Meet our Autumn 2022 Bursary Recipients



Pictured left to right: Top: Tom Bevan, Naomi Turner, Jafar Iqbal, Mitchell Reeve, Maddy Mutch; Middle: Sarah Verghese, Samia Djilli, Grace Dickson, Benjamin Alborough; Bottom: Joyce Fraser, Ameena Hamid, Hannah Elsy, Adam Line, Gabriella Sills


Our Stage One Bursary Scheme runs twice a year to support independent producers financially and practically in mounting their first commercial productions. Those who apply fill out an initial application and those shortlisted are invited to interview with panel. From there awards are granted.

For the Autumn 2022 round, we received 80 applications, interviewed 23 producers and awarded these 14 a total of £75,800 in development support. Another 10 were awarded top-ups.

Although their awards were announced, we wanted to give them a little shoutout; so without furtherado, we're pleased to introduce our Stage One Autumn 2022 Bursary Recipients! You can read more about each producer below.

When is the next round?
You don't have long to wait! We'll be taking applications for our Spring 2023 Bursary round in January 2023, so keep your eyes peeled for the annoucement soon!


Adam Line

Adam is a London-based producer. He recently set up Adam Line Creative LTD – a theatre company dedicated to uplifting stories and uplifting people. Adam also currently works as General Manager for Spare Tyre Theatre Company. Previous work as a freelance producer and production co-ordinator has included work at Theatre503, Park Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Finborough Theatre, Jermyn Street Theatre, VAULT Festival, BasicSpace Festival, JW3 & Rose Playhouse.


Ameena Hamid

Ameena is London based general manager, creative producer, festival curator and facilitator. She was heralded as “a true role model to the future generations" by Official London Theatre and is one of The Stage 25, theatremakers to watch out for in 2022 and beyond. At just 22, Ameena is the youngest producer and general manager currently working and the youngest ever female producer on the West End. She works mainly through her company Ameena Hamid Productions. She worked as Co-Producer on The Wiz with Hope Mill Theatre Manchester for which she has been nominated for the Best Producer award at the Black British Theatre Awards. She was Assistant Producer to The Show Must Go on Live, a General Manager on Wonderville Magic and Illusion (Palace Theatre), and Theatre Producer at Soho Theatre. Ameena was an EdFringe and British Council Emerging Producer and one of Stage One’s Bridge the Gap Producers. She is on the Board of the League of Independent Producers and was part of the Creative Freelancers Shaping London's Recovery Advisory Group 2021.

She holds a BSc in Social Anthropology with First Class Honours from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Ameena also has course credits from the National Theatre, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Harvard University.
Other Credits include: Dick Whittington (Phoenix Theatre), Producer on Graduates at Cadogan Hall, Producer on Eating Myself (Applecart Arts and FAE Lima, Peru), Producer on Killing It and Since U Been Gone (VAULT Festival).


Benjamin Alborough

Benjamin is a theatre producer and programmer and recipient of the 2022 Stage One bursary award. Benjamin has been producing since 2014, acting as Associate Producer for Islington’s Hope Theatre and Head of Programming for RED Entertainment. With his company BJA Productions he manages tour bookings and general management for a wide range of clients across both the subsidised and commercial sectors. Clients include Zoo Co, Ingenious Fools, ShakeItUp Theatre, Pinch Punch Theatre, Graphite & Diamond and Brighton’s Spiegeltent.

In 2019 Benjamin revived dark two hander musical THRILL ME: THE LEOPOLD AND LOEB STORY at the Hope Theatre, for which it received multiple 5 star reviews and won the OffWestEnd Award for Best Male Performance in a Musical, alongside being a finalist in Set Design. The show transferred in co-production to Jermyn Street Theatre, where it was nominated for a further 6 OffWestEnd Awards, including Best Musical Production, Best Ensemble, Best Director (Musicals), Best Set Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design.

His main project for 2023 and onwards is MAGGIE & TED by Michael McManus; a political history of the leaders of the Conservative party heading out on tour and then a London run in 2024. He is also developing an original musical featuring the music of Marc Almond.

Previous Productions include: Sweetmeat (Bunker Theatre), Foul Pages (The Hope Theatre), The Lesson (The Hope Theatre), Cream Tea and Incest (international tour), Ricky Riddlegang and the Riddle Gang (New Wimbledon Theatre), Locomotive for Murder (UK tour), Cinderella (Barnstaple Queen’s Theatre), Dead Lies (UK tour).


Gabriella Sills

Gabriella is a producer who specialises in work created in alternative theatre spaces and engaging formats. She is a Director of Tethered Wits which focuses on outdoor touring productions and works extensively with the Offie Award winning Saltire Sky Theatre, having won Best Scottish Production at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe with the immersive-rave show Bits ‘N’ Pieces. She is proud to have presented work at Leicester Curve Studios, Theatre 503, The Cockpit and amphitheatres across the country. Gabriella has worked as a Management Team Coordinator at the National Student Drama Festival and completed placements with ATG theatres (Piccadilly Theatre) and Theatre Royal Bath. She is also currently working in theatre marketing on Olivier Award nominated shows such as SIX, The Play That Goes Wrong, and The Tiger Who Came to Tea.


Grace Dickson

Grace is a Newcastle born, London based producer, general manager and production accountant with an interest in formally innovative & bitingly relevant new writing that champions marginalised voices. She runs her independent producing work through Grace Dickson Productions, which in its first 9 months of operation, produced 17 exciting new projects with a diverse range of creatives, working with over 180 freelancers. Credits include Project Dictator (New Diorama Theatre), Move Fast and Break Things (Summerhall), Belly Up (Turbine Theatre), Flushed (Park Theatre), Chatham House Rules (Pleasance), and Different Owners at Sunrise (Roundhouse).

She is Company Producer for Lagahoo Productions (SPLINTERED, Soho Theatre; BOGEYMAN, Edinburgh Fringe) and These Girls (Bible John, Edinburgh Fringe).

Grace is Accounts Assistant & Bookkeeper at Runaway Entertainment working on a number of West End and No.1 touring productions. She is also working as Associate Producer for multiple socially engaged organisations including REcreate Agency, Park Theatre, Freight Theatre and Rhum + Clay.

Grace holds a BSc in Mathematics from the University of Edinburgh and an MA in Creative Producing with Distinction from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

She was previously Assistant Producer to Ellie Claughton with whom she worked for award-winning political touring companies Breach (It's True, It's True, It's True; Joan of Leeds), LUNG (Trojan Horse; Who Cares) and Barrel Organ (Conspiracy). She was also General Manager of Rhum + Clay and Production Coordinator at LIVE General Management.


Hannah Elsy

Hannah is the founder of Hannah Elsy Productions. Lead and Originating Producer credits include Dumbledore Is So Gay (The Pleasance, 29 hr Off Broadway reading), Everything Is Absolutely Fine with House of Blakewell (North Wall Oxford, The Lowry and a digital UK tour) and The Quentin Dentin Show (Above The Arts, National Theatre Studio, RichMix, Tristan Bates, The Space UK). Credits as Producer include Rejoicing At Her Wondrous Vulva The Young Woman Applauded Herself (Ovalhouse) and Queen C*nt: Sacred or Profane? (Wardrobe Bristol, Bunker Theatre). Hannah founded The Lowdown, a scratch night in London for new musical theatre, in collaboration with RichMix. Alongside producing, Hannah has worked in financial management at The Old Vic, and has consulted on productions Off Broadway, in Vienna, at Cambridge Junction and at VAULT Festival. Before producing, Hannah was a student of English Literature at King’s College London, trained in performance at the National Youth Theatre as worked as an actor at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. says “Hannah Elsy knows a good thing when she sees it, and she never attaches her name to anything less than wonderful”.


Jafar Iqbal

Jafar Iqbal has been a freelance producer for coming up to two years, most recently working as Learning and Participation Producer on GALWAD, arguably the largest arts project is Welsh history. He has worked in the arts for nearly two decades, notably working as a playwright, theatre reviewer and critical commentator. He was also founder and host of the Critically Speaking podcast, in which he interviewed six of the biggest arts leaders in Wales, all of whom are white, about white privilege and systemic racism in the Welsh arts sector. Jafar was a member of the 2021/22 Bridge The Gap programme, and is looking forward to continuing his journey as a commercial producer with Stage One.


Joyce Fraser

Joyce Fraser OBE, FRSA, FCIPD, MBA(Henley) is the Founder & Chair of the Black Heroes Foundation. They use the Arts to educate, entertain and empower the young, youth and elderly. This includes projects such as the award winning “Black Heroes Soul Food Café’, and oral history project “Wandsworth People”.

Joyce has written and produced plays for the Black Heroes Foundation including The Story of John Archer and The Story of Claudia Jones, which have both performed at Battersea Arts Centre, and the Story of Claudia Jones also performing at Canada Water Theatre. These productions have also been taken to schools across Wandsworth, and to local libraries.

Joyce is proud and excited to be a Stage One Bursary recipient and looks forward to the new productions that this will support and enhance.

The Prime Minister honoured Joyce with the 1024th Point of Light Award for her inspiring voluntary work with the Black Heroes Foundation, which she received at 10 Downing Street in October 2018:,

The Queen’s Jubilee Birthday Honours List included Joyce Fraser, where she was awarded an OBE for services to the Promotion of Black History and Heritage:


Maddy Mutch

Maddy is looking to take her independent work to the next level, having been a key member of the team at Selladoor Worldwide for the past six years.

Projects as Creative Producer there include: We Will Rock You (Global Tour), Footloose (UK Tour), Flashdance (UK and International) and Fame (West End and UK Tour). Prior to her work with Selladoor, Maddy grew up as a dancer, before completing an MA in English Literature at Durham University. It was there that she discovered a love of managing theatre and post-graduation she engrossed herself in as many production opportunities as possible - as a Creative, Stage Manager, Lighting Operator, Costume Supervisor and Venue Manager, the list goes on. This wide reaching education eventually led her to take a permanent role with Selladoor, whilst continuing her own projects and she’s delighted that Stage One’s support will enable her to expand on this after just becoming a mother to twins.


Mitchell Reeve

Mitchell Reeve for M. Green productions

M. Green Productions mission is to bring unknown texts to UK stages by presenting World and European Premieres, workshops and readings.

Notable Credits: ICON - The K-POP Musical (workshop), Steve (Seven Dials Playhouse), Death Drop (Garrick Theatre, UK&Ir Tour and Criterion Theatre), Wonderville Magic and Illusion Live (Palace Theatre), Dark Sublime (Trafalgar Studios), San Domino, The Gulf, Pete 'n' Keely (Tristan Bates Theatre)

M. Green Productions was established in 2017 and founded by producer Mitchell Reeve, formerly a producer at Seven Dials Playhouse.

For more information visit:
Twitter: @MGreenProd


Naomi Turner

Naomi is a freelance producer and theatre/film-maker. She has created award-winning short dance films, most recently 'Scapelands'; a BBC New Creatives commission exploring the impact of our physical surroundings on our mental wellbeing, which premiered on BBC4 during lockdown and was presented by Carlos Acosta.

Earlier this year, she produced several new audio projects with Documental Theatre, and also produced 'The Beat Of Our Hearts' with Exeter Northcott Theatre; a new play from SW playwright Natalie McGrath exploring loneliness & belonging, and celebrating unheard voices & previously untold stories of LGBTQIA+ people, which formed part of a wider AHRC research project with the University of Exeter Wellcome Centre & Intercom Trust Charity.

She is currently developing a new musical 'Oh Matron!' (working title) with Documental Theatre; a musical live from the Educationally Defective Colonies of the Swinging Sixties. It will tell the true story of child development pioneer Dr Mary Sheridan, shedding light on her magical mystery tour of “training centres” and the matrons, nurses and children she met along the way. The production will feature Makaton signing in the choreography, and will be performed in its early stages at the Barnfield Theatre in June 2023.

Naomi is proud to champion work coming out of the South West and is passionate about prioritising equal access & representation in the arts; she believes it is vital in attracting broad mainstream audiences. Naomi is excited to receive the Stage One bursary, as it will support her to widen her understanding of inclusive working practices as well as diversify & expand her professional network.


Samia Djilli

Samia is a British-Algerian theatre producer and creative with a focus on bringing SWANA stories to main stages in the UK and internationally.

She has been producing at Tamasha Theatre Company since 2019 leading on the company’s development programmes and assisting on the company’s tours and digital work. Most recently she led on the Tamasha and Shakespeare Globe Co-Production of Hakawatis.

 Independently she produced a variety of live performance work and digital, including the first all Algerian production in the UK at The Bunker.In 2021 she worked with Pulse Films on the second series of Gangs of London.

 A recent graduate of Stage One’s Bridge the Gap programme, and 2022 Autumn Bursary recipient, she will be bringing a North African commercial production to the UK in 2024.


Sarah Verghese

Sarah Jordan Verghese is a South Asian producer creating community-focused productions which aim to effect positive change in our society. She is excited by work that is culturally and politically relevant, engages new audiences and is widely accessible.

Sarah is currently the Producer at Nouveau Riche and Community Producer at Zoo Co, and was a Stage One Bridge the Gap producer for 2021-22. Nouveau Riche is a multi-award-winning creative movement that co-produced FOR BLACK BOYS WHO CONSIDERED SUICIDE at the Royal Court and Queens of Sheba at Soho Theatre. The company sets out to create and nurture new thought-provoking, challenging, and culturally inclusive writing. Zoo Co is a theatre company and charity creating powerful, playful productions for audiences across the UK and worldwide. As the Assistant Producer, Sarah leads community-focused projects such as a weekly Young Company and Locality Studios as well as engagement on larger productions. Zoo Co champions access for and with deaf, disabled, neurodiverse creatives and young people to break down barriers and create accessible spaces, because theatre is better when everybody is invited! Sarah applies these principles to her independent productions such as How to Build a Wax Figure at Pleasance 2022, Fester at Camden Fringe Festival 2021, and Every Sinner has a Future Kensington and Chelsea Festival & Golden Goose 2021.


Tom Bevan

Tom is an Independent Producer from Cardiff, based in Bristol. He is interested in new writing, musicals and gig-theatre, long-term artist development and work that is made with and for people that don't typically come to the theatre. He was the original student Producer of SIX in 2017 and since then has worked with organisations including Theatr Clwyd, Battersea Arts Centre, Strike A Light, Wales Millenium Centre, Dirty Protest, Chippy Lane and Coventry City of Culture. As an independent producer, he is currently touring DESTINY by Florence Espeut-Nickless to studio spaces across the UK and is developing work in partnership with Bristol Old Vic and Swansea Grand Ambition.

Tom is passionate about healthy work conditions in the arts; he wants to create environments where people can thrive. He himself works a 4 day week.