Who We Are

Peter headshotPeter Copley: Composer  

Peter will compose and record all original music for the project. Peter is an experienced composer who has previously collaborated with writers and artists in a variety of projects, including ‘Scrublands’ and ‘Expiry TBC’, both of which were Arts Council funded and ‘Dementia Diaries’, funded by the Wellcome Trust. Most recently, he worked with the BBC Singers on two carols which were broadcast on Radio Three. Peter studied composition in Krakow, Poland, funded by a Polish Government Scholarship and has since maintained this connection with subsequent performances and broadcasts. 

Maria headshotMaria Jastrzebska: Poet

Born in Warsaw, Poland, Maria came to the U.K as a child. She is a writer, poet and playwright. Maria is the author of 7 poetry collections, including ‘At The Library of Memories’ (Waterloo Press 2014) following an Arts Council mentoring grant. A new collection ‘The True Story of Cowboy Hat and Ingénue’  came out from Cinnamon Press/Liquorice Fish in 2018.

Her work has always had a wide social engagement. She worked with Allsorts LGBT Youth Drop-In and co-edited ‘Different and Beautiful’ (Allsorts 2010). She co- edited the anthology ‘Queer in Brighton’ (New Writing South 2014) combining oral history and creativity. Her selected poems ‘The Cedars of Walpole Park’ were translated into Polish (Stowarzyszenie Zywych Poetów 2015) and ‘Old Knives’ into Romanian (Integral 2017). Her work features in the British Library project ‘Poetry Between Two Worlds’ and is widely anthologized. Maria worked with Lewes Live Literature to develop her Arts Council and Wellcome Trust funded drama ‘Dementia Diaries’, touring nationally in 2011 and collaborated with Mark Hewitt and Peter Copley on this project. She has taught creative writing in many settings, such as H.M Prison Wandsworth for Safe Ground. Her residences include ‘Home’ at Pen to Paper and ‘Crossing borders’ at Fabrica Gallery (2012). She was blogger in residence for the British Council at the London Book Fair Market Focus Poland 2017. She co-translated Iztok Osojnik’s’ Elsewhere’ (Pighog 2011) and Justyna Bargielska’s ‘The Great Plan B’ (Smokestack 2017). In 2016 she received an Artists International Development Fund grant enabling her to work with writers in Wroclaw and Kraków. Her work explores gender, health and sexual identity as well as geo-political frontiers and themes of belonging and/or exclusion surface throughout her work.

Dagmara headshotDagmara Rudkin: Visual Artist

is a Polish visual artist who has been living and working in the UK for over 25 years. For the last 15 years she has been based at her studio at the Phoenix Brighton-the largest artists-led organization in the South East. She recently graduated with distinction from MA in Sequential Design and Illustration from the University of Brighton. Her work deals with the narrative nature of objects and materials and she merges fine art practice with craft to create animations, paintings, installations and performance to retell stories for adults and children. She has widely exhibited in the UK and has an established history of collaborating with other artists including Wendy Pye and  musician Simon Yapp. She is an active member of a Brighton based group of visual storytellers called Fabula Collective with whom she has recently held a residency followed by the 6 month exhibition Many Ways to Tell a Story of personal work and a group installation The Story Cabinet at the Hove Museum and Art Gallery.   

Mark Hewitt: Project Manager and Performance Director

Mark headshotMark will be the overall project manager and director of performance elements. He is Artistic Director of LLL Productions (Lewes Live Literature) and has managed arts projects for over 20 years. He is also a freelance writer, theatremaker and director. Previous installation projects include LLL’s ‘Polska

by the Sea'(2009, with photographer Lisa Barnard); ‘Caught in the act – Reading reading’ (2008), with photographer Anna Mitchell), ‘Congregation’ (2016, a video installation made in Ireland and England with photographer Malcom Glover) and ‘Body of Writing’ (2017, Salisbury Cathedral featuring texts by prisoners from HMP Erlestoke). He has developed over 20 live literature and theatre productions since 2009, including Anglo-Polish drama, ‘Dementia Diaries’ by Maria Jastrzebska, (LLL Productions, 2009/2011) which toured schools of medicine and other venues with a Wellcome

Trust Arts Award; and ‘Zones of Avoidance’ by MaggieSawkins (2013). He has developed two productions in collaboration with composer Peter Copley: scrublands (2012), a multimedia sitespecific

performance with live music, and Expiry tbc (2013), a work for looped cello and live and recorded voices. He has worked on socially engaged projects, including ‘The Lost Room’, with homeless people; ‘Diving into the Wreck’, with addicts in recovery; and ‘Penned Up’, a strand of cross artformliterature festivals in prisons, which have so far been held in HMP Lewes (2015) and HMP Erlestoke in Wiltshire (2017 and 2018). 

Wendy headshotWendy Pye: Photographic /Video Artist

Wendy is a photographic/video artist. She graduated with an M.A in Photographic Arts from The London College of Communication, London in 2009. She has an interest in using photography and video to create visual narratives, inspired by real and mythical stories that are connected to the land.

One of her personal lens based projects titled Beachy Head (2008- ) which she began to produce during her MA course, focuses on the stunning but deadly landscape on the South East Coast. Images from this project have been selected and exhibited nationally and internationally and works have also featured in publications such as BJP, Hotshoe, Source Magazines and in the Guardian Newspaper. In August 2017 she participated in a research/artists based residency on the remote island of Soroya, in the Norwegian Arctic circle. She also founded Tri-Pod with Miranda Gavin, an initiative to support emerging and established artists and photographers create a personal project in the context of an on-going, closed research and development group, using an informal peer group structure. Wendy has also produced various moving image works. 


Rita Suszek: Actor

Rita Suszek is a London-based performer – comedian, poet and playwright. Credits include Girlfag (2015, Theatre Royal Stratford East, dir. Rikki Beadle-Blair), F*** It I’m Thirty (solo show, Camden Comedy Club, 2017), F*cking European (solo show, Camden Comedy Club & Theatre Royal Stratford East, 2017/18) and Five Dresses I Never Wear (2018, Camden People’s Theatre, work in progress).

Ellie Blackshaw: Musician

Following a formal musical training at the Royal College of Music in the 80s, Ellie has worked as a musician and teacher in and around Brighton and London. As violinist and violist she is often in demand as a chamber musician, also as leader and soloist.  Her extensive performing work includes an ongoing commitment to ‘new’ music, in which she has worked closely with many fine Sussex and London based composers with a growing number of works written for and dedicated to her. She also enjoys teaching, both privately and at Brighton College and Lancing Prep. School. She shares her life both musically and otherwise with Priest and Jazz drummer Spike Wells and their ‘knitted looking’ grey cat Beady.

Maria Ziółkowska: Actor

Maria Ziółkowska, born in Poznań, Poland,  coming from contemporary dancing background (Szkoła Tańca Współczesnego Poznań), moved to London 2.5 years ago on a Maria Zquest to find her voice as a performer and hone her craft. This journey begun with her participation in two short acting courses in Drama Studio London and has now brought her to Identity School Of Acting. Credits include Forest for a Tree (2018, short film, dir. Zane Qually) and Everyone’s Ethnic (2018, music video, composer and creative dir. Jay Phelps).