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About Us

Mandala - Joining people together to empower, enlighten and transform

Established in 2015 Mandala produces theatre for local, national and international audiences and employs, trains and nurtures young people from diverse backgrounds into the Creative Industry.

  • Change
    We use the power of performance to change young lives, build communities and foster social justice.

  • Justice
    We are a diverse-led company creating exciting new theatre with social justice at its heart. We give voice to those whose stories are not heard – and give those stories life.

  • Connection
    Our work connects people and brings them together, because we believe that the arts are a force for change and aim to connect people, influence social, policy and system change. 

Our guiding principles:

  • To make visceral theatre using social justice as a creative catalyst.

  • To employ, train and nurture young performers from diverse, ethnic and economic backgrounds in theatre for social justice. To give them the chance to perform and tour in a professional company.

  • To bring new and previously unheard stories to mainstream audiences – and into the heart of those communities whose stories they are. We want to connect them through dialogue and debate.

  • To work with communities and help them create their own artistic response.

  • Mandala is a Community Interest Company.
    From our centre in Oxford, we aim to reach out to the world.

Mandala is a Community Interest Company. From our centre in Oxford, we aim to reach out to the world

About us

Meet our amazing team

Our People

Yasmin Sidhwa

Artistic Director

Yasmin has 30 years’ experience working and touring nationally and internationally as a professional actor and director. She has performed with The National Theatre, in repertory and on TV and Radio. She has directed work for Tara Arts, the Edinburgh and International Women’s Festivals, MESH and Rencontre International Festivals and Pegasus Theatre, Oxford, where she was creative learning director for 17 years. She is a facilitator, workshop leader and speaker and was a Visiting Lecturer at Oxford University for 9 years.


Marie-Louise Flexen

Movement Director & Choreographer 

Marie-Louise is a dance artist and performer who has worked with renowned dance makers and theatre directors. She’s created many Arts Council funded and commissioned performances. Marie-Louise performed with renowned Seven Sisters Group London 1994-2002. She danced for Sole Rebel and Swerve Dance Theatre between 2012-2018. She won 2015 Inspiring Leader South West from One Dance UK. She was a finalist in The Place Prize 2005 and nominated for a Total Theatre Award 2007.


Euton Daley

Creative Producer

Formerly artistic director and chief executive of Pegasus Theatre, Euton has a wealth of experience nurturing artists and companies and engaging communities through the arts. Now a freelance director and producer, he manages cultural programmes for local authorities and companies whilst working on his own creative projects including his third book of performance poetry.

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Avaes Mohammad


Avaes Mohammad works across poetry, theatre and performance. With a background in the chemical sciences, artist-alchemist Avaes Mohammad’s influences stretch from the Sufi-Saints of South Asia to the Dub-Poets of Jamaica and he has performed his poetry on stages across the UK, Europe, India, Pakistan and South Africa. His poem Bhopal, as commissioned by BBC Radio 4 won an Amnesty International Media Award.

Creative team

Creative Team
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Calt Morrison

Calt Morrison is a co-director of Finn Black, a production company, and a trustee of ChiPS, a charity supporting children through art and education. She originally trained and worked as a journalist, and subsequently worked in local television, media production and marketing communications. She later qualified as a fine artist. She is a former trustee of the Undercurrents charity, which provides video production training for social justice activists. Cait grew up in South London and Leicester, where she attended her local youth theatre. She is committed to supporting Mandala Theatre’s core aim of being a diversity-led company with social justice at its heart.

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Philip Selway

Philip Selway is a member of the Oxford-based band, Radiohead, a solo artist and a composer for film and dance. Through his involvement with arts organisations in Oxford such as Arts at the Old Fire Station, Pegasus Theatre, and now Mandala Theatre Company, he recognises and supports the potential of the arts as a force for positive change in the
local community and beyond.

“I’m proud to become a Patron of Mandala Theatre Company. With the wealth of talent amongst the young performers and the inspiring leadership of Yasmin Sidhwa, the company creates not only great original drama, but also nurtures confident, informed and individual voices. These are the voices that will bring about change, social justice and greater connection”.

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Rosie Pearson 

Rosie was a journalist during the 1980s, then ran away to Jamaica, returned in 1998, and rather to her own surprise bought and moved in to Asthall Manor, where she has brought up two daughters, tried to complete a novel, and allowed extraordinary shapes in stone to perch in her garden, as curator of on form sculpture. An optimist by nature, she believes that human beings are capable of finding a more generous and harmonious way to live on the earth than that which is currently considered normal.

“I believe in the power of theatre to transcend the differences between people and to make connections.”


Advisory Board
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Nuzhat Abbas

Writer, educator and consultant


Elleke Boehmer

Professor of World Literature, Faculty of English, University of Oxford.


Hannah Chandler

Official Papers Librarian at the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford. 

Advisory board


Elaine Chase

Senior Lecturer, Institute of Education, University College London. 


Jo Elliott

Documentary filmmaker and co-founder of Moving Target Films. 


Victoria Elliott

Associate Professor of English and Literacy Education, Department of Education, University of Oxford. Fellow of St. Hilda’s College, Oxford. 


Simon Fisher

Conflict transformation specialist with extensive global experience. Simon is a trainer, mediator, writer, educator and facilitator. 


Nikki van der Gaag

Writer and independent consultant working on gender in development. Her latest book is Feminism and men (Zed Press, 2014).

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Francesca Amewudah-Rivers

Francesca is an actor, musician and recent graduate from the University of Oxford where she was President of the Dramatic Society. She is a member of the National Youth Theatre and Talawa Theatreb Company and has performed at venues across London including the Hackney Showroom (Run It Back, dir. Coral Messam); the Royal Court theatre (Young Court, dir. Hamish Pirie) and the Shaftesbury theatre (NYT’s 60 th Anniversary Gala, dir. Bea Holland). Francesca trained with the Theatre Royal Stratford East on their 2018-2019 acting course in collaboration with RADA and Guildhall.

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Robert Macpherson

Trained, The Oxford School of Drama. Theatre: Stranger on the Bridge (Salisbury Playhouse), Good Cook, Friendly, Clean (Bunker Theatre), Lucky Hans (Nuffield Theatre), Write it Mike it (Vaults Festival), Wolf Hall & Bring up the Bodies (RSC, West End & Broadway), A Christian Turn’d Turk (Globe), Faint Lines (Young Vic), YMBBT (Barbican), Remembrance & Shakespeare Season (Orange Tree), Million Tiny Plays (Latitude), Inherit The Wind & The 24 Hour Plays (Old Vic), Enemy of the People (Arcola), Ken Campbell’s Deptford (Albany), Sons of Bond (Haymarket,) Wyatt (Riverside Studios), Machinal & Home Correspondent (BAC) & The Emperor Jones (National Theatre). Film: Great Expectation, World War Z & The Baron. Television: Victoria, Lewis & Doc Martin (ITV), Doctors (BBC), Made in Chelsea, World Without End, Sex Researchers, (Channel 4)
& Revealed (SKY).

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Kent Okwesa

Kent Okwesa is an Actor. His credits include: Stage: Noughts and crosses (Purple moon drama), The Country (Guildhall), Right here (Belgium tour), Zen (Royal Court theatre), Twelfth night (Unicorn theatre), Once upon a time (Brit school), Rollercoaster (Lyric Hammersmith theatre), Macbeth (Guildhall), Oliver (Pimlico Academy), Six degrees of separation (St Charles Catholic sixth from college), Damilola (At Charles Catholic sixth form college), This isn’t a true story (Almeida theatre) Film: Sorority (The Springhead Film Company) TV: Animals at work (BBC) Kent has trained with the National Youth Theatre and with Guildhall juniors.

Past Creatives

Past Creative
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Zak Douglas

Zak trained at North East Wolverhampton Academy. Credits include: Bit in Crongton Knights (Belgrade, Derby and York Theatres), Rabea, The Host (National Youth Theatre), Thad, Hairspray and Grinch, Seussical the Musical (Wolverhampton Youth Music Theatre);Tamouras, Rubble (Central Youth Theatre), Mullins, Peter Pan the Musical (Bilston Operatic Society); Nachararyan, Ali & Nino (National Youth Theatre); Jack Lumber, Little Red Riding Hood; Buttons, Cinderella (Panto Tours).

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Aimee Powell

Aimee trained at The Birmingham Theatre School. Theatre credits include: Venetia in Crongton Knights (Belgrade, Derby and York Theatres); Sarah Reed in Freeman (Strictly Arts Theatre), Macbeth (Heartbreak Productions); Feed The Beast and JUMP! We'll Catch You (for Birmingham Repertory Theatre). Film work includes: A Dream I Had (independent short film, winner of best short drama at the Isle of Wight Film Festival). Recent TV: BBC Doctors .

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Andrew Greaves

Andrew Greaves is a young actor who studied at Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA) where he studied acting for two years. After completing the course, he made his professional acting debut in Jonathan Harvey’s play Beautiful Thing performed at Old Joint Stock Theatre directed by Tracey Street in 2016. Selwyn Knight wrote a review on The Reviews Hub saying, “A name to watch out for is undoubtedly Andrew Greaves for his portrayal of Ste”. In 2017, he played Jake in Jake’s story, a short film about a young boy who suffered from a rough upbringing. His first appearance in film was a WW1 short film called ‘After Dawn’ by Central Youth Theatre in 2015, he played George who was a member of the firing party and had to execute his best friend for cowardice. The film went on to win awards in the Birmingham film festival and won the Outstanding Achievement award at the 2015 DIGI awards.

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Ellen Waghorn

Ellen has worked in the arts, heritage and education for thirteen years. She is currently producer at Watford Palace Theatre. She has a particular focus on artist development, new writing and innovative audience development projects aiming to engage hard to reach groups due to socio-economic barriers. She has worked extensively in Luton developing BAME audiences and programming for The Hat Factory and has worked on multiple community arts projects developing audiences local participation and attendance of audiences and also coordinated a festival of youth arts work with thirteen organisational partners for the entire borough of Lewisham.


Jonathan Clarke-Hesson

Jonathan completed an MA at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. After graduation from Mountview, he has worked for several theatre companies including as Laertes in Hamlet (UK Tour) The Young Shakespeare Company, Lieutenant Scudor in Welcome to Thebes (The Bridewell Theatre) Mountview.

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Nomi Everall

Nomi Everall is currently Production Manager at The Story Museum. She is also a designer, maker, technician and illustrator based in Oxford. She worked for 13 years at Pegasus Theatre as Youth Arts Leader for Technical & Production and later as Head of Technical & Production. Nomi is also Company Designer for Fail Better Productions. As a Freelancer ​Nomi's work includes set/lighting design for 'Sawdust' for Arts at the Old Fire Station and Crisis Skylight; set, lighting and puppetry design for 'Once Upon A Snowflake' for Paper Balloon; set/costume design for 'Working Christmas' for Arts at the Old Fire Station, 'Night Light' and ‘Castaways’ for Mandala Theatre and 'Aladdin' for Wild Boor Ideas; lighting design for 'BOUND' and 'Contained' for Justice in Motion.

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Oliver Davis

Oliver Davis is a graduate in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Warwick. Oliver has toured as Fred/Jacob Marley, A CHRISTMAS CAROL (INTERNATIONAL TOUR), TNT Theatre, Banquo, MACBETH (INTERNATIONAL TOUR), TNT Theatre, Casca, JULIUS CAESAR (INTERNATIONAL TOUR), TNT Theatre. Oliver was Robert, ON THE TRACKS, Brighton Fringe Festival. He has performed with several Midlands companies, the National Student Drama Festival and at the Edinburgh Fringe. He is a member of Birmingham REP Foundry Actors’ Group. Credits include The Tempest (Crescent Theatre); King Lear (RSC Open Stages); Of Mice & Men (All & Sundry Company); Yakul in Princess Mononoke (Whole Hog Theatre).

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Yasmin Ahsanullah

Yasmin is a recent graduate from East 15 Acting School in BA(Hons) World Performance. She is a bilingual actress, originally from Finland, with versatile experience on stage and screen. After graduation from East 15 she has worked for several theatre companies including Thiasos Theatre company and West Midlands Children's Theatre. She is also the co-founder and stage manager of Backpack Theatre.

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Zak Wadley

A graduate in performing arts from Dormston School. Zak has done many theatre and film projects with midlands based company the Central Youth Theatre. These include a national school tour of ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’, and a devised performance at Sappalot festival in Italy. Zak also trained with and was part of the National Youth Theatre (summer 2019).


Nadia Davids

Writer in Residence

Nadia is an award-winning South African writer and theatre-maker. Her plays At Her Feet, Cissie and What Remains have been staged locally and internationally. She was a part of New York’s WP Theatre’s Playwright’s Lab for 2008-2010. Her debut novel An Imperfect Blessing, published by Umuzi Random House in 2014  was shortlisted for the UJ prize and the Pan-African Etisalat Prize for Literature.


Atiha Sen Gupta

Writer in Residence

Atiha Sen Gupta is writer-in-residence for 2016-2017 at Theatre Royal Stratford East, where her play Counting Stars was produced in 2016. In the same year, she won the International Achievement Recognition Awards (IARA) Award for Best Playwright and was shortlisted for a Freedom of Expression award by Amnesty International.

Pipeline R&D & Tour

Sept 2019 to present

  • Oxford Cultural Education Partnership

  • Oxfordshire Virtual School for Looked After and Children in care

  • Oxford Playhouse

  • The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury

  • The Curve,

  • SloughDepartment of Education

  • TORCH, Oxford University


International Partners

Crearc, Grenoble, France

  • Ashtar Theatre, Ramallah, Palestine

Funders and Supporters

  • Mandala are Resident company at Activate Learning, (College of FE) Oxford

  • Oxford City Council

  • Arts Council England

  • Virtual School, Oxfordshire County Council

  • Lankelly Chase Foundation

  • Awards for All, National Lottery Funding

  • Rosie Pearson, Onform Sculpture - Patron

  • Cait Morrison & Philip Selway - Patrons

  • TORCH, Humanities Cultural Programme, Oxford University

Thank you to all our partners and supporters 

Partners & Supporters
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Past Partners and Supporters

Night Light R&D and Tour Sept 2015/Nov 2016

  • Oxford University, Department of Social Policy’s ‘Becoming Adult’ project.

  • Refugee Resource, Oxford

  • The Children's Society, Oxford and Birmingham

  • Birmingham Old Rep

  • Counterpoint Arts


  • Tara Arts

  • Theatre in the Mill

  • Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

Dis-Connected & Castaways Tour Sept 2017/Nov 2018

  • Testbeds, University of Bedfordshire,

  • Luton Investment Programme ACE

  • Luton Culture and The Hat Factory

  • ARC, Stockton

  • Ark-T Centre


  • HOUSE, Farnham Maltings


  • Teomai - Studio Theatre Company, Vilnius, Lithuania

  • PH Heidleberg, Germany 

Funders and Supporters

  • Ragdoll Foundation

“By creating a truly joint project, we hope to create ground-breaking research which is of use to the arts sector as well as furthering our understanding of the educational benefits of theatre.”

Victoria Elliott
Associate Professor of English and Literacy Education, Department of Education, University of Oxford. Fellow of St. Hilda’s College, Oxford. 



Photographs by David Fisher, Stu Allsopp and Clement Seggissement

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