Rhum + Clay is an award-winning theatre company led by co-Artistic Directors, Julian Spooner and Matt Wells and Executive Producer, Sally Cowling.
Rhum + Clay began with friendship. Founding members Chris, Julian and Kris decided to form a company and, one anarchic show later, a name change, the addition of Matt and away we went! We rehearsed our first shows in various parks and bandstands. We’ve since graduated from parks to theatres, to bigger theatres, to theatres in other countries. What hasn’t changed is our desire to make work that ignites the audience’s imagination. There are also some spectacularly talented people who now work with us...
Everything that Rhum + Clay produces is developed collaboratively; from set designers to writers, performers and sound artists, everyone is together from day one to offer opinions and build the show together.
Off-stage, our education programme is an extension of that creative process, celebrating the unique skills of each participant whilst giving them tools to create better theatre, collaboratively. Our hope is that many of the workshop participants will become future collaborators.
We are Artistic Associates of New Diorama Theatre and Redbridge Drama Centre who have supported and challenged us creatively and practically and over the long-term. We’ve also been supported by Arts Council England since 2012. We couldn't have done it without any of them and we are enormously grateful.
Co-Artistic Director - Julian Spooner
Julian is a multi-award winning actor, director, writer, and co-Artistic Director of Rhum + Clay. He studied Drama at the University of Bristol before training for two years at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris where he co-founded Rhum + Clay.
Julian has co-created all of their productions. Most recently he has co-directed Rhum + Clay’s critically-acclaimed production, 64 SQUARES, directed the multi-award winning, TESTOSTERONE and performed in the company’s version of Dario Fo’s MISTERO BUFFO for which he won the Stage Award for Acting Excellence. In 2019 he co-directed THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, which will embark on a mid-scale tour of the UK and the US in 2021. Julian is also a keen filmmaker, having co-created the award-winning comedy short film, Toby (2018), and is currently developing a feature film screenplay. He’s also an Artistic Associate of Hoipolloi, and devised The Ladder with Shôn Dale-Jones and Stefanie Mueller in 2019.
Co-Artistic Director - Matt Wells
Matt is an actor, movement teacher and co-Artistic Director of Rhum + Clay. He studied Performance at the University of Western Sydney before training for two years at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris where he first joined the company.
Since 2010 he has been the co-Artistic Director of Rhum + Clay, co-creating all of the company’s productions. He co-directed and provided movement direction for the critically-acclaimed 64 SQUARES and was Movement Director for TESTOSTERONE and THE WAR OF THE WORLDS.
Matt is also passionate about teaching, having created and led workshops all over the world, most recently in Kazakhstan, Canada, Brazil, Venezuela and Australia. Since 2004 Matt has choreographed work for Australia’s farthest-reaching touring theatre company, Brainstorm, a company that performs to over 350,000 young people each year.
Executive Producer - Sally Cowling
Sally is a producer and programmer and Executive Producer for Rhum + Clay. As well as her work with Rhum + Clay, she is Artistic Associate and International Programmer for Brighton Dome and Festival, curating the international performance programme and producing the Festival’s commissioned work. She is also International Associate at Wiltshire Creative and a producer of large-scale productions for other companies, including One Extraordinary Day, a suite of spectacular aerial dance performances by the Streb company, taking place on and around iconic London buildings, as part of the London 2012 Festival and the LIFT/Barbican production and UK tour of Russian director Dmitry Krymov’s magnificent Opus no 7.
Until 2010 Sally was the Director of Drama and Dance at the British Council, creating and managing over 300 theatre and dance events around the world each year, including the Council’s biennial Edinburgh Showcase, which she originally designed and established. Working particularly extensively in Central and Eastern Europe, Greece, China and North America, Sally has worked as a dramaturg, theatre critic, arts funder and as a theatre, dance and live art producer internationally, as well as in Britain. She sits on a number of advisory and award panels, including as an advisor for National Theatre of Scotland.
General Manager - Grace Dickson
Grace is a freelance producer & General Manager for Rhum + Clay. She has an MA in Creative Producing from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, where she now teaches, before which she studied Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh.
Grace is also Assistant Producer to Ellie Claughton, with whom she works for Breach Theatre (It’s True, It’s True, It’s True, Joan of Leeds), LUNG (Trojan Horse, Who Cares) and Barrel Organ (CONSPIRACY). Grace worked as Production Coordinator for LIVE General Management and is the Administrator for Burn Bright. Grace is Company Producer for Grace Dickson Productions, Lagahoo Productions (NDT Emerging Company, Soho Theatre Young Company) and THESE GIRLS (Pleasance Charlie Hartill Reserve Recipient). She is Trainee Trustee at Theatre Deli, Accounts Assistant to Mark Cartwright, and has previously worked with Improbable, Target Live, Global Musicals, Premier Comms PR and Something for the Weekend.
Producing credits include: SPLINTERED (Lagahoo Productions; Vault Festival 2020, Edinburgh Fringe 2019; OffWestEnd Award-nominated), Bible John (THESE GIRLS; Vault Festival 2020, Edinburgh Fringe 2019; Pleasance Charlie Hartill Reserve Recipient), An Act of Care (archipelago; Push Festival 2020), Catching Comets (Ransack Theatre; as Associate Producer; Royal Exchange Theatre & The Pleasance 2020) and We Three (Short film; nominated for Royal Television Society Short Film Drama Award).