Vic Mills – Company Director, Writer, Actor, Director
Vic Mills is a playwright, actor, director and lecturer. He has thirty years experience as a teacher of English, Drama and Theatre and spent twelve of those years as a senior manager of a large comprehensive school.
Vic has written four successful full length plays: ‘Marking Time’ – 2002; ‘Frost At The Westgate’ 2008; ‘Waiting For Robbo’ 2012 and ‘Cadoc And The Drowned Boys’ 2017, winning awards in production and writing for the first two of these.
Vic has written and seen successfully produced ten one act plays; winning Welsh, British and International awards for many of them – as a writer and actor. His most recent one act play, ‘The Ruins of Talgarth’ has won thirteen separate awards nationally and internationally.
Much of Vic’s work has had at least a partial focus rooted in Welsh history, finding inspiration and meaning in story, myth and history from Wales. He formed Contemporancient Theatre with his brother, the poet, novelist and academic Dr Kevin Mills to develop work around their shared interests in this area.
Vic plays guitar and sings. He is married to Lisa Roberts-Mills, a Mathematics teacher, who shares his love of Shakespeare and theatre in general, though not his love of Bob Dylan or Cardiff City Football Club. They live in Porthcawl in South Wales. Vic has a daughter, Portia, who shares his love of theatre and of “Americana’ music.
Kevin Mills – Company Director, Writer, Researcher, Collaborator
He has published widely on literary topics including Victorian literature, literary theory, and individual authors such as Christina Rossetti, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ciaran Carson and Roald Dahl. He is currently working on an essay on the relationship between story and place, and on a novel set in the time of Shakespeare. His third poetry collection, Zeugma, will appear from Cinnamon Press in Spring 2020. Cinnamon also published his first two collections, Fool (2009) and Libra (2012), as well as his pamphlet of poems based on the life of St Cadoc: Stations of the Boar (2016).
When not working, he spends his time pretending he can play guitar, wishing he was watching Cardiff City FC, walking his collie (Rusty), and ironing shirts to the music of Bob Dylan and Pavlov’s Dog.
Kevin brings an extraordinary intellect and knowledge, together with passion for Welsh history to the company. He works on the writing of text with Vic and his verse writing is at the heart of this company’s work.
Jemima Nicholas – Company Director, Actor, Teacher ,Writer
Originally from Caerphilly, Jemima studied Performing Arts at Canolfan Berfformio Cymru in Cardiff. During her degree, Jemima was lucky enough to secure a place at the Theatre Arts department at California State University Long Beach. Whilst in California, Jemima studied Acting and Improvisation and Comedy. Since graduating in 2017, Jemima has been worked in a variety of theatres and performance spaces from Aberdare to Bahrain, playing characters such as Gretel in Black RAT’s Christmas production of Hansel and Gretel, Princess Violet in Tickledom’s Basil & the Ice Witch, Chava in Everyman Cardiff’s Open Air Theatre production of Fiddler On The Roof, Ginger in the R&D staging of Word Gets Around, Stephanie in Lego Shows Live! Bahrain and Princess Apricot and Cinderella in RCT Theatre’s annual Christmas pantomime.
Last year, Jemima was cast as Rhi in Contemporancient Theatre’s ‘Cadoc and the Drowned Boys’ and that is where her connection with Contemporancient Theatre began. After playing a role unlike any other she had played in the past whilst being given the opportunity to portray the history of a man’s life through a female perspective, it was no surprise that she jumped at the opportunity to be one of the company directors of Contemporancient Theatre, as it develops into creating projects for the wider community of South Wales.
As a Welsh speaking actor, the opportunity to work bilingually in Welsh and English is something that has always been very important to Jemima, and being a part of Contemporancient so far has not only allowed that but encouraged it throughout and Jemima is extremely excited at the prospect of creating bilingual work based on Welsh history.
Equally, Jemima is an avid dancer and is looking forward to experimenting with dance and movement as the company develops its style of theatre even further. The idea of creating theatre based on local history and legends all over Wales is something that Jemima sees as giving communities the chance to learn about their history, whilst encouraging them to be a part of something physical and tangible that celebrates them and the people who paved the way before them.
Matthew Curran – Company Director, Actor, Teacher, Writer
Matthew Curran is a professional actor, who, when not acting works as a financial consultant. He was born up and brought up in Cardiff and has a deep love for and interest in its communities and its history. He studied as an undergraduate at the University of South Wales and then as a post graduate at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
Matthew lived and worked in London for several years as a busy actor working in theatre, television and film.
He returned to South Wales several years ago and now lives in the Rhondda Valley with his partner Sarah and his two children. Matthew brings tremendous talent and experience to Contemporancient Theatre, with a wide variety of roles from classical theatre to pantomime. His genuine love for and interest in our exploring our history and its significance in our contemporary lives drives his enthusiasm for this company and its vision.
Naomi Preston – Company Director, Historian, Researcher
Naomi is a Research Assistant at University of South Wales. She was born in Beddau thirty two years ago and grew up in Bridgend, attending Bryntirion Comprehensive School.
She is just completing a Masters in History, specifically studying 16th-century women’s medical writing and practice.
She is very proud to have a crazy six year old daughter. She loves to run, regularly entering 10K, half marathon and marathon events.
She listens to what she calls ‘Scandinavian Folk Pop’ – although she suggests that the term ‘pop’ might be something of a misnomer – it doesn’t matter too much though, as no-one knows what she’s talking about, anyway.
She is an avid environmentalist and serial reporter of ‘fly-tipping’!
She sees ‘Contemporancient Theatre’ as a brilliant way of bringing communities’ hidden or forgotten histories to the fore. As an historian, she is enjoying the opportunity to help uncover the relevance of these stories. She is in her element when researching local histories and gathering oral accounts, as this gives her the opportunity to utilise the research skills she has gained through her studies. Her job, as she sees it, in the company, is to help open doors, engage local communities, and provide fodder to the creative process. She is always excited about seeing how her research will contribute to the finished products.
Dave Lowson – Company Director, Manager, Collaborator, Advisor
Dave was born David Widdop in Newark, Notts, in 1954, and adopted by Welsh mother & English father, and brought up in Co Durham. He was educated at Ferryhill Grammar School, and University of Sussex where he became a drop out (sic).
He has worked as a Mental Health Activist and anti-psychiatry campaigner (founder member of Survivors Speak Out); counsellor; executive coach; librarian; indexer; trade union officer. For much of his working life he was worked based in Cardiff for MIND CYMRU. The most inspiring person he’s met is Louise Pembroke, the mental health activist. Dave now works as an Independent Member on Adoption Panels.
Dave is a very loyal Cardiff City FC fan and season ticket holder (and member of the “It’s 4 in the Morning CCFC Supporters Club”). His Favourite music is everything by Laura Nyro. His favourite dead authors are Dostoevsky and Samuel Beckett, whilst his favourite living author Per Petterson.
Dave has spent huge amounts of his life at his almost obsessive occupation of walking the hills of Wales. Mention any hill or range of hills in the whole of Wales and Dave will tell you a great number of tedious stories, including where to park and where to eat your sandwiches. His favourite place in the World is Nant Pasgyn Bach, nr Llandecwyn. His favourite tombstone inscription is “Reader: prepare to die”, St Harmon’s church.
Dave watches films that he likes many, many times and his most watched are: Magnolia & Kings of the Road.
Dave brings great experience and expertise in management in the third sector to the company, which is especially useful to us with funding bids and financial planning. His love of the arts and theatre, together with his love of Wales and of its history means that he brings a great deal to us at Contemporancient Theatre and we look to him for wit and wisdom.
Neil Maidman – Company Director, Dramaturg, Director, Technical Director
Neil Maidman has more than thirty years of experience as director, actor and producer of theatre. He is, at present, Co-Artistic Director of Liverpool International Theatre Festival, where his responsibilities include the selection of companies from around the world to appear at the bi-annual festival in Canada; developing cultural and theatrical links with companies from Africa, the Indian sub-continent, South America, Europe, Canada and the USA, hosting and liaising with key personnel in both Canada and internationally. Neil is Director and Producer of Gurnwah Productions, based in Merthyr, which produces new work for performance in Wales and beyond, recently taking two productions to the West End. Neil is currently Chair of Blackwood Little Theatre, Wales’ most successful amateur theatre company, directing, producing and acting in work which has won Welsh, British and international awards on numerous occasions.
Neil brings to Contemporancient Theatre great skill and experience in all aspects of theatre work, perhaps especially in his love for and expertise in producing and directing new work. He is skilled in the technical aspects of theatre – in lighting, sound and dramaturgy. As a businessman who runs a Health and Safety Consultancy, Neil brings a business acumen which is very important to us. Neil lives in Aberdare with his wife, Peta, a multi-award winning actor, and his huge, mild mannered dog, Alfie.
Stephen J Preston – Company Director, MD, Composer, Musician, Actor
Stephen J Preston is a pianist, composer, writer and educator from Beddau in South Wales. He is also Director of the Arius School of Performing Arts, a theatre school for young people which he started in 2004. Stephen’s musical career began in the 1990’s and has seen him composing music for television and film for BBC Wales, for Tornado Films and for S4C as well as for private companies and for theatrical productions. He has written six musicals and worked with songwriters as diverse as Phil Campbell of Motorhead, Amy Wadge, LVR, Loyiso, Natalie Imani, John Legend and Cardi B. Stephen taught for eleven years in Primary and Secondary Education and currently spends some of his time running music and theatre projects for South Wales schools. Stephen will shortly release his second novel, ‘The Boy Who Flew With Dragons’ which is aimed at 8-11 year olds. Stephen has been married to Marsha since 1989 and they have two grown-up sons. He is very important to the work of Contemporancient Theatre, bringing wisdom and wit and warmth alongside his quite extraordinary skills in music and theatre.