We are a group of improvisers – musicians, actors and technicians. Under the auspices of co-directors Adam Meggido and Dylan Emery, our aim is to create immersive, interactive, exciting entertainment on stage, radio and television.
Jonathan Ainscough (cover) is an actor, singer, multi-instrumentalist, director, writer, musical director and arranger.
He studied Music at Manchester University, before completing a Masters in Performance at the Royal Northern College of Music.
He has worked for the Royal Opera House, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, the Royal Exchange Theatre and the West Yorkshire Playhouse, and also works for the award-winning charity Streetwise Opera, leading music and drama workshops with people experiencing homelessness.
Ruth Bratt (cast member) is a writer-performer; the second series of her BBC Radio 4 show with Lucy Trodd, Trodd en Bratt Say Well Done You, is due for broadcast in November.
The first series was nominated for a BBC Audio Drama Award for best scripted comedy. As an improviser she is a regular guest with The Comedy Store Players, 1/3 of Panthercannon and ½ of DnR, and guested on What Does The Title Matter Anyway? at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with Clive Anderson.
Ruth has performed in seven London 50 hour Improvathons, two of the50 hour Soapathons in Edmonton, Canada, and in improvathons at the Bristol Jam (Bristol Old Vic) and the Cork Festival. She was also a regular on BBC2’s impro show Fast & Loose. Ruth has taught improvisation at LAMDA, GSA and The Bridge (where she also trained), and has run workshops in the UK, Italy and Austria. She has performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the last 13 years, in plays (sometimes in lifts), double acts, impro shows, her one-woman show, And On Your Left… and of course in Showstopper! The Improvised Musical.
TV credits include both series of People Just Do Nothing (BBC3), both series of Mongrels (BBC3), Vic Reeves’ The Ministry of Curious Stuff (CBBC), Derek (C4), Midnight Beast (E4), Edge of Heaven (ITV), Quick Cuts (BBC4). Radio includes The Best Laid Plans and both series of Sarah Millican’s Support Group. www.ruthbratt.com
Justin Brett (cast member) trained at the Central School of Speech & Drama. Aside from acting and improvisation (which he also coaches), he also performs as a comedian, and co-runs Duke’s Comedy Club.
Theatre includes: alt. Johnny Cash in Million Dollar Quartet (West End); Dame in Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood (Theatr Clywd); Dick Barton in Dick Barton, Special Agent and Captain Tempest in Return to the Forbidden Planet (Oldham Coliseum and Tour); Dame inBeauty and the Beast and Ugly Sister in Cinderella (New Wolsey; Oxford Playhouse); Lost in The Stars (Royal Festival Hall); October Plenty (Globe); Blue/Orange (Octagon, Bolton – Nominated Best Actor, MEN Awards); East Lynne (New Vic, Stoke); The Real Thing(Manchester Library); 101 Dalmatians (Chester Gateway); Strangers on a Train, Blue/Orange, Arms and the Man (Keswick); The Champion of Paribanou, My Sister Sadie, This Is Where We Came In (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough); A Small Family Business (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Christmas on Mars (Finborough); The Rivals (Bath); The Revenger`s Tragedy (Bridewell); Deirdre of the Sorrows(Riverside Studios); Jinx, Other Lives, Clowns (Orange Tree).
T.V. credits include: Hilary Devey’s Interns; Peep Show; Doctors; EastEnders; Topsy and Tim; Pulling; Gory Greek Gods; Dombey & Son;The Queen’s Nose; The Bill; London`s Burning; Ghoul-Lashed; Spooky.
Film includes: War Horse (Steven Spielberg); Gulliver’s Travels; The Fallen; Brothers; Randall’s Flat.
Dylan Emery (co-creator/director) has been performing, teaching and directing improvised theatre and comedy for more than 15 years.
He’s performed at the Apollo Shaftsbury Avenue in London when Showstopper did their West-End run, at t
he UK’s National Theatre, The Royal Court, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Bristol Old Vic and many times at the Edinburgh Fringe as well as chairing the Showstoppers’ BBC Radio 4 series.
He co-founded comedy outfit Grand Theft Impro (www.grandtheftimpro.com), is half of Ghost Couple (www.ghostcouple.com) along with Ruth Bratt, is a member of ‘hard-bardics’ troupe The School of Night (www.theschoolofnight.com) and runs www.thecrunchyfrogcollective.com, a web site dedicated to improvisation in the UK.
Pippa has taken six shows to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, bagging a nomination for The Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer in 2008 for her debut show Pippa Evans and Other Lonely People.
Since then she has gone from strength to strength, performing regularly on BBC Radio 4 institution The Now Show as well as making guest appearances on hit TV shows such as Dave’s Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled and Comedy Central’s Drunk History.
She has also featured on BBC3’s sketch comedy show Live At The Electric and was one of the regular cast members on BBC2’s comedy impro series Fast and Loose. Pippa has performed live shows all over the world, including at the Melbourne Comedy Festival and Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal and guests regularly with The Comedy Store Players. Pippa has just returned from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where she played her critically acclaimed show There Are No Guilty Pleasures to packed houses every day.
Pippa is also co-founder of the Sunday Assembly, a monthly gathering that promotes community and learning in a non-religious environment. Having started with just one congregation in London, it is now a global movement with 67 Sunday Assemblies around the world.). www.pippaevans.com Twitter: @IAmPippaEvans
Susan Harrison (cast member) trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
TV credits include: Series 1 and Series 2 of BAFTA nominated sketch show DNN (CBBC).
Theatre credits include: The Elephantom (National Theatre/West End), Bagpuss (Soho Theatre/Birmingham Rep), Be Our Guest (BBC Sitcom Showcase), The Gathering (Theatre Abandon), Hansel and Gretel (National Theatre of Scotland/Catherine Wheels), Men Should Weep (Oxford Stage Company), The Fence (Howard Barker’s Wrestling School), Charlie and Lola, The BFG, Bad Girls (Polka Theatre),Too Far to Walk (King’s Head), Nightflights, Mince, Abody’s Aberdee, The Seagull (Dundee Rep).
Radio credits include: The Simon Day Show (Radio 4)
Susan is an award winning character comedian and has taken 4 of her own comedy shows to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She also improvises with The Monkeytoast Players.
Joshua Jackson (cover) is a musical theatre performer and improviser.
Joshua originally hails from Oakland, California. He got a BA in Musica and Theatre at Colgate University, New York and a Masters of Arts from the Arts Educational School, London. His professional credits include: A Long Days Journey Into Night & The Tempest, directed by Kelly Hunter; Planet 3 with Bigger Bang studios; voice work for Black Mirror & Keep It Real.
Ali James (cast member) has performed in numerous pantomimes and musicals nationwide including Norwich Theatre Royal and QDOS Entertainment and has worked as lead vocalist for P&O at sea.
She has created a number of roles in workshop musicals for Perfect Pitch and enjoyed success at the Edinburgh Festival with her sketch group Giraffe.
She understudied Claire Sweeney on the UK tour of the one woman show ‘Tell Me on a Sunday’, played Eva Peron in ‘EVITA’ at the Gaiety Theatre (IOM) and understudied Swallow in Whistle Down The Wind at the Palace Theatre London. Ali took part in the London 5O Hour Improvathon 2015 for Extempore Theatre and Die Nasty and teaches acting, voice and musical theatre at Masters Performing Arts College in Essex.
With Ken Campbell includes Shall We Shog? ( Shakespeare’s Globe), Decor Without Production (Royal Court), In Pursuit Of Cardenio(Edinburgh Festival Fringe) and The School Of Night (National Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Sheffield Crucible, Oxford Playhouse, BAC, Drill Hall, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, appearances on The Verb for BBC Radio and international tours since 2006 – also festival appearances including Latitude, Hay, Litchfield, Holmfirth, Second City Toronto and Elsinore Castle Denmark.)
In collaboration with Ken Campbell and Canada’s legendary Die – Nasty company Sean helped develop the epic improvathon format in the UK including The Annual London 50 Hour Improvathon and appearances in Bristol, Liverpool, Cork, Edmonton, and the world-record holding Toronto 55 Hour Soapathon in December 2013.
Sean has been a professional teacher for over twenty years, and since 2006 has taught improvisation at The Oxford School Of Drama and projects at East 15, Mountview, London Film School, RAM, University of Toronto, Memorial University Newfoundland (with Mary Walsh), RapidFire Theatre Edmonton and NKF Bergen.
Recent directing work includes Instant Broadway (Oslo), Blue (Rome), Singing In The Dark and Shakespeare Inedito (Italian tour).
Sean teaches and performs at improvisation festivals worldwide including Edmonton, Toronto, Wiesbaden, Wurzburg, Amsterdam, Milan, Turin, Rome and Vienna. Future projects include a fully – improvised audience- interactive bi-lingual Divine Comedy in Italy (2016).
Adam Meggido (co-creator, director) is the director of Mischief Theatre’s West End hit Peter Pan Goes Wrong (nominated Best New Comedy Olivier Awards 2016) subsequently televised by the BBC. He was consultant director on A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong (also for BBC1, 2017) and Mischief Movie Night (nominated Best New Comedy Olivier Awards 2018).
He is the Artistic Director of Extempore Theatre; he created The School Of Night with Ken Campbell, produces and directs the annual London 50-Hour Improvathon. His musical Burlesque won 4 OFFIES in 2012 including Best New Musical.
Philip Pellew (cast member) has been improvising for 30 years.
Credits include the Impromusical which ran for ten years with a Radio 2 series and a TV show for Tyne Tees, Impropera and Theatre Sports at the Donmar Warehouse. He is proud to have been with The Showstoppers since the start.
Philip’s first professional job was in a jousting tournament. He has been in 3 productions of the 3 Musketeers and worked numerous times with renowned fight director Bill Hobbs, at the Royal Opera House and in films, such as Zefferelli’s Hamlet.
He was an original company member of the David Glass Ensemble, touring the world with Popeye, Gormenghast, The Red Thread, Off The Wall and The Chimp That Spoke. Philip also starred in Beg and Low Fidelity with Peta Lily. He performed with Lindsay Kemp inVariete and in Tango at the End of Winter for Ninagawa.
Other credits include: Movieplex for Nutkhut and the National Theatre, Terminatrix a dance opera at the NT studio, 59 mins to save Christmas at the Barbican with Slung Low, and the Burlesque Cabaret Sublime Boudoir, as well as shows at Polka Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, The Nuffield, Leicester Haymarket, The Mermaid and panto at Stratford East.
He spent 6 years with the Lost Child Project working with street children worldwide.
Recent work includes Motion Capture on several games, the Showstoppers family show The Fantastical Story Factory, feature filmCinderella, as well as swimming all year round in Hampstead Ponds.
Andrew Pugsley (cast member) trained in musical theatre at the Circle in the Square Theatre School on Broadway, NYC.
He has been a member of The Showstoppers since 2010, and has toured with them to Mumbai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Norway, Canada, Belgium, Ireland and venues all across the UK.
He has been improvising for 15 years, since his first shows as a student with Edinburgh University’s resident troupe The Improverts. He has recently been touring internationally with improvised gothic horror show, The Society of Strange, and performing closer to home with short-form improv trio Panthercannon. He regularly takes part in the London 50 Hour Improvathon, and has taught improvisation and acting at Oxford School of Drama, Associated Studios and The Bridge.
Outside of improvisation, recent theatre credits include: Game Theory (Tristan Bates); The Mikado (The Tabard); MC for Singalong Oliver! (Royal Festival Hall); Wind in the Willows (Brewhouse Theatre). Voiceover: Showstopper! (BBC Radio 4), The Penny Dreadfuls Present: Guy Fawkes (BBC Radio 4), The Prisoner of Zenda (Unabridged reading for Naxos Audiobooks).
Andrew is delighted to be making his West End debut with Showstopper!
Lauren Shearing (cast member) trained at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.
As an improviser she has appeared as a guest with the renowned ‘Comedy Store Players’ and on tour with ‘Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel’.
Lauren performs regularly in the two-person improv show ‘Breaking & Entering’ with Maria Peters and together they co-founded ‘The Playground’, one of London’s leading improv comedy nights showcasing new & established female talent.
She has travelled internationally to improv festivals from Philadelphia to Dublin, taken part in Extempore Theatre’s London 50 hour Improvathons and was part of the team for ‘Off The Top’, the world’s first globally interactive improv show. Highlights of other guest appearances include ‘Grand Theft Impro’ and ‘Suki Webster’s Guest Speaker’ at London’s Comedy Museum.
Lucy Trodd (cast member) has been in Showstopper! since the beginning.
She has performed most recently at The Pleasance Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Udderbelly Southbank, SOTA Singapore, Hong Kong Theatre for Performing Arts, Waterfront Hall Belfast and Theatre 140 Brussels. UK touring includes Sheffield Crucible, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Bristol Old Vic.
She studied Performing Arts at Middlesex University, later working extensively with legendary theatre maker Ken Campbell, including performances at the Royal Court in Décor Without Production. She performed in Canada with the famous Die Nasty company in their annual Soap-a-thon (a non-stop 53-hour improvised play), and in 12 subsequent UK impro marathons (most recently as Jenny Agutter at The Lost Theatre). She also played Ophelia in Hamlet: A Travestie at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds.
TV includes: Tripped (e4), Dom Joly’s Fool Britannia (ITV), Doctors (two seasons), Dick and Dom’s Funny Business, Fast and Loose, The Basil Brush Show (BBC) and feature films Hot Fuzz and Sex Lives of the Potato Men.
Trodd en Bratt is Lucy’s double act with fellow Showstopper, Ruth Bratt. Following their 2012 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show Well Done You (also at Soho Theatre), they were commissioned to write and perform a series for BBC Radio. They were finalists for series 1 in the BBC Audio Awards 2015 (series 2 airs in November). Metro described it as a ‘potpourri of the weird, the wonderful and the downright demented, held together by winning onstage chemistry’.
Radio credits: Well Done You series 1 and 2 (writer/performer), Chat Show Roulette and Showstopper! (all BBC Radio 4).
Heather Urquhart (cast member) trained in physical theatre but started a lifelong affair with improv in 2004 joining Kepow Theatre with Kevin Tomlinson.
Since 2006 She has been a performer and director with the award winning Maydays, who have performed and trained internationally and have monthly residencies at Brighton’s Komedia and London’s Nursery Theatre.
Sarah-Louise Young (cast member) Voted Best Musical Variety Act in the London Cabaret Awards, Sarah-Louise is an actress, writer, director and internationally acclaimed cabaret performer.
She has been a member of Showstoppers! for five years, appearing with them on BBC Radio 4, UK Tour, West End and in five non-stop 50 hour Improvathons.
Theatre credits include: Julie Madly Deeply (West End, Australia, Canada, UK Tour); Jerry’s Girls (St James Studio and Jermyn Street);Failed States (St. James Studio); Night Bus (Pleasance, Edinburgh); Heels Of Glory (Chelsea Theatre); Cinderella (Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds); Come Blow Your Horn and Monster (Royal Exchange Theatre); The Terror Season (Soho Theatre and Southwark Playhouse) and Snow White and Room On The Broom (Tall Stories, International Tour).
Television credits include: Guest leads in The Jury; No Angels; Casualty; Holby City; Doctors, The Adam And Shelley Show and Strictly Confidential.
Cabaret credits include: Cabaret Whore, Cabaret Whore Encore!, Cabaret Whore More! More! More! and Cabaret Whore; Her Finest hour(Soho Theatre, UK and International Tours including Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Berlin and Off Broadway); Fascinating Aida (UK Tour, West End and BBC Radio); Black Cat Cabaret (Café de Paris and Café Royal); Prospero’s Tavern (London Wonderground) and Songs For Cynics and Roulston & Young: Two Faced (Crazy Coqs, St James Studio and Edinburgh Festival Fringe) with her long-term writing partner, Michael Roulston.
She will be returning to the Crazy Coqs on November 12th, 13th and 14th with her West End hit about the life of Julie Andrews, Julie Madly Deeply.
THE SHOWSTOPPER MUSICIANS
Duncan Walsh Atkins (MD and keyboards) studied at Oxford, where he conducted the University Gilbert & Sullivan Society. After graduating he worked as a choirmaster in South Africa before moving to London.
He has been musical director of Showstoppers! since 2009, which has had sell-out Edinburgh Festival Fringe and West End runs, national and international tours, and a BBC Radio 4 series. His other credits include Adam Megiddo’s Burlesque which won the 2011 Off-West End Best New Musical Award, and The Tailor-Made Man at the Arts Theatre (which he co-composed with Meggido), Half a Sixpence UK tour with Gary Wilmot, The Blues Brothers Party UK and Japan tour, Round The Horne UK tour, the Flanders & Swann tribute At The Drop Of A Hippopotamus, Mitchell & Webb’s Macbeth & The Beanstalk, Noel Coward’s Words & Music, the touring West End/Broadway tribute Mad About the Musicals, and Jonathan Harvey’s Taking Charlie for the 2004 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
He has also appeared several times on BBC Radio, recording September Tide with Jonathan Firth, the Tina C and Ida Barr series with the comedian Christopher Green, and Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night. He has collaborated with fellow Showstoppers Ruth Bratt and Lucy Trodd on their Radio 4 series Trodd En Bratt and with Pippa Evans on her musical contributions to the Now Show. He was musical director of the BBC2 improvised comedy series Fast and Loose in 2010, hosted by Hugh Dennis, has played keyboards on Jersey Boys in the West End, and can occasionally be seen in a wig portraying Benny Andersson in Abbamania.
Chris Ash (Asst. MD, clarinet, sax & keyboards) Chris’ work explores the interactions between sound, music, and story-telling in written, devised, and improvised contexts.
Chris trained as a composer with Diana Burrell at GSMD. He has composed musical theatre scores for The Borrowers (MAC), Three Witches (Belgrade Theatre) and film scores for The Mandrake Root (European Drama Network) and About a Girl (Alex Kirkland). AlsoSelf-Respect which was premiered by Claire Moore in A Song Cycle for Soho (Soho Theatre/MMD) and Scars which was premiered by Cassidy Jansson in Go With The Heart (BML). He was a PRS Resident Composer with Hackney Music Development Trust, mentored by Matthew King and Jonathan Dove.
He arranged, orchestrated, and musically directed the world premiere of Tess of the D’Urbervilles (New Wimbledon Studio). Musically directed George M. Cohan Tonight! (Charing Cross Theatre), and Newley: The Singer and his Songs (Edinburgh Festival Fringe). He has created sound designs for Kissing Sid James (New Red Lion, 59e59 New York), Red Sky/Blue Sky (Bridge House Theatre), and Not a Game for Boys (Kings Head Theatre). Chris improvises live electronic soundscapes for The Society of Strange (Extempore).
In addition to Showstopper!, he has improvised keyboards for Grand Theft Impro, Austentatious, Lights Camera Improvise, Scratch Impro, and the Improvathons at Hoxton Hall, Park Theatre, and Bristol Old Vic.
Chris trained in workshop skills at Goldsmiths, he has led creative workshops for International Schools Theatre Association, Anglia Ruskin University, Colchester Institute and Drama Studio London.
Chris is developing various writing projects, supported by BML Writers’ Group, and the MMD Advanced LAB.
Yshani Perinpanayagam is pianist of the Del Mar Piano Trio, and company pianist of Rambert Dance Company where she is currently Music Director for Ben Duke’s Goat.
She was MD for circus troupe Circa at the Barbican, Assistant Music Director for the Royal Opera House west end transfer of Wind in the Willows, featuring CHROMA ensemble, and conductor for English National Opera’s Opera Squad 2017. Yshani was winner of the 10th Yamaha Birmingham Accompanist of the Year Award.
Alex Atty (percussion) trained in classical percussion and timpani at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she worked with RADA and the RSC, played orchestral music at the Barbican conducted by Sir Mark Elder and studied African drumming in Ghana.
She has also been involved in numerous educational projects for the LSO, University of London and Hackney music services. Alex has performed widely as a professional musician, touring with Abandoman, accompanying Loretta Maine and taking part in the London Improvathon. She has played the Edinburgh Festival Fringe each year since graduation and has toured the world with Showstoppers!,this year playing in Norway, India and the Far East.
Craig Apps (percussion) is a London based percussionist who studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
He is involved in a variety of music styles and has performed with a number of different ensembles. As an Orchestral player Craig has performed with City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Little Baroque Company, the Orchestra for New Adventures (Matthew Bourne) and CHROMA Ensemble.
Away from orchestral music, Craig is a keen chamber musician. Projects include Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion at St John Smiths Square, performances of Steve Reich’s Sextet, and performances of various John Cage works at Nonclassical’s Pioneers of Percussion festival. Craig also enjoys playing original music and is involved with two bands that regularly perform in and around London. He is also a keen teacher, working with a number of different organisations, teaching and leading workshops.
Jordan Clarke is a composer, musical director and accompanist. Credits as a musician include: Ragtime (Bishopgate), Loserville (Union), London Road (Bridewell), Songs for a New World (Courtyard), Urinetown (Shoreditch), and Bare (Riverside). He’s also been lucky enough to work internationally on numerous revues, cabarets, concerts and showcases.
Pete Furniss (clarinet, sax) lives in Edinburgh and is a member of classical renegades Impropera, improv collective Edimpro and Not So Silent Movies.
He has performed with Evan Parker, Nils Petter Molvær, Talvin Singh, Evelyn Glennie, Haftor Medbøe and members of Goldfrapp and Roxy Music. He also writes, directs and assists on education projects with Love Music, SCO Vibe and Tinderbox Orchestra.
THE SHOWSTOPPER TECHNICIANS
Ashley Illman (lighting improviser) is a lighting improviser and technician for The Showstoppers
OTHER PEOPLE WHO HAVE HELPED US
Donna Berlin (choreographic consultant) is an actresses, choreographer, dancer and singer. She has been working professionally in film, television, theatre, voice overs and corporates for over 30 years.