Ava trained as an actor at The Drama Studio, and has recently received a PhD in Applied Theatre exploring the activation of the by-stander or Tritagonist Theatre. She trained with Augusto Boal in Forum Theatre practices and worked with Dr Dorothy Heathcote in Mantle of the Expert. She works as a performer, director, producer, and is a part-time Senior Lecturer and programme leader for MA Applied Theatre & Education at University of Derby, based at Derby Theatre.
As an actor her portfolio of work includes small-scale touring, theatre for young people, As an actor her portfolio includes small-scale touring, theatre for young people, extensive film and television work which includes: Emmerdale, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Touch of Frost, Dangerfield, The Royal Today, Grown Ups, Peak Practice, Heartbeat etc. Some of the companies she has worked for include: Half Moon YPT, Theatre Centre, Avon Touring Theatre, Derby Playhouse, and Nottingham Playhouse.
International work includes performances, delivering projects, participation in festivals, research and presenting academic papers: Czech Republic, USSR, Sri Lanka, Romania, Palestine, Sweden, USA, New Zealand, India, Australia, Norway and Ireland. She is currently working in partnership with Derby Theatre on CONNECT UP: a multi-million Euro project linking twelve countries, theatres, artists, teachers and young people using co-creation methods to work with marginalised communities. As part of this she helps to design/deliver e-learning modules, and delivers workshops across Europe and most recently Vancouver.
Artistic Leadership & Management
Ava has worked as Associate Director at Cast in Doncaster managing a large scale community cast and community outreach. As Artistic Programmer for Hull Truck Theatre she was responsible for extending participation through programming Black History Month, Children’s Theatre Festival, Festival of Choirs, and setting up a community choir with Lip Service Desperate to be Doris. She was Co-Artistic Director for Yorkshire Women Theatre, a dedicated women’s health education company based in Leeds. She founded Tangere Arts in 2003 with David Johnston which went onto achieve critical acclaim for theatre for young audiences.
Ava has worked extensively as a Youth Theatre Director including: Shared Experience, Derby Theatre (National Theatre Connections Festival (2015/6), Watford Palace Theatre, TV Workshops (Nottingham), Avon Touring and Tangere Arts. Her directing includes work for young people for Nottingham Playhouse/Salisbury Playhouse, Buxton Opera House, Language Alive, working with young offenders, site specific pieces, multimedia productions and creating theatre using verbatim material.
Over the last eight years Ava has been using verbatim material (using people’s actual words) to create and inform work that explores refugee experiences. Working with Amnesty International (Wirksworth) on Acting Alone in 2015 set in Palestine, and again with Derby Refugee & Advice Centre in 2016 Ava created a verbatim piece A Story to be Told with Brendan Woodhouse, researching and developing theatre that explored themes around immigration and refugees. In 2017 whilst in India she worked with Dr Geoff Redman using in-role work/Mantle of the Expert with children and teachers exploring the 70th anniversary of partition and migration. Her research also included volunteering with Care for Calais, in The Jungle, a British Council award that supported research in Australia with Treehouse Theatre, Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir Theatre and No Mates Productions. The research resulted in creating a verbatim piece with Saad AlKassab (Syrian refugee) and West End writer/composer, Craig Christie: Journeys of Destiny – an award winning production that toured schools and theatres throughout East Midlands. During the Covid years AHT worked in partnership with Derbyshire County Council, Sinfonia Viva and Orchestra Live to co-create Destinies an award winning filmed theatre production working with young people with care experience and unaccompanied asylum seekers.