Director 1997 – present
Chris is the Director/CEO of Half Moon Theatre, London. He is a director/writer, trainer and theatre producer specialising in professional theatre for young audiences. He has a strong track record in the development and delivery of work with a particular emphasis upon inclusion particularly in the field of cultural and disability diversity, and socio-economic disfranchisement.
Chris is the curator of Exchange for Change, a sector significant artform development programme that challenges perceptions of the work produced in the young people’s sector. This extensive programme particularly engages artists from non-theatre backgrounds (design, digital/new media, dance, spoken word etc.), those who are under-represented in the sector and emerging young people’s theatre companies. Much of this work tours nationally and internationally through Half Moon Presents, the company’s producing arm.
Chris has directed over 30 pieces of work for family, teenage and community audiences. His most recent credits include Free, When Spring Comes, Moon and Genie, Big Red Bath and Rip Fold Scrunch, as well as a cannon of work presented bi-lingually in English and BSL including: Baa Moo Yellow Dog (also adapted for TV in 2010), Icicle Bicycle, Igloo Hullabaloo and My Friend Snow. Most recently he has directed a series of spoken word theatre pieces including Big Wow Small Wonder and Fairytales Gone Bad. He started his career as a special needs and drama teacher in secondary schools, and was previously Head of Community and Schools Programmes at the RSC, Head of Education at English National Ballet and more recently Lecturer in Applied Theatre and Education at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Chris was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to theatre and young people in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Chris Elwell talks about the importance of the White Horse Road building as a home for the company in the heart of the local community and re-claiming the name, Half Moon Theatre.
Chris Elwell talks about the ethos of the company’s Youth Theatre groups.
Chris Elwell talks about the impetus for and aesthetic of creating bilingual work in British Sign Language and English.
Chris Elwell talks about Exchange For Change, an artform development programme which gives artists and companies an opportunity to explore their creativity.
Chris Elwell talks about When Spring Comes, a piece for under 5s with a contemporary Kathak dancer and a jazz trumpeter
Chris Elwell talks about the company’s work with Higher Education Institutions, in particular creating shows for young audiences with students from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance.
Chris Elwell talks about creating work for very young audiences and the importance of engaging children in theatre at a very early age.
Chris Elwell talks about Eclipse: A Tale For Winter a play about loss and re-birth for under 8s.
Chris Elwell talks about Cloudwatching a production which was ahead of its time in 1998 as it involved a video artist and projection.
Chris Elwell talks about Baa Moo Yellow Dog, a play for early years with a child protagonist who lived in a Tower Block. He describes why he chose this setting.
Chris Elwell talks about Yeah Whatever! A play which was radical at the time for being an authentic reflection of the lives of young people in inner East London.
Chris Elwell talks about We Are Shadows, a series of monologues and duologues that lead into each other. The play depicted with some very tough issues for teenage audiences.
Chris Elwell talks about Begin/End a play for teenagers about female sexuality, which was shocking for some of the audiences who came to see it. Interviewed by Kavana Joyett.