Meet the team
Maria Oshodi, Co-Director
Maria studied Drama with English at Middlesex University and started her professional life as a playwright. Her first play, The S Bend, was produced by Royal Court Theatre’s Young Writers Festival and later by Cockpit Theatre. Other works include Blood, Sweat and Fears, From Choices to Chocolate and Here Comes a Candle; the screenplay Mug for Channel 4; Hound for Graeae and scripts for multimedia experiences including The Dark by Braunarts 2004 and The Hum by Flexi and Sandiland 2017.
She is the blind founder and has been Artistic Director of Extant since 1997. She has directed productions for Extant that cover a span of art forms from outdoor promenade productions, to large scale immersive site specific works to revivals of classic texts. These include a national and international tour of Resistance 2005, Obscurity 2009 at the Greenwich Royal Observatory, Tandemonium 2010 at Trafalgar Square, The Question 2010 at BAC, National tours of Sheer 2012 and The Chairs by Eugene Ionesco 2014/16, Flatland 2015 a haptic immersive R/D, and Combustion 2015 at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Kumiko Mendl, Co-Director
Kumiko Mendl has worked extensively in theatre for the past 30 years as an actor, teacher, storyteller, movement director and director.
She is one of the five founding members of Yellow Earth Theatre, the UK’s award winning British East Asian Theatre Company and became Artistic Director of the company in 2011. Directing for the company includes Why the Lion Danced and Yeh Shen - The Chinese Cinderella, Rashomon (Riverside Studios) and The Last Days of Limehouse (Limehouse Old Town Hall). She also created and directed the first ever regular British Chinese actor interpreter James Robson at the Cutty Sark and Maritime Museum and produced a new adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine at the Arcola Theatre, London and co-produced with Royal Exchange and Black Theatre Live Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok.
Kumiko was a core tutor at Clean Break for many years and has taught physical theatre and mask work at various drama schools including Mountview, Central School of Speech and Drama, Arts Ed and ALRA. Kumiko is also co-Artistic Director of A Thousand Cranes a company she set up with acclaimed children’s director Vicky Ireland to bring the stories and art forms of Japan to UK young audiences.
Glen Neath, Writer
Working as a freelance writer and theatre maker his work includes: Séance (2016), a collaboration with David Rosenberg; The Arabian Nights (2015) a two-part adaptation of the classic collection of stories for BBC Radio 4; Unpack (2014), a collaboration with writer Neil Bennun. The Long Count (2012) a radioplay for BBC Radio 4 and Ring (2012-14), another collaboration with David Rosenberg which won Best Sound (The Offies).
Other work includes Free Show (bring money) (2011-12), a collaboration with Hannah Ringham performed at BAC and Soho Theatre London, Cheltenham, Plymouth, Warwick, Ipswich and Edinburgh.
The Bench (2010-11), a collaboration with Ant Hampton which toured internationally, Gantenbein (2006-7), a stage adaptation of Max Frisch’s novel which was staged in Germany. He has published two novels, The Outgoing Man (2005) by Portobello Books and shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and And The Fat Plan in 2008.
Vicky Amedume, Movement Director
Since 1997, Vicki has performed and created aerial and circus based work that has been performed in the UK and worldwide. She has worked across all spheres of circus from traditional touring tented circuses to large-scale outdoor spaces and intimate touring indoor theatre.
She is Visiting Artist at Rose Bruford College, Visiting Lecturer in Circus at Bucks University, Guest Lecturer and Guest Trainer at Circus Space and Visiting Trainer at The Hangar Arts Trust. She trained at Live and Direct, Birkbeck College, Circus Sarasota, Centre National des Arts du Cirque (CNAC, France), Leeds University and Circus Space. Vicky is currently Artistic Director of Upswing and in 2016 she was selected as a Clore Fellow.
Amelia Cavallo, Cast
Amelia Cavallo is a blind performer from the USA with experience in acting, singing, dancing, aerial circus and burlesque. She is also a multi-instrumentalist and composer. Recent stage performances include Into Blanche and Butch (Birds of Paradise Theatre), Tommy (Ramps on the Moon) and Into the Woods (Royal Exchange Manchester). She also has a one woman show Sailing Through The Dark made in conjunction with the Liberty Festival. Amelia was also in What Am I Worth with Extraordinary Bodies. Amelia was a sway pole performer in the London 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony, and also performed at the cultural Olympiad in Rio with Graeae Theatre's production of The Garden in September, 2016. When not on stage, behind a musical instrument or dangling from a height, Amelia can be found working towards her PhD in disability politics and theatrical performance at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Sarah Houbolt, Cast
Sarah Houbolt is a Paralympian turned international circus and physical theatre performer, specialising in aerials, acrobatics, hula hoop and sideshow and is most known for her role in Cirque du Soleil’s Worlds Away.
Sarah’s credits include female lead in feature film Reflections in the Dust, which premiered at Karlov Vary (2018); principal role of Friar Lawrence in ‘Romeo & Juliet: A Love Song’ (2013), and featured guest on TVNZ’s Shortland Street. Sarah has worked with Sideshow Wonderland (Aus), Circus Oz (Aus), Extraordinary Bodies (UK), Makhampom Theatre (Thailand), and Casa de Zuleika and Associacao Fernanda Bianchini (Brazil). She performed in Germany at the Berlin Arts Exchange (2017), spoke at TEDxSydney (2017), Bristol Circus Festival (2017), and at the United Nations NYC (2018). Sarah managed InterAct Festival 2014 (NZ) and Arts Activated 2016 (Aus). She has also toured her one woman show KooKoo the Bird Girl throughout Australia and New Zealand, most recently at Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Takashi Kikuchi, Cast
Takashi Kikuchi began studying the viola at Tokyo University of the Arts in 1988, where he was awarded the Doctor of Musical Arts in 2003. He came to the Royal Academy of Music in 1999 for his post graduate studies and received the teaching diploma LRAM and the Lawson Award.
His career spans Asia and Europe with performances in Great Britain including recitals for the Schubert Music Society, Treasury Music Society in Whitehall, Victoria and Albert Museum, Handel House Museum, in Worcester, Norfolk and Lincolnshire as well as an early evening concert performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
As a member of the British Paraorchestra, Takashi has performed at Snape Maltings Proms, London Paralympics Closing Ceremony and Queen’s Christmas Message in 2012. As part of the Paraorchestra and Army of Generals, he performed at Glastonbury and Colston Hall, Bristol.
His first work with Extant was at the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival as well as Liberty Festival in 2009 where he provided live music for Obscurity along with Baluji Shrivastav an internationally renowned Indian Sitarist. Takashi is expanding his capacity on this occasion by trying some form of acting alongside his musical approach.
Victoria Oruwari, Cast
Soprano Victoria Oruwari performance highlights include Guest Soloist for the Play at Barbican. Concert with the Army of Generals and the British ParaOrchestra conducted by Charles Hazelwood, UK Social Enterprise Awards at the Guildhall London; Graeae Theatre’s production of Michael Kenny’s This Is Not For You, singing at the Heritage Flame Event for the lighting of the Paralympic torch at Stoke Mandeville; Singing with the British Paraorchestra and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at the Birmingham Symphony Hall; singing a duet with Jarvis Cocker for the BBC6 Music Festival; performing Terry Riley's In C with the British ParaOrchestra at Colston Hall in Bristol and Graeae Theatre’s production of Threepenny Opera. Her Television appearances include BBC1’s, The One Show, and Channel 4’s The Last Leg. Victoria has also performed at The Kensington Palace Gallery, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Ferrari Museum in Italy and the Agip Recital Hall in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2018, she was a contestant on the popular BBC1 Saturday night series All Together Now where she was a finalist.
Megumi Kubota, 'The Voice'
Meg is a Japanese actress born in Seattle, raised in Japan and South Africa. She trained at Arts Educational Drama School, having completed MA in Performing Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her theatre credit includes the title role in Hanjo (Oval House), Ruri Namiyama in Festival For the Fish (Wimbledon Theatre), Mrs Okada in Harajuku Girls (Finborough Theatre) the voice of Grandmother in Chotto Desh (Akram Khan Dance Company, Japan tour), and most recently Junko Tabei in Miles Apart Together (Etcetera Theatre). Her Film & TV Credit includes Iris (Fox Iris Prduction), The Day of the Kamikaze (Channel 4), The Girl in a Bubble (Actual Film), All That Remains (Major Oak Entertainment), Teacup Travels (CBeebies) and Good Omens (BBC/Amazon) due to be released in 2019. She is also known for her voice as Dr Ling in Chuggington (CBeebies), and other projects such as Mr Bean, The Animated Series. She played the lead in A Pale View of the Hills (Radio 4) and Fewer Not Less (Radio 4), amongst other radio plays.
Becky Minto, Designer
Becky has designed over 100 productions for companies including National Theatre Scotland, The Royal lyceum, Grid Iron, Visible Fictions, Vanishing Point, Scottish Dance Theatre, Lung Ha, All Or Nothing, Perth Rep, 7:84, The Byre, The Citizen’s Theatre, Upswing Aerial Theatre Company, Fire Exit, Walk The Plank, Mark Murphy, RCS, Dundee Rep and Pitlochry Festival Theatre.
Recent projects include Shift, NTS; Bingo,GRID IRON/STELLAR QUINES; The Last Bordello, FIRE EXIT; How To Disappear, TRAVERSE THEATRE;
Future projects include The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, PITLOCHRY FESTIVAL THEATRE; Ulster American, TRAVERSE THEATRE, The Buke of Howlett, FINDHORN FESTIVAL.
She was Associate Designer for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games; Land of Giants Belfast/London 2012 Festival and This Side The Other Side, Turku’s Capital of Culture Opening Ceremony in 2011.
Becky was awarded the Silver medal for Space Design for the National Theatre Scotland’s production of The 306:Dawn at the World Stage Design exhibition in Taipei 2017. She has been nominated for 3 CATS awards and a Manchester Evening News Award for Best Design.
Her designs for NTS Shetland based production Ignition and Iron-Oxide’s White Gold were selected for the exhibition Make Believe/ UK Design for Performance shown at the Prague Quadrennial and The V&A, London 2015.
She has exhibited at the Society of British Theatre Designers in 2015, 2011 and 2007.
Thor McIntyre-Burnie, Sound Designer
Thor is an award winning Artist & Sound Designer, he has a passion for transforming sites and conventions working across theatre, dance and visual arts.
Thor’s company, Aswarm, is a transformative public arts specialising in site-specific and immersive work, using sound and other sculptural and audio-visual elements to subtly alter the experience of architecture, public space and performance.
As a sound designer, Thor has delivered a wide array of projects:
- Project VEAR -A Major new Commission with Hull City of Culture, 2017
- Don’t Panic Chair - ROAM Wandsworth Fringe Festival Public Art Commission, 2017
- The Speakers @ Audiograft curated by the Sonic Art Research Unit (SARU) at Oxford Brookes University and co-promoted by OCM, 2017
- Clang! Boom! Bang! - Collaboration with UCL Speech Hearing & Phonetic Sciences prof Valerie Hazan (Head of Research Department )& Senior research prof Outi Tuomainen,for the Bloomsbury Festival, 2017
- Shakespeare’s Birthplace 400th Anniversary - Site-specific commission for the newly re-opening Shakespeare’s Birth Place.Produced by BOSI, 2016
- The Speakers in the Mandela Gardens of Wilberforce Institute for Slavery & Emancipation (WISE) & William Wilberforce House, Freedom Festival, 2016
- The Chairs, produced and toured by Extant, 2016
Current projects alongside Flight Paths include:
- Can You Hear Me? Residency on Flatholm Island over 2018 culminating in a Public Art Commission in 2019.Cardiff RSBP + Cardiff Harbour Authority + SoundLands. Focused on historic island of Flatholm 5 miles offshore, in the Bristol Channel, bringing it closer to the people of Cardiff through a new commission to be installed on Cardiff Barrier.
- Threads of the Unsaid... Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust. Developing a version of Romeo & Juliet without the script. Creating an immersive installation to explore how Shakespeare’s work resides in the public consciousness, recreating in sound and spoken word, Audio Description and stage direction, memory and reflection, a crowd-scripted play to walk within.
Nao Nagai, Lighting Designer
Nao is a London based lighting designer, collaborator and performer from Japan. Since immigrating to UK at the age of 15, she trained at Rose Bruford College in Lighting Design and she's been Lighting a wide spectrum of genre of performances, nationally and internationally. Every light she puts on has a meaning. Credits includes Copyright Christmas(Barbican centre), Madama Butterfly, Tosca(Arcola Theatre), Rigoletto(Bury Court Opera) Yellowman(Young Vic), Carnesky’s Bleeding Woman, OUT, Night Clubbing(National Tour), Orchard(Toynbee Hall), The Moment I saw You I know I could Love you(National Tour), Fake it Till You Make it(National Tour), Putting Words in your Mouth(Round House) and many more.
Nao also performs regularly with the cult pop performance group Frank Chickens (winner of Foster's Comedy God Awards 2010). She is a tutor in Lighting Design at Goldsmiths, University of London.