Our history

Founded as The Women’s Theatre Group in 1974 Sphinx Theatre Company, relaunched as Sphinx Theatre Company in 1990, has been in the vanguard of promoting, advocating and inspiring women in the arts through productions, conferences and research for more than 40 years. Early productions by the company included the premiere of April de Angelis’ modern classic Playhouse Creatures, Pam Gems’ The Snow Palace and Bryony Lavery’s Goliath, alongside the groundbreaking Glass Ceiling Conferences which began in 1991. A Regularly Funded Company until 2006 the company is now project funded, with support from ACE and the National Lottery. Recent events include the Vamps, Vixens and Feminists conferences, and work with the WOW festival. In 2015 Sphinx produced Women Centre Stage Heroines Festival at the National Theatre, and in 2016 Power Play at Hampstead Theatre, both years showcasing 25 exciting new theatre pieces with women at their centre; and 2022 saw the Sphinx 30 programme support 30 writers to create 30 new pieces of work for the stage. Sphinx continues into its fifth decade of supporting and inspiring women in the arts.

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Sue Parrish

Artistic Director

Sphinx Artistic Director and Producer since 1990.

Sue has extensive experience producing and directing Fringe, Repertory and Music Theatre. For Sphinx as Producer: ‘Goliath’ by Bryony Lavery, ‘The Snow Palace’ by Pam Gems, ‘Vita and Virginia’ by Eileen Atkins. As Director: ‘Playhouse Creatures’ by April De Angelis, ‘Every Bit of It’ by Jackie Kay, ‘Sweet Dreams’ by Diane Esguerra and ‘A Berlin Kabaret.’ Sue has also directed classical works by Congreve, Vanbrugh, Shakespeare, Japanese Not theatre by Swami and Mishima and Music Theatre for the City of London Festival.

Sue produced the Glass Ceiling feminist conferences at the National Theatre for ten years from 1991 and Women Centre Stage Festivals at the National theatre (2015), Hampstead Theatre (2019) and Trafalgar Theatre (2020). Sue was a founding member of the Conference of Women Theatre Directors and Administrators in 1979 and of the Women’s Playhouse Trust in 1982 and has remained involved in developing the feminist dialogue in theatre.

Sphinx Associates

Helen Barnett

Associate Producer

Helen is currently the Creative Director of Trestle Theatre Company and is a specialist in mask and physical theatre. Helen has worked in theatre outreach for ten years and in drama and education at all levels including being Resident Artist at the Royal & Derngate and working at Polka Theatre, Kiln Theatre, The Bush and Watford Palace. She has a Fellowship in Higher Education awarded from Middlesex University and is a member of the Hertfordshire Cultural Education Partnership. For Sphinx: Co-Creator of The Sphinx Test, Director of Women Centre Stage at National Theatre.

Lisa Cagnacci

Associate Director

Lisa is a freelance director, producer and dramaturg. She has previously worked as Associate Artistic Director at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough; Associate Artistic Director at Theatre 503 and Associate Director at Southwark Playhouse. She is currently Producer at Kiln Theatre, London. For Sphinx: Director for Women Centre Stage at National Theatre and Sphinx 30.

Stander Chohan

Associate Artist

Satinder is a journalist/documentary researcher turned writer from Southall, whose stories largely focus on hidden South Asian worlds and characters. Variously working with established, diverse, community and youth theatres, her plays include ‘Garlands’, an adaptation of Pam Gems’ ‘Camille’ (BBC Radio 3) and forthcoming ‘Southall Uprising (BBC Radio 4). Member of Sphinx 30

Sarah Grochala

Associate Artist

Sarah is a multi award winning, neurodiverse, Anglo-Polish playwright and dramaturg working across all media. Plays include ‘Home Free’, ‘Open Ground’ and ‘Star Fish’. Sarah is currently Senior Lecturer in Writing for Theatre at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Books on theatre include ‘The Contemporary Political Play’ and ‘The Theatre of Rupert Goold’. Member of Sphinx 30.

Ros Philips

Associate Artist

Ros is a Director, Movement Director and Intimacy Co-Ordinator. She has worked extensively all over the world on productions such as ‘Love Song To Lavender Menace’ (Royal Lyceum Glasgow), ‘My Name is Rachel Corrie’ (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow) and ‘Top Girls’ (trotter Theatre, Japan). She is currently working on a BBC Young Adult drama as Intimacy Co-ordinator under mentorship with IOS. For Sphinx: Co-Creator of The Sphinx Test, Women Centre Stage at National Theatre and director for Sphinx 30.

Chloe Todd Fordham

Associate Artist

Chloe is an award-winning theatre writer from London, whose work explores love and social injustice. Her plays include ‘Rage’, ‘Sound of Silence’, ‘And Others’, ‘Who Cares?’, ‘Tapestry’ and ‘Eclipse’. For Sphinx: ‘The Nightclub’ (Hampstead Theatre, published in NHB’s Women Centre Stage.) Chloe is co-founder of feminist punk inclusive collective ‘Where’s My Vagina?’ which has created work for Women of the World Festival (‘Vagina Launch’) as well as digitally (‘The Unviable Cabaret’.) Member of Sphinx 30

Tiff Woodsmith

Associate Creative Producer

Tiff is an award-winning playwright and theatre maker. She has trained under Philippe Gaulier in Paris and has a Masters in playwrighting from Goldsmiths. Tiff is also an associate artist with The Last Baguette Theatre Company. For Sphinx: Sphinx 30 Associate Producer.

  • Trustees
  • Brigid Larmour, Susannah Kraft Levene (Chair), Susan McGoun, DR Paulette Randall MBE, Maggie Saxon, Jane Seymour, Dame Rosemary Squire DBE
  • Patrons
  • April de Angelis, Winsome Pinnock, Toni Racklin, Dame Janet Suzman DBE, Dame Marina Warner DBE, Timberlake Wertenbaker

Sphinx Theatre Company is proud to be a member of the Independent Theatre Council

Sphinx Supporters

Unity Theatre Trust


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