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Learn more about Black Swans, the people behind it, and the themes it explores.

We’re excited to announce our engagement programme in connection with our production of Black Swans at Omnibus Theatre, giving you the chance to dive deeper into the world of the play and connect with fellow theatre enthusiasts of all walks of life.

All activities are free to attend and open to ticket holders for Black Swans on the day of the event.

Here’s a quick overview of the activities we have in store:

Behind The Curtain

Join us for a post-show talk with the playwright, translator and director of Black Swans.

They’ll give insights into the making of the show, including the creative process, the challenges of staging the play, and the hopes and dreams they have for the show.

The talk will be chaired by Tian Brown-Sampson, and will feature playwright Christina Kettering, translator Pauline Wick and director Ria Samartzi.

The post-show talk will take place immediately after the performance and will last 30 minutes.

Exploring AI, Robotics & Healthcare

Join us for a post-show talk where academics, researchers and NHS workers will delve into the themes of the play and offer real-life insights into these fields. Discover the latest developments in the realm of AI and robotics within the context of caregiving.

The talk will be chaired by Thomas May and will feature Solene Dietsch from UCL, Rema Daher from UCL, Talia Fretwell from the NHS, and Jaycee La Bouche from Carers UK.

The post-show talk will take place immediately after the performance and will last 30 minutes.

Join us for a unique and free Theatre Salon experience!

Picture it as a book club, but with a twist! Instead of discussing a book, we’ll discuss the performance we’ve all shared. It’s a welcoming space for you to express your thoughts, viewpoints and opinions about the show and its themes. No one from the Creative Team will be present, and the discussion will be facilitated by director Tian Brown-Sampson.

The Theatre Salon is open to matinée audience members and will take place immediately after the performance and will last approximately 45 minutes.

Whether you're a theatre-maker, translator, language lover, or simply a fan of great theatre, we hope you'll join us for our engagement programme.

We can't wait to see you there!

For more details of the brilliant people involved in these activities, check out their biographies below – we’re super excited to have them involved!

Tian Brown-Sampson - chair & facilitator

Tian Brown-Sampson is a British-Caribbean theatre director, producer, movement director, writer, dramaturg, translator and facilitator. Her focus lays mainly within Black; East and South East Asian (ESEA); South Asian; and D/deaf and disabled theatre work within new writing, as well as promoting diversity, representation and accessibility on and off stage and in positions of power and leadership.

Recent roles include: Associate Trustee; Assistant Producer (Theatre503); Jerwood Assistant Director (Young Vic); Producer (Stage Sight); Tamasha Director’s Programme 2020; and Artistic Directors of the Future: London Board Shadowing.

Christina Kettering

Christina Kettering studied creative writing at the German Literature Institute in Leipzig. Subsequently, she organised readings and events and was actively engaged in cultural and political education work.

Her plays have garnered numerous awards and are performed at various municipal and state theatres as well as independent stages throughout Germany. One of the main focuses of her work is an interdisciplinary approach, closely collaborating with artistic teams. She is particularly interested in exploring connections between text and other art forms such as dance or graphic novels. Her play Schwarze Schwäne (Black Swans) won first prize at the 2019 Heilbronn Drama Competition as part of the “Science & Theatre” festival and has been translated into several languages. Most recently, she wrote the libretto for a music theatre performance for young audiences at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein (composition by Sergej Maingardt). She resides in Berlin.

Pauline Wick

Pauline Wick is a German translator, transcreator, and conference interpreter for English, Spanish and German. She currently works for the Goethe-Institut London (as of July 2023), promoting German as a foreign language through a DoE-funded initiative for multilingualism at British schools.

Having obtained a first-class degree in Multilingual Communication at the University of Applied Sciences Cologne, she continued her studies with an MA in Conference Interpreting at the same institute. In 2020, Pauline successfully completed the Theatre Translator Mentorship programme by Foreign Affairs, translating an excerpt from Black Swans into English. Since then, she has been commissioned to translate three more plays into English, including TIME OUT by Christina Kettering, and joined the German EURODRAM committee on plays in translation in 2020.

She has lived and worked in Colombia, Spain and England, collaborating with the Finborough Theatre (London) and Cut the Cord Theatre (London). She combined her interest in theatre and intercultural communication to work as a cultural programme coordinator for theatre and performance at the Goethe-Institut in Mexico City.

Ria Samartzi

Ria Samartzi is a UK based director, dramaturg and performance maker from Greece. She looks for strangeness in the familiar and the epic in the everyday. Her background is in movement, developing new work and collaborative practice.

A long standing collaborator with Foreign Affairs Theatre Company, she has worked with them on several projects, most recently as production dramaturg on The Wetsuitman by Freek Mariën (Rose Lipman Building & Arcola).

Other credits include: associate director on DUAL دوگانه by Peyvand Sadeghian (Edinburgh Fringe, Camden People’s Theatre & HOME), R&D director on Baghdaddy by Jasmine Naziha Jones (BOLD Studios), dramaturg on Bourne by Megan Smith (VAULT Festival 2020), director on Unterstadt – The Story of an Osijek Family by Ivana Sojat and Stlako Sviben in a translation by Valentina Marconi (Rose Lipman Building), associate artist on The Brownie Club by Jessica Lucia Andrade (Jackson’s Lane).

Thomas May - chair

Thomas May is a newly qualified social worker within the NHS, currently working in an Older Adults Mental Health Team in Northeast London. Concurrently, he is completing his master’s degree in social work with a focus on Mental Health at Middlesex University. Thomas harbours a deep passion for supporting individuals in the later stages of their lives and is dedicated to bridging the gap between care recipients and providers, as well as the support offered by social services. He is particularly invested in this project due to its relevance to his own professional endeavours. Thomas’s previous work experience includes supporting unhoused people and supporting people to integrate into the community following discharge from detention under the Mental Health Act. Given his current role, Thomas possesses a comprehensive understanding of the legislation and bureaucratic systems that directly affect the family depicted in the play, offering valuable insights to the project.

Rema Daher

Rema Daher is pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in the Surgical Robot Vision Group of the Computer Science department at University College London (UCL). The Surgical Robot Vision group, led by Professor Danail Stoyanov, is working on state of the art projects such as the activeHorizon2020 European project, EndoMapper, which aims at guiding endoscopic cancer screening by building a map of the digestive tract from automated digital video analysis. Her current work involves using computer vision along with machine learning to enhance videos in endoscopy as part of the EndoMapper team. She started her PhD after completing a master degree in computer vision and robotics at the American University of Beirut (AUB) with a GPA of 4.0/4.0.

Solene Dietsch

French by origin, born and raised in the vicinity of Paris, Solene Dietsch embarked on an academic journey that commenced with a degree in general engineering from IMT Atlantique in Nantes. This initial step laid the foundation for a specialisation in Medical Robotics Engineering, which led Solene to pursue an MSc in Biomedical Engineering in London. However, circumstances shifted her path back to France amidst the pandemic. Despite this, her affinity for London persisted, motivating her to apply for a PhD programme in Medical Robotics in the city. Since then, Solene has been deeply engaged in various projects, all centred around surgery, encompassing tasks such as automating surgical subtasks using the da Vinci robot and pioneering new imaging techniques employing radiation during surgical procedures.

Talia Fretwell

Talia Fretwell  is a senior psychiatric nurse who has had a range of experience in the mental health field in a variety of different setting such as hospitals, care homes, police custody, A+E and the community. For the past three years she has specialised in Older Adult Psychiatric Care and have a passion for improving the quality of life of patients and their carers. As someone with lived experience of caring for their mother, this play strikes a cord with her, and she is happy to contribute to such an important subject.

Jaycee La Bouche

Jaycee is a carer for her 94-year-old mother, whom she lives with. Jaycee’s caring journey began 10 years ago. With a nursing career spanning 25 years, Jaycee chose to quit her job six years ago to support her mother full-time; which mainly involves assisting with her mobility, managing her health needs and providing her ongoing emotional support. Jaycee considers it to be a privilege to be able to support her mother in being as independent as possible and enjoy the comfortable quality of life that she deserves.

Having experienced burnout as a nurse, Jaycee understands the impact of stress and knows how easy it is to neglect one’s critical health needs when busy caring for others. This has fuelled her passion for sharing her story and experience to help other unpaid Carers and raise awareness of the challenges and needs of Carers, a cause she has embraced through her work with Carers UK as a volunteer member and spokesperson. Since becoming a volunteer in 2020, she has participated in numerous media campaigns, panel discussions, policy consultations and fundraising events.

Jaycee also is co-facilitator of the Stress Management for Carers Course, as part of her volunteer role for Wandsworth’s Carers Centre.

Inspired by her lived experience, Jaycee recently founded the not-for-profit organisation Zen Laughter CIC, delivering in person and online laughter and relaxation workshops to unpaid carers, older adults and for staff wellbeing with the aim of providing a space for people to promote healthy wellbeing and a positive outlook amidst life’s challenges.

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