The Causeway: Creative team
Sound Artist / Composer
Kate has worked as an actor/musician since 1999 and in that time has written, directed and performed in many shows from the West End to rural touring, and from castles to car parks. She plays many instruments, but her favourites are the instruments of the brass family and she coaches her local Youth Brass Band. No one who lives near her is glad that her most recent purchase is a trombone.
As well as being a musician, Kate is also a sound artist, which means creating loads of sound effects. Her favourite job doing this was in the show Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas where she made all the sound for Santa such as when he crunches across the snow or brushes his hair. Or goes to the loo!
Kate lives in Somerset, but works all over the world, although mostly in the UK at the moment as she is doing a PhD in music. She enjoyed her initial involvement with the Damn Cheek project Monday’s Child (2022) and is delighted to be once again working with the company.
Mahsa Hammat Bahary
Mahsa originally trained at Project A, an intensive acting course at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal. Since graduating, she has appeared as Hobby in Teechers (Gala Theatre, Durham), Alana in Our Laygate (The Customs House), and as lead role Farida in the regional short film Falling.
Mahsa has also performed in several Theatre in Education tours throughout the UK. These performances were aimed at young people aged 12 to 15, and covered topics such as water consciousness, environment care and awareness of after-school education options such as traineeships and apprenticeships.
Mahsa began working with Damn Cheek when she appeared as Jamilla in the site-specific theatre piece Passion For The Planet (2021) at Christ Church Felling and then as The Girl in the tour of Monday’s Child (2022).
She is delighted to be an Associate Artist, working with the Damn Cheek team whose core values she shares and with whom the “work” of acting is always “fun and a privilege”.
Darren Cheek is an actor, director, writer, teacher and dramaturg. He co-founded Damn Cheek in 2013 with the aim of encouraging and supporting individual and community involvement in theatre.
Darren himself found his theatre vocation through being fortunate enough to have the love, support, encouragement and direction of his secondary school drama teacher – and, as such, he is a passionate advocate of this kind of ripple effect.
For more than 20 years, Darren has performed both main and supporting acting roles with many of the UK’s leading regional theatres, on the national touring circuit, and at several West End theatres. Over the years he has appeared regularly in film and on television.
Before founding and becoming Artistic Director of Damn Cheek, Darren was Associate Director of Krazy Kat Theatre Company. A fluent British Sign Language user, he toured regularly in Krazy Kat Theatre Company’s sign-integrated productions between 2000 and 2011. He has also worked as Associate Director for theatre companies UnFit Productions, YCT and Kipper Tie.
Since 1997, Darren has been actively involved in the writing and development of many original plays and adaptations. He is currently developing Damn Cheek’s newest creations which include an extensive site-specific community theatre project in the North East of England plus a piece focused on eating disorders which reflects Damn Cheek’s passionate commitment to mental health issues. Darren is also continuing to develop the monthly Zoom performances which Damn Cheek began in 2020 during lockdown and which aim to stretch the boundaries of Zoom for online audiences.
Darren is an experienced trainer, role-player, presenter and facilitator in both public and corporate, national and international settings, including NHS Trusts, BBC Academy and the National Bank of Pakistan. He is also a fully qualified individual, relationship and group psychotherapist.
Ian originally trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School from 1981 to 1984.
Among his many acting jobs over the years, Ian’s personal favourites have been playing Frank in Educating Rita for Esk Valley Theatre on the North Yorkshire Moors and working with Edward Bond as Mr Twice the Parson in Bond’s play The Fool.
An experienced Panto villain, Ian played his first Dame, Pat M’Bloomers, in Puss in Boots at Chipping Norton in 2019/20 – this was the fulfilment of a childhood ambition as he is a descendant of Dan Leno.
Ian has also played leads in the films Daisies in December and Lilly and The Clown.
Ian very much shares Damn Cheek’s ideals, and is excited to be working for the first time with this committed and talented bunch!
Chris de Wilde
Chris is a London-based theatre designer who has worked extensively both at home and abroad. Highlights include Candide, Sweeney Todd and Nine in Sweden, Il Trovatore in Georgia and Cyberjam and Nixon’s Nixon in London’s West End.
While he enjoys creating work on a larger scale, Chris also relishes the challenge of distilling the essence of a piece when resources are limited, and his work has been seen in over 20 of London’s leading off-West End and fringe venues.
Chris has created shows in barns, on boats and above canteens, as well as in Trafalgar Square, the Courtauld Gallery, the foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the chapel at New College Oxford.
He was Associate Artist with Krazy Kat Theatre Company for many years, collaborating on 19 shows for children including The Singing Ringing Tree, Clownderella and The Very Magic Flute.
Chris has designed a number of shows with Darren Cheek as an actor, including Monday’s Child where for the first time they worked together as director and designer; he also designed the publicity image for the show. He is thrilled to be designing The Causeway.
Writer and Executive Director
Tony grew up in a family where theatre was a passion, and his own love affair with the stage started with a lead role in a gang show – awarded to him simply because, in the cub troop he had joined, he was one of the few who could read. He then progressed through school productions and student theatre before a career in pensions and investment took over. He never stopped writing though, and in 2008 he switched careers to make that his focus.
Following this switch, he found early success with his play The Door on the Edinburgh Fringe; it later transferred to a run at off-Broadway 59E59 Theaters in New York. Somewhere along the way Tony met Darren Cheek and the idea of forming Damn Cheek Productions was born. A double bill of a revised version of The Door along with Tony’s prophetic political The Speech became the new company’s first production and toured covering London, Birmingham and various fringes and other venues around the UK. Tony’s further work with Damn Cheek includes Sex is another Language, Fred and Georgie and Passion for the Planet.
Tony’s first novel, Blessed Assurance, was published in 2019 and has been adapted for the stage by Damn Cheek. His latest poetry collection, Paths and Digressions, was published in May 2021.
Tony’s other activities include a book for children, a millennium review and (as co-writer) a libretto for the choral pageant George and The Dragon. He also finds time for running writers’ groups, choral singing and playing saxophone. Tony is also a director of Terrestrial, a Bristol-based arts company.
Education Consultant and Facilitator
Danie is based in Gateshead, North East England where for the past 4 years she been the Priest in Charge at St Albans, Windy Nook and St John’s Gateshead Fell.
Each of Danie’s days is different and varied. Sundays are the most predictable with 2 or 3 services, perhaps including a baptism followed by a Messy Church or Youth Group service. On weekdays she can begin with a coffee morning, hold an assembly in a local school, meet a family to arrange a funeral, visit a parishioner. She loves the variety of every day, as well as meeting new people and sharing faith in a real and non-threatening way.
In her spare time, Danie loves to go cold water swimming and has persuaded an ever-growing group of people to join her at 6.45am on 4 mornings, swimming in the North Sea!
Danie has worked with Damn Cheek for over 2 years now, advising and consulting. On Passion for the Planet and Monday’s Child – and now on The Causeway – she has led the educational work, supporting local primary schools to develop art, writing and poetry – this has not only helped pupils to develop their knowledge and skills but has also been used in the shows themselves.
There are many things that Danie loves about working with Damn Cheek – the ‘bonkers but wonderful’ creative process, the determination of all to develop art here in the North East and the way that links and legacy have been firmed and developed over time.
Trainee Technical Stage Manager
Shane is originally from Catterick Garrison but has now settled in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He loves the many strong music connections in the area and the opportunity to hear smaller artists and visit smaller arts shows.
Currently, Shane is studying a 3-year degree course in music technology and engineering at Newcastle College, specialising in live sound and production. He is very much enjoying this course, which gives him all the tools he needs to work in the live arts.
Much of the work Shane does is live sound engineering. But he also enjoys stage management for all areas of live performance – setting up, problem solving and thinking on his feet in order to get a show from a first plan to reality.
Shane first worked with Damn Cheek during their 2021 production Passion for the Planet. He really enjoyed both the creativity that the company expressed and the work of building the show that displayed Damn Cheek to the public and gave the audience a few hours of escapism.
Most of Shane’s work has been within the music sector – he has done tech and front-of-house for bands such as Amber Run, Soul’d Out, Luna Bay and Turin Brakes. His favourite part of this work is uncovering new artists and music genres as well as meeting amazing people.
When Shane is not working, he enjoys building scale models, working on cars, playing his guitar and pretending he is Paul Landers or Billie Joe Armstrong!
Shane is really happy to be part of the Damn Cheek team again, creating a larger scale set than before and overcoming the unique difficulties around making The Causeway show.