About us

Julia Lee Barclay

Julia Lee Barclay is the Artistic Director of Apocryphal Theatre and leads the company’s weekly explorative lab. Barclay has written and directed the stage texts for Apocryphal Theatre’s shows The Jesus Guy and Besides, you lose your soul or the History of Western Civilization. Besides, you lose your soul or the History of Western Civilization was recently anthologized in Regional Best 2011, published by Level4 Press. She was awarded a Peggy Ramsay Playwright grant to complete this stage text and to write the first draft of her most recent play We live in financial times, Part 1: Blackberry Curve.  This play was given a staged reading at The Barrow Group in NYC and an excerpt was shown at The Chelsea Theatre US:Radical festival this past autumn.  Barclay is currently conceptualizing Apocryphal Theatre’s multi-year project …or whatever God is, writing and researching texts for the project, and working in the lab on issues of the sacred and celebrity. She is collaborating with lab member Karla Ptacek to create the solo piece of this project Inside a Silent Mind.

Before moving to London in 2003, Barclay was the co-founder of Monkey Wrench Theater (1994-1998) in New York City.  Under that umbrella she created her first experimental theatre lab in 1997 until her work was picked up and supported by The Present Company (www.presentcompany.org) from 1998-2001.  Both labs (1997-1999 and 2000-2001) presented work at FringeNYC (produced by The Present Company), which led to Barclay being asked to teach a workshop at Chisenhale Dance Space in London, where she met two of her collaborators in Apocryphal Theatre. Cathy Turner watched this workshop which led to her writing the article ‘Cutting It Up: Julia Barclay’s Downtown New York Theatre’ for Performance Research published in 2002.  Her first stage text Word to Your Mama was originally produced in 2000 by Screaming Venus for FringeNYC and was awarded an OOBR award for excellence and anthologized in Plays and Playwrights 2001. The Present Company subsequently produced Barclay’s texts Word to Your Mama and No One for a London and NYC tour in 2003. 

Since moving to London, she has collaborated with Norwegian director Zoe Christiansen on a multi-year project that took them from Orkney to Greenland in pursuit of those that pursued the North Pole and with UK based performance artist Bill Aitchsion on several projects including Micro-Macro-scope for the ANTI-Festival in Kuopio, Finland. Barclay has taught workshops in Apocryphal Theatre’s tools and techniques internationally at universities, performance venues and in art galleries.  She has guest lectured at universities throughout the UK and presented papers, workshops and performances at international performance, writing and theatre conferences.

In December 2009, Barclay was awarded a practice-as-research PhD from University of Northampton for her thesis ‘Apocryphal Theatre: practicing philosophies,’ arguing that theatre itself can be seen an act of philosophy.  She was awarded a full fellowship from Northampton in 2004 to complete this PhD.  Barclay is currently a Visiting Lecturer at University of East London.

Bill Aitchison

Bill Aitchison is a performance artist whose performances, audio works, videos and events have been seen in galleries, theatres and festivals in Europe, Asia, North America and the Middle East such as: Wunder der Praire (Mannheim), Open (Beijing), British Council Showcase (Edinburgh) IIFUT (Tehran) Plateaux (Frankfurt), ZAZ (Tel Aviv), Melkweg (Amsterdam), The Brick (NYC), Playground (Leuven) among many others. in London he has worked in galleries like Whitechapel Gallery, South London Gallery, Lorem Ipsum Gallery, theatres such as ICA, BAC, CPT, Hackney Empire, Chelsea and numerous site-specific projects and performance clubs. Bill has produced artist’s books, made sound works for radio and had his critical articles published in journals and magazines. His work has been supported by Arts Council England, The British Council and Live Art Magazine and co-produced by partners in Germany and China. Working collaboratively, he has created and performed original work across Europe and the US with his two long-term regular collaborators Apocryphal Theatre and Ivana Müller. A graduate of Ecole de Mime Corporel Dramatique, he holds a BA from the University of Wolverhampton, an MA from Middlesex University and a practice-based PhD from Goldsmiths College, University of London on integrating performance art and corporeal mime.


Zoe Bouras

Zoe Bouras is a theatre maker, performer and teacher and she has been with Apocryphal Theatre since its inception in 2004. She has an MA in Theatre Practice from Exeter University where she studied psycho-physical training using Asian martial arts with Phillip Zarrilli. Bouras has created her own work using tools, approaches and explorations started with Apocryphal Theatre. Performances include Station Motion, in the Particle/Wave: Pixelache Festival in Helsinki, funded by the Arts Council of Finland, Int. Room Day, with Seth Kriebel, Director of Rules and Regs and commissioned by Sally O'Reilly for Beacon Arts Festival, solo explorations, ACE-funded R&D, all use her expanded experience of audience interaction and the wide possibilities of performer (or performative) actions.  

Karla Ptacek

For three decades Karla Ptacek practice has taken place in experimental, multimedia collaborative ensembles. Initially trained in classical theatre and commedia dell’arte in New York, Ptacek became a core company member of Creation Production Company. The company created several Obie-award winning, site specific productions with Matthew MaGuire & Jeff Jones (http://www.creationproduction.org/home.htm).  During this period in New York she also performed in premieres of Richard Foreman’s ‘Walled Garden (Language) and in Tennessee Williams’ ‘Kirche, Kuchen Und Kinder’- an unpublished experimental ‘cartoon’ play that Williams wrote and workshopped for The Jean Cocteau Repertory, NYC.

Ptaceks playtexts include: Lawful Acts, published in the Journal of Media Practice, Vol 2, No. 3, 2002, Intellect, Bristol, UK. Part of this playtext is performed by a live performer, part performed by an animated character that she built online and can be viewed at: http://www.artificialstage.com/ej.html. Ptacek’s trilogy, ‘From Hunger’, ‘Uncontrollablelements’ and ‘Pure Entertainment’ have been staged at Ohio Theatre and The Kitchen, NYC, and at ICA, London. An animated digital form of sections of ‘Uncontrollabelements can be see online at http://www.artificialstage.com/uc.html   

Returning to London to study, Ptacek undertook an MA in Directing from Goldsmiths College, London, and a practice as research MPhil in Distributed Performance Practices (Cyberformance), supported by a scholarship from the Arts & Humanities Research Board, UK.  As part of Ptacek’s MPhil research she co-founded Avatar Body Collision (www.avatarbodycollision.org ), a collaborative, globally distributed cyberformance troupe who devise, rehearse and perform online using chat software that is cross-platform and free to download. Securing a major grant from the New Zealand Arts Council, they designed and built UPSTAGE (www.upstage.org.nz )  a web-based tool for virtual performance.

For the last 2 years Ptacek has worked as live art festival director with Gail Sagman (http://www.gailsagman.co.uk/html/exhibitions_projects.html ) at the Jam Factory, Uplyme, Dorset.  This 3 day festival of international art, installation and performance was themed around absurdity in 2009 and the ridiculous in 2010 and will culminate in a 3rd festival in May 2012 entitled ‘The Sublime’.

In 2009 Ptacek returned to live performance by joining Apocryphal Theatre’s lab where she was delighted to find a group of like-minded people and a place where theory, research and experimentation is at the heart of the practice.

Theron Schmidt

Theron Schmidt is a writer and performer.  He is currently Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at King’s College London, and has written widely about live art and performance for a variety of publications including Contemporary Theatre Review, Dance Theatre Journal, The Live Art Almanac, RealTime, Total Theatre, and Writing from Live Art.  He has presented solo and collaborative performance at Camden People’s Theatre, Chisenhale Dance Space, The Place, and the Royal Opera House.

Schmidt was a founding member of the Apocryphal Theatre lab, and performed in Heart Oven Falling, Gotcha! (2005) and The Jesus Guy (2006), as well as appearing as a guest performer in Besides, you lose your soul or The History of Western Civilization (2009).  He continues to use methods and examples from his work with Apocryphal throughout his teaching, including techniques for group improvisation, approaches to textual exploration, and ways of connecting theatre and performance with political issues and cultural events.

Alison Blunt

London based musician Alison Blunt was born in Mombasa, Kenya in 1971 and later grew up in the Lake District in the United Kingdom. Blunt studied classical violin and obtained her BA (Hons) degree at Birmingham Conservatoire and continued her musical studies in London where she was awarded a postgraduate certificate by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

She has since led a national and international career as a musician, composer, member of various ensembles and bands and also as a interdisciplinary collaborator in the worlds of music, dance, theatre, visual art and film. Recent performances and collaborations include; Ensemble Progresivo, Horta Cordel International Festival of Improvisation, Madrid; conductor and player with London Improviser’s Orchestra, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London, Freedom of the City Festival, London and Amsterdam, Holland; guest conductor and guest player with Berlin Improvisers Orchestra, Berlin, Germany; Composer and recording artist for Butoh Camera Dance, short film, London; huest solo musician/ singer in Without Planning Permission, Fluxx Theatre Co., Brighton Fringe Festival, UK; Barrel, Vortex Jazz Club, London, Thirsty Fish Festival, Café Oto, London; composer and live performer Scratches, Sketches and Salt film screened at Liquid Architecture Festival, ACMI, Melbourne Australia; Commissioned soundtrack and performance for full length 1928 silent movie in Vamps, Vixens and Femme Fatales, Birds Eye View Festival, BFI, Southbank Centre, London


Rachel Ellis

Rachel Ellis is a performer and theatre maker. She studied performing arts at Middlesex University, and also trained and performed under Polish director Mila Stolarska in Spit and Polish, the company they set up together. The company combined artists and performers from different art forms, origins and languages and created a highly visual theatre style that toured across Europe. Along with being a member of Apocryphal Theatre, Ellis also has her own theatre company, Faculty of Wonder. The debut performance, In case I forget, was created and performed with Argentine dancer Melina Seldes.

Birthe Jorgensen

Birthe Jørgensen is a Danish born London based fine art sculptor/photographer and she has been working with Apocryphal Theatre creating a role as a Live Visual Artist since 2005. Jørgensen was awarded a Bachelor Degree w. Hons from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art, London, 2003. Since then she has exhibited and performed nationally and internationally. Jørgensen is the founding director of the Lorem Ipsum Gallery that was located on Vyner Street, East London between 2007- 09, and since presented a series of shows and performances in various locations around London. She has guest taught and lectured at Iceland Academy of Art.

Selected exhibitions and performances include: Icons, along side Chantal Joffe, Elmgren & Dragset, Gonkar Gyatso and Oona Grimes, St Botolph’s Church, London, 2010; Right Here, Lorem Ipsum Gallery, London, 2008, lifeisonlyhalfthestory, patroned by Victoria Miro, along side Peter Doig, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Chris Ofili, Grayson Perry, Wolfgang Tillman, Christ Church, London, 2008; UBS: A Long Weekend, w. Apocryphal Theatre and Sarah Washington, Tate Modern, London, 2007; Besides, You Lose Your Soul Or The History Of Western Civilization, 2009 and The Jesus Guy, 2006, both Julia Lee Barclay productions, Camden People’s Theatre, London and touring, A Match Made In Heaven, M3 Kunsthalle, Berlin, 2007; Da Ikonet Blev Til Et Flydene Enigma, solo exhibition, Gallery Paul Kleefeld, Copenhagen, 2007, Ten Of The Best, Artreview Magazine yearly selection of emerging artists, Deluxe Gallery, London, 2004.


Steve Potter

Steve Potter is a composer and pianist. His compositions have been performed by Arditti String Quartet, Ensemble Modern, ASKO Ensemble, and Philharmonia Orchestra. He received the Music and Medicine Composition Prize (2009, Wellcome Foundation/King’s College London) for his work, Piety, and a CAP grant from the American Music Center to support the performance of his ‘scenic music’ work, The Officers, at New York City Opera in 2008. His theatrical work, PARADIGMS, received its US premiere at the 2010 Ojai Music Festival, where it was lauded for its ‘impressive inventiveness’ (LA Opus) and ‘wicked wit’ (MusicalCriticism.com). His music has been featured at Royal Festival Hall (London), Alte Oper Frankfurt, Libbey Bowl (Ojai), De Ijsbreker (Amsterdam), Skirball Center (New York), UdK Berlin, the Darmstadt Orangerie, Alte Börse Leipzig, kampnagel (Hamburg), and on MDR and Hessischer Rundfunk (radio). Potter has also premiered dozens of works as pianist and harpsichordist, working with leading young composers as well as with squib-box, Wet Ink Ensemble, Steve Reich, Theatre of Voices, Reinbert de Leeuw, and Apocryphal Theatre. He has performed at Handel House (London), Paradiso (Amsterdam), the Bowery Poetry Club (New York), Muziekcentrum Vredenburg (Utrecht), Korzo Theatre (Den Haag), and at alternative venues around London. He studied music and critical theory at Amherst College, the University of Sussex and the Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag. He is currently completing a PhD at King’s College London, supervised by George Benjamin and Silvina Milstein.

Maria Kapsali

Maria Kapsali has recently completed a fully funded PhD in Performance Practice at the University of Exeter, which examines the use of yoga in actor training and theatre making. Kapsali comes from a physical theatre background (MA in Physical Theatre) with a particular interest in different kinds of somatic disciplines and their application in performance and she is also a professional teacher of Iyengar Yoga. She has performed in and/or devised shows in London (Hoxton Hall) and the South-West (Phoenix, Exeter and The Barbican, Plymouth). Kapsali has worked with the Apocryphal Theatre Lab since September 2009 and taken part in It’s Not A Cul-De-Sac, It’s A Conduit at the People Show  2010.

Danielle Antha

Since graduating from Middlesex University in 2008, Danielle Antha has worked with a variety of established companies which has required a variety of different approaches to performance and production. Companies include Lost Vagueness, People Show and You Me Bum Bum Train – at their pivotal 6 week run at Cordy House in December 2008, the forerunner to the company receiving the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust award in 2009. She has also worked with Bryony Kimmings, current director of the Chisendale Dance Space at her cult Celebrityville! cabaret at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. Additional to the collaborative work that she has more recently accomplished with Apocryphal Theatre since joining the company in 2009, she also has worked with director Stephen Agnew on the video of highly anticipated indie outfit The Vaccines’ for new single Post Break Up Sex out January 2011. She is also an active crew member at Glastonbury festival, supporting the Outside Circus Satge and Ground and Walkabout Act crew since 2004. In July 2010 she appeared at Secret Garden Party, in The Pole of Eros and Thanatos for Precious Marvels Theatre. Furthermore, she performed and carried out the role of Assistant Producer  in Recycle Yourself Theatre’s production of The Bacchae in September 2010 at Trinity Buoy Wharf as part of Open House weekend. Danielle very much enjoys the challenging concepts and unpredictable effects that she has thus far experienced with Apocryphal and is eager for greater discovery in the future.

©  Birthe Jorgensen

Lukas Angelini

Lukas Angelini, trained as an actor in Zurich, Switzerland. Angelini is co-founder of the London based Theatre Training Initiative, which promotes ongoing physical training for actors and performers. He is an Associate Artist with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. He appeared on stage for a variety of different companies in Switzerland (Fasson Theater Zurich, Klara Theaterproduktionen Basel), Germany (Theater Schwarzlicht, Freiburg i.B) and the UK (Group K, Company 333 and others).

Lucy Avery

Since joining Apocryphal Theatre in 2005, whilst studying MA Theatre Practice at Rose Bruford College, Avery’s jobs within the company have ranged from Assistant Director, to Production Manager, Performer/Deviser and now Associate Director.  Avery has worked on the full length shows and tours of The Jesus Guy and Besides, you lose your soul or The History of Western Civilization, 2 Apocryphal Theatre Festivals, a residency at Central School of Speech and Drama and the Because then I would be safe residency at Rose Bruford in April 2010, and various other showings of work from the Apocryphal Theatre Laboratory.  In 2008 Avery’s play This is how I lost my memory was read at the Apocryphal Theatre Festival at Lorem Ipsum Gallery by performers from the company, and later that year she directed a performance in progress of this work at Camden People’s Theatre. 

Avery’s other credits as director/designer include: Silence by Harold Pinter (The Barn Theatre, Rose Bruford) A Kind of Alaska by Harold Pinter and Footfalls and Come and Go by Samuel Beckett (Malt Hall, Lymington), and as assistant director: Everything is Illuminated (Etcetera Theatre), The Quaker Walk (Artifice), The Day It Rained (The Gantry Youth Theatre). Her writing credits include: I hope we make it through the rain (professional play reading at Theatre503), Crazy Bitch (professional play reading at Theatre503), and she worked as script development on the new musical Edem at Jermyn Street Theatre in July 2010

Katie Francis

Since graduating in Theatre Making and Performance in Cape Town in 2006, Kati Francis has been devising and performing visual theatre with socio-political agendas and eclectic style both sides of the equator with her own company, solo and collaboratively. Her latest solo physical work was rated a “highlight” of the Accidental Festival at BAC. Francis is currently works with various improvisation techniques with Apocryphal Theatre, Mackenzie Scott on physical/musical collaborations and with a comedy improv group. She also works extensively in community settings from schools to prisons facilitating workshops. Francis recently received AHRC funding to commence an MA in Applied Theatre at Central School of Speech and Drama where she is focusing on taking theatre out of formal spaces in order to greater reach specific audiences.

Boris Kahnert

Boris Kahnert studied Theatre, Philosophy and German Literature in Bochum and Berlin and gained an MA in Advanced Theatre Practice in London. He worked extensively as a lighting designer and also as performer, dramaturge and contributor for exhibitions. He has designed lights for Opera, Theatre, Dance, Music and Circus and is a regular Collaborator for various companies and theatres including Analog Theater, Apocryphal Theatre, Bill Aitchison Company, Futur3, Medium Taut, Constanza Macras/dorky park, Theater der Klänge, Rouge28 Theatre, Schaubühne Berlin. His electromagnetic light to sound performance Feldröhren I+II has been shown internationally.


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