Zac Hackett: Artistic Director
Zac has always had a huge passion for the arts, Inclusion and everything musical! In 1999, Zac took his first professional entertainments role at Alton Towers in the Summer Spectacular Show. This kick started a successful career in the industry, which has seen him working as a Bluecoat, Entertainments Manager, Cabaret Artist and Composer.
In January 2007, Zac joined TramShed to pursue his love for Inclusive Theatre and to share his music skills with the company. He began writing the music for the Original Musical Theatre Productions and very quickly developed his script writing skills to showcase the cast. He was promoted to Arts Team Co-ordinator in 2008 and now leads a team of very experienced Arts Practitioners as Artistic Director for the Company. Since working at TramShed, Zac has gained a Sign Language qualification in BSL Level One, Two and Three and says he believes you have not experienced the theatre fully, unless you’ve experienced Inclusive Theatre.
Tina Murray: Senior Arts Practitioner
Tina graduated from University of Cumbria with a Foundation Degree in Teaching and
Learning Primary in 2010. After leaving University she took on a role as TANC (Teaching Assistant Network Co-ordinator) in the Wyre area in which she provided training opportunities and the opportunity to share good practice amongst Teaching Assistants she has also gained a qualification in BSL Level One.
Tina has worked in several Primary schools over the past 20 years and has experience from Nursery, KS1 and KS2 to working with KS4 boys in a SEMH school. The diverse experiences which the varied job roles have presented, have enabled Tina to extend her skills and continue to demonstrate how versatile and adaptable she is. Her experiences of working with children from as young as 2 years old to young adults with challenging emotional and behavioural difficulties all help towards running weekly workshops, directing shows and keeping members calm backstage during the pressures of show week! Tina is thrilled to be working as part of the TramShed Arts Practitioner Team and is enjoying working with members of all ages and abilities in an inclusive environment.
Vicky Spencer: Arts Practitioner
Vicky graduated from Buckinghamshire University in 2007 with a degree in drama and video production. During her time at university Vicky gained valuable experience working as a singer, actor and director. On her return to Blackpool, Vicky became a teaching assistant in a local primary school along side working as an entertainer, appearing in several pantomimes and performing in bands and as a cabaret singer.
In 2012 she brought all of this experience to TramShed as a volunteer and worked alongside the adult and youth companies. Volunteering at TramShed has inspired Vicky to make inclusive theatre a big part of her life and she hopes to be a part of the team for a long time, learning from and sharing its vision of inclusion. When asked about Inclusion Vicky said “We do not all have equal talents, but we should all be given an equal opportunity to develop our talents.”
Eve Ellison: Arts Practitioner
Eve graduated from the University of Cumbria in 2014 with a Joint Honours in Musical Theatre Performance and Drama Performance. Whilst at University Eve gained experience in performing, singing, dancing, acting, directing and running drama workshops for children and young people. Eve went back to Blackpool and the Fylde College in 2016 to study Teaching and Learning Support in Schools Level 2 and Level 3 and then went on to work as a Teaching Assistant in a SEN School. Whilst working as a TA, Eve has gained valuable experience in working with children of all ages, working inclusively and in communication, such as studying Makaton, the use of PEC’S and gaining a Level 3 in Speech and Language Support for Pupils with Severe Learning Difficulties. Eve joined TramShed as a volunteer in 2018, where she has continued to develop these skills.
Eve is very passionate about communication and inclusion, saying, “Everybody has a right to communicate. It is important that we overcome any boundaries in order for people to communicate their wants and needs.” Eve went on to say, “Inclusion is about acceptance and equality. To me inclusion is a way of life!” Eve is very excited to join TramShed’s Outreach Team and to work in a fun and inclusive environment, whilst encouraging children and young people to grow and develop artistically.
Natalie Duymun: Outreach Arts Practitioner
Natalie is a professional performer who has an MA in Acting from the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) and and a BA (Hons.) in English Literature and Drama from UCLAN. Natalie has also been awarded the LALAM Licenciate Diploma (Dist.) and two ALAM Associate Speech and Acting Diplomas (Hons.) from LAMDA and an Associate Musical Theatre Diploma (Hons.) from LCM. She has undertaken additional training with the National Youth Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall and BBC Talent Boost.
For many years, Natalie combined both teaching and performing; teaching Drama and Musical Theatre lessons at Michael Hall Theatre School and Drama at Whittaker’s Dance and Drama Centre as well as working with Lancashire’s Traveller Education Service and she was responsible for preparing hundreds of children for LAMDA exams, Arts festivals, auditions and both in-house and professional theatre productions. She has choreographed and directed many productions over the years, namely Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Diary of Anne Frank. Prior to training at ALRA, Natalie played the title roles in Jane Eyre (Grand Theatre, Blackpool) and Jeanne D’Arc (various Lancashire venues and Dominion Studio, London) and Eliza in My Fair Lady (Grand Theatre, Blackpool).
Since graduating in 2014, Natalie has worked as a theatre practitioner and actress on projects with the National Theatre, LeftCoast, Bolton Octagon, Fable Arts and, of course, TramShed Theatre Company which she joined as an Arts Practitioner in 2015. These days, alongside professional performance work, Natalie continues to develop her practice within Theatre by writing and creating her own performance based projects and collaborating with other artists and theatre companies. Her particular interests are Musical Theatre and Socio-Political theatre and she is especially passionate about theatre’s ability to inform and influence social change. Natalie is a trained Arts Award facilitator and delivers all Arts Award content at TramShed. Natalie is excited about being part of TramShed’s Outreach Team and is looking forward to taking TramShed’s inclusive, fun and encouraging environment out into the community where more people can enjoy being involved with the Performing Arts and creating new and beautiful theatre.
Kitty Murray: Outreach Arts Practitioner
Following her studies in performing arts at Blackpool Sixth Form, Kitty attended the University of Chester, graduating with a degree in Drama and Theatre Studies. After the three year course, Kitty chose to remain in Chester where she has begun to set up a theatre company with several friends. She plans to create new work with the group which will hopefully lead into the creation of workshops for anyone who wishes to be a part of it! Juggling this with working full time, it isn’t often that she gets to come home and join the fun at TramShed, but she’s sure to put aside the time to get stuck in with the shows every year and continues to work on outreach projects as part of TramShed, wherever possible.
Emma Rucastle: Outreach Arts Practitioner
Emma is a professional theatre practitioner who has an MA in Theatre Directing from Middlesex University (with GITIS, Moscow) and a BA (Hons) in English Literature with Theatre Studies and MA by Research in Women’s Roles in Shakespeare’s Theatre, both from Lancaster University. She also has a PGCE in English, Drama and Media Studies from St Martin’s College, Lancaster and spent a number of years teaching English and Drama at secondary school level and in adult education and a young offenders’ institution.
Since becoming freelance in 2008, Emma has worked as a theatre director and practitioner – and sometime performer and writer – for a wide range of community groups, theatres, educational establishments and local and national organisations, including Shakespeare Schools’ Foundation and NCS, The Challenge. For her own theatre company, ELART Productions, which specialises in site-specific theatre, often involving professional and community performers of all ages, she has directed, devised and performed in many productions, including: Peter’s Walk (at Lancaster Cathedral); All The World’s A Stage (at The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster, The Dell, Stratford-upon-Avon and the Eden Festival, Dumfries); Memorandum (at Lancaster Library); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (at St John’s Hospice, Lancaster) and two Christmas shows at Lancaster Castle: A Christmas Carol and Holmes for Christmas. She has also directed all-female classical theatre productions for The Rose Company, which have been performed at Lancaster University, Lancaster Castle and other venues in London and around the north-west.
Emma is very excited about being part of TramShed’s team from 2019 onwards, as she is passionate about inclusive theatre and is very keen to explore new ways of working in the community, encouraging all to explore and develop their creativity and confidence in accessible ways – having lots of fun while doing so!
Hollie Wimpenny: Outreach Arts Practitioner
Hollie started with TramShed in January 2015 and has thoroughly enjoyed being part of the team. She graduated with a MA in Applied Theatre from the University of Manchester in 2012 and is also the Co-Director of Express Arts in Warrington. Hollie also freelances for Minerva Arts and Bluestreak Arts on a regular basis. She has worked with many age groups of different abilities and finds nothing more rewarding than building people’s confidence through drama and creativity.
TramShed could not operate without the dedication of it’s Trustee Board. They support the Artistic Team and offer guidance and advice with all areas of the company, Without this support, TramShed would not be as successful as it is today. The Artistic Team would like to take this opportunity to thank the Trustees for dedicating their time to the company and giving them endless amounts of encouragement and support.
Luke Fox: Chair of the Board
After gaining a Level 3 qualification in Management, Luke began working within the care sector and has recently celebrated a decade in the industry. He has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience from his career. When this experience was partnered with his Music Degree, it meant he was perfectly placed to join TramShed’s Adult Volunteer Team in 2015. He was a hugely integral part of the team and this dedication was rewarded by being chosen for TramShed’s Adult Inclusive Performing Arts Shield in 2017. Luke has just completed a Level 5 CIPD course in HR and hopes to apply some of his newly gained skills to his Trustee role at TramShed. “Becoming a Trustee for TramShed is truly a great honour. Having volunteered for TramShed since 2015 I am excited to be able to put more into this amazing theatre company!”
After studying at Newcastle University, Leanne relocated to the North West and joined Auto Trader in 2003. Recently celebrating 15 years within the organisation, she has worked as Principal Product Lead for the last 4, focused on market research, customer feedback and building a development roadmap. Leanne acts as a mentor for women working for charities through the Aspire Foundation and is currently planning postgraduate study. She has been actively involved with TramShed since February 2014, becoming a trustee in November 2016. Alongside her Trustee responsibilities, Leanne also runs our front of house team throughout show week. Leanne says, “Although my field of work is obviously very different, product management principles are relevant in almost every industry and I love taking on something completely removed from my day job. It’s a privilege to be involved with such an inspirational organisation which is driven forward by an incredibly dedicated team of Arts Practitioners and Volunteers, I hope I can help make a difference.”
Clancy joined Arts Council England as a Relationship Manager in 2017 and currently supports 52 libraries situated within the North of England within the Grants for the Arts. Prior to this she led Time To Read, a unique partnership of 22 Library Authorities in the North West, working together to promote reading. Clancy also co-directed Wordpool, Blackpool’s Arts and Libraries Festival of Words, during her time as Reader Development Manager for Blackpool Library Service. She has an in-depth knowledge of Blackpool arts culture following her time as the Arts Engagement Manager for Blackpool Council for almost 4 years. On becoming a Trustee Clancy says “I’m thrilled to be joining the Board of Trustees this September, this treasure of an organisation sits in the heart of my community. It’s a privilege to be able to support TramShed Theatre with their next stage of development and growth. The valuable work they do has real impact on people’s lives, using the arts in a vibrant and fun way to further enhance Blackpool’s cultural offer. I hope to learn as much from TramShed as I aim to contribute.”
After years spent working, living and training in Birmingham, Bristol, Kilkenny and Rwanda, Martha has recently returned to her native Lancashire and is currently finishing her MA in music therapy. Whilst studying classical performance and flute at Birmingham Conservatoire, Martha developed her existing passion for community work alongside her studies and now has a broad range of experience with all ages and abilities. She is keen to support inclusive services and the arts, her greatest acting role to date was a scene stealing turn in Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ as Malvolio in a school production aged 10. Martha says “I am excited about being involved in the TramShed community and am looking forward to the shows! I hope to get to know as many people as possible and that I can be a support to TramShed in the future.”
Sandy is currently employed as a Company Accountant in the Private Sector. She has approximately 20 years’ experience within the financial sector working in both Public and Private sector roles. Alongside her profession, Sandy enjoys being actively involved within the local community. Sandy has recently completed a 4 year term as a school governor and was the Link Governor for finance and audit.
When asked about joining the TramShed Team, Sandy replied “I have thoroughly enjoyed watching TramShed’s performances for several years. The inclusive productions are both beautiful and breath-taking. When I saw the opportunity to become involved in a non-performing capacity, I was beyond excited. The performers are the stars of the show, but, behind the scenes, there needs to be a ‘back-office’ function, providing strategic leadership, being a critical friend and enabling the charity to realise its strategic vision. I can’t wait to get started!”
Within all our groups at TramShed we have many wonderful volunteers who support our members and help to create a warm, exciting environment in which children, young people and adults can achieve in. They are a valuable asset to the company and provide endless support to the Practitioner team. If you are interested in volunteering for any of our Theatre groups at TramShed or would like to be involved backstage please download the Volunteer Application Form and return it to the address provided on the form.
TramShed Voice meet every term to provide additional support to the Artistic Team and Trustee Board. Their main group focus is fundraising events, members social events and providing a voice for our membership base, parents and volunteers. If you would like to become involved in TramShed Voice contact the Arts Team on 07852 498427.
TramShed Voice Members: Kathleen Paintin OBE, Daniel Paintin, Anthony King, Tina Murray, Toni Fairholm, Berni Ashworth, Shelley Nicholson, Tina Heaney, Latrisha Humphreys, Shantell Christie, Karen Allison, Rosemary Sanderson, Debra Blackman, Ellie Barling, Charlie Hudson and Caroline Ward.
Member Link & Minute Taker: Berni Ashworth
Volunteer Link: Shelley Nicholson
Parent Link: Latrisha Humphreys
Toni has been the School Business Manager at Woodlands School in Blackpool for 18 years. She first met Zac and the team in 2009 when her daughter asked to join as a member. At that time she didn’t realise the impact TramShed, it’s members and it’s ethos would have on both her Daughters and her own life. Toni’s Daughter is now a teacher in an SEN school, with a passion for inclusion at all levels and has the confidence to fight for the rights of children and ensure they are given a voice. Toni became Treasurer at Tramshed to contribute her skills and experience to a cause that she truly believes in. When asked what she thought about TramShed Toni said ‘I have seen Tramshed go from strength to strength and look forward to being part of it’s journey for many years to come’.