Production Profiles: Cast Member Philippe De Paris


As part of our continuing series production profiles we take a look at actor Philippe De Paris. Philippe will be playing two roles in the play Black Spartacus; General Laveaux a French Soldier and Governor of St Domingue as well as Bayon de Libertat the Master of the Breda Plantation.

Originally from France, Philippe started acting at a very young age. He continue into his late teens before being offered a modelling contract. He continued to work as a model until he moved to London in 1989. A few years ago Philippe rekindled his passion for acting and started attending various courses and classes, from RADA to Method Acting. He wanted to see if the spark  he once had for acting was still there and also how he would fare with the challenge of acting in a language that wasn’t his mother tongue. He must have been doing something right as he has already been cast in a number of independent short and feature films including “Sophia Lazzati”, “The Attachment”  and “An Angel At Christmas”. “An Angel At Christmas” has been picked up by film festivals around the world and received 3 nominations at the Madrid International Film Festival.

At the moment Philippe is in the process of filming another two projects and will be taking to the London stage for the first time in Black Spartacus. On being in Black Spartacus Philippe has said

“The reason why I was attracted to play those characters was because of the challenge of playing two different parts in one play, but also being born in France the subject of the play is a part of my history which I must admit,  knew very little about.”

Tickets to see Philippe in Black Spartacus are available here

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Production Profiles: Cast Member Claire Jeater


As part of our continuing series production profiles we take a look at actress Claire Jeater. Claire will be playing the role of Madame de Libertat the wife of Bayon de Libertat, Master of the Breda Plantation in the on stage production of Black Spartacus.

Claire was part of the original team workshopping and recording Black Spartacus for radio.

Most recently Claire played Grace Kingsley in the thriller Fatal Encounter at the Gordon Craig Theatre Stevenage, Goneril in Phil Willmott’s “Lear” at the Union Theatre, Southwark and this time last year she was entertaining up to 800 people a night playing Frika the Goddess of Marriage in an ensemble production of “The Ring Cycle” at the Scoop, the free open-air theatre on the South Bank (nominated for an Offie for best ensemble).

She trained at Guildford School of Acting where she was chosen by the extraordinary director Leah Thys to play Olga in “Three Sisters” graduating in 1993. Her first job was playing Helena in Bedford Theatre Company’s beautiful open-air production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” shortly followed by a stint in panto as Dandini. She went on to play Laura in “The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband” directed by John Forgeham and the title role in “Candida”.

Lots of touring followed playing the wicked Miss Minchin in “A Little Princess”, Witch One in “The Witches” and Ladybird in a ten month tour of “James & the Giant Peach” both for Birmingham Stage. At the Canal Cafe and Edinburgh she received outstanding reviews for her portrayal of an alcoholic ex-Miss UK in the musical comedy “Everyone Loves Me”. When Claire lived in South East London she played Lady Macbeth at the Broadway Theatre Catford and joined Caribbean theatre company, Blue Mountain to play Desdemona in their tour of “The Perfect Blackman”, she also went to Dubai with UKTT to play Jacqueline in “Don’t Dress for Dinner” and understudied all the female roles in “Charley’s Aunt” directed by the late Mel Smith for Bath Theatre Royal.

Roles at the open-air lakeside theatre at Hever Castle include; Miss Gibson in “Daisy Pulls it Off”, Ruth in “Blithe Spirit”, Mary in “Caught in the Net”and Jackie in “Hayfever”.

Radio work includes the Empress Drusilla in “Not Tonight Caligula” directed by John Antrobus for Wireless Theatre and Madame Libertat in “Black Spartacus” directed by Joseph Charles for Thee Black Swan. Claire was a regular co-presenter with Henry Kelly on “Clubhouse” an audio magazine for blind golfers (Radio 5-Live)

Film credits include Margaret in “Caregiver” (Star Cinema), Vanessa in “Women & Babies” (Tailormade Films).

She can currently be seen in the advert break on “Long Lost Family” (ITV) towing a delightful 1960s caravan.

Tickets for Black Spartacus are available here

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Production Profiles: Cast Member Carmelita Bennett


As part of our continuing series production profiles we take a look at Carmelita Bennett. Twenty two year old Dance Graduate Carmelita will be appearing in the new production Black Spartacus when it comes to the Courtyard Theatre in August.

Carmelita started dancing before she was even three years old and at the age of five performed within The Carol Straker Dance foundation in the production of ‘In Celebration of My Sisters’ at the Royal Albert Hall in the late 90’s. She went on to study dance and has taken part in many dance troupes in London before going on to join the Tropical Isles Carnival Band.

Performing at Alexander Palace, Nottinghill Carnival, The Place London, Laban, Southbank, The curve Theater Leicester and various other locations in and across London, Carmelita has, as of this July, graduated from De Montfort University Studying dance and wishes to push further into developing her skills and perform professionally.

Continuing the passion her dad had for ballroom dance, Carmelita takes a keen interested in mainly contemporary dance, but is a lover of all styles and participates in all forms when possible. As she recently graduated Carmelita is planning to continue her education by pursuing entrance to dance intensive courses in New York for the next Academic year.

To see Carmelita in Black Spartacus, tickets are available here

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Production Profiles: Cast Member D’Adrian Tomlin

D'Adrian Tomlin's Headshot

As part of our continuing series production profiles we take a look at D’Adrian Tomlin. D’Adrian will be appearing in the new production Black Spartacus when it comes to the Courtyard Theatre in August.

D’Adrian Tomlin is a professional Actor, and Spoken word Poet who comes from the heart of South London. Son of the one of the leading Pioneers in the Caribbean Theatre world Charles Tomlin, D’Adrian has followed his Father’s footsteps as he has been acting for 9 years and still going strong. He trained at the BRIT School of Performing Arts & Technology in 2006 where hegraduated with a Triple Distinction for a BTEC National Diploma in Theatre (Acting). After leaving the BRITS in 2008 he then went on to further his training with an award winning part time drama school called Identity Drama School. He was placed into the advanced group, and undertook extensive drama workshops for two days a week. During his time at the drama school he also continued further education in the same year by attending Brunel University where he graduated with a Second Class Bachelor of the Arts, Joint Honours Degree in Drama, Film, and Television Production studies in 2011. Being at the drama school, and university at the same time was a challenge, which showed his hard work, and dedication to the arts both professionally, and academically.

In his first year at Identity Drama School he did a showcase entitled ‘Kofi’ directed by Principal of the school Femi Oguns at the Arcola Theatre based in Dalston (East London) where he won the school’s Best Actor ‘Clive Dailey’ award 2008. Due to his success and phenomenal progress in such a short space of time in the drama school’s curriculum he got moved up to the Professional group, and signed unto the drama school’s agency (Identity Agency Group). His very first audition with the

agency was for the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in 2009 for a production called Frontline written by award winning playwright Che Walker, directed by Mathew Dunster, and he was successful in claiming the role. Due to his quality performance in the play, he was invited back by the Globe within that same year to play multiple roles in a play called A New World A Life of Thomas Paine directed by the head artistic director of the Shakespeare’s Globe Domonic Dromgoole. Since then D’Adrian has had a good career to date performing on well established stages such as the Theatre Royale (Stratford East), Soho theatre, The Half Moon Theatre in (Look to the Sky by Courttia Newland), Drill Hall theatre, Tristan Bates Theatre (West End), the Croydon Warehouse theatre, the Croydon Clock tower, Birmingham Drum theatre (in Raggarella starring Charles Tomlin, and Devon Morgan). He has also played leading roles in two music videos by mainstream artists Devlin Featuring Yasmin, and You me at six Featuring Chiddy Bang (number 1 in the MTV American rock charts 2011) both music videos were aired on music channels such as MTV Base, The Box, and Starz TV and all together currently has a total of 10, 443, 133 views on youtube to date. Earlier in 2014 has also acted and co-directed a music video entitled Live free by an independent artist called Rae.

His main lead role was in a production called the Hate Play by Contemporary Theatre Company for Young People (Box Clever) in 2010. The play was for a Theatre in Education Tour, which addressed the topic of bullying through Hate crime. It was toured for a month around Hull, and Nottinghamshire to over 10 schools in both districts. Also being an ambassador for the company whilst in the schools, he facilitated workshops after each performance, and would get the young people involved through a technique called Forum Theatre where they had the opportunity to get involved in the play making their own decisions as to how they would have liked a particular scene to take place. This then followed up by a discussion afterwards where the audience had the opportunity to make observations to the cast about the issues portrayed in the play, which took place. Due to the success of the production, and the positive feedback given by the audience, and the staff from each school, D’Adrian was invited back by Box Clever Theatre Company to do the same tour again in the year 2011, and has kept up a working relationship with them ever since.

D’Adrian’s spoken word poetry is innovative, creative, and original. During each poem he sends words of encouragement to empower, and uplift his audiences with a positive message. As described by him, his poetry is just “a depiction of his daily thoughts” being interested in history, and the true meaning of life, and our purpose on earth his poetry also seeks to educate, and spread knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, through entertainment in his words he enjoys “Edutaining” his audience. Due to his background in Acting, Characterization, and rapping he refers to his style of delivery as a “Flowetry” giving the audience a mixture as he is therefore able to bring them on a journey with him, and he really paints a canvas of images with his words as if he were performing a monologue with different colours, tones, clarity, and executed detail.

Click here to see one of D’Adrian’s spoken word performances

Tickets to Black Spartacus are available here

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Production Profiles: Cast Member Jim Findley

Jim Findley


As part of our continuing series production profiles we take a look at actor Jim Findley. Jim will be playing the titular role of Toussaint L’Ouverture who was known as The Black Spartacus.

Jim has recently completed a national tour of Inside Out Of Mind for Meeting Ground Theatre company and Lakeside Arts. The film version of this production will be released in September 2015.

His extensive theatre work includes Gulliver’s Travels for Dragon Breath and Leicester Curve Theatre, and Lakeside. Other work at Lakeside includes Natural Breaks and Rhythms, where he was proud to share the Lakeside stage with a jar of his March 2006 Batch of Pepper Sauce.

He recently appeared in Of Mice and Men at Nottingham Playhouse where his other work includes: Tom’s Midnight Garden, The Silver Sword, Under the Story Tree, and Moon On A Rainbow Shawl, which toured nationally.

He also appeared there in The Cherry Orchard, Feydeau’s A Flea In Her Ear, and a western version of Macbeth; as part of Pip Broughton’s Ensemble Repertory Company,

Other theatre work includes: Rona Munro’s adaptation of Watership Down for the Lyric theatre in Hammersmith; The Ghost Downstairs and Moll Cutpurse for New Perspectives; and A River Sutra for Indosa at Three Mills Island Studios.

He was The original Playboy of the West Indies for Oxford Playhouse/Tricycle Theatre, and also played the part in the BBC’s Play For today version. He appeared in Lee Hall’s critically acclaimed, award winning new version of Brecht’s Mr Puntilla and his Man Matti for The Almeida Theatre.

He co-adapted and performed V.S Naipaul’s novel Miguel Street for Edinburgh’s Theatre Workshop, The Latchmere Theatre and Andrew’s Lane, Dublin. The critically acclaimed One-man show was the first time any of Naipaul’s work had been brought to the stage.

Jim has numerous television credits including Silent Witness, Doctors, Livin’ It, EastEnders, Casualty, Dr Who-Resurrection Of The Daleks, and Johnny Jarvis. His film credits include: Cry Freedom, Socrates and Playing Away.

Jim has done extensive Radio work including Poetry Please, Silver Street, The Year In San Fernando and The Painterboy of Demerara.

He also directed Blue at The Nottingham Arts theatre.

Jim is proud to be part of SITC (Sport In The Community), where he has been an F.A. Football Coach for over 20 years. He is also a student of Yoshinkan Aikido a Japanese martial art developed after the second world war.

To find out more about Jim’s character in Black Spartacus check out the article Who was the Black Spartacus? 

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And to see Jim live make sure you buy a ticket to Black Spartacus available here

Production Profiles: Cast Member Morris Findley

Morris Findley

As part of our continuing series production profiles we take a look at actor Morris Findley. Morris will be playing the role of General Rigaud who is the Leader of the Southern Mulattoes in the play Black Spartacus.

Morris trained at the BAFTA winning Television Workshop from age 9 and has made many appearances in their productions. Most recently he appeared in Lear (2014) and The Roses of Eyam (2015). He has previously been trained as a theatre technician and is studying Computing and Drama at The Becket Sixth Form in Nottingham. As well as studying he is also doing steady professional acting and technical work.

He has worked as a role player for medical and examination companies and appeared in several short films including Breaking Point by Edward Fleming (2015). Morris has done technical theatre work for companies including The Television Workshop and Nottingham Contemporary Arts Gallery. Working with lights and sound on a large range of productions, such as, Arabian Nights (2013) and The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas (2014).

He is also involved with Nottingham Playhouse, attending and assisting with their Youth Theatre and Critics Circle schemes. He has appeared in their main stage production of I Was A Rat (2013), the youth theatre production of Joseph (2014) and recently received excellent reviews as Renfield in Dracula (2015).

He has worked regularly with Shadow Syndicate Theatre Company on a number of productions, including playing Bugsy Malone in Bugsy Malone (2015), King Claudius in Hamlet (2014) and co-writing and performing in the award winning fringe piece, Lapse (2014). He has recently also co-written and appeared in this years show, Redaction, for the Fringe Festival 2015.

Tickets to Black Spartacus are available here

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Black Spartacus and The Modern World

Toussaint L’Ouverture led the only successful slave revolution in history. The events of the Hatian revolution directly led to the abolishment of Slavery in the 19th century. The question remains however; is a figure like Toussaint L’Ouverture still relevant today?

The play Black Spartacus will not only explore the historical events of Toussaint L’Ouverture and the Haitian revolution but will also draw parallels between those events and events of the modern day.

But isn’t slavery a thing of the past?

Slavery might have been abolished in the 19th Century but this didn’t end the practice. Modern slavery takes many forms including forced labour (via physical and mental threats), bonded labour (people forced to work for free to pay off debts), sex trafficking, child labour and many more. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that 21 million people are in some form of slavery world wide.

You may think that modern slavery only exists in poorer countries but that is not true. In the UK for example the British government estimates the number of people in slavery to be 13,000. In fact slavery continues in some form or another in every country in the world.

With Slavery still a thriving illicit industry it is important to understand its history and to learn from the brave historical figures who devoted their lives to its eradication. Stories like those of Toussaint L’Ouverture are just as relevant today as they have ever been.

Figures for this article are taken from the Anti-Slavery International website

Anti-Slavery International is supporting Thee Black Swan Theatre Company in it’s production of Black Spartacus. To learn more about modern slavery and how you can help end it go to their website

To Book tickets for Black Spartacus click here

Production Profiles: Anthony Maddalena Writer of Black Spartacus

Anthony image

In the Second of our production profiles we take a look at Anthony Maddalena the writer of Black Spartacus.

Anthony wrote his first play “Pill Head” at the age of 15, a cautionary tale about a teenage drug abuser and came Runner Up at the Royal Court Theatre Young Writer’s Festival in Chelsea, London. This led to a television appearance on “The Extraordinary People Show” (ITV) in which he interviewed Nigerian novelist Buchi Emecheta.

In 1998 he founded Hungry Lion Theatre Company with Kenneth W. Caravan and wrote and staged “This Island’s Mine! ” at the Africa Centre, Covent Garden, London about a Jamaican family fleeing the violent Kingston elections of 1976 to stay with an eccentric relative in the countryside where a series of startling revelations occur. With a cast of 16 it was one of the largest multicultural plays ever to be staged in London.

“This Island’s Mine!” received positive reviews with one critic from The Stage Newspaper referring to “the rich gallery of earthy believable characters.”

Hungry Lion has since expanded into film production and its first project will be short fantasy drama called “Seed of Desire”, which Anthony co-wrote with Kenneth and which will be shot partly in the Republic of Seychelles later this year.

After being commissioned by Thee Black Swan Theatre Company to write “Black Spartacus” in 2007 he was awarded Script Development Funding from Arts Council England to research and write the play in celebration of the Bicentenary of the Abolition of Slavery. It was subsequently adapted into a 4 part mini-series for radio and was aired on Galaxy FM. The production is currently available for download on The Wireless Theatre Company website.

Moira Petty of The Stage commented: “The author was most successful at juggling the issues while presenting fleshed out characters.”

Anthony was in part inspired to write the play after reading CLR James’s moving account of the Haitian Slave Uprising “The Black Jacobins”. How did Toussaint L’Ouverture an ex-slave with no training manage to defeat the army of Napoleon? How was he able to forge arguably the most successful army of all time out of a nation of brutalized ex-slaves? These questions and countless more drove him while researching and writing the play.

Anthony looks forward to seeing the fascinating real-life characters of the Haitian Revolution spring to life again when “Black Spartacus” finally makes its much anticipated stage debut at The Courtyard Theatre in August.

Tickets to Black Spartacus are available here 

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Production Profiles: Joseph Charles Director of Black Spartacus


In the first of a series of production profiles we take a look at the Director of the play Black Spartacus, Joseph Charles.

Joseph has been a professional theatre director and actor for forty years. His long experience includes working as an actor at the Royal Shakespeare Company. He Played “Jesus” in The Mystery plays at Lincoln Cathedral. Which he describes as one of his most enjoyable and challenging roles.

He has acted in both television and film roles. This includes making appearances in a wide number of situational comedies and TV dramas including “The Sweeney”, “The Professionals”, “Family Affair”, “East Enders”, “Casualty”, “Jesus of Nazereth” and “Yanks”.

As a director his journey has mirrored his acting career, working in many repertory theatres, and directing a wide variety of plays, from classics through to modern.

Due to Joseph’s pioneering efforts a new “Roots Theatre” style of acting evolved at The Brixton Village. Joseph directed Jamaican Roots plays for Roots Theatre and Blue Mountain Theatre Company spanning twenty years.

He founded Thee Black Swan Theatre and Opera Company dedicated to providing a platform for classically trained singers and actors from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds. He directed and produced a critically acclaimed all-black version of Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” at the Tricycle Theatre, in Kilburn London. Black Concert at The Wimbledon Theatre quickly followed.

Joseph went on to direct a four part mini-series called Black Spartacus which is Thee Black Swan’s audio play and production that aired on The Wireless Theatre Company.

Joseph has produced and directed a series of projects and plays for Thee Black Swan, which includes two plays by the writer Allister Bain at the award winning, Rosemary Branch Theatre and an Arts Council funded opera project, “Troubled Island” by William Grant Still (a video about this production can be seen below).

Joseph is the director of Thee Black Swan’s latest production which brings Black Spartacus to the stage at The Courtyard Theatre in Hoxton from Tuesday 18th August to Sunday 13th September.

For further details go to or for tickets contact ticket web on 0844 477 1000

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The Courtyard Theatre

Courtyard Out

If you have ever walked along Pitfield Street in Hoxton (London Borough of Hackney) then you may well have walked past the Courtyard theatre and not even noticed. This is because at first glance it doesn’t look like a theatre at all. Housed in a beautiful Grade II listed building you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was still a public Library. The building was formerly the Passmore Edwards Free Library before being converted into a theatre.

To find out more about the history of the Courtyard theatre click here

The theatre, just 3 minutes walk from Old street station operates both a 150-seat main house and an 80-seat studio theatre. It will be home to the production Black Spartacus from Tuesday 18th August to Sunday 13th September.

For further details go to or for tickets contact ticket web on 0844 477 1000