Taking Flight is a theatre company based in Wales, working with physically disabled, sensory impaired and non disabled professional actors to create accessible theatre projects. We also run workshops for actors and non actors to improve skills and confidence.
Elise set up Taking Flight with Beth after a life changing workshop with BackUp Trust in 2007. Prior to this she had a relatively a successful career touring the country as an actress, working with exciting companies such as SNAP, TIEbreak, Nottingham Playhouse and Edinburgh Lyceum, however when she became a Mum in 2009 she decided to hang up her acting shoes try her hand at directing. Elise has since directed most of Taking Flight’s work including A Midsummer Night’s Dream 2009 and 2013, Gwion and the Witch2010, Romeo and Juliet 2010 and 2016, Branwen’ Starling and Twelfth Night 2011, Real Human Being 2012. 2014 & 2015, As You Like It 2014, The Winter’s Tale 2015, Same but Different2015, You’ve Got Dragons 2016. Directing credits for other companies include The Ordinary Three and Gary Owen’s Free Folk for Welsh Fargo Stage Company, I’ll be there Now for Susan Kingman Productions, Assistant/Emerging Director on Love Steals Us From Loneliness with National Theatre Wales (NTW), Barefoot In The Park for Mandan Productions, Assistant Director on DeGabay for NTW. She is also an Associate Director at University of Wales Trinity St David.
Beth trained at Birmingham University, graduating with a 2;1 degree in Drama and Theatre Arts in 1998. Since then, she has been s snowboard guide, toured as a performer- especially loving working in mask and puppetry and Shakespeare- taught English as a foreign language, lived in Spain and Dublin and had 4 children. Her youngest is now 3 and her eldest nearly 18 and she definitely wonders where that time went.
Since giving up the grand old life of a touring actor she has concentrated on theatre making, and in 2008 founded Taking Flight with Elise; an idea cooked up on a walk around the beautiful- and very accessible- Stackpole Estate, a National Trust property in West Wales. She will always be passionate about challenging notions of who gets to enjoy theatre and who gets to make it.
Business Development Executive at Admiral
Fiona joined the Taking Flight board last year following being introduced to the charities work through Arts and Business, also a charity which matches business people with arts organisations to facilitate co-operation and knowledge transfer. She was really impressed by the work that Taking Flight do and this motivated her to become involved as a Board Member.
“The Shakespeare character I would most like to be is Cordelia, King Lear’s youngest daughter. I draw a parallel with her in that she is not afraid to stand up for what she believes to be right, regardless of the actions of others and I think this is an important quality to have in business; to challenge those around you and not be afraid to question the status quo.”
“I have always had an interest in theatre from a young age therefore when opportunity to be on the board for Taking Flight came, I along happily joined.”
“The character I would be from Shakespeare is Miranda from The Tempest as she is about having values and being supportive.”
Val joined the Board in July 2014 and has been part of the project advisory group for RHB. Val finds the inclusive nature of TFTC’s work innovative and trail-blazing. She says “They are never afraid to challenge stereotypes or push new boundaries – challenge sits with equality at the heart of the company.” Val hoped in joining that she could bring her 23 years experience of small scale arts management to the company as they struggled with governance issues as their artistic output increased.
“After a bit of thinking I’m going to opt for Portia as the Shakespeare character I would like to be. While I know that Merchant has very anti-Semitic overtones these days and isn’t performed much, I just love the notion of a woman pretending to be a man in the legal cut and thrust of the courtroom –and winning. I also love her “Quality of mercy speech …”. My Mum played Portia in the 30s in a touring rep show and always said it was one of her favourite parts particularly that speech.”