Writer & Performer
Born and raised in Sheffield, Ashleigh sold her soul for five years working in marketing until someone told her (very belatedly) what drama school was and that they’d help her get in, so she made a run for it. After appearing in a couple of local shows (where she first met the now-producing powerhouse Lydia Harrison in an Agatha Christie Sheffield-special - we have incredible pictural proof), Ashleigh defied her northern instincts and moved down south in 2015; first to Bristol and then to London in 2016 to complete an Acting MA at Mountview. It was there where she got really, really
angry with the patriarchy and so wrote her first play, Daisy, like the flower, in response to her newly understood feelings. Daisy went on to be performed at Theatre N16 as part of the first Maiden Speech festival by which point she’d caught the writing bug. She’s now developing a new play with the support of the Soho Theatre as part of their Writers’ Lab, working on TV pitches with an incredible group of women she managed to coerce her way into and is developing a queer, two-hander, Anchors, which she co-wrote with best pal and total bae, David Nation. It was at a reading for this where Ashleigh met Chris Yarnell who she knew would direct her in something, somewhere and so, as soon as Tumours was written and programmed for the second Maiden Speech festival, she got him involved. Lydia Harrison reappeared in her life after five years, got very excited about the show, as did the wonderful people at Assembly Festival, and wanted to take to Edinburgh. So here we are. Scared as f*** but so excited.
Lydia is a theatre producer from Sheffield with an undergraduate degree from the University of Leeds in Theatre & Performance. Whilst working in the north of England, she established Big Egg Theatre, a new writing and absurdist theatre company who toured a UK Fringe Tour of Bummer and Lazarus in 2018. She has also worked with Leeds-based organisations Transform Festival and Slung Low before moving to London to start the MA Creative Producing course at Mountview. But more importantly, in 2014 she joined a local amdram company in Sheffield where she met superstar in the making Ashleigh Laurence. Five years on, after seeing Tumours at Maiden Speech, she just knew she had to take it further. It’s been a dream watching this play develop over the months and can’t bloody wait to see Tumours in all its glory at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year.
Chris is a director, movement director and theatre maker who trained at East 15 and the acclaimed New Wolsey Young Company. He has written and directed shows for award winning physical theatre company The Outbound Project as their associate director in addition to working with companies such as Gecko, Theatre Temoin, Pub Corner Poets, Birmingham Stage Company and Pint-Sized.
Chris is also a skilled stage and close up magician, singer/ songwriter and choreographer in addition to being a member of the Young Vic’s Genesis directors network. His previous work has won the Les Enfants Terribles Partnership Award and The Stage Award. He has also received shortlists for Underbelly UNTAPPED award, Adelaide Fringe award and a Total Theatre award.