Russell Nichols is a speculative fiction writer and classes himself an endangered journalist. Raised in the Bay Area, California, he gave up all his stuff and now lives out of a backpack with his wife, vagabonding around the world since 2011. His stories, usually set in the near future, revolve around concepts of technology, race, mental health, and the absurdity of existence
Tom Pauk has been writing for stage and radio for the last three years. His stage plays have been performed at Theatro Technis, Pleasance Theatre, Harlow Playhouse, Ink Festival, Suffolk, Manchester ADP and Actors & Writers, Hammersmith. His radio play Dash was produced by Shoestring Radio Theatre, San Francisco in November 2019, and broadcast across the US and Canada. Tom’s non-writing activities include mentoring young offenders in prison; volunteering as a trained listener at The Listening Place, a London-based suicide prevention charity; and in conducting reminiscence therapy for people living with dementia.
Tony Pipes currently runs the creative department of ITV Creative as Executive Creative Director. He started his creative life with a decade in the music industry, as an artist signed to Manchester’s infamous Factory Records before starting a career in television as a Creative in broadcast marketing- first at the BBC, then at ITV where he has worked across campaigns for Broadchurch, Downton Abbey and Vera. His first stage play The Button was produced at the Bench Theatre in 2019 as part of the SuperNova 8 Festival and most recently his short play Bananas was performed at the Questors Theatre in Ealing. He also writes poetry, short films and screenplays for TV.
Stephanie Weston is a professional actress and emerging writer with work performed at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs The Royal Court, The Queen Dome Edinburgh, and The Rondo Theatre, Bath amongst others. Writing competitions she has won include Pint Sized Plays, Page to Stage, Sandalles Five n’ Ten and Chorts (written). She has also contributed to comedy podcasts, has had her monologues broadcast on Radio Bristol and regularly performs with the comedy improvisation company Instant Wit, of which she is Artistic Director.
Hilary Barnes Graduated in 2017 as one of the final ever students from the The Poor School. Credits include Mirta Nikola and the Wishing Stone, Theresa Memory Of Water, The Duchess of Berwick Lady Windermere’s Fan, Mrs. Alving Ghosts, Queen Gertrude Hamlet, Lyubov Andreyevna The Cherry Orchard.
Megan Kennedy Megan trained at Rose Bruford College and Drama Centre London. She is a member of The National Youth Theatre and The National Youth Music Theatre. This is her second appearance with Optik Theatre.’
Lily Rogers Lily graduated from ArtsEd in 2017. Lily has appeared in new works Chitta Vritti (The Cockpit) and Design Her (The Bunker Theatre). For a large part of 2019, she toured with Vienna’s English Theatre in Sean Aita’s adaptation of The Little Prince. Her recent screen work has included: A Guide To Life (Peninsula Films) and Propositioned On Instagram: The Dark Side Of Influencing (BBC).
Tom Thornton Tom graduated from Rose Bruford in 2020 performing in Albatross by Isley Lynn in his final production. He has had leading roles in productions of Macbeth and The Odyssey. Other work includes the short film called Hidden and recent performances at The White Bear Theatre. He is a keen writer and his work Shifting Sands was exhibited at the online digital arts festival The Living Record to four-star reviews.