Boater, writer, storyteller and actor, Kate Saffin has lived on a narrowboat and told stories of the waterways as solo plays since 1999. She trained as a writer for stage and broadcast media at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (MFA).
She adapted the waterway classic Ramlin Rose; the Boatwoman’s story by the late Sheila Stewart and has performed at canal festivals, in pub gardens and at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Other plays have retold the apparently true story of a brothel on a boat and a late coming of age for a pensioner who finds herself on holiday on a boat (Finding Libby).
Isobel’s War is based on interviews and existing accounts of the young women who worked on the boats during the second world war.
Kate Saffin’s performance is naturalistic, painfully funny, poised and thoroughly on top of the material (Fringe Review on Finding Libby Edinburgh Fringe Festival Aug 2013)
The Scotsman, Aug 8th 2005:
“SKILFULLY adapted from Sheila Stewart’s novel, Ramlin Rose, this excellent one-woman show tells the tale of Rose, a boatwoman on the Oxford canal… Kate Saffin is utterly convincing in the role of Rose… and manages the Talking Heads-style 40-minute monologue authoritatively.”
The Stage 2010:
“Through clever and sensitive … editing, Kate Saffin converts Shakespeare’s Richard III into the monologue of an imagined house servant, played with warm, realistic humour by Helen McGregor.”
Heather Wastie is a poet, singer-songwriter and accordion player who has been involved with canals for most of her life, cruising with her family on ex-working boat Laurel and, in the early days, getting involved as a child in campaigns to save them from extinction. She is The Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015/16. Her piece Idle Women and Judies was commissioned by the Canal & River Trust in 2014.
As Writer in Residence at the Museum of Carpet, Kidderminster in 2013 Heather wrote poems and songs inspired by people who worked in the carpet industry which she now performs. Her book Weaving Yarns was published by Black Pear Press in 2015.
She co-founded Brewers’ Troupe performance poetry company which specialises in poetry plays in pubs and works as an actor for the National Trust at Croome Court in Worcestershire.
Heather Wastie – Wonderful performance full of knowledge and very entertaining. (Audience review of Idle Women and Judies Feb 2016)
Tour and production manager
Zoe has been managing professional touring theatre productions for over 4 years, and has intermittently worked as a technician, photographer, stage manager, production manager, pyrotechnician, lighting designer, MC, set builder and as a performer over the last 14 years, touring the UK and over 20 countries internationally. She lives on a traditional narrowboat on the Stort and likes to play with motorbikes.
Volunteer admin assistant
Pernille is a boater, activist, playwright and student. As a teenager she ran a rock club for under 18 in Oslo. For the last few years she made her living performing on the streets of Europe. She has a background in Theatre both as a performer at the Norwegian Theatre (Det norske teater) and at the simplest theatre in the world in Berlin (Das einfachste theater der welt) and producer and stage manager in various amateur productions. In 2011 Norwegian national Broadcasting (NRK) produced a short radio play she wrote, and later the same year it was nominated for best dram in Prix Europa. She moved to England and on to the British channels in 2015, and joined the Alarum team in early 2017. Pernille is currently studying Arts Management at Goldsmiths university of London.
Now is the Winter
…trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music Drama and made her professional début with the Citizens Theatre TAG Company in Glasgow, playing Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. Subsequent professional theatre work includes As You Like It, again with TAG; seasons at Perth Rep, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Lyric Theatre Belfast, and the Royal National Theatre where she worked with Mike Alfreds (founder of Shared Experience) and Sir Richard Eyre. She also appeared in an episode of Taggart, and played Hermia in a CD recording of A Midsummer Night’s Dream combining the Shakespeare Text with Mendelssohn’s music. More recent roles include the Norse Goddess Vala in Vala: An Interactive Hypermovie developed by the University of Cambridge and the Swedish Institute of Technology, which was also performed as a live installation piece as part of a conference on interactive art in Reykjavik, and the Chorus leader in a production of Aristophanes The Clouds that was performed in Rome. In 2008 Helen played the lead role of cancer patient Vivian Bearing in the Oxford Theatre Guild production of Margaret Edson’s play Wit to great critical acclaim. Helen is also a writer and her first novel was published in the UK, Germany and the US.
Edinburgh appearances: RSAMD Production of Candleford – Harry Younger Hall (1982). Traverse Theatre production of The Innocents by Tom McGrath – Assembly Rooms (1984). TAG Theatre production of As You like It – Assembly Room (1986).
Of her performance in Wit (North Wall, 2008) Giles Woodeforde of the Oxford Times:
“In this Oxford Theatre Guild production … it’s the performance of Helen McGregor as Vivian Bearing that counts: it’s sparklingly humorous one minute, deeply moving the next, and totally convincing at all times. I very much doubt that anything better will be seen on any Oxford stage this year.”