Previous Speakers & Artists

Over the last eight years MyRaynesPark has hosted a wide range of comedians, actors, poets, musicians, journalists, activists and performers. Here are a few of the highlights:

Zena Edwards

Zena has been involved in performance for over 20 years – as a writer/poet performer, educator and creative project developer after graduating in Drama, Media and Communications Studies at Middlesex University. She studied at Lispa – London School of international Performance Art and has been mentoring young and emerging artists in arts vocation and creative campaigning since 2010. As a poet Zena’s writing for performance explores the creative voice immersed in issues exploring collective and personal revolution in the midst of social injustice and all its intersections.

UK medication Misoprostol isotretinoin buy online As a multidisciplinary collaborator, Zena has worked with internationally acclaimed choreographer and dancer Akram Khan (Xenos), Visual Artist – Theaster Gates (Soul Manufacturing Company) and radical Film Maker Fahim Alam, (Riots Reframed).

šilheřovice seznamka okres Her poems articles and blogs for social and environmental issues, race and power are published in Open Democracy, Dance the Guns to Silence in Commemoration The Ogoni 9, Platform London’s Blog – Featured in Riots Reframed documentary – Voice Over Films, and Loose Muse New Writing for Women.
Her music collaborations include The Last Poets, composer and guitarist, Femi Temowo, saxophonist and historian Soweto Kinch, musician and anthropological musicologist, Pops Mohamed. Zena also supported Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis as part of the London Jazz Festival and collaborated with World musician and activist, Babaa Maal, for Africa Utopia and the Royal Festival Hall.

Silverdale She is the Creative and Education Director for Verse In Dialogue (©ViD) and umbrella social enterprise that produces projects that focus on live literature, creative inter-generational community engagement and well being, transformational learning and liberatory practice.

Jigsaw Players

Praised as “magnificent” by Vladimir Jurowski, the Jigsaw Players are a compelling group of professional musicians who have been bringing exceptional classical and jazz concerts as well as educational projects to Wimbledon, Raynes Park and Merton area since 2008.

They have gained the support of the local community as well as from prestigious Patrons such as Principal Conductor of London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski, internationally-acclaimed pianist, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Grammy-winning violist, Kim Kashkashian and two world-famous cellists, both passionate advocates of music education, Julian Lloyd-Webber (Principal, Birmingham Conservatoire), the renowned Steven Isserlis, CBE and globally-recognised conductor Paavo Järvi.

The musicians for each programme are drawn from a pool of players, all of them international prize-winners, members of Britain’s most prestigious orchestras (Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra & Philharmonia Orchestra) or of internationally-distinguished chamber music groups (the Doric, Hieronymus, Navarra and Piatti String Quartets and, amongst others, the Aronowitz Ensemble).


Yasmin came to this country in 1972 from Uganda. She completed her M.Phil. in literature at Oxford in 1975. She is a journalist who has written for The Guardian, Observer, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, The Evening Standard, The Mail and other newspapers and was a regular columnist on The Independent for eighteen years. She now writes a weekly column for the International Business Times and continues to write for the I newspaper, the Mail and other newspapers.

She is also a radio and television broadcaster and author of several books, including Exotic England. Since 2013, she has been a part time professor at Middlesex University.

She was a Vice President of the United Nations Association, UK and a special ambassador for the Samaritans.

She has been voted the tenth most influential black/Asian woman in the country in a poll and in another she was among the most powerful Asian media professionals in the UK.

In 2001 she was appointed an MBE for services to journalism in the new year’s honours list. She returned her MBE in 2003 as a protest against the new empire in Iraq and a growing republicanism.

Sarah Teather

Sarah Teather is a former British Member of Parliament and Minister. As a Liberal Democrat politician, she founded the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Guantanamo Bay and was chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees. On stepping down as an MP, she joined the Jesuit Refugee Service as an advocacy adviser and was appointed as country director of JRS UK in December 2015.

Tim Vine

Tim Vine is the undisputed king of the one liners and before the welcoming applause has died down he’ll have rattled off five or more jokes. Born in Cheam, Greater London in 1967 he is the younger brother of journalist and Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine.

Tim started his stand up career back in the mid-1990s and was a runner up at the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year in 1993. He first went to the Edinburgh Festival in 1995 and won the Best Newcomer award for his show The Tim Vine Fiasco. He has been a regular at the festival, even using puns to name his shows such as Current Puns, The Punslinger and The Joke-Amotive.

Tim Vine is a master of puns. He rattles off a barrage of one-liners so fast that you won’t know what hit you. So quick is he that he once held the world record for the most jokes told in one hour with 499. He’ll even use a variety of props to get a laugh, even if he only has to use them once.


Diarmaid MacCulloch is an author, presenter and academic based at Oxford University.

He has written extensively on Tudor England; his biography Thomas Cranmer: a Life (Yale UP, 1996) won the Whitbread Biography, Duff Cooper and James Tait Black Prizes. More recent publications from Penguin/Allen Lane have included Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490-1700(appearing in the USA as The Reformation: a History), and A History of Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years (in the USA, Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years), which won the 2010 Cundill Prize.

Professor MacCulloch was the presenter on BBC4 and BBC2 of “A History of Christianity – the first 3,000 years”, which won the Radio Times Listeners’ Award in 2010, “How God made the English” (BBC2, 2012) and “Henry VIII’s fixer: the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell” (BBC2, 2013); his BBC2 series Sex and the West aired in spring 2015.

He received a knighthood in January 2012 for services to scholarship.

Jan Blake

As one of the leading storytellers, Jan Blake has been performing worldwide for over twenty-five years. Specialising in stories from Africa, the Caribbean, and Arabia, she has a well-earned reputation for dynamic and generous storytelling.

As well as performing at all the major storytelling festivals both nationally and internationally, she works regularly with the British Council, leads storytelling workshops for emerging storytellers, and gives masterclasses for teachers, brands, and businesses. She also regularly captivates school children with mesmerising stories.

In 2011, she was the recipient of the biannual Thüringer Märchen Preis, awarded to scholars or performers who have devoted their lives to the service of storytelling. As part of the World Shakespeare Festival in 2012, she was the curator for Shakespeare’s Stories, a landmark exhibition that explored themes of journey and identity, in conjunction with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

In 2013, The Old Woman, The Buffalo, and The Lion of Manding created and performed with musicians Kouame and Raymond Sereba toured to acclaim winning a British Awards for Storytelling Excellence (BASE).

Inua Ellams

Born in Nigeria in 1984, Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist & designer. He is an ambassador for the Ministry of Stories and has published four books of poetry: ‘Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars’, ‘Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales’ ‘The Wire-Headed Heathen’ and ‘#Afterhours’. His first play ‘The 14th Tale’ was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his fourth ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ sold out its run at England’s National Theatre. He is currently touring ‘An Evening With An Immigrant’ and working on ‘The Half God of Rainfall’ – a new play in verse. In graphic art & design, online and in print, he tries to mix the old with the new, juxtaposing texture and pigment with flat shades of colour and vector images. He lives and works from London, where he founded the Midnight Run, a nocturnal urban excursion.

Sabrina Mahfouz

Sabrina Mahfouz was raised in London and Cairo and has recently been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and is the recipient of the 2018 King’s Alumni Arts & Culture Award for inspiring change in the industry.

She was also nominated for the Inspiring Change Award at the 2018 Women in the Creative Industries Awards and her Snapchat series for C4’s Ackley Bridge won a Broadcast Digital Award. She has been shortlisted for the Arts Foundation Award for Performance Poetry and has won a Sky Arts Academy Award for Poetry and a Westminster Prize for New Playwrights.

Sabrina’s theatre work includes Chef, a Fringe First Award winner; Dry Ice, for which she was nominated in The Stage Awards for Acting Excellence; With a Little Bit of Luck, which has been performed at the Roundhouse main space and was the first radio drama commissioned for BBC Radio 1xtra. She is currently adapting Malorie Blackman’s celebrated novel Noughts & Crosses for Pilot Theatre.

She also writes for children and her play Zeraffa Giraffa (based on the book by Diane Hofmeyr) won a 2018 Off West End Award.

Her poetry collection, How You Might Know Me, was a 2017 Guardian Best Summer Read.

Sabrina is the editor of The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, a 2017 Guardian Book of the Year and currently nominated for The People’s Book Prize.

She is an essay contributor to the multi-award-winning The Good Immigrant and is currently writing a biopic of the legendary ‘Godfather of Grime’, rapper and producer Wiley, for Pulse Films.

Sabrina founded and runs Great Wash Workshops, helping working class writers access UK arts funding and co-founded the Critics of Colour Collective to help ensure fairer representation in UK arts criticism.

Sabrina has been the Creative in Residence at The Hospital Club; Poet in Residence at Cape Farewell; Leverhulme Playwright in Residence and Associate Artist at the Bush Theatre. She has facilitated writing workshops in prisons, schools and charities for the Royal Court, the National Theatre, The Poetry Society, the World Economic Forum, Clean Break and many others.


Father Christopher Jamison OSB is a Benedictine monk and former Abbot of Worth Abbey in West Sussex, England. He became well-known through the BBC TV series The Monastery. In the summer of 2017, Jamison was appointed Abbot President of the English Benedictine Congregation.

Jamison has written two books: Finding Sanctuary: Monastic steps for Everyday Life and Finding Happiness: Monastic Steps For A Fulfilling Life as well as contributing to many others.


Patrice is an actor and writer.

His theatre credits include; Barber Shop Chronicles (National Theatre), Othello, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Royal Shakespeare Company).

His TV credits include; Doc Martin, Casualty, Torchwood, Silent Witness & Judge John Deed.

His film credits include; Spectre & Highlander: The Source.

His Edin¬burgh Fringe First Award-winning solo show The Man Who Committed Thought has toured internationally.


Marina Cantacuzino is an award-winning journalist and founder of The Forgiveness Project. Her book The Forgiveness Project: Stories for a Vengeful Age was published in the US and UK in 2015.

David Wood

DAVID WOOD began writing as a student at Oxford University in the sixties.

He wrote his first play for children in 1967 and has since written over sixty more. They are performed all over the world and include THE GINGERBREAD MAN (nine London seasons), THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE… (six London seasons, co-written with Sheila Ruskin), THE SELFISH SHELLFISH, THE SEE-SAW TREE, SAVE THE HUMAN (from the story he wrote with cartoonist Tony Husband), THE IDEAL GNOME EXPEDITION and THE PLOTTERS OF CABBAGE PATCH CORNER.

His stage adaptations of well-known books include Dick King-Smith’s BABE THE SHEEP-PIG, Roald Dahl’s THE BFG and THE WITCHES (both of which played long tours and two West End seasons), THE TWITS, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and FANTASTIC MR FOX, DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD and GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE, HRH The Prince of Wales’ THE OLD MAN OF LOCHNAGAR, Michael Foreman’s DINOSAURS AND ALL THAT RUBBISH, Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski’s MEG AND MOG SHOW (five London seasons for Unicorn Theatre), Philippa Pearce’s TOM’S MIDNIGHT GARDEN  (which Unicorn Theatre played on tour, in the West End and on Broadway) and Judith Kerr’s THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA.

He was dubbed ‘the national children’s dramatist’ by Irving Wardle in The Times and published, to rave reviews, THEATRE FOR CHILDREN: GUIDE TO WRITING, ADAPTING, DIRECTING AND ACTING (Faber), co-written with Janet Grant, which has become required reading on the subject in the UK and the US, and is now published in China.

He directed many of his plays for his own company, Whirligig Theatre (founded with John Gould in 1979), which for 25 years toured to major theatres nationwide include Sadler’s Wells in London.

Film screenplays include SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS and BACK HOME, which won a gold award at the New York Film and TV Festival 1991. Writing for television includes the series CHIPS’ COMIC, CHISH ‘N’ FIPS and THE GINGERBREAD MAN; and TIDE RACE, his filmed drama for Central Television and the European Broadcasting Union, has won several international awards.

For BBC Radio 4 he adapted Arthur Ransome’s SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS.

He also writes children’s books; with Richard Fowler he has co-created novelty books including BEDTIME STORY, MOLE’S SUMMER STORY, MOLE’S WINTER STORY, SILLY SPIDER, THE MAGIC SHOW, FUNNY BUNNY’S MAGIC SHOW and THE TOY CUPBOARD. He wrote THE PHANTOM CAT OF THE OPERA (illustrated by Peters Day).

David Wood has followed a parallel career as an actor, best remembered as Johnny in Lindsay Anderson’s cult film IF… He is married to Jacqueline Stanbury; they have two grown-up daughters, Katherine and Rebecca.

In 2004 he was awarded an OBE for services to literature and drama in the Queen’s birthday honours.

In 2006 he wrote THE QUEEN’S HANDBAG, a play to celebrate the Queen’s 80th birthday.  It was performed by an all-star cast in Buckingham Palace Gardens at the Children’s Party at the Palace, and seen live on BBC 1 by 8,000,000 television viewers.


Formed in 1982, the London Community Gospel Choir have performed with George Michael, Madonna, Eric Clapton, Kylie, Blur and for Nelson Mandela. They have also recorded with artists including include Elton John, Paul McCartney Blur, Nick Cave and Gorillaz.

It is virtually impossible to pigeonhole the LCGC – they are adaptable, flexible and create dynamic melodies with funky gospel flair, and jaw-dropping vocal gymnastics.


Nathan Caton is one of the most exciting young comedians on the scene. Gigging since the tender age of 19, over the last decade he has established himself both as a circuit headliner, and a name on TV and radio.

Within his first few years on stage, he had picked up various accolades and coveted plaudits including the Chortle Student Comic of the Year award and Broadcast Hotshot and written and starred in a pilot for Paramount Comedy (now Comedy Central) entitled The Nathan Caton Show.

Since then Caton has gone from strength to strength, wowing audiences at comedy clubs up and down the UK, and on his numerous TV and radio appearances, with his delightfully charming blend of personal and political comedy.

Harry Baker

Harry Baker became the youngest ever Poetry World Slam Champion in 2012, and published his first collection of poems The Sunshine Kid in 2014. Harry now teams up with musician Chris Read as the imaginatively titled ‘Harry and Chris’. Their comedy-jazz-rap shows have had sell out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016 & 2017 and they have been featured on The Russell Howard Hour (Sky).