films Debbie worked as a professional actor for over twenty years, in theatre and on television. She has a vast amount of experience as  drama facilitator and workshop leader, working with all ages from nursery school children right up to pensioners. She worked extensive with Creative Partnerships for many years, on unique and inspiring projects in schools in South Yorkshire. Many of her projects have used mixed mediums of drama and film. She makes her own work and takes commissions from others. Debbie often teaches the Acting For Screen module at Sheffield Hallam University and mentors young filmmakers on the BFI Film Academy. She is also working with Grimm&Co in Rotherham on creative story writing workshops.

David Mattis

Over the past 10 years David has developed and facilitated Drugs Awareness training sessions for both Sheffield’s Universities and all Sheffield’s colleges. He sits on the Drugs and Alcohol steering group for Sheffield University and is in the process of setting up a substance misuse treatment pathway.
He has designed and delivered bespoke drug and alcohol training packages to many audiences including Probation Officers, Yorkshire Ambulance staff and teachers.
David has a wealth of knowledge, experience and interest working with Minority and Ethnic communities; he previously worked as a substance misuse worker at Breakthrough Multi Ethnic Drugs Service. He has supported the newly resettled Karen community from Burma in 2007. David has also provided training and support to refugees and asylum seekers for many years.
David’s previous work with the Burngreave Drugs Project led to him co- developing the highly successful scheme called ‘Lives or Leaves’. The focus of the scheme was to engage with young people from the Somali/Yemeni communities in Sheffield encountering problems due to chewing Khat.
David is extremely skilled in working with young people involved in gang culture, he played an integral part in Sheffield’s ‘Communities Against Guns and Knives’ campaign.

Emilie Taylor

Emilie Taylor is a Ceramic Artist working from her studio in Sheffield. Her large scale ceramics use heritage craft processes, particularly traditional slipware, to interpret and represent post-industrial landscapes. Emilie is interested in the pot as container and metaphor for how we seek to contain different communities within society. Beyond the studio she works with the communities represented in her work, and through interdisciplinary projects hopes to apply the alchemical quality of ceramics in a socially engaged context.

Emilie has completed residencies in the UK and abroad, and has exhibited at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Ruthin Craft Centre, Gallery Oldham and the Arts & Crafts House Blackwell. Her work forms part of public and private collections. She is also a hcpc registered Art psychotherapist.

Naomi Whitehead

Naomi Whitehead has over 17 years of experience working in a range of Social Care settings from Youth Offending Harm Reduction and Safeguarding through to Substance Misuse and Strategic Management in Housing and Homelessness Prevention. She is passionate about delivering training, counselling and consultancy in the voluntary, public and private sector which maximises individuals and organisations capacity to achieve their desired outcomes and promote equality, creativity and solution building. For example in a training capacity – supporting private sector volunteers to develop client led job coaching skills for their work with people who have experienced homelessness. In a counselling capacity – using Solution Focused practice with individuals so that they can turn their lives around and achieve their stated preferred future. In a consultancy capacity – helping Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Yorkshire take a strengths based way of working to the next level. In a project management capacity – coordinating the 1.5 million Shelter research pilot to divert at risk 8-14 year olds and their families away from offending.

Esther Wilson

Esther has written extensively for stage, TV & radio.
Her first R4 play ‘Hiding Leonard Cohen’ won a Mental Health in Media award. The Heroic Pursuits of Darleen Fyles was shortlisted for numerous awards, and has now been commissioned for a 5th Series.
Her stage play ‘Soulskin’ toured nationally with Red Ladder. She was lead writer on ‘Unprotected’ (Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. R4 version was shortlisted for a Prix Italia Europa award). ‘Ten Tiny Toes’ won one of the international Susan Blackburn Smith awards and was shortlisted for a TMA award. Collaborating with Zho Visual Theatre Esther worked on a site specific piece ‘The Quiet Little Englishman’ set in a disused cinema, for Liverpool’s Capital of Culture in 2008. The piece was hugely ambitious and critically acclaimed. Esther is presently developing another site specific piece with Zho Visual Theatre ‘The Last Paddling Pool at the End of the World’ for 2016.
Tony Teardrop, exploring issues surrounding homelessness and addiction, was a site specific play at Liverpool’s St Luke’s -‘the Bombed-Out Church’. It was also commissioned as a single drama for R3 and two Woman’s Hour series for R4.
Sonnets In The City, a series of short plays to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday will air on R4 next year.
Esther’s TV work includes episodes of Jimmy McGovern’s The Street (Soldier’s Story won an RTS award for best newcomer), Accused ‘Kenny’s Story’, Call The Midwife , ‘Moving On’ and ‘Justice’.
She has various projects in development and has recently finished her first feature film.