Watching: an opera for children about sleeping

Creative Team:

Photo of Katherine Craik

Dr Katharine Craik – Principal Investigator and Writer

Katharine Craik, Principal Investigator of the Watching project, is a writer and academic committed to working at the crossroads between scholarly and creative practice. She completed her BA, MPhil and PhD at King’s College Cambridge where she received the James Award for Creative Writing, and now works as a Reader in Early Modern Literature at Oxford Brookes University. Her poetry was shortlisted for the International Bridport Prize (2013, 2014) and for the Dermot Healy Prize (2014). She has also published widely on Shakespeare and early modern culture including, most recently, a collection of essays on theatre and affect entitled Shakespearean Sensations (Cambridge University Press, 2013). Katharine’s work seeks to introduce Renaissance writing to new audiences in new ways, exemplified by The Quicken Tree, an opera based on Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, written in collaboration with Dee Isaacs and performed in Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens in 2011. Katharine has also written libretti for Glyndebourne’s Youth Opera Group, English National Opera’s Baylis programme, Aldeburgh Productions and W11 Opera. Future plans include a critical-creative response to Shakespeare’s play Pericles for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare death in 2016.

Photo of Dee Isaacs

Dee Isaacs – Composer

Dee Isaacs is a composer, lecturer and performer. She studied composition at the University of Edinburgh with Professor Nigel Osborne. Since graduating in 1993 she has worked predominantly in the area of music in the community throughout Scotland and the UK and more recently further afield in the Republic of Georgia, and in West Africa. She is passionate about the creation of music and its wider value in the community. In 2003 and 2006 she was nominated by the British Academy of Composers for her work in music education. In 2012 she was awarded the Principal’s Medal by the University of Edinburgh.She runs the Music in the Community course at the University of Edinburgh and annually produces events which engage communities through music and the performing arts.

Her collaboration with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh began in 2002. It has been the perfect environment for creative artists to work together on stories which resonate with the different landscapes of the garden and glasshouses. It is magical for each and every participant who has the opportunity to be in the garden at night and in 2015 we will be WATCHING…

Photo of Stephen Chapman

Dr Stephen Chapman – Bio-Scientific Advisor

Dr Stephen Chapman is Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Respiratory Medicine, Oxford Biomedical Research Centre and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, and divides his time equally between clinical practice and research. He has experience in a wide range of respiratory conditions, including sleep disorders. Further details on his genetics research are available here.

Other Artists:

Anna Cocciadiferro – Costume Designer

Anna specialises in site specific performance costume and enjoys collaborations with choreographers, musicians and other artists. Recent design includes On Common Ground with the Citizens theatre as part of the Culture 2014 celebrations; Build your Worlds at Turner Contemporary to open the Mondrian and Colour exhibition; and Indelible Edibles for Playpublik in Krakow. She has designed for the last two Botanics productions, Conference of the Birds and The Quicken Tree. Additional collaborations with movement artist Skye Reynolds include costumes for Transmission using sound technology.

With a particular interest in science-based costume and natural history, Anna was commissioned to create starfish as part of the handling collection for The Natural History Museum. Health and community art projects have also been developed through Stitches in Time with Barts and the London, Cultural Olympiad and HRP.

She has previously designed for Dreadnought at The National Museum for the New Year Games; Snails and Ketchup, Ramesh Meyyeppan; Aerial costume for All or Nothing and Iron Oxide and First Feet Hogmanay celebrations.

An artist in residence, Anna works in various primary and secondary schools and is currently resident at High View Primary School. Anna is looking forward to the collaboration with P7 at Leith Walk Primary School.

Iulian Furtuna – Actor

Iulian Furtuna is a mime actor, puppeteer and director. He was born in Romania and now lives in France. He trained at the Bucharest Theatre and Cinema Conservatoire, the Marcel Marceau School of Mime in Paris, and the LEM (Laboratory of Movement at the International School of Jacques Lecoq). In 1998, after working as an actor, dancer and puppeteer, he founded his own company to create theatre, dance productions, and exhibitions using plastic art and video including Ficelle!, Uncle Vania, Oh, Quel Monde..., Les copropriétaires. He has worked as a stage director and performer in Tanzania, Malawi, the UK, Spain, Germany, France, New Caledonia and Romania. Since 2004 he has been a puppeteer for the programme Les Guignols de l’Info, and he also makes short films and video clips for Canal +. Since 1997 he has been a dramatic arts teacher, teaching acting and puppet handling, at EICAR, the University of Art in Edinburgh, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. His performances are touring in the biggest theatres in France and worldwide.



Gerda Stevenson – Director

Gerda Stevenson, actor/writer/director/singer/songwriter, trained at R.A.D.A., winning the Vanbrugh Award. She has worked on stage, television, radio and film throughout Britain and abroad. She is a widely published and broadcast author of poetry, drama and prose, and a visiting lecturer at Glasgow University, where her writing is studied on the Contemporary Scottish Literature course. She performed in, and directed, her own stage play, FEDERER VERSUS MURRAY, which toured to New York in 2012, as part of the Scottish Government’s NYC SCOTLAND WEEK celebrations, and was published by the American literary magazine SALMAGUNDI. Founder of Stellar Quines, Scotland’s leading women’s theatre company, she is also an Associate Artist of Communicado Theatre Co., a trustee of the Scottish International Education Trust, and a Scots Language Ambassador for Education Scotland. She has been nominated twice for the Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland, and, in 2011, was nominated for the Rosamond Gilder/Martha Coigney International Award by the League of Professional Theatre Women (New York). Film appearances include BRAVEHEART, and BLUE BLACK PERMANENT (BAFTA Scotland Best Film Actress award). Her many TV appearances include MIDSOMER MURDERS, HEARTBEAT, TAGGART and THE BILL. Gerda’s poetry collection, IF THIS WERE REAL, was published in 2013 by Smokestack Books. Supported by Creative Scotland, Gerda recorded a CD of her own songs, NIGHT TOUCHES DAY, (Gean Records, 2014). In 2014, she was nominated as one the Saltire Society’s Outstanding Women of Scotland.


Photo of Skye Reynolds

Skye Reynolds – Movement Artist

Australian-born Skye Reynolds is a movement artist, devisor and educator, based in Scotland. As a Dance Artist in Residence from 2011- 2013, her choreography focused on developing ideas for young people, including audience participation, games and technology. Skye has worked in post-war zones and with those living under dictatorship, being inspired and challenged by the politics of ‘real life’. Performance projects include working with Commonwealth Games 2014, Wendy Houston, Jo Fong, Janis Claxton Dance, Derevo and Curious Seed. She has collaborated with Botanic Productions since 2011, including ‘The Quicken Tree,’ ‘Conference of the Birds’ and ‘Memories Are Made of This’ and she is excited to continue developing this relationship with ‘Watching,’ 2015.

Photo: Jannica Honey.

Photo of Gillian Argo

Gillian Argo – Designer

Gillian is a Glasgow based designer who last year designed sets for both Comedy of Errors and Henry V for her sixth season with Bard in the Botanics. Most recently she has designed the set and costumes for two new productions: Children of Fate – a Chilian classic written during the years of the Pinochet dictatorship presented at the Bussey Building London and Tartan – set during the troubles in Belfast and written by an original tartan gang member, it opened at the Skainos Centre, Belfast, and then went on to An Culturlann, Spectrum and closed in the Metropolitan Arts Centre, again all in Belfast. Her latest work with Nonsense Rooms Productions includes adapting her Hairy Maclary and Friends design for its trip to Hong Kong, and designing for their production of Little Red Riding Hood in the Paradiso Spiegeltent as part of Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations.

Jonnie Clough – Lighting Designer


Jonnie Clough designs for a wide range of theatre, music and live events. Past projects include: Conference of the Birds (RBGE), The City Sings (National Museum
of Scotland), The Quicken Tree, Sound of Music, Beauty & the Beast, Footloose (King’s Theatre, Glasgow), The Glee Club Experience, Fame – The Musical, Anything Goes, Annie, Oliver! (Edinburgh Playhouse), High School Musical (SECC, Glasgow), Two Door Cinema Club, Professor Green (Cambridge), Pendulum (Bristol), West Lothian Council Awards 2008 – 2012, Schuh Design Challenge 2009 – 2012 (Livingston), Dunfermline Abbey Christmas Son et Lumiere 2009 (Dunfermline).

Jonnie is delighted to be returning to Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh next year with Dee Isaacs for their latest collaboration.

Photo of Dooogie

Douglas Hudson – Actor

Born in Tanzania he spent his early years there while his parents worked in the Serengeti plains and reefs off Zanzibar. This experience of Africa set in motion a deep love and appreciation of the African continents art and culture, the roles that music and dance played in defining the self, any community and a nations identity. Dougie Is an experienced music / dance performer, workshop leader and performance director. Dougie also teaches movement and Dance at Dance Base and outreach programs in Schools, community groups and businesses throughout Scotland. He has a great appreciation of all things traditional and modern.

Photo of Crawford Logan

Crawford Logan – Actor

Crawford played the Narrator and also Greed in the production of “Quicken Tree” in the Botanic Gardens in 2011. With many years experience on stage and in radio, he appeared for 9 months in 2013 as Arthur Kipps in ‘The Woman In Black’ at the Fortune Theatre in London’s Covent Garden. He is a familiar voice to BBC R4 listeners, and among many other productions, including “The Archers”, plays Paul Temple in the popular Paul Temple detective series. Collaborating with musicians is a particular pleasure, and most recently he has appeared with the Fidelio Trio and the Carducci Quartet in works by Sally Beamish, and also with the Stirling Orchestra. In the autumn of 2014 he will be touring with Firebrand Theatre in the Scottish Borders in a production of David Greig’s play “Outlying Islands”.