‘Innovative, ingenious, challenging, life-enhancing are all words that should be applied sparingly unless describing the "real deal". Having watched and been part of this company's work I've been amazed by the depth of their imagination and their ability to bring it to fruition through their theatre practice.’ Jude Kelly CBE.

ZU-UK is an award-winning not- for-profit independent company founded in 2001 and led by immigrant working-class artists Persis Jadé Maravala and Jorge Lopes Ramos. Persis Jadé is ethnically Persian, born in Yemen yet raised in East London. Jorge was born and raised within Borel (one of Rio de Janeiro’s largest favelas) to a Polish and Romanian family. In a world where mainstream narratives normalise hate and fear, and where contemporary loneliness is a new epidemic, Persis Jadé and Jorge believe

in the need for shared rituals, new narratives and experiences that empower those most vulnerable to have a voice and participate in culture.

ZU-UK regularly deliver high quality interdisciplinary professional training, including creative technology and game design for professional artists, entrepreneurs, social enterprises, people with low levels of educational attainment and from economically deprived backgrounds. Through this work ZU-UK create new pathways into creative lives for communities that don't usually engage with arts and technology.

ZU-UK works in the intersection between performance art, interactive technology and urban games. Maravala and Lopes Ramos co-founded GAS Station (Games and Arts Stratford) in 2015 as a way to

foster innovation in East London, and run the MA Contemporary Performance Practices at UEL.

Considered pioneers of Immersive Theatre, they have collected awards in the fields

of creative economy, immersive theatre, hybrid art and interactive technology. Their work has been presented by Hayward Gallery (Southbank Centre), FACT Liverpool and LIFT Festival. They have coached artists in over ten countries since 2006, published on immersive theatre, programmed live and digital festivals, created an interactive digital performance for the Olympics in 2012, World Cup 2014 and a public artworks for the Olympic Park in 2015 and Trinity Buoy Wharf in 2018.



Graeae Theatre Company

Graeae is a force for change

in world-class theatre - breaking down barriers, challenging preconceptions and boldly placing d/Deaf and disabled artists centre stage.

Artistically led by Jenny Sealey, Graeae’s signature characteristic is the compelling creative integration of sign language, captioning and audio description, which engages brilliantly with both disabled and non-disabled audiences.

Championing accessibility and providing a platform for new generations of artists, Graeae leads the way in pioneering, trail-blazing theatre.

Graeae also run an extensive programme of creative learning opportunities throughout the year, training and developing the next generation of D/deaf and disabled artists. These programmes include Write to Play and Ensemble.

Recent productions and co-productions for the stage include: This Is Not For You, Reasons to be Cheerful, Cosmic Scallies, The House of Bernarda Alba, The Solid Life of Sugar Water, Blood Wedding, The Threepenny Opera, Belonging, Blasted and Bent. Spectacular outdoor productions include The Limbless Knight, Prometheus

Awakes and The Iron Man. With Naked Productions Ltd, co-productions for radio include Amy Dorrit, The Midwich Cuckoos and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

In autumn 2019, Graeae will tour nationally a reimagining of Winsome Pinnock’s 2005 play One Under, with a cast of disabled and non-disabled performers.

Graeae are a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) of Arts Council England.

Twitter @graeae

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Preparing Hamlet in Uzbek

John Tucker (Director)

This version of Hamlet in Uzbek is the first to have been performed in Uzbekistan to closely follow Shakespeare’s Hamlet as published in the First Folio of 1623. What is particularly authentic about this version is that it makes use of the original punctuation as found in the First Folio. It took John Tucker (Director of Hamlet) four months to cut Shakespeare’s Hamlet to the size required for this particular performance. He then spent the next two months working online with Indira Ikhlasova (Project Leader) to match his English directorial cut to Jamol Kamol’s translation of Hamlet in Uzbek. Jamol Kamol is Uzbekistan’s national poet and writer.

For the most part, particularly the text involving dialogue, Jamol Kamol’s translation of Hamlet follows Shakespeare’s verse and prose line for line. In the monologues, however, the Uzbek version tended not to follow Shakespeare’s thought structures, in particular the many breaks of thought that take place in the middle of the line (mid-line break) rather than coinciding with the end of the line (end-stopping). A mid-line break of thought - a sentence finishing before the end of the verse line - is known as the caesura. Throughout the monologues in Hamlet, Shakespeare makes much use of the caesura to create dramatic tension that expresses the heightened emotional state of the characters. John Tucker ensured that, in his version of the Uzbek translation, Shakespeare’s caesura’s were reinserted back into the text to restore their original dramatic arch.

While Shakespeare punctuates his phrases with colons, semi-colons, question marks and full stops, frequently employing mid-line caesuras, Jamol Kamol dramatises his version of the text by completing thoughts at the end of the verse line with the help of exclamation marks. It is interesting to note that Shakespeare only utilises the exclamation mark 40 times whereas Jamol Kamol uses it over 3000 times. The difference in effect is substantial: Shakespeare’s original text, with its colons, semi-colons, full stops and question marks structuring a multitude of sub-clauses and clauses, makes for a clearer, varied and subtler delivery than Kamol's more emphatic translation.

In directing this production of Hamlet, John Tucker was keen to share skills with the Uzbek actors that are commonly used in the UK when handling Shakespeare’s verse and prose. Tucker’s return to the First Folio offers a whole other interpretation for the Uzbek actor to explore in terms of the rhythm as well as the meaning inherent within the text. This creates a more naturalistic dramatic delivery and a more natural use of the individual actor’s voice.

Clean Break

Clean Break was set up in 1979 by two women prisoners who believed that theatre could bring the hidden stories of imprisoned women to a wider audience. Still the only women’s theatre company of its kind, Clean Break has remained true to these roots, continuing to inspire playwrights and captivate audiences with ground-breaking plays on the complex theme of women and crime.

For more than three decades, Clean Break has delivered high quality theatre-based courses,

awarded qualifications and offered specialised support, all of which are critical for the rehabilitation of women with experience of the criminal justice system.

Four Clean Break Graduates worked with Waiting In The Dark Theatre Company in the play ‘Constance & Kelly’.

Waiting in the Dark

Waiting in the Dark Theatre Company was set up by former Clean Break education manager, Laura McCluskey in 2015.

The company's aims are to:

  • write and produce plays about social injustice;

  • nurture alongside established artists emerging artists, especially working-class women and those who identify as at risk of the criminal justice system;

  • offer related education workshops to students, vulnerable adults and to young people who are not in employment, education or training;

  • offer free tickets and transport to see the plays to those who may not usually engage in theatre.


Samantha Wraith

Samantha Wraith graduated from BA (Hons) European Theatre Arts at Rose Bruford College in 2005. She is National Director of Theatre Obscura theatre and dramatherapy company and Chair of Trustees at interactive performing arts Charity Root Experience Samantha is a dramatherapist (MA), performance artist, trainer and consultant, and currently studies Contemporary Performance Practices (MA) at UEL with ZU-UK. 

With 15 years’ experience of leading participatory arts-based experiences that incite and facilitate transformation, Samantha’s specialisms are process-led and research-based arts practices. She is particularly inspired and engaged by immersive theatre, sensory ethnography, trauma, memory and consciousness studies.

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