Who we are

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Did you know that Samuel Taylor Coleridge refers to a Pleasure Dome in his seminal poem, Kubla Khan, inspired by Exmoor's dramatic landscape?

 

"I decided to found Pleasure Dome in 2015 after a lifetime of thinking someone should do some theatre at The Valley of Rocks. I spent my early summers scrambling up and down it's weaving pathways and peering out to sea. I always thought it was an otherworldly and magical location, somewhere not quite of this planet, a place where the sea meets the sky, a place where imagination meets reality, and I can think of nowhere more fitting to perform in. " Helena Payne

 

Helena Payne- Creative Director/Producer

Helena read English at The University of Exeter before training at DSL. Represented by Atwell Artist Management she studies voice with Sheila Barnes. As an actor she has played Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Edmund in LEAR, Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest, Will Doone in Lorna Doone and Lady Macbeth and Lady Sims in The Twelve Pound Look with PDTC. Other work include Sexism is Bad… at The Arcola, Top Girls at The Southbank Centre, Praxagora in The Assembly Women, Mrs Smith in The Bald Prima Donna at The Old Red Lion, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Guiderius in Cymbeline at the CSF, The Blind/The Intruder at the Old Red Lion and its transfer to the Tabard, The Alchemist at the Riverhouse Studios, Viola in Twelfth Night and Margaret in Much Ado at PSF, and Like Enemies of the State at the Pleasance. She regularly records at Abbey Road with London Cantamusica and recently recorded audiobook All the Perverse Angels at Pinewood Studios. She has toured with Heritage Opera as Mercedes in Carmen and other sung roles include Annio in La Clemenza di Tito, Mrs Noye in Noye’s Fludde at St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, Alidoro in La Cenerentola and Mustardseed in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Minack Theatre. She loves The Valley of Rocks and thanks you for indulging her childhood dream in turning this spectacular space into a theatre.. What has she done then?

 

 

Scott Le Crass- Director for LOUISA/Associate Company Member

Scott was born in Bristol, grew up in Birmingham, trained as an actor at Arts Ed and was a director on the Birmingham Rep’s first Foundry Programme.

 

He is an Associate Director for Pleasure Dome Theatre Company and has previous productions include- A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Twelve Pound Look, Lear, Lorna Doone, The Importance of Being Earnest, Macbeth.

 

Credits include:

Director- Rose by Martin Sherman starring Maureen Lipman (Hope Mill Theatre/Sky Arts/Broadway HD), Elmer (UK and International Tour/Sell A Door), Country Music (Omnibus Theatre), Sid (Arts Theatre and UK Tour) The Witches (Watford Palace), Alice in Wonderland (Old, Rep, Birmingham), If you Love Me This Might Hurt (Camden People’s Theatre), The Strange Affair of Herschel Grynspan (Above The Stag/Ruby In The Dust), The Importance of Being Earnest (Beckenham Place Park/Play in the Park), Organised Fun (online comedy improv), Rage, But Hope (Streatham Space Project), Seance (The Asylum, Peckham), Never Trust a Man Bun (Stockwell Playhouse), Alternativity (Hope Theatre/Bread and Roses), No Help Sent (Tristan Bates), Ghost About The House (King’s Head), A Curmudgeon’s Guide to Christmas Round Robin Letters (Hope Theatre), The Biggest Tarantino Fan In The World (Vaulty Towers/Arcola, Minaturists), The Chechnya Plays (The King’s Head/Theatre Deli), Kicked in the Sh**ter (Hope Theatre/Theatre in The Mill, Bradford), Cancel The Sunshine (Hope Theatre/NHS Hospitals Tour), The Killing of Sister George (London Theatre Workshop), Open House (Birmingham Rep and Midlands tour), Diary of a Madman (Omnibus/Jack Studio).

 

Associate Director- Godspell (50th Anniversary Concert, Hope Mill Theatre), The Seven Ages of Patience (Kiln Theatre).

 

Assistant Director- The King’s Speech (Chichester/Birmingham Rep/UK Tour), Dorian: A Rock Musical (Stream Theatre/Ruby In The Dust), Romeo and Juliet (Silvano Toti Globe/Harold Pinter Theatre), The Merchant of Venice (Silvano Toti Globe/Duke of Yorks), Coming Up (Watford Palace), A Christmas Carol (Birmingham Rep), Von Ribbentrop's Watch (Oxford Playhouse/Watford Palace), Kurt and Sid (Trafalgar Studios).

 

Scott’s production of Rose won an Off Com award and Country Music an Off West End award. He received a Best Director Offie and Broadway World Nomination for his productions of Sid and a Best Director Offie Nomination for Kicked in the Sh**ter. Alice in Wonderland was a runner up and a finalist for two What’s On Birmingham Awards.

Jai Morjaria- Associate Company Member

Jai trained at RADA and won the 2016 Association of Lighting Designer’s ETC Award.

 

Recent designs include Cruise (Duchess Theatre); Big Big Sky, The Hoes (Hampstead Theatre); Lava, Pawn/Limbo (Bush Theatre); My Son’s A Queer (But What Can You Do?) (Turbine Theatre); Hushabye Mountain (Hope Mill); Out of the Dark (Rose Theatre Kingston); Shuck’n’Jive, Whitewash (Soho Theatre); Anansi the Spider, Aesop’s Fables (Unicorn Theatre); I’ll Take You To Mrs. Cole (Complicite); World’s End (King’s Head Theatre); The Actor’s Nightmare (Park Theatre); Mapping Brent (Kiln Theatre); Mary’s Babies (Jermyn Street Theatre); Glory (Duke’s Theatre/Red Ladder); Cuzco (Theatre503);  Losing Venice (Orange Tree Theatre); King Lear, Lorna Doone (Exmoor National Park); Cinderella (Duke’s Lancaster); Ages of the Moon (Vaults Festival); A Lie of the Mind (Southwark Playhouse);  46 Beacon (Trafalgar Studios with Rick Fisher); Out There on Fried Meat Ridge Road (White Bear Theatre/Trafalgar Studios 2); Acorn (Courtyard Theatre.  Off-West End Award nomination for Best Lighting).

LOUISA Creatives 

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Lizzie Watts- Designer 

Lincolnshire born artist and musician Lizzie Watts graduated from the Norwich School of Art and Design in 2010. A multi-disciplined creative with a diverse portfolio, she is inspired by traditional arts and children's literature. She has worked on shows at The Young Vic, Royal Court, Bristol Old Vic, Camden Roundhouse and The BAC and has designed productions for theatres and touring companies across the UK. She co-manages Thimble Theatre, a Bristol based company developing performances based in storytelling, mask work and puppetry for audiences of all ages. Lizzie is an experienced workshop leader and is passionate about making theatre with and for young people. She is often employed as a designer/mentor working with youth theatres and designing theatre in education.

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Joe Price- Lighting Designer

 

Joe trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and is now based in Bristol. He received the 2015 Francis Reid Award for Lighting Design.

Credits include: Outlier (Bristol Old Vic), My Name Is Rachel Corrie (Young Vic), The World’s Wife (Welsh National Opera), Redefining Juliet (Barbican), Rapunzel (The Egg, TRB), Heads Will Roll (Told by an Idiot), Heather (Bush Theatre), The Turn of the Screw (RWCMD), Quality Street (Northern Broadsides), Ask Me Anything (Paper Birds), What Songs May Do (Dance City), Kite (The Wrong Crowd), Conditionally (Soho Theatre), Mrs Dalloway (Arcola Theatre), Father Figurine (Wardrobe Theatre), Box Clever and Killymuck (Bunker Theatre), Fossils (Brits off Broadway NYC), Peter Pan (Barn Theatre), Frankie Vah (Luke Wright), This Must Be the Place (VAULT Festival), Let the Right One in (Arts Ed), Magnificence (Finborough Theatre), Some Girl(s) (Park Theatre), Around The World in 80 Days (Theatre Royal Winchester), Alternative Routes (National Dance Company Wales), Animal/Endless Ocean (Gate Theatre) and Y Twr (Invertigo).

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Stephanie Berner- Assistant Producer/ Stage Manager

 

Taunton-based Stephanie trained at the London College of Music where she specialised in opera.  During her time there, she won the Michael James oratorio competition and performed in The  Proms with the BBC Symphony Chorus in 2018. 

Since, she has performed in Opera Holland Parks’ Alice in Wonderland, been the soloist for  Minehead Chorales Stella Natalis, Celia in Somerset Operas’ Iolanthe and Tessa in the Gondoliers.  Stephanie has been a recurring member of Pleasure Dome Theatre from recitals in Porlock to  performing at the Valley of Rocks, in her latest venture as Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's  Dream.

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Sebastian Payne- Musical Director/Arranger/Sound Design

Sebastian Payne began his musical endeavours as a choirboy at St Paul’s Cathedral, and the classical training formed a bedrock for all that was to follow. Songwriting was taking up in his late teens, and since his steady introduction into more contemporary styles there has been no looking back. As a scholar at Berklee College of Music, Seb found himself in a fresh environment in Boston, developing and expanding his musical sensitivities. Now living and performing in London with several different groups, from 80’s classics to A Cappella group Novi to funk/rock band Superbird, Seb still just about finds time to write and record his own music under the pseudonym Kasoma. 

He is relishing working on the sound world of LOUISA and is looking forward to sharing his arrangements of these well-known shanties with a new audience.

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Sophy Layzell- Artist for Posters and Programme

Sophy Layzell worked for nearly 20 years in youth theatres, for community arts groups as well as local theatres such as the Brewhouse, Taunton and Octagon, Yeovil.  She now focusses most of her time on writing, both scripts and novels. She is also a keen artist and worked for a while as both lead artist and project co-ordinator for Somerset Art Works Ltd. Her current lino cuts are inspired by the Somerset local flora and fauna and some of the illustrations feature in her most recent novel Invisible Thread. The poster for Louisa was a chance for her to explore lino printing techniques and this is her first three colour reduction.

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Joe Samuels- Associate Lighting Designer

Joe is a production electrician, lighting technician and associate based in Bath. He has a degree in Theatre Production specialising in Lighting from Bath Spa University and works across regional theatre, touring and the West End. 

His recent work includes associate lighting designer and production electrician on Closer Than Ever for Broadway HD, lighting programmer for Sing Yer Heart Out for The Lads at Chichester Festival Theatre, lighting number 1 and relighter for the UK/US tour of the Old Vic’s A Monster Calls and lighting number 1 for multiple London Palladium pantomimes. He is currently working as a lighting technician for the 2021 season at Chichester Festival Theatre alongside his regular freelance work.

Leanne Berry- Associate Costume Designer

Born in Devon, Leanne grew up in-between Lynton and Belfast. She has consistently found herself immersed in the creative community throughout her life, from working in a haberdashery and becoming  an art assistant, to taking Fashion and Textiles at the University of East London. While being based in London she has worked on a variety of student films, assisting the Art,  Costume and Prop departments. Including “Mr and Mrs Bucket” an award winning short film. She is especially excited to help out and become apart of this local production of LOUISA. 

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Scott Ellis- Assistant Director

Scott was The Artistic Director of Merely Theatre. Productions directed for Merely include UK Tours of Romeo & Juliet, Henry V, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night. He also spent a year running Theatre N16 where he directed productions of Lucy Light, The Snow Queen and Finding Peter. He was the associate director on A Midsummer Nights Dream at The Southwark Playhouse and the Assistant Director on The Realistic Joneses at The Ustanov in Bath and Fool for Love at Found 111. 

LOUISA Cast 

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Janna Fox

Janna trained at Drama Studio London on the One Year Course in 2010 and works in theatre, film
and voiceover. Favourite theatre credits include: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Valley of Rocks)
African Gothic (Park 90), Red Sea Fish (Brits Off Broadway), Merchant of Venice (Duke of
York’s/Globe Rome), Th’Importance of Bein’ Earnest (The Drayton Arms), Rising Damp (Sarah Thorne Theatre), Trial Play (Arcola), The Bacchae (Open Air Tour). Janna has also worked as an
actor/musician in several productions playing the violin, recorder and guitar. On screen castings
include struggling addict, escaped psychiatric patient, Yummy Mummy and comedy Air Hostess.
Despite being raised in Leeds Janna is from a family of wanderers and her maternal Great

Grandmother was originally from Somerset and met Janna’s Great Grandfather in Weston-Super-
Mare; they then moved to South Wales leading Janna to believe she had Welsh heritage when in fact 
it originates in the South West. Janna is thrilled to be a part of bringing the story of the overland launch to life and to be working with Pleasure Dome for the second time this year.

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Richard Lounds

Richard is an actor, singer, musician, puppeteer and performer. He trained at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. As an actor and performer, his recent credits include the UK and International Tours of Mr Men and Little Miss On Stage (Selladoor), Yeoman of the Guard (Forbear! Theatre), A Little Night Music (Storyhouse), The Crucible (Storyhouse), The Mariner (Common Ground Theatre Company), and Giacomo Meyerbeer’s opera: L’Etoile du Nord (Kokkola Opera and
Helsinki Musiikkitalo). As a singer he has toured the UK, the US, France and Sweden and was awarded a Choral Scholarship at Merton College, University of Oxford.

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Lydia Barton Lovett

 

Lydia trained on the Actor Musicianship course at Rose Bruford College, graduating in 2020.

Previous credits include: Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest (Michael Friend Productions); Viola in Twelfth Night (Rose Bruford); Mrs Smith in Pardoned (The Bohemians Co.); Frieda in Sunday in the Park with George (NYMT); Fairy Bowbells in Dick Whittington (Sarah Thorne Theatre Company); Odette in Dancing on Armistice Day (The Big Reveal); Story of our Youth (NYT).


Composer/Musical Director credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Changeling Theatre) and Masks and Faces (Finborough Theatre Online).


Directing credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Breathing Corpses, and
Tonight at 8.30 for Theatre 54. As Assistant Director, Billy the Kid (NYMT).

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Joe Wiltshire Smith

Joe is a Welsh actor who graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in 2017. He represented RWCMD at the Sam Wanamaker Festival in his second year, was a finalist at the Sondheim Student Performer of the Year and received the J.O Francis Memorial Award in 2017 and the Gareth Jones Scholarship in 2016. Some of Joe’s theatre credits include The History Boys at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre and The Kneebone Cadillac at the Theatre Royal Plymouth. In 2019, Joe had his first play, Five Green Bottles, produced at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff. Most recently, he completed his MA in Creative Writing at Cambridge and was shortlisted for the Orange Tree Writer’s Collective.

Joe is delighted to be returning to Exmoor after playing Bottom and Egeus in Pleasure Dome's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Valley of Rocks this summer.

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Tamsin Lynes

Devon born Tamsin trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.


Theatre includes: Beth in Shadowplay (Lion and Unicorn Theatre), Red Riding Hood in Red Riding Hood (Colour House Theatre), Cinderella in Cinderella (Colour House Theatre), Pinocchio in Pinocchio Gets Wood (Guildford Fringe Company), Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing (The Cockpit), Montano in Othello (Brunel Museum/The Cockpit), Evi in Noise (The Others), Jo in The Soldier’s Tale (Clapham Omnibus Theatre). Films include: Ellie in The Door, Cammie in Alice and Philomena Gardner in Untitled Chat Show. Digital Theatre: Celia in As You Like It and Margaret in Much Ado About Nothing (The Show Must Go Online).

Pleasure Dome Theatre Associate Artists:
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