Natasha Bucknor, Karena Johnson And Sam Jones Announced For Sixth Tonic Celebrates Panel
Tonic Theatre announced that Natasha Bucknor, executive director of Talawa Theatre Company, Karena Johnson, artistic director of Hoxton Hall, and casting director Sam Jones will make up the panel for the sixth Tonic Celebrates event, which will take place at Hoxton Hall on Wednesday 21 February, as part of Hoxton Hall's all-female season.
Tonic Celebrates is a series of events foregrounding the achievements of inspirational women in theatre. Each event brings together a group of remarkable women, all of whom are leaders in their field, to discuss their careers, work, and successes. The first half of the evening is chaired by Tonic Theatre's Director Lucy Kerbel, before the floor is opened to the audience for questions.
Natasha Bucknor is executive director of Talawa Theatre Company, whose recent credits include Guys and Dolls, a co-production with the Royal Exchange Theatre which saw the hit musical relocated to Harlem in the UK's first all-Black cast production, and tours of Half Breed by Natasha Marshall, a co-production with Soho Theatre, and Girls by Theresa Ikoko, a co-production with HighTide and Soho Theatre. Natasha joined Talawa Theatre Company as Executive Director in 2014. She has a background in theatre administration and general management, and has worked for a number of organisations, including the National Theatre Studio, Almeida Theatre, Arts Council England and the Southbank Centre. Natasha has an MA in Cultural Leadership from City University, and has a particular interest in developing and mentoring emerging administrators and general managers.
Karena Johnson is Artistic Director and CEO of Hoxton Hall. She has worked for twenty years as a theatre director, producer and facilitator of emerging artists. Previous roles include Artistic Director of The Broadway in Barking, Director of Loud Talkin', Acting Artistic Director of Contact Theatre in Manchester, Artistic Director of touring theatre company Kushite and five years as Head of Theatre Programming for Oval House theatre. She has also been an Associate at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nottingham Playhouse and NOW festival, and she was a recipient of a Jerwood Young Directors Award. Directing credits include: The Royal Duchess Superstore (The Broadway in Barking, Half Moon Theatre), Forty (Hackney Empire), Safe (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Sweet Yam Kisses (Lyric Hammersmith), The Oddest Couple (Theatre Royal Stratford East) The Key Game (Riverside Studios) and Under Their Influence (Tricycle Theatre). Karena also made a number of site specific inspired pieces including Underneath - nothing as silent as snow, commissioned for the Black Seas Festival in the Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania, Crossings at the Liverpool Docks and Whose Blood performing in the Old Operating Theatre, London Bridge.
Sam's first job in casting was as an Assistant at the RSC. Having assisted various prestigious Casting Directors in a freelance capacity, she then became Casting Director at the Almeida Theatre. She subsequently cast Terry Hands' first two seasons at Theatre Clwyd for which they won a TMA Best Theatre Award. She expanded her freelance career casting plays for, among others, ETT, Bristol Old Vic, Bath Theatre Royal, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Contact Theatre, Sheffield Crucible as well as for companies such as Kneehigh, Told by an Idiot and Shared Experience. Her London work included work for the Royal Court, Gate Theatre, Young Vic, Old Vic, Hampstead, Lyric Hammersmith and numerous West End productions including: Journey's End, Another Country, The Royal Family, Lady Windermere's Fan and Mrs Warren's Profession (with director Sir Peter Hall); A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Up for Grabs, Dinner, After Mrs Rochester, Betrayal, Children's Hour, Old Times, Mojo and Electra. She then became Head of Casting at the Royal Shakespeare Company. On leaving, she became first Casting Director of the newly formed National Theatre Wales, going on to cast many award-winning productions in its first six years. Her television work includes: Next of Kin, Paula, NW, Dark Angel, The Hollow Crown, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, Under Milk Wood, Above Suspicion and Occupation. Her recent film work includes: Resistance, Jadoo, One Crazy Thing, Father and A Royal Night Out. She is a member of the Casting Directors' Guild and an Honorary Fellow of the RWCMD.
The sixth Tonic Celebrates follow previous successful events at The Other Palace, Soho Theatre, National Theatre, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe and the Ambassador's Theatre. Previous panellists have included directors Phyllida Lloyd and Marianne Elliott, actresses Dame Harriet Walter and Rosalie Craig, Globe Artistic Director Emma Rice, Tricycle Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham, writers Moira Buffini, Tanika Gupta and Jessica Swale, producer Danielle Tarento, dramaturg Nina Steiger, lighting designer Paule Constable, designer Vicki Mortimer, NT's Director of Producing and Planning Sacha Milroy, and leading fight directors Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown.
Tickets are available through Hoxton Hall box office.