Rideout was originally founded as a partnership in 1999 by Saul Hewish and Chris Johnston. In 2003 this partnership was dissolved in favour of taking the more formal status of a Company Limited by Guarantee and a Registered Charity. Saul and Chris ran the company jointly until Chris’ untimely death early in 2017. Saul is now the company’s sole chief executive and artistic director.
Saul Hewish was a founder member and former Director of Geese Theatre Company (UK) between 1987 and 1994.
Geese UK was established as a franchise of the highly successful Geese Theatre USA with a remit to develop performances, workshops and residencies for prisoners and ex-offenders.
Saul was instrumental in the development of a number of long-term partnerships with the Probation Service in which drama was used as the key methodology for challenging and dealing with offending behaviour.
In 1994 he left the UK for America where he spent a couple of years working exclusively with Geese USA and its founder and director, John Bergman, MA, RDT/MT.
Upon returning to the UK in 1996 Saul began working in a freelance capacity under the name Acting Out Company, developing drama-based projects and programmes for young people looked after by local authorities, children and young people with social and emotional difficulties (SMEH), and young people subject to supervision by Youth Offending Services.
This work continued through the noughties, although his work with Rideout increasingly took up much of his time.
More recent freelance work has been as a performer and project director with B arts
In addition to running Rideout, Saul has significant experience teaching in higher education as a visiting lecturer. He has delivered practical modules in community and applied theatre at a number of universities and drama schools, but especially at the University of Warwick where he has been a module convenor in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies since 2003. His teaching draws extensively on his practice, and whilst not viewing himself as an academic, he has made a modest contribution to the literature in this field. Most notably this has been as a co-author with John Bergman of Challenging Experience: An Experiential Approach to the Treatment of Serious Offenders, published by Wood ‘n’ Barnes in 2004.
Chris Johnston had a long career in community-based theatre, specialising in devised and improvised performance. During the 1980s he worked extensively with communities in London before setting up and running Insight Arts Trust between 1989 and 1999. Insight was established to work with the Probation Service in the London area and to run events and projects for those on probation. It extended its work over this period to develop a theatre company, Insight Theatre, which took a number of plays featuring ex-offenders in the cast, into prisons and arts centres. The company also worked in Europe with a range of other organisations in a project funded under the Leonardo Scheme by the European Union and presented a series of installations and exhibitions in London.
Chris authored a number of books significant in the field of community-based theatre.
- House of Games: Making Theatre from Everyday Life, (Nick Hern Books, 1998)
- The Improvisation Game, (Nick Hern Books, 2006)
- Drama Games For Those Who Like To Say No (Nick Hern Books, 2010)
- Disobedient Theatre (Bloomsbury Press, 2017)
He was also Director of Fluxx, an improvisation-based company where he developed a model for ‘Citizen Theatre’, and Co-Director of Livestock, a company exploring issues of mental health and well-being.
Rideout’s work has always been supported by a highly talented pool of experienced freelance practitioners with whom they work on an ‘as needs’ basis.
Those present and past include:
- Emily Andrews (actor and drama facilitator)
- Dr Sarah Bartley (drama facilitator and theatre academic)
- Fateha Begum (drama facilitator)
- Andrew Billington (photographer)
- Sally Brookes (drama facilitator)
- Vic Bryson (drama facilitator)
- Tony Cealy (actor and drama facilitator)
- Akiel Chinelo (actor)
- Colin Cranfield (web developer and coding)
- Gergo Danka (drama facilitator and drama therapist)
- Jo Dawson (lighting designer)
- Simon Day (actor and producer)
- James Earls Davis (sound designer and musician)
- Lis Evans (designer)
- Ben Ford (technician)
- Jon Ford (sculptor and maker)
- Ed Gaughan (actor and writer)
- Martin Gooding (maker)
- Paul Gent (artist and illustrator)
- Sophia Hatfield (actor and musician)
- Mulika Harnett (producer)
- Sara Hyde (drama facilitator and councillor)
- Greg Hobbs (actor)
- Tim Hodson (musician)
- Rex Horan (actor and musician)
- Hilary Hughes (designer and maker)
- Shona Illingworth (video maker and artist)
- Aidan Jolly (musician and music facilitator)
- Deborah Aguirre Jones (artist and art facilitator)
- Jennifer Joseph (actor)
- Elishah St Juste (actor)
- Yasmin Kadi (actor and singer)
- Mezze Kalunga-Eade (drama facilitator)
- Vimal Korpal (actor)
- Becki Kremer (graphic designer)
- Divian Ladwa (actor)
- Dr Ginny Lumsden (drama facilitator & clinical psychologist)
- Siobhan Grace Mcaleer (artist and maker)
- Rae Matthews (drama facilitator)
- Dave Mckenna (choreographer and dance facilitator)
- Tom Mellor (actor and drama facilitator)
- Jonnet Middleton (artist and community activist)
- Taz Modi (musician)
- Frances Nutt (drama facilitator)
- Terri Ann Oudjar (actor)
- Bharti Patel (actor and drama facilitator)
- Denise Pitter (actor and singer)
- Ian Pringle (actor and drama facilitator)
- Richard Redwin (artist and maker)
- Mark Robinson (actor and drama facilitator)
- Shae Rhiannon (actor and singer)
- Danny Simmonds (actor)
- Ian Smith (graphic designer & multimedia artist)
- Madelaine Smith (drama facilitator)
- Poppy Spowage (producer)
- Dylan Tate (puppeteer and film maker)
- Richmond Trew (actor and drama facilitator)
- Vicki Townsend (drama facilitator)
- Danni Vickerstaff (lighting designer)
- Kate Waters (fight director)
- Jack Webb (photographer)
- Toby White (actor and musician)
- Natalie Willatt (photographer)
- Kerrie Williamson (drama facilitator)
Our Board of Trustees includes individuals from the worlds of community arts, prison, autism, and arts administration.
- Brendan Davies (participatory drama specialist)
- Anne Kinnaird (community arts specialist)
- Trevor Laud (retired prison officer and manager)
- Sue Moffatt (participatory drama specialist)
- Margaret Riley (retired NHS and voluntary sector manager)
- Ni Singh (musician and arts management)
- Pamela Wood (clinical psychologist specialising in autism)