How we work

Our aim is to Change the World, One Play at a Time by placing theatre at the heart of transforming the lives of disadvantaged women and girls.

We are an award-winning women’s theatre company and a leading force in the North of England with a national and international reach.

We make truthful, risk-taking and award-winning theatre informed by the lived experiences of women disenfranchised in theatre and society, those from minority communities and women affected by the criminal justice system.

We are unique in the way we work

Our women-centred practice collaborates with women to draw out their collective voices and shine a light on their experiences.

We create powerful professional theatre and perform to wide-ranging audiences. We encourage our audiences to walk in the shoes of the women and make space for debate.

Where we work

Our work is regularly performed in theatres, prisons, schools, conferences, and community centres and in 2015-2016, Edinburgh Fringe and off-Broadway in New York to national and international acclaim. We have recently developed our digital engagement strategy ensuring we highlight social justice issues, further giving a voice to the women collaborated with and enabling new audiences to contribute to debate.

The work resonates deeply into the communities where it is created and ensures that outside these communities, the under-represented are seen in a new light.

Social Change

We collaborate with researchers and leading policy experts and contribute to regional and national discourse. Our work has recently been performed at a unique event in the Houses of Parliament in 2016 using theatre as the most direct and impactful way of humanising the issues of women who have experienced gender violence and the Criminal Justice System to support policy change and critical debate.

People recached since 1998
Community groups, universities and schools partnered with

Our Core Team

Catrina McHugh MBE
Artistic Director and Writer
Ellie Turner
Executive Director
Carly McConnell
Creative Producer
Rachel Errington
Finance and Office Manager
Laura Lindow
Associate Director
Jessica Johnson
Associate Artist
Rachel Glover
Associate Stage Manager

Our Trustees

Jo Cundall (Chair)
Senior Advisor for Culture at Community Foundation
Tyne & Wear and Northumberland
Helen Ferguson (Vice Chair)
 Creative Producer at Mortal Fools
Anna Disley
Executive Director of New Writing North
Gillie Robson
Solicitor, Ben Hoare Bell
Fiona O’Connor
Founding Director of Birkheads Wild CIC
Lara Jonah
Forensic Psychologist, National Clinical Lead in Domestic Abuse
for Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service
Carly Ahmed
Newcastle Management Team for Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service
Francesca Cross
Community Champion, Arts Depot and manages Barnet Cultural Educational Partnership
Rebecca Dixon
Virtual PA and Director of the family business
Mandy Barker
Founder of Sail Creative and associate lecturer at London College of Communication

Our Patrons

Open Clasp work tirelessly and passionately with women who do not usually have a voice and who certainly aren’t used to being heard.

Charlie Hardwick, Actor and philanthropist

I feel so fortunate to have found Open Clasp’s ‘Key Change’ in Edinburgh and then transfer it to New York. The company combines social conscience and incredible artistry to create unforgettable theatre. I’m proud to support their work.

Carol Tambor, Chair, The Carol Tambor Theatrical Foundation & Portrait Painter

This is a company that does something which is not only unique, entertaining and engaging but also incredibly important. They tell stories that need to be heard and they allow their audiences to see the world through unexpected eyes.

Erica Whyman OBE, Deputy Artistic Director, Royal Shakespeare Company