About us

Hat & Rabbit

Who are Coney?

Coney are a collection of makers creating interactive theatre, games and adventures where people can choose to take a meaningful part. Our mission is to spark change through play, always following the principles of adventure, curiosity, and loveliness. Our work takes place anywhere that people gather: in theatres, schools, museums, on the streets and online.

Everything we do is inspired by the belief that the world can be a magical place where ordinary people can do extraordinary things. Collaboration and dialogue are at the heart of our work: with audiences, peers, partners, and a network of makers. We’re more like a building-less theatre building than a theatre company; we draw teams from a wider network, and land across the country and the world – using pervasive digital technology to meet people wherever they connect.

For the last few years, we have created projects for a broad array of partners, from schools across the UK to arts and heritage organisations (Barbican, The National Trust), NGOs (Greenpeace, Teenage Cancer Trust), universities (Bath Spa, Birkbeck), research institutions (UKRI, NERC), local authorities and front line services (City of London Corporation, Wandsworth Probation).

“The experience starts when you first hear about it, and only ends when you stop thinking and talking about it.”

Want to know more?

Watch the animation to hear about our recent work.

Who we are

Coney HQ is the engine producing and facilitating the work of Coney. We assemble teams of makers from a band of Associates, the Guild of Coney, and a wider network which is open to anyone to join.

The HQ team

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Adam Gallacher

Executive Director | JCEO

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What do you do in your Coney hat?
I’m Coney’s Executive Director/JCEO – overseeing the business functions of the company and working with the team and board to shape our direction of travel.

What other hats do you wear?
Double parenting takes up most of my free time, but when I do get a moment I enjoy re-connecting with my love for finding new music, and I seem to be forever experimenting with DIY and not progressing as one would hope – much to everyone’s enjoyment.

What excites you most about Coney?
The complexity, mystery and uncertainty – all wrapped up in our vision to spark change through play and supported by a wonderful team.

What’s something you’re really curious about?
Why do we have jokers in a pack of cards?

About Adam
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David Finnigan

Maker & Researcher

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What do you do in your Coney hat?
I do research and making, particularly for our commissions and consultancy department.

What other hats do you wear?
I’m a playwright, theatre-maker, performer and game developer from Ngunnawal country in Australia. I often work with scientists and researchers and am sometimes based in Australia and the Philippines. In the UK, I’ve worked with theatres including the Pleasance Islington.

What excites you most about Coney?
Coney’s network of artists, makers and participants is one of the most exciting communities I’ve ever been a part of – kind and curious humans.

What was your last adventure?
I had a disastrous day’s surfing early in 2021, and am still shaking seawater out of my ears.

Davidfinig.com | @davidfinig

About David
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Emily Davis

Producer

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What do you do in your Coney hat?
I’m Producer for Coney, which means I have a finger in lots of artistic pies. I manage projects of different shapes and sizes and with different partners, and do whatever production support is needed to make magic things happen in unlikely places. One day I might be visiting a primary school with a box of crafts, another I might be casting for a short film and another I might be sat with my head in a spreadsheet (but who doesn’t love a spreadsheet?)

What other hats do you wear?

I produce my own theatre projects as an independent, and for the wonderful Poltergeist Theatre. I really like producing! Recent stuff I’ve done includes Ghost Walk by Poltergeist, a geo-located audio play in the City of London, and work.txt, a play with no actors, performed entirely by the audience. I’ve also written criticism for Exeunt magazine and have just got a DYCP grant to focus on international producing.

What excites you most about Coney?

It’s the focus on audiences for me. Every single thing we do is putting an audience member at the very centre, and is thinking about their journey and experience from the outset of the artistic process.

What’s your favourite game?

Odds on. I’m an absolute sucker for a dare as well.
About Emily
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Farah Najib

Marketing & Admin Officer

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What do you do in your Coney hat?
I’m Coney’s Admin & Marketing Officer – that means general administrative support for the company, plenty of organisation, as well as socials and marketing for Coney. If you’re making contact with our admin inbox, it’s likely me you’ll be chatting with. And our Tweets are mostly written by me!

What other hats do you wear?
I’m also a writer, facilitator and freelance theatre critic who trained at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. Since graduating in 2019, I’ve been part of writer’s groups at the Royal Court and Soho Theatre, the latter of which awarded me the 2020 Tony Craze Award for my new play Dirty Dogs. I’ve been commissioned by Theatre of Debate, UCL and Popelei. I write reviews for Exeunt, The Stage and the Evening Standard.

What excites you most about Coney?
For me, it’s Coney’s commitment to playfulness for all ages, in all places. Having spent a lot of time working with young people, I’ve seen how we lose our sense of playfulness and openness to adventure as we get older – but not at Coney!

What’s something you’re really curious about?
Black holes – intriguing, terrifying, existential-crisis-inducing!

@ohheyfarah

About Farah
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Kit Denison

General Manager

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What do you do in your Coney hat?
As General Manager of Coney, I am responsible for keeping the HQ engine turning over. That means wearing a lot of hats, including day-to-day communications, finances and operations, and generally making sure the people and culture of Coney are well looked after.

What other hats do you wear?
I’m a musician of sorts. I play whatever instrument I can get my hands on (usually something you hit or pluck) and I am fortunate to play with some really excellent artists. These currently include the theatrical and wonderfully slippery artist Rubie, 60s influenced indie- pop band The School and the ethereal songwriter Austel.

Widening access to music education and demystifying music making has been a central thread of my career to date. One of my proudest achievements in this area has been producing the Ear Opener video series – a free resource which brings together a diverse range of musicians to break down big musical ideas.

I am also Development Manager for Purple Moon Drama, who run lots of brilliant activities to help young people from marginalised backgrounds to develop craft and connections in creative industries.

What excites you most about Coney?
Everything is play and nothing is what it seems.

What’s your favourite game?
This certainly isn’t my favourite game, but I am embarrassed to admit that one of the first things I do every morning is play Wordle. But that’s starting to feel more like an obligation than a game…

About Kit
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Marie Klimis

Senior Producer

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What do you do in your Coney hat?
I work across the Coney programme, bringing together creative and production teams to plan and deliver projects and finding ways to develop ideas into full productions.

What other hats do you wear?
I am one of the directors of 27 degrees, a migrant-led immersive theatre company specialised in socially-engaged shows in unusual places. We’ve performed in church crypts, museums, tunnels under the Thames and inside people’s homes. I also work as a writer and designer for solo projects, specialising in immersive storytelling projects combining sound design and traditional crafts. I like making work for public spaces, from streets to libraries. As a producer, I’ve also worked for companies such as the City of London Festival, the Horniman Museum or Europalia International.

What excites you most about Coney?
So many things. The playful activism. Sharing gifts with strangers. Finding ways of connecting individuals who wouldn’t meet otherwise. And rabbits. Obviously.

When was your last adventure?
I have a 3-year-old, so daily adventures are the only way to survive: last night, we went on an adventure to hunt the runaway toothbrush. After multiple perils, we caught it and teeth were brushed.

www.marieklimis.com | www.27degrees.org

About Marie
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Rhianna Ilube

Associate Director: Playful Heritage

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What do you do in your Coney hat?
I’m an Associate Director at Coney with a special focus on our Playful Heritage programme. I work and consult on a range of different projects at Coney, but have a particular interest in how we can use games and interactive narratives to bring heritage sites to life for different audiences. This could look like: taking over a 3000 year-old Bronze Age site with a group of teenage artists, or helping public archives figure out how to make their materials more accessible and engaging; or dreaming up ideas on how to explore Britain’s colonial past through interactive media.

What other hats do you wear?
I describe myself as a playwright, facilitator and event curator. I started my career in the activist-youth NGO sector, working for UNICEF, Restless Development, The Advocacy Academy, Campaign Bootcamp and more. Then in 2018 I took an evening scriptwriting course and got completely hooked! I did an MA in Writing for Performance & Dramaturgy at Goldsmiths, and have since taken part in playwriting groups at the Royal Court and Oxford Playhouse. I’m working on a few plays at the moment – so laptop-friendly cafe recommendations in London are always welcome.

What excites you most about Coney?
I often read through the bios of our Associate Artists and get really excited about all the possible creative collaborations we could create through our network at Coney.

What’s your favourite game?
Extreme Rock Paper Scissors. It needs a large group and about three minutes to play. Essentially, you end up with two huge groups screaming and cheering in an epic final rock/paper/scissors battle. I love how this game never lets me down as a facilitator – it creates such an energetic, competitive and uninhibited atmosphere every time I play it!

www.rhiannailube.com | @rhianna_ilube

About Rhianna
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Tassos Stevens

Director | JCEO

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What do you do in your Coney hat?
I have at least two hats – one as director of Coney HQ and one as a maker sometimes on projects. I’m quite good at a lot of things as a maker rather than brilliant at one thing, but most distinctively useful as an interactive dramaturg and learning fast about developing better impact frameworks.

What other hats do you wear?
I sometimes make work as a storyteller – Telephone made for Coney is also part of this practice – and as a game designer, part of the team making the old iPhone hit Papa Sangre. And I teach regularly. Other/past hats include a chef, an undercover researcher, a secret agent trainer, and a PhD in Psychology. 

What excites you most about Coney?
I’m really driven by figuring out just how play sparks change. I’m most often moved by the surprising and brilliant things that playing audiences do, and I’m constantly excited by the chance to learn from the amazing array of colleagues and collaborators who make up the wider family of Coney.

Are rules made to be followed?
Rules are made to be played well with, sometimes following, sometimes bending or breaking as long as that makes it play better (for everyone).

What’s something few people know about you?
That I might have been in a Batman film.

Follow Tassos on Twitter

About Tassos
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Toby Peach

Associate Director: Young People & Families Programme

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What do you do in your Coney hat?
I’m Associate Director of our Young People & Families programme here at Coney. This means I am normally found working with our resident group of young makers, the Young Coneys, or makings bits for young people that are landing in places we are collaborating with. I’ve had the pleasure of making pieces that have landed in National Trust grounds, inside Alexandra Palace and arrived in mysterious boxes in schools across the UK.

What other hats do you wear?
I’m a Maker in many guises away from Coney, most commonly as a Director and Performer. I run a CIC called Beyond Arts that uses arts projects to work for and with young people who’ve experienced cancer to develop the cancer narrative in the UK – we’ve made interactive digital stories for children’s hospitals, participatory theatre show and podcasts. I wear my Creative Climate Leader hat with pride too; it means I regularly explore the impacts of the climate crisis in my work.

What excites you most about Coney?
I’ve been with Coney for many moons now and have always been excited by the power of play and how we can use that to work well with communities we engage with. I’m excited about our next steps with our Young People & Families programme and how this will evolve over the next few years.

What’s your favourite game?
My favourite game changes regularly, as I love making up games with people, but recently I made a game with a group of peers called Fruit Kebab that was built together from bottle caps skimming across a table. It soon became a game with in-depth rules that involved the Lemon line of Truth, Banana Bonuses and a clash of the Mangoes, Pears and Oranges.

www.tobypeach.co.uk | @tobypeach 

About Toby

The Makers of Coney

Besides our HQ team, we work with a national network of associate artists, allowing us to assemble project teams responding creatively to different briefs, themes, sites, audiences and event scales. The Guild and Associates are regular collaborators of Coney’s with unique skills and knowledge of our playful practice. We also facilitate connections and exchange of practice with a wider network of creatives: anyone can join the Network of Coney here.

Blue Shape
Single Green Cup

Associates and makers in the Guild

Afreena Islam-Wright, Afsana Begum, Angela Clerkin, Anne Langford, Anne Odeke, Arlo Howard, Astrid Breel, Barbara Cala-Lesina, Ben Pacey, Brent Grihalva, Brigitte Adela, Cesía León-Alvarez, Chloe Mashiter, David Finnigan, Dinah Mullen, Dom Garfield, Ed Naujokas, Eliza Cass, Ellie Browning, Emma Frankland, Eve Leigh, Fran Moulds, Gareth Damian Martin, Gary Campbell, Georgia Symons, Georgina Bednar, Harriet Bolwell, Hoda Adra, Janisè Sadik, Jeannine Inglis Hall, Kathryn Beaumont, Kieran Lucas, Kirsty Harris, Maz Hemming, Mel Frances, Michelle McMahon, Morag Iles, Naomi Stafford, Rachel Hosker, Rebekah Murrell, Rhianna Ilube, Richard Popple, Ruth Sutcliffe, Segen Yosef, Suzanna Hurst, Tassos Stevens, Toby Peach, Tom Bowtell, Will Drew, Yusra Warsama.

Board of Trustees

Phil Clark – Head of Content and Audience, British Medical Association
James Clayton – Senior Associate, Campbell Johnston Clark
Annette Corbett – Creative Director, Rough Information
Hannah Davey – Art and Actions Coordinator, Greenpeace
Lydia Hayes – Head of Development, Breathe Arts Health Research
Simon Michaels (Treasurer) – Partner, HW Fisher LLP
Sydney Nash (Chair) – Director/Vice President of Public Affairs, International Alliance for Responsible Drinking
Jenna Omeltschenko – Director, Down to Earth
Ben Payne – Director, B&G LLP
Jane Samuels – Access & Equality Manager, The Natural History Museum

Please note that Rabbit is never here.

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What we do

Everything we do is inspired by the belief that the world can be a magical place where ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

Support us

Your support makes an incredible difference to our work, enabling us to continue working in new and meaningful ways with communities, and embark on new adventures.

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Blog

Take a deep dive into our practice or find out about our latest projects with this selection of articles by Coney HQ and our wider network.