The Co-Directors of Rideout are Saul Hewish and Chris Johnston
Saul Hewish was a founder member and former Director of Geese Theatre Company (UK) between 1987 and 1994. Geese UK was established as a franchise of the highly successful Geese Theatre USA with a remit to develop performances, workshops and residencies for prisoners and ex-offenders. Saul was instrumental in the development of a number of long-term partnerships with the Probation Service in which drama was used as the key methodology for challenging and dealing with offending behaviour. In 1994 he left the UK for America where he spent a couple of years working exclusively with Geese USA and its founder and director, John Bergman, MA, RDT/MT.
Upon retuning to the UK in 1996 Saul began working under the name Acting Out Company, developing drama-based projects and programmes for young people looked after by local authorities, children and young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties, and young people subject to supervision by Youth Offending Teams. In addition to co-running Rideout he also teaches a module on Theatre in the Community at the University of Warwick, is a visiting drama specialist at Broadmoor Hospital, and has recently begun working as a practitioner for the Creative Partnerships programme. He is a co-author with John Bergman of Challenging Experience: An Experiential Approach to the Treatment of Serious Offenders, published by Wood 'n' Barnes in 2004.
Chris Johnston was the founder and Director of Insight Arts Trust between 1989 and 1999. Insight was established to work with the Probation Service in the London area and to run events and projects for those on probation. It extended its work over this period to develop a theatre company, Insight Theatre, which took a number of plays featuring ex-offenders in the cast, into prisons and arts centres. These included 'The Art of Being in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time' with Richmond Trew and Emilio di Girolamo that used sound and video in a mixed-media production. The company also worked in Europe with a range of other organisations in a project funded under the Leonardo Scheme by the European Union and presented a series of installations and exhibitions in London.
Chris is also the author of House of Games: Making Theatre from Everyday Life, published by Nick Hern Books in 1998 and The Improvisation Game, published in 2006. His new book, For Those Who Like To Say No is to be published in March 2010. He is also the author of a number of plays including Say Goodnight to the Bad Guy for Rideout. He is also Director of Fluxx, the improvisation company, and Co-Director of Livestock, a company exploring issues of mental health and well-being.
In 2005, Saul and Chris were recipients of a Butler Trust Certificate Award. The Butler Trust is a national charity which identifies and celebrates the achievements of people who work in the UK Correctional Services who have shown exceptional skill or initiative in their work with offenders.
Rideout has a pool of freelance practitioners with whom they work on an 'as needs' basis. These include:
- Fateha Begum (drama facilitator)
- Sally Brookes (former practitioner and Artistic Programme Director for Geese Theatre UK)
- Jon Ford (Sculptor)
- Bharti Patel (actor and drama facilitator)
- Ali McWhirter
- Mark Robinson (former practitioner with Geese Theatre UK)
- Richmond Trew (former practitioner with Insight Arts Trust)
The company is governed by a Board of Directors that includes individuals from the worlds of community arts, prison, social care, and arts administration.