MED Theatre is a developmental community theatre organisation and registered charity based on Dartmoor, working with people in remote rural areas. All of our work is inspired by the history, ecology and folklore of Dartmoor and surrounding Devon, as well as the pertinent social, scientific and environmental issues which face the residents of a National Park.
Our ethos at MED Theatre is to create multigenerational, original work using local material, which highlights the relationship between theatre and its surroundings.
Music composed by Safi Joscelyne
Abby has worked for MED Theatre’s since October 2008 and stepped up as Artistic Director in 2022 after the death of Mark Beeson. Abby gained a First Class honours degree in drama from Exeter University in 2003 and went on to study an MA in acting at East 15 drama school in London. Throughout her training Abby gained experience in stage combat techniques, physical theatre, music and dance. Following her MA she worked as an actress for three years in London and toured schools across the UK and Ireland as an education worker.
Gillian Webster has been involved with MED Theatre since 1987 on a freelance basis as a musician, composer, and creative music workshop leader. She joined MED Theatre’s staff base as Company Development Officer in September 2009, working 3 days a week. At the time of Mark Beeson’s death Gillian, alongside Abby, stepped up and has taken on greater responsibility for the organisational running of MED Theatre. Gillian studied physics with geophysics at Exeter University, completing research for a PhD in crystallography before changing direction to pursue a career in the arts and music, her original love.
Helen joined MED Theatre in 2016, her interest in community theatre having grown from her time at university where she studied Drama and English Literature, including an in-depth exploration into global community theatre practice and the work of Augusto Boal. She has worked as a facilitator, director, writer and as front of house for many Devon-based companies and has a passion for using theatre not only as an art form but also as a basis for improving self-confidence and the ability to achieve and gain more from life. Helen is studying at Exeter University on the MA Applied Theatre course.
Suvi joined MED theatre in May 2016. She is a graduate of the Central School of Speech and Drama at the University of London and has an MA in Theatre and Global Development from the University of Leeds. Suvi has worked as a community artist in Finland developing ways to incorporate arts into social security services and leading activities for their clientele. She has coordinated and led projects and theatre groups for young people and adults with varying needs and backgrounds. Suvi has grown up in the countryside in Finland and feels very much at home in Dartmoor and Moretonhampstead.
Evie started working for MED Theatre in 2022. Before this, Evie had been involved with MED Theatre for over 20 years, joining the community play at 8 years old, continuing through MED Theatre’s youth programmes, and then onto our adult groups. Evie has a great passion for drama, and since she was 14 she has been part of a Live Action Role Play group which for the last 5 years she has also helped to run. She is a registered Occupational Therapist and believes strongly in accessibility and inclusivity, and feels that drama can be instrumental in personal growth as well as supporting mental wellbeing.
Mark Beeson, Easdon Farmhouse in 2017
By Chris Chapman
Mark Beeson (1954 – 2022), MED Theatre’s Founder and Artistic Director,
“Wherever I go I feel your presence – in the wind that breathes over peat and heather, in the rivers that weave their spirit through the pools, in the tender rays of the level sunset…”
From MED Theatre’s ‘Daughters of Sunset’
A playwright and anthropologist who grew up on Dartmoor, Mark read classics at university before switching to human sciences and working as a primate ecologist. He conducted and published research into the history of Dartmoor and its mythology. As a writer, he read his long poem, The Blue Monkeys of Zomba, on BBC Radio 3, had four plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and had written a book on Dartmoor for the Countryside Commission. Through MED Theatre he created nearly fifty community plays, working extensively with teenagers and in primary schools as a workshop leader and director. Mark was the original founder of MED Theatre and was in the role of Artistic Director until the time of his death in February 2022.
MED Theatre is governed by a board of directors. Currently the board is as follows: Jess Wynn-Jones (Chair), Julia Oliver (Vice Chair), Olivia Young (Vice Chair), Heather Holcroft-Pinn (Treasurer), Fiona Avis, Rae Hoole, Allison Caverhill, Josh Levontine, Jonny Hibbs, Charlotte Turner, Saul Jenner and Kerry Chappell.
Throughout the past 30 years as an organisation, MED Theatre has been dedicated to exploring the environment and educating local communities on how they can best help to preserve and protect our National Park, the nearby coastal landscape and waters, the animals we share our environment with and the world as a whole.
To increase positive environmental impacts, MED Theatre endeavour to source all of the products we buy from local makers and retailers to reduce food and import miles.
We encourage/organise car shares between staff, participants and volunteers to events wherever possible and practical.
We aim to set a good example to the young people who come through our doors by having a clearly labelled recycling bin system and by staff evidencing limited plastic usage in our own consumptions.