Ellie co-founded Firebrand in 2010 and has gone on to creatively steer the company and co-produce every production, alongside Janet Coulson. She is also co-founder of The Actors’ Temple which has been training actors for over a decade in London’s West End. She has featured as an actress in The Actor’s Temple’s main productions, notably as Olga in The Three Sisters, and Ophelia in Hamlet. Ellie played Kinnaber in Firebrand’s production of The Great Train Race by Robert Dawson Scott and most recently the Prime Minister in Letter of Last Resort by David Greig. Additionally, Ellie has over 20 years script development experience and forged the Firebrand/Heart of Hawick Page to Stage initiative with Janet. 2018 sees her heading up two projects via Create, a new writing initiative at the Temple as both Dramaturg, Assistant Director and Producer. Awaken by Cheryl Prince is a runner up for The Park Theatre’s Script Accelerator and Scooter by Paula Connolly has been awarded the Tim Gebbels Bursary by Extant Theatre.
Ellie Zeegen (Creative Director)
A graduate of St Andrews University, Richard is Firebrand’s Director of Productions and a former Scottish Arts Council Trainee Director at the the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, Season Director at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, and associate director at the Perth, Dundee Rep and Nottingham Playhouse theatres. His productions have won TMA, Herald Angel and CATS Awards and have been nominated for 13 other major national awards. His Royal Lyceum/Bath Theatre Royal co-production of Look Back in Anger won TMA and CATS Best Actor and Director awards and nominations for Richard and David Tennant and he has been described as “one of the most accomplished and imaginative directors working in Britain today” (The Stage). Notable recent productions include a 2018 CATS Award-winning production of The Monarch of the Glen, followed by the musical Chicago at Pitlochry, Bold Girls at the Glasgow Citizens and a sold out Firebrand/PFT tour of The Last Witch to the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and Tron Theatre, Glasgow www.richardbaron.co.uk
Richard Baron (Director of Productions)
Janet is a founder member and co-artistic director of Firebrand, alongside Ellie. She trained as an actor at The Poor School and then The Actor’s Temple in London, having first worked behind the camera as an assistant director on a number of feature films as well as TV dramas for the BBC and ITV. Janet has co-produced all of Firebrand’s shows with Ellie, and has also performed in a number of the productions, including most recently her critically acclaimed solo performances as Sal in The Match Box and The Pilot in Grounded, and previously as Carol in Oleanna by David Mamet and Marion in 54% Acrylic by David Harrower. Whilst training and working as an actor, Janet has pursued a parallel career as a writer and journalist, sub-editing for magazines and, more recently, newspapers The Times and The Scotsman, and as regular contributor to Mountain Bike Rider magazine. Her writing career, however, has come full circle, as she began writing for performance as a teenager, winning a competition for her monologue about an elderly written in homage to Alan Bennett, and going on to specialise in playwriting at University in Manchester. Janet is also a musician, playing fiddle with a local Borders ceilidh band and singing.
Janet Coulson (Creative Director)
Susan joined Firebrand in July 2017. Before that, she spent eleven years transforming a derelict spinning mill into Heart of Hawick, a £10m multi award-winning arts and culture –led regeneration project. Wider responsibilities included leading on Creative Scotland’s Place Partnership programme, commissioning “A Cultural Strategy for the Scottish Borders” and planning and shaping a Cultural Forum for the creative sector. An experienced senior manager, producer, researcher and cultural planner, Susan’s skills include initiating and developing creative partnerships and new projects to support the artistic vision and business objectives of the Company. Prior to Heart of Hawick, she worked in publishing and finance and was an Arts & Business Skills Bank Adviser for many years. Susan holds an MBA from The University of Edinburgh and a Masters in Cultural Planning & Policy, supervised by Professor Franco Bianchini, one of Europe’s leading authorities on cultural planning.
Susan Taylor (Executive Director)
“Firebrand, the theatre company based in the Borders, has a knack for identifying new plays that are destined to become contemporary classics.”
Allan Radcliffe, in his 4 star review of Grounded for The Times
Firebrand specialises in high-quality touring revivals and reinventions of unfairly neglected Scottish plays to premieres of outstanding new international work and new writing, produced from its home in the Scottish Borders.
At its core are Janet Coulson and Ellie Zeegen as creataive directors, actors and producers, Richard Baron as director of productions, and Susan Taylor as executive director and producer. We all believe in the transforming visceral and emotional power of epic theatre produced in intimate theatrical spaces.
Firebrand launched at The Wynd Theatre, Melrose in 2010, and after three successful productions there, transferred its base to arts venue Heart of Hawick where we went on to work in partnership on many more critically acclaimed national tours, A Play, A Pie and A Pint and highly popular site-specific productions. More recently we have also greatly enjoyed working in co-production with The Byre Theatre, St Andrews, on the first Scottish tours of the monologues Grounded and The Match Box, and collaborating with Pitlochry Festival Theatre on a hugely successful tour of Rona Munro’s The Last Witch. For more information please go to our Past Productions section.