PLAYING UP - Key Persons

Anne Hipperson

Anne Hipperson studied theatre arts and dance at Middlesex before specialising in the more technical aspects of theatre. She has stage-managed and produced a wide range of shows of many styles, including Death and the Maiden, Sisterly Feelings, Death of a Salesman, A Small Family Business, The Dresser, Three Birds Alighting on a Field, Grimm Tales, Insignificance, Blue Remembered Hills, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Noises Off, The Caretaker, East and The Crucible. Anne has also been involved on the technical side for Bath Fringe Festival and various community projects. Occasionally appearing on stage in roles such as Catherine in Miller's A View From the Bridge, Viola in Twelfth Night and the Narrator in Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Anne's real passion is in the back-stage arts. She made her directorial debut in 2002 with the highly acclaimed The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband and directed Sleuth! for Playing Up in 2004. Since starting a family, Anne has spent more time in the music arena and enjoys playing bass and providing vocals for local bands. 2006 also saw her co-organise the first Bath Folk Festival. This annual charitable event is now a well-established folk event in Bath.

Darian Nelson

Job Titles:
  • Head of Drama
Darian Nelson first appeared on stage at the age of eight and was playing Shakespeare roles by thirteen. He studied English and Drama at King Alfred's College, University of Winchester, where he ran The Student Theatre Company and appeared at The Edinburgh Fringe. As both actor and director he has been involved in a diverse range of productions since moving to Bath in 1994 and for 10 years he regularly directed Shakespeare in the Park with Sophie, raising thousands of pounds for charity in the process. He has also turned his hand to writing on occasion and has adapted and directed some of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales as an open air production. Darian is Head of Drama at a school in Bath and, when he is not acting, directing, producing or stage managing, his other skills include stage lighting, sound effects and set design and construction.

Diane Forbes-McKaye

Diane Forbes-McKaye is a millionaire media tycoon. She is Robert Maxwell with make up (though slimmer obviously!) She is Rupert Murdoch in a dress, Conrad Black in high heels. In essence she epitomises everything that's wrong with the media world today; greedy, self obsessed, dishonest and ruthless. However, Diane is about to get her come-uppance. Or is she?

John-Paul Christian

Job Titles:
  • Paul Christian
John-Paul Christian's involvement in theatre began in 2000, initially providing sound effects for a production of A Small Family Business. He has since designed and operated sound for over thirty plays including Can't Pay Won't Pay, Blue Remembered Hills and The Royal Hunt of the Sun. In 2001 he joined a school as their Performing Arts Technician, and work included A Midsummer Night's Dream, Our Country's Good, Bugsy Malone and Joseph. In 2003 he made his acting debut as John in Who's Life is it anyway? He then went on to appear as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, followed by the voice of Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors.

Mary Zimmerman

Mary Zimmerman was born on 23rd August 1960, in Lincoln, Nebraska and was subsequently a student at Northwestern University. Zimmerman's career as a director spans 15 years and in 2002 was awarded a Tony Award for best direction. She is the resident Director of Goodman Theatre, a member of the Lookingglass Theatre Company of Chicago, an artistic associate of Seattle Repertory Theatre and a professor of performance studies at Northwestern University. Works which she has adapted and directed include The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, The Odyssey, Arabian Nights and Metamorphoses. In 2002, she created a new opera with Philip Glass called Galileo Galilei which premiered in Chicago and went on to The Barbican in London. When Mary Zimmerman first enrolled at Northwestern University as an undergraduate she began as a composition and literature major but quickly switched to the Department of Performance Studies. It wasn't until her graduate work at Northwestern that she discovered, "the act of directing, creating and making theatre without being in it." Northwestern proved to be fertile ground for Zimmerman. Her studies focused on how to use the elements of staging-light, sound, disguise, gesture, movement-and she collaborated on adaptations of everything from Dickens novels to contemporary parodies. She has also developed a close working relationship with Chicago's Goodman Theatre and was instrumental in the development of Lookingglass Theatre Company. In her work, she continues to be drawn to ancient literature and stories based in oral tradition. Her rehearsal process is open and organic, especially when she serves as both adapter and director. She allows time for a production's imagery to develop, often working off the physical improvisations of her ensemble of actors. When directing Shakespeare, her engagement is primarily with the text. "I've always loved fairy tales," explains Zimmerman, "I think they perhaps led me to theatre rather than the other way around. As a child I wanted to invent a machine that could record my dreams, so I could watch them in the morning; or hire someone to draw the things I had in my head, because I knew I didn't have the skill to do it myself. Theatre is that machine. I can make these images come to life and actually walk around inside them for a while."

Sophie Brooks

No stranger to drama, Sophie Brooks has been acting for as long as she can remember. In addition to drama and dance training, she has practical experience of stage management, lighting, sound and costume. She has worked with professional and amateur theatre companies in a range of theatrical events and productions that include performing with Bath's Natural Theatre Company, experimental street theatre, musicals, Shakespeare, Brecht and a number of plays by contemporary playwrights. Sophie was also responsible for producing ‘The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband' in 2002 which was performed by The Rondo Theatre Company and which brought the Playing Up team together for the first time. A qualified English and Drama teacher and now Director of English at a Bristol school, Sophie is very interested in the role of theatre in education and has frequently organised events to develop pupils' understanding and appreciation of issues relevant to texts studied and the world around them. Sophie Brooks, as Flora, drives the plot admirably with enough one liners to fill a stand-up comedy evening.