“I am proud and honoured to be asked to be a Patron of Wac Arts. Having an open door to the arts for everyone is essential for the wellbeing of us all. Giving an opportunity to those who sometimes don’t know how to find that door is a responsibility to all of us who work in the arts”
Jonathan is an international stage director and choreographer who has worked predominantly in London, New York and around South America. His most well-known work includes Into the Woods and Company at the Donmar Warehouse and choreographing the film Finding Neverland. His most recent work, Everybody’s Talking about Jamie, was developed with Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae for the Sheffield Crucible, before transferring to the Apollo Theatre after rave reviews.
“Wac Arts is a lifeline, a source of hope and enablement. We would be immeasurably poorer without the young people who have passed through their doors.”
Simon Callow was born in London in 1949. He became an actor in 1973; at the National Theatre of Great Britain, in 1979, he created the role of Mozart in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus. Since then he has appeared in theatres all over the British Isles, in Ireland, Australia, Canada, the United States, and Italy. His films include Amadeus, A Room with A View, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Thunderpants and The Phantom of the Opera. His latest film is Acts of Godfrey (in which he plays God, in rhyming couplets). He has directed over thirty plays, musicals and operas, and the film of The Ballad of the Sad Café. He has also written thirteen books, most recently, Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World.
“Wac Arts felt like home every weekend.”
Niomi Arleen McLean-Daley better known as Ms. Dynamite, is an English hip hop and R&B recording artist, rapper-songwriter, and record producer. Niomi released her breakthrough album A Little Deeper in 2002, followed by her acclaimed Judgment Days in 2005. She is the recipient of the Mercury Music Prize, two BRIT Awards and three MOBO Awards.
“Wac Arts supports young people in fulfilling their potential”
Martina Laird has worked extensively in the industry as an actor for almost 20 years. Credits include The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal National Theatre, The Almeida and the Donmar Warehouse’s award winning production of Othello. Martina is probably best known as the popular character Comfort Jones on BBC’s flagship drama Casualty. In addition to her acting, she has directed productions for stage (Sunshine, Fly Me To The Moon, Glen Gary Glen Ross).
“In an industry which is fast becoming the province of the rich, it is becoming more and more difficult for young people from outside a wealthy background to study the arts. This is very bad news indeed and will diminish the richness and variety of our culture [..] The power of the arts. Let it be for all not just the privileged few”
Ann studied at the E.15 Acting School and was the recipient of the first scholarship ever to the school. In her long and distinguished career she has been a leading member of the ground-breaking Citizens Theatre where her roles included Mrs. Warren in Mrs. Warren’s Profession. Her work for the R.S.C includes Hecuba – in John Barton’s Tantalus (12 hour marathon). She has been a visiting guest star at all the major reps throughout the U.K, including The Royal Court, Hampstead Theatre and The Lyric Hammersmith. Ann starred, at the start of her career, in Talking to A Stranger with Judy Dench which made television history. She led the acclaimed series Widows 1 and 2 and has guest starred in all the major T.V. series including French and Saunders, Gimme Gimme as Miss. Twitch, written for her by Jonathan Harvey and she is currently appearing as the formidable Cora in EastEnders. Her latest film is Terence Davies The Deep Blue Sea in which she plays Mrs. Elton. Ann was visiting professor of acting at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has taught at many institutions including Rose Bruford, R.A.D.A and Wac Arts. Her directing work includes the world premier of Barrie Keeffe’s Sus at the Soho Theatre, transferring to The Royal Court. She adapted and directed Cathy Come Home for the stage. She is the co-author with the late Cathy Itzin of Ever After which she also directed at The Tricycle Theatre. She is co-author with Susan Todd of Kiss and Kill nominated for The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.
“Wac Arts was a gift to kids like me. It was a route out of – it sounds like a bit of a cliche – the ghetto.”
Danny Sapani appeared in Danny Boyle’s film Trance. His stage credits include August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Radio Golf, Errol John’s Caribbean classic Moon on a Rainbow Shawl and The National Theatre production of Euripides’ Medea. He has also acted in the 2013 Indian action film, Singam II as an International Drug Lord. His TV roles include appearances on Misfits and Blackout, while his television guest appearances include Judge John Deed and the Doctor Who episode “A Good Man Goes to War.” as Colonel Manton. Since 2014, Sapani has played the role of Sembene in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful.
“Wac Arts is an organisation supporting young people who often come from challenging backgrounds like mine”
From his television debut in The Mimosa Boys in 1984, numerous other stage and screen roles have followed, including a Tony Award win for his performance in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Most recently TV phenomenon brought him recognition with a global audience as Ser Alliser Thorne. Currently starring in Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land with fellow actors Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, Owen has been a supporter and advocate for Wac Arts since attending an industry event in 2015. Owen says “Nobody around me had any experience of acting as a profession, only a sense of famous people and stars. I’m now involved in Wac Arts, an organisation supporting young people who often come from challenging backgrounds like mine.”