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The Beat of Our Hearts’ Cast and Creative Team Announced

Cast Headshots for The Beat of Our Hearts
Scott Hurran directs Elijah W Harris, Frewyn Thursfield, Kieron Jecchinis and Rebecca Todd in this new LGBTQIA+ focused play written by South West playwright Natalie McGrath.


Elijah W Harris - Quill


as Quill

Elijah W Harris is a multi-disciplinary artist and creative working in theatre, live art and TV. He recently directed an R&D called SOFT, exploring themes of masculinity and trans identity.

Previous performance credits include: SPIT! Manifesto by Carlos Motta (Skopje Museum for Contemporary Art), And The Rest of Me Floats (The Bush Theatre/Outbox), Rotterdam by Jon Brittain (UK Tour) and The Butch Monologues by The Drakes (UK Tour).

Writing credits include: KAOS (Netflix) and Dead End (Netflix).

Elijah is currently writing on an animated show for Disney.

Natalie’s writing style really spoke to me. I’ve not read many things that so eloquently capture my experience of being trans and from a small place. Natalie’s writing glides between more colloquial language and poetry which gives a lot of depth to the characters and allows their lived experiences to shine through. I really thought it was a beautiful script.

I’m so excited to be part of something bigger – a project that has been in the works for a couple of years and involving so many people and voices. That is quite unusual for theatre! I think you can hear all those voices in the writing. Both the South West and the work of Intercom Trust is close to my heart so I’m really thrilled to be part of this work.


Frewyn Thursfield - Luca


as Luca

Frewyn Thursfield is a fresh face on the acting scene, having graduated from the Theatre Peckham REP Company in 2020.

Frewyn’s debut stage role was in Frantic Assembly’s production of The Map Women. Other stage credits include Theatre Peckham’s Start and Play On’s production of Macbeth.

On screen, they will soon be appearing in Stefan Golaszewski’s new BBC drama Marriage, as well as Netflix’s new coming-of-age series Heartstopper.

I was really moved when I first read the script. I love how nuanced the conversations the characters have are; that there is space for people to be different and to learn as the play goes on. It felt very truthful.

What excites me most is knowing that the people for whom the content of the play is personal will get to see their stories told on stage, proudly.


Kieron Jecchinis - Dove


as Dove

Theatre credits include: Our Country’s Good (Ramps on the Moon national tour); The Merry Wives of Windsor; Coriolanus (RSC); A Midsummer Night’s Dream; All’s Well That Ends Well (Stratford Festival, Canada); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; To Kill a Mockingbird (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester); Awake and Sing (Almeida Theatre); The Odd Couple (Liverpool Playhouse); The Iron Man; The Evidence (New Perspectives); Get Carter (Red Shift Theatre Company); Dial M for Murder; Who’s Life is it Anyway; Strangers on a Train; Fiddler on the Roof (Frinton Summer Theatre); Bingo (Young Vic/ Chichester Festival Theatre); The Front Page (Chichester Festival Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (Nottingham Playhouse); And Nothing but the Truth (V-TOL); 900 Oneonta (The Old Vic).

Television credits include: House of Dragon, Washington, EastEnders; Doctors; Out of the Blue; Gracie!; Poirot; The Bill; Hollyoaks; In Suspicious Circumstances; Brass Eye; Space Precinct.

Film credits include: Full Metal Jacket; Empire of the Sun; Bonhoeffer; Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit; Coriolanus; BEAT; Papillon, Surge

Radio credits include: The Putney Debates; The Corrupted (3 series); Luther; Don’t go Gently (BBC Radio 4)

My first thoughts after reading the script for the first time: Here was a lyrical telling of a story of four people and how they dealt collectively and individually with a troubling event which affected them directly. I felt that it was moving, heartfelt, human and affirming. It was a journey. Vital and current. As we continue to work on it there is a subtle process of discovery. A gradual, almost imperceptible peeling of an onion.

What wasn’t clear to start with is coming more and more into focus. It’s getting more and more compelling.  The characters, various journeys, their world. That in itself is exciting. But what tops that is wondering what the audience will take from it. So I’m looking forward to that.


Rebecca Todd - Val


as Val

Theatre credits include: The Welkin, Nine Night (National Theatre), This Island’s Mine (Ardent Theatre), Romeo & Juliet (Orange Tree Theatre), Seeing the Lights, Old Times, Rookery Nook (Theatre by the Lake), Treasure Island (Iris Theatre), Purge (Arcola Theatre) Table Manners, Round And Round The Garden, The Turn Of The Screw, Deathtrap (Sheringham Little Theatre), Contractions (Unicorn Theatre); Julius Caesar (Broadway Studio) and A Devilish Exercise (Rose Theatre, Bankside).

Rebecca is also a regular cast member of the Shakespeare’s Globe Read Not Dead project, which stage the lesser-known plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries. She has appeared in over 30 of these plays, including The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, Gorboduc, Gallathea and Timon of Athens.

Television credits include: Eastenders, Emmerdale.

Film credits include: Peninsula, 7 Lives

[When I first read the script, I thought about] how the language and the images it conjures expands and contracts – it’s intimate and epic at the same time.

[I was excited about] hearing the way it’s been created and really tapped into the lives and experiences of people in the area. And being back in the room again – considering that one of the central themes is isolation, the ability to create and play again is such a privilege especially at this time. The strange online world has been discombobulating.



Natalie McGrath - Writer



Natalie McGrath is a playwright, poet, lyricist, producer of arts and cultural heritage projects and Co-Director of Dreadnought South West.

Previous work includes: Coasting and Wild Doves (Bristol Old Vic), Rift (Brewhouse Theatre Taunton), Scottish Kiss (Paines Plough’s Come to Where I’m From), Metal Remains (Theatre West) was shortlisted for the Meyer Whitworth Prize, Exodus (Box of Tricks NWxSW Tour), Oxygen and The Cause touring productions (Dreadnought South West) published by Methuen & Co. Electric Spaces (Exeter Phoenix, Exeter Bikeshed Theatre and Barbican Theatre, Plymouth). The Sound RnD supported by ACE SW and Theatre Royal, Plymouth. All the Things We Grieve was an Exeter City of Literature Compact Commission.

Natalie is a Writer on Attachment to the Traverse Theatre in 2019 after coming to their attention though Open Submissions. We’ll Meet In Moscow was part of Shift Scot’s Pride Plays in collaboration with the Traverse Theatre, LGBT History Month 2020 and is now an on demand audio drama by Traverse Theatre Company for Traverse 3, part of their summer festival 2021:

She is currently under commission by the University of Exeter’s Wellcome Centre for the Cultures and Environments of Health (WCCEH), in partnership with Exeter Northcott Theatre, writing a new play; The Beat of Our Hearts, about LGBTQIA+ loneliness. Writer in Residence on Out and About Queering the Museum at RAMM (Royal Albert Memorial Museum) . Her play Exodus is being published by Slate Publishing as part of a wider collection of writing about Dartmoor.

It has been so exciting being in rehearsals for a brand new play, premiering at Exeter Northcott that explores the lives of LGBTQIA+ people. A wonderful team has been gathered throughout the whole project, and we are now seeing the culmination of all the incredible hard work that has built to get to us this point. It’s amazing to be here!


Scott Hurran - Director



Scott Hurran is a Leverhulme Arts Scholar. He is the Artistic Director of Ecclesia and was previously Artistic Associate at Eastern Angles. Scott received the 2020 New Creatives commission from BBC Arts and Screen South.

Theatre credits include: [As Director] Fluid by James McDermott (Eastern Angles); Patient Light by Simon Longman (Eastern Angles); Signal Fires (Hightide/Eastern Angles); Paper Cut (Theatre503); Spare Change by James McDermott (Hightide staged reading); Sonny by Deborah Bruce  (Arts Ed); The Tide Jetty by Tony Ramsay, Oh What a Lovely Food War, We are British (Eastern Angles), Brainstorm, Macbeth, Our Town (Farrer Theatre); Hidden (UK Tour); Counting Stars, Shortlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, (Assembly, Edinburgh Fringe); The House of Bernarda Alba (Kings Head Theatre); Three to Four Days (Theatre 503); Immigrant (Theatre Uncut, Young Vic); The Grandfathers (National Theatre Connections, Theatre Chipping Norton and Oxford Playhouse); The Seventh Continent (Prague Quadrennial).

[As Assistant Director] Botticelli in the Fire, dir. Blanche McIntyre (Hampstead Theatre); Women in Power dir. Blanche McIntyre (Nuffield Theatre, and Oxford Playhouse) I Call my Brothers dir. Tinuke Craig (Gate Theatre); Theatre Uncut dir. Emma Callander (Young Vic); The Precariat dir. Chris New (Finborough Theatre); This Same England dir. Elizabeth Freestone (The Royal Shakespeare Company and Pentabus Theatre).

Film credits include: [As Director] Pecking Birds (Ex Animo Fund); Career Boy (Official Selection Raindance Film Festival); Medicine Man (Official Selection Cannes Film Festival, Short Film Category).

Radio credits include: [As Director/Writer] The Blackwater Mermaids (BBC ARTS); Plucking Nose Hairs.

Pete Butler - Designer



Peter is a Winner of the 2021 Linbury Prize for Stage Design.

Credits include: Patient Light (UK tour); Paper Cut (Theatre 503); Since U Been Gone (VAULT Festival); Prague Quadrennial Emergence Festival (The V&A). As Associate Designer: Cabaret Prologue (Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre) As Assistant Designer: Arrangement/ Decommission (Sadler’s Wells Lilian Baylis Studio).

Tom Foskett-Barnes – Composer & Sound Designer


Composer & Sound Designer

Tom Foskett-Barnes is a composer and sound designer working across film, theatre and sound art.

Screen credits include: Oscar-nominated short documentary Black Sheep and Bafta-nominated short film toni_with_an_i.

For stage, Tom has worked the at theatres including Old Vic, the Arcola, Soho Theatre and The Globe.

In 2016 Tom was Sound and Music Composer in Residence with ROLI as part of the Embedded_Innovate Scheme and in 2017 Tom was selected as part of the Old Vic 12. Tom’s audio documentaries about the UK’s queer history, Living with the Light On and Quilts of Love, were both broadcast by the BBC and produced in collaboration with ICA, the Chisenhale Gallery and NTS.

Tom trained at the Royal College of Music as a Soirée d’Or Scholar generously supported by a Clifton Parker Award and was also the recipient of a BAFTA UK Scholarship. Tom is a participant in the 2019 BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew programme.

I started working with Scott during lockdown. Our first collaboration was an audio piece of his which required a 90s house banger, so I know we’d get on well. [The Beat of Our Hearts] is our first live collaboration so I’m looking forward to more strange noises speakers and less chatting on Zoom.

‘Queer’ work has for many years been dominated by the cis, gay, male experience. Departing from this status quo, I’m particularly moved by how [The Beat of Our Hearts] actively explores queer community and the uniqueness of the idea of chosen family.


Sophie Cottle - Movement Director


Movement Director

Sophie is a Theatre Maker from Bristol, with acceptance and humanity at the centre of her work.

Movement directing credits include: Little Women in Black (The Wardrobe Theatre), Nora: A Doll’s House, Chaos, Zero for the Young Dudes! (The Egg), Under the Greenwood Tree (Cheltenham Everyman), Unlocked and Unbolted; Great Expectations (The Corn Exchange, Newbury), The Crusaders (The Kings Theatre, Portsmouth). Sophie also created site responsive works After Party; Icarus with Emile Clarke, as part of a socially-distanced festival, in a disused factory in Bedminster, in association with Gathering Voices.

Sophie has over 10 years’ experience as a freelance facilitator. Most recently becoming a Dance Artist with Flamingo Chicks, an award-winning inclusive company working disabled children and those with life-limiting illnesses. In Autumn 2021, Sophie collaborated with the British Paraorcestra on their production of SMOOSH!. Passionate about change, Sophie is an Associate Artist at Rising Arts Agency; a creative social enterprise in Bristol. In 2020, she was commissioned to create a digital poetry collection The Abrupt Pause – three poems were featured on billboards across the city as part of the ‘#WhoseFuture2’ care and wellbeing campaign. Sophie’s work with Rising includes being a Creative Consultant with the National Trust on their Youth Engagement Programme. Training as an actor at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Sophie graduated in 2016 and has worked as a performer and puppeteer ever since; her most recent credit being the title role in Charmane with gender non-conforming company Raised Eyebrows Theatre (UK tour).

Sophie’s need for social change, inclusive approach and desire to tell visual stories is what really excites her about working as the Movement Director on The Beat of Our Hearts.

I saw the call-out on social media channels and instantly knew it was something I would love to be a part of. So when I found out I got the job, I was overcome with joy! The first time I read The Beat of Our Hearts, my mind was already sparkling with ideas for visual possibilities. Natalie’s poetic and evocative language presents a huge range of gifts to a movement director – there is so much to be inspired by.


Jamie Platt - Lighting Designer


Lighting Designer

Jamie trained at RWCMD and has been nominated for five Offie Awards, a Knight of Illumination Award and a BroadwayWorld Award.

Lighting design credits include: The Last Five Years (West End); Jellyfish (National Theatre); Moonlight and Magnolias (Nottingham Playhouse); Either, Paradise, Yous Two (Hampstead Theatre); Anna Karenina (Guildhall); Le Grand Mort (Trafalgar Studios); Gently Down The Stream, Alkaline (Park Theatre); Absurd Person Singular (Watford Palace Theatre); Mythic (Charing Cross Theatre); Beast, Klippies (Southwark Playhouse); Singin’ in the Rain (The Mill at Sonning); To Dream Again (Theatr Clwyd & Polka Theatre); Blood Orange, The Moor, Where Do Little Birds Go? (Old Red Lion Theatre); Checkpoint Chana, Quaint Honour, P’yongyang, We Know Where You Live, Chicken Dust (Finborough Theatre); Vincent River (Hope Mill Theatre); Pattern Recognition (Platform Theatre & world tour); Reared, Screwed, Grey Man (Theatre 503); Sonny, Once on this Island (ArtsEd); Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, The Herd, The Wonderful World of Dissocia (RCSSD); Scenes from the End of the World, The Act (Yard Theatre).

Associate lighting designs include: Disney’s Frozen, INK, The Night of the Iguana, The Starry Messenger, Bitter Wheat (West End); SIX (West End, UK tour & International); Albion, The Hunt, Three Sisters, Machinal (Almeida Theatre).

[I heard about the play] through the platform ‘Open Hire’, which has the aim of making the process of hiring theatre freelancers fairer and more transparent.

[I am excited about] the thrilling combination of Natalie McGrath’s lyrical and evocative script, Scott Hurran’s wonderful direction and Pete Butler’s beautiful design. It’s a brilliant opportunity to work with a great team on a play that really resonates deeply with all of us.


Wabriya King - Production Dramatherapist


Production Dramatherapist

Wabriya graduated as an actress from The Oxford School of Drama in 2012 and qualified with an MA in Dramatherapy from the University of Roehampton in 2019. She believes that the arts have a responsibility to its performers to support their mental health wellbeing. This is clearly a shared belief as her work is gaining momentum within theatre and screen.

Wabriya recently became the Production Dramatherapist at the Bush Theatre supporting staff and productions, including: Old Bridge10 NightsOverflowPink Lemonade and Lava.

Separate to the Bush Theatre, Wabriya worked alongside: Rockets and Blue Lights (National Theatre); Can I Live? (Complicite); Get Up Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical (Lyric Theatre); White Noise (Bridge Theatre); Is God Is (Royal Court Theatre); Curious (Soho Theatre); For Black Boys… (New Diorama); Love and Other Acts of Violence (Donmar Warehouse); Blue/Orange (Royal & Derngate); Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe); The Death Of A Black Man (Hampstead Theatre); Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner (Royal Court Theatre); Shuck ‘n’ Jive (Soho Theatre); SessionsMay QueenBlack Love (Paines Plough); 846 Live (Theatre Royal Stratford East); TYPICAL (Soho Theatre); The High Table (Bush Theatre).


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