Meet the team

The Team

Between us our team have more than fifty years experience working within the creative and educational sectors

The Team - Jackson Kavanagh

Jackson Kavanagh
Founder Member and Director of Programmes

Jackson's career path has taken him from industrial chemistry to the theatre to education - and he uses the particular insight this has given him to lead on our incredibly popular creative maths and science programmes. "The universe is made from maths," he says, "which powers the stories that science has to tell. So what better way to explore these exciting subjects than through immersive worlds?"

Meet the Team - Jo Stokes

Jo Stokes
Founder Member and Director of Programmes

Having worked as an actor in theatre and television for over ten years (including two years with the Royal Shakespeare Company), Jo has taken the lead on our unique take on Shakespeare and poetry. "The creative processes I came to rely on as a professional actor," she says, "can open up the world of words to children and young people, too. And I thrive on the constant search for amazing new ways to bring learning to life!"

Meet the Team - Jenny Liggins

Jenny Liggins
Founder Member and Operations Director

Both The Comedy Trust and Find Your Talent benefited enormously from Jenny's skills as a development manager working in the arts and education sectors. And she now bring those skills to bear in ensuring that our growth always remains in line with our founding ethos: to enrich the lives of children and young people. "As the Henley Report makes clear," she says, "participating in quality creative and cultural activities can change children's futures. So I am absolutely committed to increasing and developing those opportunities!"

Meet the Team - Chris Carney

Chris Carney
Lead Practitioner, London and the South East

Founder of the acclaimed Threshold Festival of Music & Arts, Chris knows from personal experience how creativity can help people reach their full potential. And as a self-proclaimed "geek", he understands its place in maths and science, as well as the arts. "It’s that power of “creation” that drives me," he explains , "so what better way to work than applying creative teaching methods right across the curriculum?"


Meet the Team - Rowan Dwyer

Rowan Dyer
Resources Manager

As Artistic Director of Brimstone Theatre, Rowan draws upon a wide pool of knowledge and skills to realise a range of visual and performance arts initiatives. And those skills are also invaluable when it comes to developing the unique and engaging resources that support our programmes. "And it's a really enjoyable process," he comments, "collaborating with others to develop creative, accessible and approaches, designed to unlock learning!"


Meet the Team - Zoe Vaux

Zoe Vaux
Drama Practitioner, Actor and Director

With nearly fifteen years experience of leading creative workshops in schools (and settings catering for children and young adults with additional needs), the combination of Zoe's understanding of education and her interpersonal skills is one of our greatest assets. "There are no boundaries to our creativity and potential the succeed," she suggests, "and I really enjoy helping children and young people (and their teachers!) realise this for themselves!"

Meet the Team - Helen Jackson

Helena Jacks
Drama Practitioner, Actor and Storyteller

Having worked as an actor in theatrical, educational, arts, museums and heritage settings, Helena understands how creating magical worlds can bring people of all ages together, encouraging and enabling them to paint their own stories in words, to see the world in numbers and shapes - and to explore the past. "And that's the power of creativity," she says. "To build enchanting realms - where anything is possible!"

Ady Thompson

Ady Thompson 
Drama Practitioner, Actor and Dancer

Since training at the world famous Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, Ady has continued to hone his skills in physical theatre, creating and devising performances for young audiences. With more than ten years experience exploring drama with and leading workshops for children, his work with as creatives allows him to offer new and exciting ways to learn, right across the school curriculum. "Inspiring young minds to create is extremely rewarding," he says, "enabling me to challenge myself as well as others!"

Rosie Wilkinson

Rosie Wilkinson
Actor and Drama Practitioner

Coming from a family of teachers, Rosie has always appreciated the importance of creativity in education. “And that background,” she says, “has given me a huge appetite for exploring finding exciting, new ways to help children and young people learn.” One of the founding members - and Artistic Director - of improvisation-based theatre company Impropriety, she is immensely proud of the improvisation-based theatre company’s record of running workshops and shows since 2009.

Jay McWinen

Jay McWinen
Actor, Singer / Songwriter and Musical Director

As musical director of a number of community and youth choirs, Jay sees the fruits of collaborative working every single day. And he brings that ability to create synchronicity to the programmes he leads for us, too. "The strength of teamwork," he says, "is that it engages even the least confident to shine – and to both demonstrate and celebrate their learning."


Paddy Toomey
Actor, Director, Drama Practitioner

Paddy has been a professional actor for 30 years, working at the RSC, in the West End, touring all over the UK and round the world, and also working in TV and film. With an MA in actor training under his belt, Paddy has directed and taught at leading acting schools and embraced the opportunity to bring creative approaches to learning to the school curriculum with as-creatives, whether as a pirate, a superhero, or a codebreaker...

Meet the Team - Caroline Payne

Caroline Payne
Drama Practitioner, Actor and Director

With extensive experience as a professional actor both with the RSC and in the West End, Caroline's passion for the spoken word is felt - and shared - immediately by the children and young people she works with. And this combines perfectly with her ability to make classic texts as relevant and meaningful today as they were on the days they were written. For, as she says herself, "Drama allows us to share things we’ve only just discovered, to tell the truth, to invent the impossible - and live it for a while!"

Sarah Kilbride

Sarah Kilbride 
Actress and Author

Since graduating from drama school, Sarah has enjoyed working with words and young people as an actress and author. She has devised plays and workshops for schools, libraries, at national literature events and especially loves getting creative in the outdoors. Using a mix of drama, movement and art, Sarah encourages a magical blend of collaborative creativity that inspires and nurtures a love of words. You can find out more about Sarah's work by visiting her website. “Working together, exploring our imagination and finding our voice is incredibly powerful, whatever age, she says, It’s always an inspiration to see the proud faces at the end of the workshop and know that this is only part of participants’ creative journey.”

Simon McKeown

Simon Mckeown
Founder Member

Simon was one of the driving forces behind the first few years of As Creatives' success - and his attention to detail in designing and delivering highly targeted programmes was crucial in our development. Simon now creates bespoke furniture and furnishings - with a waiting list that emphasises his popularity! You can find out more by visiting his website


Kate Pankhurst

Kate Pankhurst
Founder Member

Kate's enthusiasm for drawing and ability to develop that enthusiasm in others played a crucial role as we came to fully appreciate the potential of creativity in teaching and learning. Now a hugely successful children's writer and illustrator, Kate still supports us by running CPD programmes for teachers. For more information about Kate's work, visit her website:



Claire McKeown

Claire Mckeown
Founder Member

Claire's understanding of the creative industry sector provided the glue that bound As Creatives together. Tragically, though, she died in 2011 - and we miss her every single day. Without her commitment to developing sustainable systems and structures, we wouldn't be here today.