Forest Theatre Company
We're a small company with big plans.
Forest Theatre Company is a female led theatre company based in London and passionate about new writing. We believe in the power of small shows with big ideas and a mission to make change. That's why we never shy away from important issues in our work, but use our small productions to raise awareness (and sometimes funds) for causes we believe in, all whilst celebrating the talents of the fantastic people we work with.
We love new writing and lots of our work involves collaboration between playwrights and our creative team to develop new plays . Sometimes that work continues its life with us, sometimes not, but we always love exploring and workshopping ideas with the help of actors, producers, dramaturgs and consulting partners. If you have a new play (in any stage from first idea to completed script) that you'd like to work on with us, we'd love to hear from you! Our involvement can range from giving detailed feedback and advice on a script through our new dramaturgy service, helping put on a reading or a Research and Development week, or producing the play entirely.
As a socially engaged theatre company, we hope to use our work to raise awareness of important causes and issues, which we strive to represent accurately and sensitively. To this end, we work with partners in the charity/non profit and research sectors to make our work the best it can be and use it to engage with these issues outside of the theatre. We want to make sure these relationships are mutually beneficial and collaborative, and so we often work with these partners to deliver workshops or classes. In the past we have worked with groups such as Brain Tumour Research and Plan International, and we are always keen to hear from possible collaborators in these sectors.
Jess Frieze, Artistic Director
Jess (she/her) is a theatre director who works between London and Yorkshire. After training at East 15, Jess founded Forest Theatre Company to make work which combined her passions for great drama, social engagement and female-produced theatre. As a director she is interested in developing new work, experimental and site specific drama and verbatim/documentary theatre. As Forest Theatre Company's Artistic Director, Jess is responsible for the creative vision of the company, as well as directing some of the work made, including their debut production, 'Don't Send Flowers'. When she's not working with Forest she can be found swimming, cooking or watching crime drama.
Emily Garside, Literary Manager
Emily Garside (she/her) is a writer of many kinds, including but not limited to academic, journalist and playwright as well as professional dog mum. Having originally been a historian, she pursued a theatrical academic career following training in Montreal (not with Cirque du Soleil, being naturally very uncoordinated). On completing an MA at RADA, Emily spent a number of years as an academic and lecturer. Emily’s academic work began with her PhD on theatrical responses to the AIDS crisis, and the evolution of LGBTQ theatre. Currently she is working on two books related to her research. She now specialises in Queer Culture Writing. As a journalist she is a regular contributor for The Queer Review and has written for American Theatre, Slate, BBC and The Stage. Emily is also a playwright, whose debut play 'Don’t Send Flowers' was staged in 2019 and revived for its London premiere in 2021 with Forest Theatre Company. She is also a part-time dog carer and, as a result, part-time dog Instagrammer.
Olivia Burgin, Executive Director
Olivia (she/they) splits her time between theatre producing and television work, and joined Forest Theatre Company in its infancy as its main administrative support. They also recently produced FTC's 'Don't Send Flowers'. Olivia has worked in TV production and development for several years and is currently an assistant with a London production company, as well as working with LGBT+ theatre Acting Out Again Productions, of which she is co-founder. In her role as executive director, Olivia is responsible for all of the practical things which make Forest's work happen, including liasing with venues, writing funding bids, and consulting on projects where she is not in role as producer. They have a keen interest in new ways of storytelling across all media, and aims to explore new writing and underrepresented artists. Olivia likes musicals, sailing and bubble tea.