Displace Yourself is made up of core members Jennifer Nevin and Mike Auger and the Creating Together Collaborators. We work closely with a creative producer and some fantastic other artists on a project basis. We also work with grass root organisations and local communities in the towns we visit who are integral to the development of our shows.
Jennifer Nevin (Founder and Co-Artistic Director)
Jen is an independent Bradford-based theatre-maker and director with a specialism in creating socially engaged work and work with vulnerable and marginalised groups. Alongside her independent practice Jen is a qualified yoga facilitator with experience in somatic and therapeutic movement, and working with communities to develop creative programmes of arts engagement that improve health and wellbeing.
Jen trained professionally at East 15 Acting school and has been creating, directing and performing ever since, at venues such as Soho Theatre, The Albany London and The West Yorkshire Playhouse and festivals including Latitude, Audio Farm and Kilowatt Festival in Italy. Jen has directed new writing at the New Wimbledon Studio and The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where one of her directed plays was nominated for an NSDF Award.
Jen’s background is also in working with trauma, supporting young people in the care system and coordinating strategies for health and wellbeing.
“I love making work that breaks traditional theatrical conventions, that celebrates aliveness and what it means to be human in the weird and wonderful world we’re living in today. The work I make, and the way it is made, is informed by all of these facets of my training and experience, as I seek to embed a fun, nourishing and trauma conscious process that creates bold work while holding wellbeing at its core.”
Mike Auger (Founder and Co-Artistic Director) A choreographer, musician and physical theatre practitioner based in the UK. Mike is trained in clowning, singing and movement studying at East 15 Acting School and The Grotovski Institute in Poland. Mike has worked with companies such as Told by an Idiot, Riding Lights and Bear Trap and worked with local Homeless Theatre Company, Urban Sprawl choreographing their recent Street Theatre production. Acting credits include Odd Doll’s ‘The Worried Walrus’ and Uncanny Theatre’s “You had to Be There”. Over the last 10 years Mike has performed as a singer/songwriter and also hosted a live acoustic night in London. Mike was The Associate Music Artist at Mind the Gap Theatre and composes music for Displace Yourself and other companies including Two Tonne, Yorkshire Life Aquatic and Buglight Theatre.
Ben Rothera (Producer) An Independent creative producer, project manager and audience development specialist with a particular interest in finding entry routes for under-represented groups into the arts and generating audiences for contemporary work. He has worked for a range of arts and cultural organisations facilitating the creation and presentation of high quality work across theatre, dance and live music. Most recently, he worked for Leeds-based producers Dep Arts supporting a range of artists with organisational strategy, fundraising and partnership development. Ben is also a member of the Board of Red Ladder Theatre Company.
Experts by Experience A collective of individuals who have direct experience of the themes we are exploring and offer vital insight into the emotional realities of displacement and social exclusion. To date this has included, not limited, to:
Refugees & those seeking asylum
People with experience of or at risk of homelessness
People in support of mental health services
Displace Yourself facilitate regular Creating Together sessions to work with these experts and bespoke Creative Retreats to live together and work amongst nature, free from the stresses of daily life. We support each other in the making of any new work, develop artistic practices and improve health and wellbeing through meditation, art and therapeutic movement.
“We knew as soon as we met on the first day of term in the drama school cafe that we had a powerful connection, we had no idea how that relationship would grow! We quickly realised we shared the same passions: experimental theatre, human beings and enjoying this precious life to the max! Wide eyed and with fires in our belly we believed live performance could be a catalyst to ignite change in the world, and after a chance meeting with a woman selling the Big Issue on a rainy day in Leeds, who later offered to help Jen with a script she was writing, the seed of Displace Yourself was sown.
As we grew up we couldn’t ignore the blatant inequalities and injustices in our society and however we helped others, it never quite felt enough. Soon after graduating Jen experienced severe mental health challenges which highlighted gaps of support in the system and we realised how easy it is to fall through the gaps and quickly become marginalised. Although terrifying at the time, the experience made our relationship stronger and we were forced to be creative in Jen’s recovery, often taking big blank canvasses and paints into the woods on the outskirts of London to make a colourful mess and help us both connect with nature. We were struggling to make ends meet as creatives in London, so we decided to seek another way, and go on an adventure together. We followed an impulse and moved to South East Asia where we met the most inspiring rural community on the border between Thailand and Myanmar, who welcomed us into their homes. The founder of a local children’s home had recently had a dream that the children studied drama and this sparked an idea! In payment for the community’s kindness and hospitality, we offered to share our theatre training, which the community loved! Without any expectations what was going to happen, we facilitated voice, music, movement and acting sessions to children and adults, most of whom didn’t speak English and almost all who had fled war, poverty and forced labour. Working with very limited resources and in such a politically volatile area, it was a huge learning curve and in a short time we experienced the best and worst in human nature. After a year of living, working and playing together, during the seasons of oppressive heat and torrential rain, we all witnessed huge transformations in the health and wellbeing of those taking part in the creative sessions, and we also felt our own health improve dramatically! We were keen to develop and continue this creative process which led to the manifestation of Displace Yourself when we returned to the UK, as we invited audiences to join us in learning news skills and investigating how we can work creatively together to dissolve the barriers that so often divide us.
Our relationship with that beautiful community remains to this day, and we are forever grateful for everything they continue to teach us. “