Team Profiles


Jonathan Banatvala
– Artistic Director
Melanie Nock
– Executive Director

Tutors - Week 1

Anamaria Marinca
– Acting
Working as a tutor in what she considers her home country, Romania, she’s a BAFTA award winning actress and worked with International arts making the radio drama BBQ 67 in what she considers her home city, London.
Stefano Gianotti
– Producer/Director
Maker of audio dramas, long and short form, with and without words and comes from a musician’s background. He has worked with International Arts at the audio drama festival for a number of years and co-chaired this year’s jury. Jonathan loves him because he plays samarcanda on the guitar whenever asked.
Robin Soans
– Writing
Actor, writer, creator of verbatim drama, including the Israeli/Arab cookbook and Talking to Terrorists for both stage and radio. As well as the writers tutor, mentor and, occasionally, counsellor for the week, he gave a one off for the whole residency on ‘Talking to Terrorists.’
Francesco Quadraruopolo
– Music
Musician, college lecturer and heart-throb, Fra has been hampered this year only by the loss of his luggage in Munich, and that, not very much. His relationship with International Arts goes back as far as 2012 when he wrote the soundscape for the interactive audio drama, Carmen, by Steve Walker and taught Jonathan the term diegetic which Jonathan proudly uses all the time now.
Stefan Escreet
– Extension, Artists’ group
Actor, producer, director, the master creative from keswick, Stefan has done it all. He’s equally at home loading vans to tour village halls and working with a writer who brings his 15 pairs of shoes to a 3 day workshop in Cairo. Stefan worked with International Arts teaching emerging creatives to think and make audio in 2019. As part of his presentation, from audio to stage, he gifted the entire residency the knowledge of how to make a gunshot sound from a single piece of folded paper.

Tutors - Both Weeks

Alexis Johnson
– Community Extension
Alexis has been responsible for International Arts’ education and outreach for the best part of 10 years and has worked with Jonathan for over 10 years before that at Birkbeck college. Her output is extraordinary from making audio dramas with 8 year olds to community projects in Nigeria, and somehow she never gets grumpy. Her community programme here in Timisoara includes capacity building with Casey Hallahan. Thank goodness we prised her away from her beloved gardening in Chorley.
David Thomas
– Sound Design
David is not only International Arts first call for all the audio and radio dramas that we produce, unfortunately he is also everybody else’s. It’s a complete miracle to have him here for 2 weeks but he seems to be having a great time, teaching a new generation of sound designers to record the sound of silence in complete darkness in the theatre.
Casey Hallahan
– Extension tutor and support staff
Working alongside Alexis supporting the community groups and supporting the project’s technical needs, keeping safe an extraordinary assortment of keys – usually. There seems nothing that Casey cannot turn their hand to. They have already been working a great deal with International arts on creating audio drama with young people in Ireland with the same energy as always. Their provision of exotic Irish whiskey is a gift and we wish the same could be said of their dress sense.

Tutors - Week 2

Chuse Fernandez
– Producer/Director
Independent audio drama creator from the sublime to the consciously ridiculous. A collector of weird and wonderful sound effects and a devotee of binaural. And he treated us to both in his Monday afternoon masterclass. Chuse has regularly been a jury member for the International Arts audio drama festival and his students have told us of his robust, practical approach to directing and producing.
David Gooderson
– Acting
David has lept into an unexpected covid caused breach with heroic aplomb pausing only twice, once on a wild adventure in Munich, and then again at breakfast a couple of days later. He has been taking the acting students through a lightning trip of audio drama from playing Pinter to playing a moth eaten crow. Eye widening for the participants, but easy enough for him with over 400 radio drama credits to his name.
Simon Slater
– Music
How is it possible to combine such a prolific output with such breezy insouciance! Simon’s association with International Arts feels like years – and in a good way. When not taking the musicians through a romp in composing for audio drama, the master is filling in the spare minutes by playing the part of the trucker in our own 7 minute drama. The perfect successor to Francesco as tutor but will he have the same romantic allure?
Marta Rebzda
– Writing
“Me? I’m just a journalist who has moved on to writing the odd radio drama.” Twice winner of the UK International Radio drama festival, she wears it lightly. Marta’s drama is dead serious but her eyes never stop twinkling. The students seem to love her this week as much as they did Robin last week, and that’s saying something.
Mihail Lungeanu
– Extension, Artists’ group
His Romanian devotees speak to him in the awed reverence that matches his profile and history of radio drama making here. But Mihail – to the rest of us – is frank, funny and easy going, and a welcome addition to the team, and a joy for his tutor group. Plus an evening lecture with the humour and timing of an after dinner speech.

Support Staff / Stage Management

Kyrszia is the mainstay of International Arts technical and audio support here and at the audio drama festival. And stage management support and additional support and emotional support. Everyone was heartbroken when she left the UK for Germany and delighted to have wrested her back. Everyone loves Kyrszia. No one can spell or pronounce her name. She never cares. One day, but not very soon, she may pass her driving test.
This super talented, amazingly competent, Edinburgh PHD student is currently organising the office, people and, can you believe it, the filing on Melanie’s laptop. Quite brilliant and, by the way, also Jonathan’s daughter. Her previous experiences with International Arts includes projects for 8-12 year olds to make audio drama in the UK. She has explained that was easier because of the additional maturity of the participants. Madeleine leads the morning warm-ups.
Isobel has been working with both Melanie and Jonathan at International Arts on a permanent basis since last Christmas, when they picked her up and dragged her out of a small DIY store in East Sussex. She has worked with us on so many projects and so closely and is now quite capable of holding her own in any bloody good row. So she can finish the rest of this biography for herself… but just in case she doesn’t, it should be noted that she came straight out to Romania after a week on her back with COVID and was immediately to be found working until half past three in the morning without a murmur. (She wrote that bit herself – Jonathan).
Tonya (and Teia of course)
First worked with us as a community/outreach education worker in and around Kiev. Tonya then organised our International conference there from booking guest speakers to organising lunches to ensuring the washing up got done. How things have changed in that last respect. Weeks before we got here, Tonya took a lead role researching the afternoon audio drama projects and so is the go to encyclopaedia for the 1988 National Theatre tour of the Tempest to Moscow and Tblisi. In this last respect, her powers of diplomacy with her fellow Ukrainians are legion. She has come with her bewitching daughter Teia so nobody minds the complete failure to help with breakfast quite so much.
Honourable mention to Casey who is a tutor as well as support staff!