Leverhulme Scholars


Jenny Davies – theatre maker and director 
Jenny directed the Ferment fortnight work-in-progress sharing of ‘Outlier’ by Malaika Kegode, which was later produced as the first show back in the Theatre at Bristol Old Vic in 2021.  

Stephanie Kempson – director and writer/dramaturg 
A work-in-progress sharing of Steph’s show 
‘Polly, the Heartbreak Opera’ was staged during the 2020 Ferment Fortnight. 

Ania Varez – interdisciplinary artist 
The final performance of Ania’s work ‘Guayabo’ was
presented at the Trinity Centre, Bristol in 2021. 

Caroline Williams – director and dramaturg working in multi-disciplinary participatory performance 
Caroline was one of five artists commissioned for the first round of new digital shorts series ‘Sudden Connections’ with her short film ‘A Love Letter to Penelope Cruizer’.

Rebecca Wood – designer working across theatre, opera and cross-genre performance 
Rebecca designed the Ferment fortnight work-in-progress production of ‘Outlier’ by Malaika Kegode, which was later
produced as the first show back in the Theatre at Bristol Old Vic in 2021


Emma Callander – director, producer 
A work-in-progress sharing of ‘Negging’, which Emma co-created with Tom Wainwright, was presented as part of the
2019 Jan/Feb Ferment Fortnight. 

Laila Diallo – dance maker 
Laila performed her work ‘
Countless Yellow Chairs’ as part of the 2017 Ferment Fortnight. It later toured around the South West. Laila also co-leads dance project ‘Gather Up’.  

Julia Head – director 
A work-in-progress sharing of Julia’s show ‘Wild Swimming’ was presented as part of the
2019 Jan/Feb Ferment Fortnight. The show later had a sell-out run in the Bristol Old Vic’s Weston Studio in 2019, toured to the Edinburgh Fringe, and then returned to the Wardrobe Ensemble’s Theatre on the Downs in 2020. 

Jo Hellier – performance-maker working with choreography, installation and voice 
Jo's sound installation Festival of Ancients was shown at In Between Time 2019.

Kid Carpet (aka Ed Patrick) – musician and theatre-maker for young/family audiences 
A work-in-progress sharing of Kid Carpet’s show ‘Icarus D’icarus’ was presented as part of the
2019 July Ferment Fortnight. 


Tanuja Amarasuriya – director, writer, dramaturg, and occasional composer/sound designer 
An early-stages sharing of ‘A Million Tiny Glitches,’ by sleepdogs - directed by Tanuja, was shared at the 2017 Ferment Fortnight. An in-progress of the work ‘Babel’s Cupid’ was shared as part of Ferment in February 2020 (working with Leverhulme Scholar Laura Dannequin).  

Rachael Clerke – a Bristol-based artist working across many mediums 
Bristol Old Vic Ferment supported the development of Rachael’s drag-king-punk-gig
‘Cuncrete’ alongside Arts Council England, Camden People's Theatre, Arnolfini, The ShowRoom Chichester, Trinity Centre Bristol & The Exeter Bike Shed. Over the scholarship, Rachael also developed ‘Working Model.’ 

Laura Dannequinmovement practitioner, choreographer, dramaturg and body-worker 
A work-in-progress of Laura’s solo show ‘Hardy Animal’ was shared at the
2014 Ferment Fortnight. She was also the choreographer for Caroline Williams’ Sudden Connections short.

Malcolm Hamilton – facilitator, maker, and ‘play’-er 
An early experiment of Malcolm’s project Play:Disrupt was shared at the
2018 Ferment Fortnight. 

Vanessa Kisuule – poet, writer, performer  
A work-in-progress of Vanessa’s show ‘SEXY’ was shared at the 2017 Ferment Fortnight. The show toured nationally in 2018. Vanessa later wrote and performed a series of poems–’Angels in Bristol’–for Bristol Old Vic which were released as films over Christmas 2020, co-directed by Tom Morris and 2018 Leverhulme Scholar Julia Head.

More from Ben Atterbury:

"The Leverhulme Scholarship offers [pause and reflection], and two years into the scheme it is becoming clear just how transformative this opportunity can be for the artists involved, as they emerge with a renewed clarity and intent that has fed directly into projects which may have seemed out of reach before their Leverhulme year. 

This year, we’re so happy to welcome this brilliant group, all of whom demonstrated an unquestionable need for the opportunities for change Leverhulme provides. I can’t wait for them to work with us and each other. It’s worth noting that out of 15 scholars across 3 years, 13 have been women and non-binary people. The energy, clarity and urgency with which this group articulated their ideas was clear to us across this process and these five artists really communicated to us the unique value that the scholarship could hold for them. 

We’re thankful for the generosity of the Leverhulme Trust, whose support over these past 3 years will have an irrefutable impact on 15 artists making work here in the South West for many, many years to come."