'we happy few . . . . '

      Fiona Penney - the creator and Director of GREAT SHAKES. Having trained as an actress at East 15, Fiona went on to work in Theatre, film and television. One of Fiona's first theatre roles was playing the nurse in a touring production of Romeo and Juliet. This was the beginning of her professional work with Shakespeare and it snowballed from there, first as an actress then as workshop leader and storyteller and in recent years as a director. Fiona has also guest lectured for the Open University on Shakespeare in Performance. In the last year Fiona has directed for Captain Mermaid Theatre Company. They are currently touring with their new show which is shortly coming to the Lowry - 23rd October 2012. It will be going on to do a spring tour in 2013

 Paul Hurstfield - a freelance actor and partner in GREAT SHAKES. Last year Paul worked on a   Manchester based feature film called "Poor Wee Me" playing the troubled lead Gavin.  He was recently seen at the Lowry in a new play called 'Tinned up'. Paul worked on the Shane Meadows modern cult classic 'DEAD MAN'S SHOES.' He is the founder of SIMMER FILMS and is now working as a producer for a new film 'Dog Altogether'


 Paul relaxing for a moment during a film shoot



The film is now complete. It has been renamed 'Poor Wee Me' and has had it's premiere at the Lowry cinema.  June 2010. Very impressive it was too, as was Paul in the lead role of GAVIN.



Molly Butterworth - Fiona's daughter and an indispensible addition to the GREAT SHAKES team. Working now at Sussex university, Molly uses her much prized holidays to come and stage manage the courses.

Fiona and Molly enjoying the children rehearsing  

Here is my son Tom who worked with me at Easter. He is no stranger to the stage, currently writing and devising a new play in Norwich. 


And here is Sophie, our latest addition to the team. She left as a student last year and came back as an invaluable assistant this year.
I am absolutely delighted to welcome my nephew Jon to our team. He took over the lighting with the wonderful help of Kim Creasy. Jon had no prior experience before coming to help but he took to it with great aplomb showing interest and creativity which enhanced the shows wonderfully.
This year I had the added help of lovely ex students Tamsin and Shane.

 2014 Many of my lovely past students now come back to help. How lucky am I.