Emma Taylor Artistic Director
Emma has been Artistic Director of the Canal Café Theatre, the UK’s leading launch pad theatre for the comedy industry and Producer of NewsRevue, since 2001. Some directing highlights include; Lucky Stiff, (Whatonstage Best Musical Revival Nomination), Mamet's The Shawl with Scarlett Strallen, world premieres Stage Fright by Lynn Howes with Abi Titmuss and Shamlet by Andrew Doyle. Emma is the recipient of an IARA Special Recognition Award, Fringe Report's Theatre Person of the Year Award, a Guinness World Record on behalf of NewsRevue and most recently a joint outstanding achievement award from London Pub Theatre Awards with the late founder of NewsRevue, Professor Michael Hodd. She is author of The Pocket Producer (available on Amazon). She is also a performer and a multi-lingual private consultant for Screen Presence.
Jess Barrett General Manager, Associate Producer
Jess is thrilled to be a part of the Canal Café Theatre team as General Manager and Box Office Assistant. She has worked in fringe theatre in the UK and the US as a director, writer, performer, and stage manager. Highlights have included her work at The Irish Classical Theatre, NY in 2016, her Edinburgh Fringe Festival debut in 2019, and her recent writing competition win at The Hope Theatre in 2021. Jess specialises in comedy and new writing, having written and performed in everything from stand up to musical cabaret to improv. From 2016-2019, Jess worked as a theatre teacher, writer/director at the Theatre Royal Margate Kent, predominantly with young people.
Lauren Lucy Cook
Lauren Lucy Cook Administrator, Production Assistant
Lauren is a multi-disciplined performer and theatre-practitioner, specialising in physical and devised theatre. Recipient of the Theatre Special Project Prize for her undergraduate dissertation, and with performance credits ranging from Titania to a Sexy Toe, she aims to create work that is impactful and enjoyable for both audiences and those involved. She is also the Co-Founder and Creative Director of The Makers Theatre, a theatre and creative arts company focused on creating multi-disciplined theatre which platforms the lived experiences of creatives, utilising their individual skills to create original devised work.
Reice Weathers Casting Director
Reice is delighted to come on board as a casting director for NewsRevue and the Canal Café Theatre. Artistic Director, Emma Taylor first met Reice aged 5 when he was a member of her drama school, the Norrie Carr Drama School and since then he has graduated from the BA(Hons) Acting course at The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama in 2015 and received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor by the Black British Theatre Awards 2020. Reice’s previous credits include; THE UPSTART CROW (Phil McIntyre Entertainment), THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE (The Greenwich Theatre), BOXMAN UK TOUR (Flugman Productions), THE TEMPEST (Bilimankhwe Arts) and DOCTORS (BBC), DREAM TEAM (Sky One). Alongside work in theatre and film, Reice also founded and runs Make Believe Group, a low-cost performing arts school for children ages 3 to 16 which provides opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds. Reice’s goal with this institute is to ‘inspire, motivate and bolster self-esteem while teaching valuable life skills of which can be implemented into their everyday lives, contributing to their development as people and broadening their horizons through performing arts.’ Please visit for more information.
Richard Baker Associate Musical Director
Richard is a freelance musical director, improviser, vocal coach and composer. He has worked with NewsRevue since 2014, and has been MD either fully or partially on 15 separate runs in that time. Most recently, he also worked as an improvising musician with Mischief Movie Night (nominated for Best New Comedy at the 2018 Olivier Awards). As a composer, Richard's work includes music and songs for Peter Pan Goes Wrong and the new musical Tasting Notes, and his credits as MD include the All Male Pirates of Penzance at The Palace Theatre and Wilton's Music Hall; Iolanthe and The Mikado on national tours of the UK; Secret Garden at the Ambassadors Theatre; Finian’s Rainbow at Charing Cross Theatre; Princess Ida at the Finborough Theatre; Lucky Stiff, Road Show, Anyone Can Whistle and Our House at the Union Theatre; The Wandering Scholar at the King’s Head Theatre and the annual pantomime at Newbury Corn Exchange for five consecutive years.
Samuel Hopkins
Samuel Hopkins Associate Director
Samuel is a London based theatre director and performance maker. He is particularly interested in making work around LGBTQ+ themes and experimental practices. Directing highlights include NewsRevue (Edinburgh 2018+2019), The Hired Man (Cadogan Hall), and Outside (The Vaults). He co-founded and performed with internet-cum-cabaret company Copycatzzz in their unique petting experiences; YAAASSSS and AUBERGINE. As a queer performance-maker his work has been performed venues such as The Yard Theatre, Camden People’s Theatre, and The New Diorama. In 2016-17 Samuel was also part of The Fems, a bouffon clown troupe, and he has performed in various cabaret spaces such as House of Idiot and The Glory.
Peter Hampford
Peter Hampford Box Office Assistant, Technician
Peter is a writer and is currently studying for an MA in Comedy Writing (the joke’s not lost on him). Having worked in Front of House before, he is excited to be back working in a dynamic, changing, and occasionally high-octane environment. He has previously worked in production for documentaries as well as being an occasional camera operator for a drone company. Outside work, Peter’s written and produced multiple short films and is now turning his hand to writing for audio productions.
Vivek Sharma Box Office Assistant
Vivek is an actor, writer and Deviser. Vivek moved to London in September 2019 to study on the prestigious BA Acting - Collaborative and Devised Theatre course at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and is entering their third and final year of drama school. Vivek is passionate about improving LGBT+ and Racial casting (particularly South-Asian representation) both in screen and stage.
Zoë Dickinson Box Office Assistant, Technician
Zoë is thrilled to join the Canal Café Theatre team on box office and as a technician. Having graduated in 2021 from the University of York, where she studied film and television production, her experience is mainly in TV and documentaries. She has written and produced a number of short films, and worked on a range of documentaries for companies such as National Geographic, BBC and Discovery including producing Rolling in the Gambia a documentary film in Gambia in 2022. Her passion lies in comedy and all story telling art forms.