Jennifer Rigby – Artistic Director – I’ve had a varied career! From performing for Super-group U2 to sharing the small screen with Jedward, life has certainly never been dull! Once the ‘Birdseye Pea Lady’ I spend my time performing, directing and public speaking here in The Midlands.
I found it a privilege to help the community as one of the SISG phone holders and to use my skills as an actress to keep everyone entertained. I can’t wait to bring our community more affordable, responsible, family friendly productions – particularly as we are developing our own unique AJP-style of theatre!
You can see the full collection of Jen’s Aunty Jen posts here:
Annaliese Morgan – Acting Company – I used to be typecast as the damsel in distress. Then I chopped my hair off and suddenly played a multitude of boy roles! Hurrah!
I had fun racing around pretending to be a 10 year old (or an animal!) and gaining muscles puppeteering whilst touring shows overseas to Switzerland, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
You may have heard me giggling as a flirty nun in ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ or gossiping as a Glastonbury lush in ‘Kingsman’. Then I went back to playing girls but these have had a bit more bite. Cue feisty Hermia on the back of a lorry, raging that Helena took her man! My greatest love is comedy. As a new friend said the other day (quite rightly!), “…laughter is good for the soul!” Lee Evans, Rowan Atkinson and Phoebe Waller-Bridge are just a few of my heroes.
Ben Darlington – Acting Company
I have been acting professionally from the age of eleven. I have predominantly done touring theatre which has led me all over the world to some truly spectacular places – Beijing, Rome, Amsterdam… and Hull. Credits include: The Midnight Gang & Wuthering Heights (Heartbreak Productions), The Jungle Book, Twelfth Night & A Midsummer Nights Dream (Chapterhouse), The Trials of Oscar Wilde, Waiting for Godot & The Picture of Dorian Gray (European Arts), My Pet Monster and Me & Duck in the Truck (Blunderbus), The Merchant of Venice (White Horse).
Billy Vale – Acting Company
Unfortunately, there was no cake to be sampled with Billy’s Mock Turtle soup during his first time on stage in a school production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, aged 7. However, he more than made up for this by scoffing cake in the dressing rooms of many local theatres as a youngster in ‘Whistle Down the Wind’, as Pugsley in ‘The Addams Family’ and then as The Artful Dodger encouraging ‘more’ cake to be asked for in ‘Oliver’. He discovered new types of delicious cake in Birmingham as a guest soloist at the Town Hall and in ‘Les Miserables’ Youth Production at The Crescent Theatre. Piraguas were all that were on offer at the Repertory Theatre as Sonny in ‘In The Heights’ and cake–eating as a flying Peter Pan aged 14 was not an option as it would have been rather messy. More cookies than cakes in Birmingham Ormiston Academy’s canteen sustained him sufficiently well for 4 years during Musical Theatre training and also for ‘Bring it On’, and ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’. He wiped away the cream cakes from around his mouth when appearing with Spirit Young performers Company in many of their popular YouTube Musical videos, and at various London theatres and venues – the most unusual of these being on the top of a double-decker bus, singing to thousands in Parliament Square at the Global Climate Strike in 2019, alongside multiple politicians many of whom who were in fact eating humble pie. The furthest he has travelled to eat cake was in 2015 at the World Championships of Performing Arts, in Los Angeles. He is now enjoying wonderful desserts at the Arts Educational Schools London café whilst studying for a Musical Theatre degree there. He still maintains however there is no better cake to be found than here in Studley, at the home of his Nan and Grandad.
Jack Scott-Walker – Acting Company – I quit an unfulfilling accountancy career to follow my passion of performing. In the years since I have trodden the boards numerous times in a variety of comedies, dramatic plays, musicals, family shows, Shakespeare, and the ever-fun world of Panto!
I spent a sunny season in Majorca as a hotel entertainer and singer in 2018, and last year on board Fred Olsen cruise lines singing and dancing away each night in their onboard show team, all while taking in the amazing European sights! I was due to be back performing on the ships this year, but plans changed! While not working I am busy steadily writing my own musical. I also play the piano and saxophone.
Jim Kelly – Acting Company
Jim’s favourite cake is lemon drizzle (the one with a lemon curd centre, oof!). Although he’s been an actor for over a decade performing in everything from Shakespeare to contemporary theatre & various films, he still hasn’t eaten cake in a show. If this doesn’t happen during Alice in Wonderland, it will be off with their heads. Although no stranger to the company, this will be Jim’s first appearance with Aunty Jen Productions.
Martin Smith (aka Martin Conway, Martin Tomms) – Author
I began my writing career as a performance poet and singer/songwriter, and then went into television, writing for Birds of a Feather as well as sketches for Hale and Pace and the Friday Zone. I did an MA in Playwriting at Birmingham University, and later wrote three plays which were broadcast on BBC Radio Four. I have written or adapted many plays for children, and two of my children’s books were published by Oxford University Press –Olaf the Viking and The Pig who would be King.
Lewis Carol has always been a favourite for me. I read the Alice books to each of my children several times whether they wanted me to or not, and it is a sad testament to this mistreatment that they all know ‘Jabberwocky’ by heart.
I first met Jen Stone while working in touring theatre, and I think the first words she ever said to me were ‘You’re going to have to be more careful with you coat hangers’. At the time, I thought this officious and bossy, but it turns out she was definitely not officious, and is only a little bit bossy. Oh, and she was dead right about the coat-hangers.
Neville Cann – Acting Company – I used to have a real job doing stuff. I stopped doing that in 2011 and went to the Birmingham Theatre School instead. Since then I have quite literally not shot to fame, playing real historical characters such as Joseph Goebbels, Herbert Asquith, Joseph Goebbels, Winston Churchill, Fourth Wildebeest, an evil pudding from space, Doctor Who and a goat. Aunty Jen’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2020 was the first time I had performed on the back of a lorry, though I had previously played a scary doctor in a shipping container.
My television appearances do not include The Bill.
I really enjoyed talking rubbish as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet this summer, and am looking forward to performing five different characters in Alice in Wonderland.
Nicolette Morgan – Acting Company – In my career so far I have spent a Summer in Spain singing musical theatre, pop and classical music in a hotel, worn 4-inch silver platform boots and a blonde wig in an ABBA tribute band in Greece, stomped around as Mary in ‘The Secret Garden’ in Brum and toured theatres across Europe and Malaysia playing Oliver Twist.
I got princessy last Christmas in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ and stalked a guy to a forest in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’! I love books, beaches, being outdoors, Harry Potter and Game of Thrones. I’m an absolute musical theatre nerd and love Alan Menken’s music.
Oliver Hume – Acting Company – I have been shot by a Dalek while dying of radiation poisoning. I’ve also been an evil Time Lord trying to kill Dr. Who, run around Regent’s Park open air theatre as a mad bald giggling fairy, killed witches as Macbeth in Germany, had a split personality as Jekyll AND Hyde and have shaken my rig as an Ugly Sister… twice!
I know a vast amount about medieval medicine and witchcraft and have been in over 200 different productions!