Nicolette Kay (Artistic Director)

Trained at The Drama Centre, London, she worked as an actress for a number of years before founding Muzikansky Theatre Company which was based at The Forum (an independent music venue).  For the company, Nicolette directed plays including the Time Out Critics’ Choice Mary Stuart, The Dreams of Clytemnestra and Mela, all by Dacia Maraini (Battersea Arts Centre),  the world premiere of Seed by Souad Faress the London premiere of Love Child by Joanna Murray-Smith ( the Finborough Theatre) and Mud by Maria Irene Fornes (Etcetera Theatre). She also ran Muzikansky’s unscreen short film nights, ran workshops with young people and adults and created a film festival.

After closing Muzikansky she started New Shoes Theatre, also based at the Forum, Tunbridge Wells, because she was invited to direct another UK premiere of a Dacia Maraini play; Hurried Steps (Finborough Theatre). The play raises awareness about violence against women and girls. Nicolette has toured this production widely in the UK with New Shoes Theatre.  In Sydney, Australia, she produced the world premiere of a new Hurried Steps story called Kubra. A chapter about the development and the full text of this story will be included in a forthcoming chapter in Staging Violence Against Women and Girls: Plays and Interviews published by Bloomsbury/Methuen. Nicolette specialises in producing lesser known work written by women, most recently,  Jeannie by Aimée Stuart.  Nicolette also directs classical plays with professional theatre students.

She has contributed a Chapter to Il Sogno Del Teatro. Cronaca Di Una Passione,  Edited by Dacia Maraini and Eugenio Murrali. Other writing includes the published co-translations of Mary Stuart and My Name is Antonino Calderone. Her full length play, Falling Out,  won an Arts Council Award and her screenplay A Short Message was filmed at the Rutger Hauer Filmfactory.

As a professional actress, she played leading roles with many companies including Cambridge Theatre Company, Derby Playhouse, The Gate, The Women’s Theatre Group, playing Miss Hoyden in The Relapse  opposite David Jason and Ophelia opposite Edward Fox’s Hamlet at The Young Vic. Nicolette gave a talk for TEDxCoventGardenWomen called Hidden Stories, Hurried Steps“.

Laurence Hughes (Graphic Design)

Laurence studied Graphic Design at Camberwell College of Arts, graduating in 2016.  He designed our New Shoes Theatre logo as part of a student project and has remained on board to design our posters and the website.


We always welcome new Trustees.  Please contact us if you’d like to join.


Joan Stead (Chair)

Joan is a social anthropologist and Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Her research reflects her interest in exclusion/inclusion and social justice in education. She has worked on many projects funded by, for example,  the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Scottish Womens Aid, the Welsh and Scottish Governments, and the Economic & Social Research Council. Joan was a Trustee for Muzikansky.

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Vanessa Campion

Vanessa studied viola and piano at the Royal Academy of Music. She freelanced with not only the major London symphony orchestras but also ballet and opera companies throughout the UK. In 1991 she formed her event company, Campion Concert Promotions, mostly specialising in staging open air music festivals and was responsible for overseeing each project from initial idea to final production. Vanessa has a busy teaching practice and also teaches and directs ensembles at the King’s School, Canterbury. She has a special interest in promoting high-quality arts education.

Rhian Kennedy

Paul Rivlin

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Julie Rolland

Julie is a psychology graduate with practical experience of working with children and young people, especially those with learning differences such as Aspergers, ADHD, dyslexia, social and emotional difficulties. Team worker with ability to build good relationships with colleagues, teachers and parents.

She has experience with coordinating and guiding adolescents and undergraduates in their day-to-day living and is aware of specific needs and differences in mental health and well-being.She has trained in psycho-therapeutic counselling skills in educational settings and everyday life. She is currently working as a free-lance skype language tutor, parent and grand-parent manager.

Additionally, Julie has a degree in German and holds certificates in Counselling Skills & Theory (Tavistock Post-Grad. Cert: Therapeutic Communication with Children & Young people, and Cert. in literacy & drama (pre-school) from the Dutch Ministry of Education. Her current special interest is in communication and self-reflection skills, and attitudes within voluntary organisations.

TRIBUTE to Val Griffiths
  (09.09.1945 – 14.09.2012)

Val was the Tunbridge Wells Detached Youth & Community Worker for a number of years. Part of her extensive provision for young people included the work with Nicolette Kay, co-running the Muzikansky Girls’ Video and Drama workshops. The workshops took place in Sherwood and Showfields, outlying estates in Tunbridge Wells, and the young people’s films were shown at film festivals in the UK and Europe.  As well as winning Kent County-wide Tryangle awards for their high quality films, workshop participants achieved Bronze Arts Awards.

Val was remembered by her peers in the youth services for her tireless commitment to providing opportunities for young people. After her retirement, she worked for the Kent Youth Service as an area advisor and became a founding Trustee of New Shoes Theatre.  Despite her illness and resulting disability she attended Trustee meetings and gave her wholehearted support to the company.  Her contribution to New Shoes Theatre is greatly appreciated and she will always be remembered.