Our Associate Artists work with the HighTide artistic team to ensure that diverse artistic voices are always part of the conversation and to make sure HighTide is being provoked to consider issues and experiences affecting our sector and beyond.

Associate Artists read and feedback on scripts submitted to HighTide and are paid a daily rate for this work.

A number of our Associate Artists are also employed on a project basis to deliver activity such as education and artistic development work.

Aisha Zia

Credit: Maja Daniels

Aisha Zia is an award-winning playwright from Peterborough, former resident artist at Somerset House Studios in London and Theatre 503’s 503Five alumni. She has toured site- specific plays across the UK having had huge success with her plays No Guts, No Heart, No Glory (Winner of Scotsman Fringe First Award, shortlisted for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Awards) and Our Glass House (Winner of the Special Commendation from Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Awards) with Common Wealth.

Aisha’s work engages young and diverse participants across the UK. Her work is dedicated to non-theatre audiences and has a strong proven track record of working in communities to deliver high-quality artistic work, using her unique approach to testimonial theatre. She is interested in real people and real stories that impact our lives today. Her work with Good Chance Theatre led her to set up a new art gallery and social platform in Peterborough, showcases the work of British Muslim artists to explore the themes of a new piece of work she will be presenting at the HighTide Festival in 2021.

Chinonyerem Odimba

Chinonyerem Odimba is a playwright, Theatre director and poet. Her work for theatre includes Joanne and Amongst the Reeds for Clean Break / The Yard, a modern retelling of Twist for Theatre Centre, and Medea at Bristol Old Vic. More recent commissions have seen her work produced at Hampstead Theatre, Kiln Theatre, Live Theatre, and Watermill Theatre and Vaults Festival. Her work has been shortlisted for several awards including the Adrienne Benham Award, Alfred Fagon Award, and the Bruntwood Playwriting Award. She is winner of the 2018 Sonia Friedman Award for a new play ‘How to Walk on the Moon’ written for Channel 4/Talawa Theatre.

From April 2021, Chinonyerem will be the new Artistic Director and Chief Executive of tiata fahodzi.

The Queer House

Credit: Mika Johnson

The Queer House is an artists’ agency and producing house for queer actors, writers, and makers and are an associate company at the Gate Theatre.

The Queer House debut double bill of shows, Pink Lemonade/Since U Been Gone, premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 as part of a co-production with HighTide where they were included in The Stage 18 best shows and The Guardian top picks of the Fringe. Pink Lemonade will transfer to the Bush Theatre in July 2020.

Recent credits for its artists include The Nevers (HBO); January 22nd (BBC/HBO); Cyrano de Bergerac (West End); HANNA (Amazon Prime); I’ll Take You to Mrs Cole! (Complicité); Malory Towers (Wise Children); Them! (National Theatre Scotland); Pah-La (Royal Court); And The Rest of Me Floats (Bush Theatre); Cuckoo (Soho); Dear Elizabeth (Gate Theatre) and The Feed (Amazon Prime).

Chris Sonnex

Credit: Helen Murray

Chris Sonnex was previously Artistic Director of the Bunker Theatre and Artistic Associate for The Royal Court. Chris used these roles to champion underrepresented artists and to mentor them and their work. It is important for Chris that the industry is representative of the London council estate he grew up on and that those stories are enabled to soar regardless of class, race, disability, gender and sexuality. For his work at The Bunker, he was selected as one of The Stage 100 2020, awarded Artistic Director of the year at the 2020 Off West End awards. The Bunker also won best programming policy at the same awards and was awarded Best Fringe Theatre at the Stage Awards. Chris is also an award nominated Director.

Nicola Werenowska

Nicola is an award winning neurodivergent playwright from a working-class background.  As a disabled writer, she is committed to exploring underrepresented voices in her writing and has successfully run engagement projects with diverse communities including Polish, neurodivergent, and deprived communities.   She writes for theatre and radio and was part of the BBC Writers’ Access Group of BBC Writers Room for talented disabled writers expanding their writing skills for radio and television.

Nicola was 16 when she was a runner up in the Royal Court Young People’s playwriting competition but due to the undiagnosed disability and the debilitating effects, it took her another 15 years before she wrote professionally, once she had the life-changing diagnosis of dyspraxia.

Since then, her work has been developed and produced regionally and nationally with theatre partners including Hampstead Theatre, the National Theatre Studio, the Royal Court Theatre, Theatre 503, the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, Salisbury Playhouse and with Graeae Theatre, the world-class company placing deaf and disabled actors centre stage and challenging preconceptions.   Recent work includes her 5 star sell out show SILENCE which toured nationally in 2018 and her radio debut co-writing Graeae’s Christmas classic adaptation with a radical new imagining of Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit, entitled AMY DORRIT, for BBC Radio 4  in 2019.    At present she is working with Graeae as librettist for a new opera about a blind female musician at the time of Mozart called THE PARADIS FILES, with music by award-winning composer Errollyn Warren  and directed by Jenny Sealey, for a national tour in 2022.

Nicola is currently Associate Artist at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester where she is working on developing an adaptation of THE RAINBOW by D.H. Lawrence, as well as with the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich: MASKED, a play about undiagnosed female neurodivergence and The Marlowe in Canterbury with BROKEN ENGLISHa contemporary piece about the impact of Brexit on Polish migrants.