Samantha Alice Jones

18 March 2020

“I’m Sam and I am Newport, South Wales born and bred.

I’m an emerging director and theatre maker. I also work on community projects with Timothy Howe who is the Creative Engagement Manager at the Sherman Theatre and Hayaat Women’s Trust with Izzy Rabey.

We need a surge of representation of women in leading roles in the arts, and what I mean by leading roles is more awareness of amazing women in stage management roles, director roles, technician roles, designer roles etc.

Women who can DO and LEAD.

I am very keen to share unheard female voices (hence my company Taffire Theatre) particularly Welsh stories but stories in general that we SHOULD know about but don’t. It is crazy how many stories we STILL haven’t heard of (in general), considering how old the practice of theatre is and how many story tellers we have in the world.

As a female creative with a lot of privilege, attempting bringing an awareness to lack of diversity in all its forms in the Welsh theatre scene. We are all responsible for this.

I’m also very proud of being from Newport in particular. I am a Welsh, Newport creative and I think it’s important to represent where you’re from, especially if it has a reputation for being, well, “rough”. But what does that even mean?! Newport is rich in culture, history, diversity, art, nature, industry, and is in a lot of ways, completely overlooked, underfunded and underestimated. As a Newport woman (now that I’ve started to find my feet as a director), it’s really important for me to elevate Newport.

I think I was drawn to directing as it gave me more of an input into a creative process than I was having as an actor. When I was accepted onto the Professional Pathway Programme at The Other Room, it felt like my shoes finally fit and I was pursuing the correct creative outlet for me. What I’ve discovered is that I love working collaboratively – as the director I love creating a space where the people in the room feel safe, open and a part of the process. That everybody in the room is contributing to the story telling. I really love that. For me that’s what a director is: creating the space to tell the story in the best possible way for everybody involved.

Setting up the company with Anna Clarke felt very natural for us, we are both Welsh women that were very infuriated when we were discovering kick ass Welsh women stories that we hadn’t heard of before whilst on a project in London. Angry we were. Thus our company began. We have worked in outdoor venues in Wales mostly, and are looking to expand our performance spaces this year.

[Directing ‘Winners’ by Nova Theatre] Very, very lovely. I worked with the most talented, giving, driven and hilarious team. We had a very short amount of rehearsal time for our show in the ‘Get It While It’s Hot’ programme at the Sherman Theatre, and it just wouldn’t have happened if the actors @Lowri Jenkins and Oliver Morgan Thomas hadn’t been so adaptable, giving and just plain lush. Plus the producer Ceriann Williams is a powerhouse of a woman and an incredible, and I mean incredible creative producer. I love her.
It could have been IMMENSELY stressful, but they just proved that when you have the right team and the right energy, you can do anything. I felt very honoured to be a part of the Nova Theatre team for this project, they are a brilliant company in Wales and are definitely a company to keep an eye on!

Next for me is that I’m assistant director on ‘An Enemy of the People’ at the Sherman Theatre – an adaptation written by Brad Birch and directed by Joe Murphy. It opens May this year.

I am also working on a new project with two Newport creative women – Bethany Seddon and Lauren Brown, which we are more than excited about!”

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