Nicola Hollinshead


I am an applied theatre practitioner and drama facilitator with over ten-years’ experience of working with groups using theatre and drama practice. A previous member of both the Everyman and Playhouse Youth Theatres in Liverpool, my first professional work started at the Everyman in the main house with director Ken Campbell. Subsequent work as an actor for over twenty- five years includes working in a wide range of theatre such as rep, fringe, community theatre, devised productions, new writing, TIE, children’s theatre, street theatre, political theatre, one-woman shows, small to large scale No 1 touring, Eastern European touring and prison theatre.

My professional directing work began at Liverpool Playhouse as Assistant director on a Bill Kenwright production. I then worked for two years full time as Acting skills tutor and theatre director with Seconds Out Theatre Workshop working with over one hundred participants. This government funded arts-based programme was established to work with long-term unemployed participants in Liverpool to increase skills and confidence and promote the arts on Merseyside.

After retraining as a Drama facilitator I took an MA in Applied Theatre at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, graduating in 2017. My facilitation training has been extensive with leading companies in the field such as; Collective Encounters, Geese Theatre, Safe Ground, Clean Break, Escape Artists, Cardboard Citizens, Spare Tyre and Unlock Drama. I work with a range of theatre practice including; improvisation, devising, writing, method acting, physical theatre, verbatim theatre, legislative theatre and forum theatre. I created the project ‘Recoverist Theatre Project’ while at Central to work with adults in recovery and in 2019 presented a paper on the project ‘From being in recovery to becoming a recoverist’ at the Recovery and the Arts Conference at John Moore University in Liverpool. Recoverist Theatre Project - ISLINGTON PEOPLE'S THEATRE (

Since graduating from Central I worked for twelve months as Community Engage Officer for Reading Rep’s ‘Engage’ programme delivering weekly applied theatre sessions with women on parole, adults in recovery and addiction and dementia residents in a care home setting. Other work includes; Arcola Theatre 50+ Community group, Unlock Drama, Safe Ground, Southwark Playhouse, Arts4Dementia and Leeds University Arts and Humanities Outreach Team. I am currently working as a co-facilitator with Southwark Playhouse delivering weekly applied theatre sessions with adults with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers.

I recently set up Islington People’s Theatre, a Community Interest Company to deliver community projects and programmes in the borough with a focus to co-create socially engaged work with underrepresented groups including; adults in recovery and addiction, adults in and the Criminal Justice System, adults with mental health issues, isolated elders and marginalised women

Islington Peoples Theatre

Research interests

My research interests include co-creating socially engaged work with a range of women’s groups on the intersections of the following;

  • Applied theatre and activism
  • Precarity and dispossession
  • Resistance to disposability
  • Theatre for social change
  • Agency and power