David Glass is an award winning solo performer, theatre director, writer, designer, lighting designer, filmmaker, teacher and creative thinker. He is one of the UK’s most prominent Theatre Directors and one of the principal founders of the Physical/Visual, Devised, Ensemble and Applied Theatre movements.
He trained at the Lecoq School of Physical Theatre and also studied with Decroux, Grotowski, Alvin Ailey, Mike Alfreds, Ed Berman, Peter Brook, Master Lim and Augusto Boal. David is a citizen of the world who resides in London.
He is a leading international theatre teacher and has taught and influenced three generations of theatre makers in 73 countries. Past students include Simon McBurney (Complicite), Emma Thompson (Actress), Amit Lehav (Gecko Theatre), Hayley Carmichael and Paul Hunter (Told by An Idiot) Lloyd Newson (DV8), Liam Steele (Physical Director), Tina Ellen Lee (Opera Circus) and Jim Chim Hoi (Theatre Ensemble Hong Kong). He has influenced industry leaders such as Tom Morris (War Horse) and John McGrath (Artistic Director of Manchester International Festival) and has been influential in shaping the creative lives of performers such as Kathrine Hunter, Anna Marie- Duff, Sarah Parrish and Gong Lee. Always a maverick, David is often sighted by theatre leaders as a defining force in world theatre. He has spearheaded collaborative practice that has helped shape the creative approaches of his early collaborators Rae Smith (Designer), Jamie Vartan (Designer) and Paule Constable (Lighting Designer). Whilst many of the artists he has influenced have settled in the mainstream, David has always looked for new creative avenues unconcerned by fashion or commercial success.
For fifteen years David helped shape arts policy and delivery for both the Arts Council of England (1988-1992) and The British Council as a consultant and panel member. He established the learning criteria for Physical and Devised Theatre at GCSE and A Level at schools in the UK. Along with Penny Mayes, they helped establish a home for Physical Theatre in the UK’s cultural life through major financial uplifts. Without their lobbying and arts panel work companies such as Complicite, Improbable, DV8, Frantic Assembly, Adventures In Motion Pictures and Gecko Theatre- to name only a few- would never have achieved a secure platform in the UK.
From 1978-1990 he was an award winning solo physical theatre performer touring to over 48 countries and creating 10 works, including ‘The White Women’, which won an Edinburgh Fringe First Award. He performed alongside American clowns Bob Berky and Bill Irwin and was the first mime artist to teach Footlights Review (Cambridge, UK), influencing a generation of actors and comedians such as Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson, to think with their bodies. His teaching at this time influenced luminaries such as Stephen Daldry (Dir. Billy Elliot), Roxanne Silbert (ATC, Birmingham Rep Theatre) and Anna Furse (Paines Plough, Goldsmiths College). During this time David was influential amongst a generation of emerging dance artists including Shobana Jeysingh, Benji Reid, Aletta Collins and Lloyd Newson.
In 1999 he established the David Glass Ensemble and has toured productions to 32 countries, including Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast that won him the TMA Best Director Award in 1992. He spearheaded theatrical adaptations of films including Les Enfant de Paradis with Mike Alfreds and Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, as well as the first ever stage adaption of Popeye and a celebrated version of Paul Theroux’s Mosquito Coast. His Lost Child Trilogy broke the mould of how theatre could be made. It was a collaboration with over 6000 street children in 22 countries. And his return to performance in 2004 with Disembodied co-created with Tom Morris, changed the map of physical performance. With The Chimp That Spoke, David spent two weeks with chimps that spoke American Sign Language, creating a work ahead of its time around the theme of ecocide.
In 1997 he founded the groundbreaking Lost Child Project working with over 10,000 street children in 22 countries and established the first Centre For Creative Development with VBNK in Cambodia in 2000. David designed and led on a two year Youth Peer to Peer Forum Theatre on reproductive health with the Ministry of Education in Vietnam funded by the Ford Foundation. The troupe went onto become the leaders of Applied Theatre across Vietnam working in Hanoi University and establishing Life Art Company. In Cambodia he wrote his five stage Creative Practice book which is now used worldwide to help organisations such as Save The Children, UNICEF, UN/ILO and numerous Universities around the world helping them to think and work more creatively. His Ensemble practice has been a key element in the corporate development work of David Pearl Associates.
In 2002, he established Ensemble Films with Paul Zetter to make films and film writing around development and arts issues. In its fourteen years it has made hundreds of films across SE Asia and is now branching out in Europe with partners Robert Golden Pictures and BAFTA award winner John Dale.
In 2016 he established The Centre For Creative Practice, which teaches creativity across a wide range of organisations and learning institutions in 16 countries. He is lead Creative Practice and leadership trainer for the UN and Senior Foreign Consultant on Creativity to the Ministry of Education China as part of the 111 program. His Creative Practice is used by Save The Children, British Council and Embassy as well as companies and universities around the world.
Always visually stunning and provocative, his recent productions include an acclaimed production of Bleak House, a visually powerful adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, a site specific version of The Shining in a hotel, an epic work of physical theatre inspired by Naomi Klein’s seminal work on capitalism and climate change- This Changes Everything, an outrageous work on the Feminine Principle (that developed as the #MeToo movement was unfolding) called The Brides for The Brides Collective of Siena (Italy)- a new company that he helped establish. Always planting new seeds, David has also helped establish Theatre Ash (Hong Kong) with his hugely visual work based on Kowloon Walled City, City Of Darkness that opened Yogyakarta International Festival, 2018. In 2019 he directed Tempest, a co-production with KL Shakespeare Players that gained much praise at PenangPAC and KLPAC (Malaysia). In 2019 he also had another offbeat hit, Mortgage, which toured Greece, UK and Norway.
David continues to work internationally in 24 countries. The reformed Ensemble has partnership homes at Bath Spa University (UK), East 15 Drama School (UK), LASALLE College (Singapore), Central Academy of Dramatic Art Beijing (China), The Haque Centre for Acting and Creativity (Singapore), DPAC (Malaysia), Marphy’s Playhouse Chengdu (China), National Theatre Of Serbia, Teatro Espanol (Spain), Artogether Guangzhou (China), Created A Monster (UK) and Athens Festival (Greece), and its reach is growing as his work focuses on the coming generation of artists around the world.
Over the next five years David is working internationally on four legacy projects. AB Project is a nine country youth arts empowerment project using the Anders Breivik attack on 69 young people as a provocation to celebrate the potential of those lost voices at this time of youth polarisation and marginalisation. This Changes Everything is a theatrical adaptation of Naomi Klein’s seminal work on climate change and capitalism. A DEvine Comedy is a trilogy of works celebrating the madness of theatre and the modern world.
In 2021, David and the Ensemble are partnering with Bath Spa University to establish Alchemy of the Extraordinary: a two year part time MA in Creative Practice and Innovation with the vision of creating the theatre and digital arts mavericks of the future.
Natalie is Director of Konzept Arts & Ideas, a pan-European performing arts management company specialising in the management of contemporary dance theatre, physical/visual theatre and performance installation.
Natalie is passionate about supporting companies whose work crosses many art forms and is based in London & Turin. She supports artists and companies with fundraising, financial administration and budgeting, tour booking, programming, marketing and promotion, promoter liaison, advocacy and tour management for international productions. After 10 years as a theatre and venue manager working in a variety of venues across London including the Apollo Victoria Theatre, the Arts Theatre, Blackheath Halls and Riverside Studios, Natalie moved into producing after studying theatre arts at Goldsmiths College. She worked for touring theatre company Trestle for 6 years between 2004-2010 as both General Manager and Administrative Producer and was the first Associate Producer for The Hat Factory in Luton between 2010-2012. There she supported the development of touring work by emerging and established artists.
INTERNATIONAL LEARNING COORDINATOR
Elisabeth Gunawan is a performer and theatremaker based in London and Singapore. As a teacher, she focuses on helping students find freedom, insight and impulses in their bodies. She has taught in various corporations, organizations and schools inlcuding at Google, The US Embassy, LASALLE College of the Arts, and the Singapore American School and Topi Dalmata Siena. Within The David Glass Ensemble, she works with partners all over the world to bring in the work and pedagogy of Ensemble artists.
In New York, she was a founding member of the all-female theatre company Mad and Merry. In Singapore, she has collaborated with various theatre companies including Method Productions, Passerby Productions, and Pink Gajah Theatre. Her solo show Infinite Variety — based on Javanese folklore and myths — have been featured in Dixon Place’s Variety Arts series and HERE Arts Center’s Summer Series. She collaborated with an ensemble of women led by Giovanni Ortega on a three-year project of devising The Body Trilogy — an intergenerational manifesto by colored women about their bodies. Her piece Angel — which explores the life of household helpers raising an “orphan generation” in South East Asia — has been developed independently and with Pink Gajah Theatre. Elisabeth Gunawan has trained at New York University (B.A.) and RADA (M.A.)
Donna Chang, a person who has loved drama since she was 10 years old, started becoming involved in Theatre and Drama in Education after she graduated from the University of Warwick in 2003. She organises drama and theatre activities for children and in 2017 she founded JID CREATIVE HOUSE (Ningbo) which inspires and shares the joy of creativity with children.
As the China Learning Co-ordinator, Donna continues to spread the seeds of drama and theatre in China. For her this it is not a dream or a show, but a life task.
Hester is an international theatre performer, director, trainer and producer based between Paris and London. She holds a BA(hons) in Drama and Theatre Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London. Here her training focused on Theatre Making, Applied Theatre and Post-Colonial Theatre. Currently she is training at École Philippe Gaulier in France.
As an assistant producer with the Ensemble she covers a variety of roles, including editing and maintaining the website, co-ordinating events and assisting with marketing. In addition this she is an Associate Artist and Trainer with the Ensemble, and with Omnibus Theatre, London. As an Ensemble Associate, Hester has taught children and trained teachers in Drama Education, as well as directed the first immersive production in the South West of China; The Forest (Marphy's Playhouse). She has been Assistant Director to David on multiple performances across Europe and Asia including A DEvine Comedy (UK), The Brides (Italy), Mortgage (UK) and City Of Darkness (Hong Kong, Indonesia).
As a facilitator/trainer she has led workshops and arts projects with a diverse range of participants including teachers, the elderly, those affected by homelessness and unemployment, early years children, young people and those with special needs. She has taught across China, Malaysia, India, Canada, France and the UK.
Directing credits include: The Food Play (What About Kuching Festival, Malaysia), The Forest (Marphy’s PlayHouse, China), PEEP (LeeFest & The Stretch, UK) Colour and The Dream (Omnibus Theatre, UK). Performing credits include: What do we leave behind? (MAP Festival, Melaka, Malaysia), Seeds of Plastic (SACPA, Pelem, Indonesia), The Food Play (Poplar Union, London UK), The Dream (Omnibus Theatre, London, UK).
Wales born and raised, Gavin graduated from the Arts University Bournemouth with a BA in Acting. He has since worked as an actor, director, facilitator and is now turning his hand to producing too.
Gavin has a passion for exploring oppression and empowering young people through his work. He has toured with multiple TIE shows around the UK and has played both the Edinburgh and Camden Fringe. He is also a season regular on the podcast audio drama, ‘The Orphans’ where he plays Richard. As a facilitator and director, he has worked in China, Italy and the UK. As Assistant Producer on Bleak House, Gavin looks forward to sharing this important piece of theatre with new audiences.
Aimee is a performer and assistant producer from South East London. She holds a BA (hons) degree in Acting from Arts University Bournemouth and she uses her creative eye to spread the Ensembles work over all social media platforms. As a perfomer, Aimee has worked with a variety of companies in a variety of genres, such as Physical Theatre, Devising, New Writing, Theatre in Education and Film. Companies include Fight or Flight Productions, Tout Ensemble, Vienna's English Theatre and Untold Theatre.
As an Associate Artist of the David Glass Ensemble, Aimee has worked as an actor playing the role of JO in Bleak House and has also worked in Italy with David and Topi Dalmata as a facilitator and workshop assistant.
Aimee also helps run the social media for the Ensemble on all social platforms.