ice&fire explores human rights stories through performance. We put human rights at the core of everything we do to make accessible theatre for a wide range of audiences across the UK.

We are a company with a distinct and determined voice, developing original theatre pieces from human rights testimony and documentary evidence. Each piece is shaped by the real people and communities with whom we closely work. From full-scale productions to making small pieces with vulnerable groups, our theatre-making is renowned as provocative, principled and innovative.

We believe that through theatre we can bring unparalleled understanding and empathy to some of the world’s most urgent issues. We want to empower people and communities to express their rights through the power of sharing stories and transporting performance.

It is our mission to inspire artists and audiences to create positive change in the world through human rights.

ice&fire is a registered charity (1118200) and a company limited by guarantee in England (4648400). We are also a registered charity in Scotland (SC048141). ice&fire receives no regular statutory funding. To support our work, please visit our Justgiving page where Gift Aid will add 25p to every £1 you donate

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Our Story

In 1997, playwright Sonja Linden set up a new project for Freedom from Torture. ‘Write to Life’ was a therapeutic and creative venture for clients, allowing them to record their stories not simply as victims but as artists in their own right. It was hearing one particular story that motivated Sonja to write her play I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady from Rwanda in 2003. Sonja joined with Sara Masters to produce the play, and ice&fire theatre was founded. Young Lady from Rwanda was a sell-out in London and went on to have a national tour and more than 30 productions world-wide, as well as a BBC radio recording. Sonja continued at the helm for five years before stepping down to focus on her writing, handing over the artistic direction of the company to her long-standing colleagues Christine Bacon and Sara Masters (who left in 2010). Christine had joined ice&fire in 2005 and founded the Actors for Human Rights  project, converting grassroots activism on human rights themes into an artistic movement. Inspired by and mentored by ice&fire, a similar German network Bühne für Menschenrechte, was founded by Michael Ruf in 2009. ice&fire has produced more than twelve verbatim scripts, seven full-scale theatre productions and five participatory projects working with people who have experienced human rights abuses. The company also accepts regular commissions.  Find out more about our past projects and current work, people and partnership working and see our blog page for all our recent news and updates.

People

Christine Bacon

Christine Bacon

Artistic Director

Biography

Christine was a core member of Actors for Refugees Australia, until she moved to the UK in 2004 to complete an MSc in Forced Migration at Oxford University. She founded ice&fire‘s outreach network Actors for Human Rights and has developed multiple performance and participation projects for the company.Christine is a trustee of Asylum Research Centre. Plays for ice&fire include On the Record; Afghan Monologues, Rendition Monologues; The Illegals; Broke; Seven Years with Hard Labour; Listen to Me; Souvenirs; The Island Nation; Lost and FoundMy Skype Family,#ArmingtheWorld (with Ben Chessell) and What Do I Know (with Amina Atiq) actors@iceandfire.co.uk
Matthew Schmolle

Matthew Schmolle

Associate Producer

Biography

Matthew produced ice&fire’s recent co-production with Teatro Vivo – ArmingThe World.  He co-founded The Working Party in 2013, so far completing 9 projects and productions including the English Premiere of David Ireland’s Everything Between Us. Matthew has produced at The Finborough, The Vaults, The Park, Hackney Showroom and with The Big House, Buckland, Teatro Vivo, The Spectators Guild, Only Connect and Emergency Exit Arts. 

 

Helen Clapp

Helen Clapp

Joint Director, Actors for Human Rights

Biography

Helen is an actor who first worked with ice&fire in a video for charity Safe Exit, performing the testimony of a sex worker. Since then she has become a regular face in Actors for Human Rights performances and a member of the new Residents group. Other acting credits include The Mousetrap (West End and tour), Home Front (BBC Radio Drama) and numerous performances at fringe London venues including The Arcola, Southwark Playhouse and Old Red Lion. Get in touch at helen@iceandfire.co.uk 
Steven Ritchie

Steven Ritchie

Director of Actors for Human Rights Scotland

Biography

Steven studied acting at RSAMD(now Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) graduating with honours in acting in 2000. Since then he has worked in film, television and theatre with various companies including the BBC, Citizens Theatre, National Theatre of Scotland, Traverse Theatre, Analogue Theatre, and Scottish Opera.

Steven’s first involvement with ice&fire was as a performer in Rendition Monologues. Since then he has been involved in a variety of projects and was instrumental in the creation of the Scottish version of Asylum Monologues which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016 and has since gone on to be performed in a variety of locations – from schools and universities to conferences and festivals.

Based in Glasgow, Steven is currently developing the Actors for Human Rights project in Scotland, creating work that responds to human rights issues across the country. At the moment he is developing Detention Dialogues, a collaboration with Scottish Detainee Visitors. stevie@iceandfire.co.uk

Sebastian Aguirre

Sebastian Aguirre

Joint Director, Actors for Human Rights

Biography

Sebastian Aguirre is an actor (Central School of Speech and Drama) and has been involved with Ice & Fire for several years. Sebastian trained and is a visiting lecturer at Central school of speech and drama and was in the world premiere of Mervyn Peakes’ The Cave (Blue elephant theatre) as well as various national tours and London fringe productions. Sebastian was also assistant director of the world premiere of Glyn Maxwell’s The Lifeblood (Edinburgh festival & Riverside Studios) and writer in development at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, as well as having worked at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International for nearly a decade. Scripts for ice&fire include This Is Who I Am. Sebastian is currently running a year long participatory arts project with members of Micro Rainbow International. Sebastian is a trustee of The Outside Project. Get in touch at seb@iceandfire.co.uk

Associate Artists

Clea Langton

Clea Langton

Biography

Clea was ice&fire’s Regional Director from 2008-11, developing scripts for campaigns with The Children’s Society, National Childbirth Trust, Amnesty International and End Human Trafficking. Clea also developed a number of Participation projects and Education workshops in schools, community settings and prisons. Clea is now based in Sydney, Australia and continuing the work of ice&fire through a joint project at National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA).
Sue Buchan

Sue Buchan

Biography

Sue has written, performed and directed issue-based arts projects since 1992
when she established Proact, a nationally renowned theatre and training company.
Her extensive research into domestic abuse led to her devising a unique
performance and educational programme which gained recognition throughout the UK
as recommended training for professionals across a variety of sectors including
the Crown Prosecution Service, police, health authorities and housing
departments. She subsequently became the north-east of England’s first ever
Domestic Violence Co-ordinator for NSPCC developing new policy and practice
guidance initiatives to protect survivors of abuse before working as a film
maker and writer in residence in Women’s Aid refuges. Her recent work includes
facilitation of advocacy projects with young people at risk of sexual
exploitation, devising awareness raising performances with refugees, adults with
learning disabilities and people living with dementia. She has produced short
films with children overcoming abuse and survivors of honour-based violence and
forced marriage. Sue is dedicated to creating a platform for under-represented
voices to be heard, seen and understood and works alongside IAF in delivering
their AFHR outreach programme.
Annecy Hayes

Annecy Hayes

Biography

Annecy has worked widely as a freelance theatre director, scriptwriter and dramaturg on commercial and community projects. She co-founded Burning Cat Productions in 2000 which toured mixed media performances. She was appointed to the Arts Council Creative Partnerships programme as a resident practitioner, and she also lectures at various universities. Plays for ice&fire include The Nine O’Clock Slot; Close to Home: The Cuts; My Name is Remember. annecy@iceandfire.co.uk
Amina Atiq

Amina Atiq

Biography

Amina Atiq is a 22 year-old poet and spoken word artist living and studying in Liverpool. She has performed extensively across her hometown and a number of regional cities. She has been involved in national and international projects, working alongside Roots & Routes international, Writing on the Wall, The Arab Arts Festival, ORT gallery, First Draft and many more. She has been featured on various artistic platforms such as BBC five digital, Skinny, Bito Lito and Ummahsonic. To mark to 100 year anniversary of partial female suffrage, Amina was filmed giving her poetic take as a young Muslim ‘scouser’ by BBC 5 Live http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05x506m.

Amina worked with ice&fire on What Do I Know in collaboration with the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival. This piece engages with the effects of the war and humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where Amina is from and launched in July 2018. Further dates planned – stay tuned

Founder

Sonja Linden

Sonja Linden

Biography

Sonja is an award-winning playwright whose plays have been produced in theatres across the UK and USA.  She founded ice&fire theatre in 2003 with the launch of  I Have Before Me A Young Lady from Rwanda, which was subsequently broadcast on BBC Radio. Other work for ice&fire includes Crocodile Seeking Refuge; Asylum Monologues, Asylum Dialogues, Palestine Monologues, On A Clear Day You Can See Dover and Welcome to Ramallah, co-written with Adah Kay. Sonja now acts in a consultative capacity to the company and has created a new company, Visible Theatre, which transcends and celebrates age.

Patrons

Juliet Stevenson

Juliet Stevenson

Biography

Juliet has worked extensively for the RSC and the Royal National Theatre. She won an Olivier Award for her role in Death and the Maiden at the Royal Court, and a number of awards for her work in the film Truly, Madly, Deeply. Other film credits include The Trial, Drowning by Numbers, and Emma. Described as “one of the finest actors of her generation” (The Times), Juliet has been a consistent supporter of ice&fire since our inception in 2003 and appeared in the gala performance of Asylum Monologues at the National Portrait Gallery in 2006.
Jean Lambert MEP

Jean Lambert MEP

Biography

Jean, a former teacher from East London, has been London’s Green MEP since 1999. Her special interests include Democracy and Human Rights, Refugee Rights, Anti-discrimination and Social Inclusion and aiding the development of a Green employment strategy. “It is an honour to be a patron of ice&fire. My deep commitment to human rights issues is reflected in their work and their unique use of theatre to make these issues relevant to all of us is something I wholeheartedly support.”
Steve Waters

Steve Waters

Biography

Steve is a playwright whose plays include World Music, Fast Labour and The Contingency Plan. He also runs the post-graduate playwriting course the MPhil(B) in Playwriting Studies at the University of Birmingham and is a member of British Theatre Consortium. “As a writer whose plays have addressed questions of global justice and ecological crisis I think the work of ice&fire – finding theatrical platforms for voices excluded from mainstream media – is simply essential.”

Trustees

Jessie Macneil-Brown

Jessie Macneil-Brown

Biography

Jessie Macneil-Brown is the Senior Manager for International Campaigns & Corporate Responsibility at The Body Shop International. Her past campaign work has focused on human rights, particularly around the issues of human trafficking and reproductive rights. In addition to specialising in corporate responsibility, communications and marketing she has previously worked at Amnesty International and the Starlight Children’s Foundation. “The most effective way to create change in people’s hearts and minds is to humanise issues, to connect the public with the individual through their stories, emotions and experiences. I’ve always been incredibly impressed with the work of ice&fire and the way they do this with respect, compassion and impact. I jumped at the chance to support the team!” 
Waleed Akhtar

Waleed Akhtar

Biography

Waleed is an actor, whose screen credits include Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Kudos Film), and most recently 3 girls (BBC 1), Bucket, (BBC 4) and Tyrant (FOX Network). On stage he has predominately worked in new writing for theatre’s including The Birmingham REP, Chichester Festival Theatre, Leicester Curve, Nottingham Playhouse, The Yard and Finborough. While as a voiceover artist he has worked for BBC Radio 4 drama and brands including McDonalds, Google, Kiss FM and Adidas. He is passionate about human rights, and proud to have been an active member of Actors for Human Rights from 2008, having been involved with readings and events across the country. He is now also an active member of the resident committee helping to guide and grow the work of the Actors for Human Rights network.
Gbolahan Obisesan

Gbolahan Obisesan

Biography

Gbolahan Obisesan is a Freelance Theatre Director, Actor and Playwright. Genesis Fellow at the Young Vic as Associate Director. Gbolahan has previously directed work for the Young Vic, Royal Court Theatre, Bush Theatre, Birmingham Rep, Sheffield Crucible, Yard Theatre, Latitude, Unicorn Theatre, Soho Theatre and The Gate. As a playwright his plays have been seen at Edinburgh Festival, Bristol Old Vic, Soho Theatre, Young Vic, Pentabus, Latitude, Bush Theatre, Unicorn and the House of Parliament. He was a recipient of a Fringe First in 2011 for his play Mad About The Boy. Gbolahan was the recipient of the Bulldog Princep Directors Bursary in 2008 as Director in Residence at the National Theatre Studio. ice&fire really inspires our collective responsibility towards representing a wider spectrum of life experiences and the need to challenge the injustices of the world through theatrical integrity. I want to be a part of that effort and contribute to the journey.
Rothna Begum

Rothna Begum

Biography

Rothna Begum is the women’s rights researcher on the Middle East and North Africa at Human Rights Watch. She has, among other work, documented the abuse and exploitation of migrant domestic workers in Gulf states; sexual slavery of Yezidi women and girls by ISIS in Iraq; and the government response to domestic violence in Morocco. Rothna previously worked for Amnesty International for over five years researching human rights violations in the Gulf region. ice&fire is doing some amazing work bringing people’s stories to life, often where such voices are silenced or go unheard. I’m honoured to be able to help them in any way I can.”
Liz Pagett

Liz Pagett

Biography

Liz Pagett is the founder and director of Silver Sea Insight, a consultancy that manages research, evaluation, strategy, and CRM projects for the arts and culture sector. Previously Liz worked in marketing roles for arts organisations such as the National Theatre and Southbank Centre. She has a particular passion for work at the intersection of the arts and human rights/international development, and currently consults for The Freedom Theatre in Palestine and the theatre for development charity Arts for Action. “The arts have a profound ability to provoke and inspire, to change hearts and minds, and to challenge our assumptions about the world. ice&fire are telling vital human rights stories that need to be heard, and I’m thrilled to be able to support them as a Trustee”
Morten Thaysen

Morten Thaysen

Biography

Morten is a campaigner and activist. He’s a co-founder of Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, a group of LGBT+ activists taking creative action to challenge the demonisation of migrants in the UK. He works for Greenpeace campaigning against air pollution.

ice&fire tell the stories of people who have been dehumanised in the media and reminds of us the humanity that often gets lost in political debates. I’m honoured to be able to support their work.”

Our Supporters

Network for Social Change, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Mulberry Trust, Arts Council England, Trust for London Individual projects are supported by a number of other funders. Please see project pages for details.

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