Cast and Crew

Jake Addley


Meet Jake

Originally from Bracknell Berkshire, Jake Trained at The Brit School of Performing Arts – Musical Theatre. Theatre credits include: One Fine Day; Peter Pan; Aladdin & Snow White (South Hill Park Arts Centre), Mother Courage & Teechers;  Animalphabet; Cartoon Network; Oi Frog! and Terrible Thames. Credit with Tall Stories include: The Gruffalo’s Child and The Gruffalo.

TV credits include Doctors and Deep Cuts.

What have been your favourite projects to work on?  

I really enjoyed Teechers UK tour – a three hander comedy where I got to re-live my inner silly school child again. I also got to perform for and meet the late Queen at Buckingham Palace which was a highlight in my life for sure.

What was your favourite story as a child?  

LION KING! – I still cry at the film now; it teaches so many valuable life lessons! I also love a book of poems called There’s an awful lot of weirdos in our neighbourhood which I still have on my shelf to this day.   

Althea Burey


Meet Althea

Althea, originally from Manchester, studied Musical Theatre at Guildford School of Acting and Colchester Institute. Althea is a passionate storyteller and deviser and has worked on a variety of research and development projects. Previous credits with Tall Stories include: The Smeds and The Smoos and The Gruffalo’s Child. Other theatre credits include: Anna Hibiscus Song (The Crucible); Robin Hood (Dukes Theatre); CLASSIC! (Edinburgh Fringe Festival); Elegies for Angels Punks and Raging Queens (Union Theatre); Paw Patrol:Race to The Rescue (UK Tour / International Tour); The Extraordinary Tale of Holly Christmas (The Lowry) and NewsRevue (Edinburgh Fringe Festival / Arts Theatre, London).

Television credits include: Odd Squad (CBBC); Waco Untold: The British Stories (ITVX).

What was your favourite story as a child? 

Anything Roald Dahl, anything Jaqueline Wilson, anything Biff, Chip and Kipper! Basically anything that transported me to a whole other world! 

What sort of imaginary monster would you invent? 

My imaginary monster would look like an adorable cuddly bear but then be able to transform into anything that comes to my mind like a three-legged, four-armed chicken! 

Ashley Sean-Cook

The Gruffalo

Meet Ashley

Ashley graduated from the University of Northampton on the BA Acting course in 2014. Ashley is super passionate about children’s theatre and is even writing a children’s book! Previous credits with Tall Stories include: The Gruffalo. Other theatre credits include: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde and Frankenstein (Blackeyed Theatre);The Goal! (Hereford Courtyard); Might Never Happen (Doll’s Eye Theatre Company); Lost and Found (Little Blue Monster Theatre Company); My Pet Monster and Me and The Duck in the Truck (Blunderbus Theatre Company). Television credits include: Trigger Point

What’s your favourite food? 

Pizza…Yep, Pizza. 

What sort of imaginary monster would you invent? 

One that can fly and helps me get better at organising, but, maybe that’s just wishful thinking. 

Benjamin Alan-Langcaster

Understudy/Assistant Stage Manager

Meet Benjamin

Originally from Swindon, Benjamin trained at Performance Preparation Academy (PPA) and graduated in 2023. Having been read The Gruffalo whilst at primary school, Ben is excited to be a part of such a fun production. Theatre credits include: The Polar Express (PNP Events); After Life (PPA) and Working Out (Guildford Fringe Festival). 

What have been your favourite projects to work on? 

I love working on energetic, physical orientated pieces. I love using the body to create stories. 

What sort of imaginary monster would you invent? 

One with massive tusks and great big claws, one that can survive under water and has a big, huge ROOOAAAARRRRR.  

Matt Llewellyn Smith

Company Stage Manager

Meet Matt

Matt is from Stevenage and trained in Carmarthen. Previous credits with Tall Stories include: Emily Brown and the Thing (Birmingham Hippodrome and North America Tour) Other theatre credits include: I Believe in Unicorns and Why the Whales Came (West End, UK Tours and Hong Kong); Meet Pippi Longstocking (UK Tour); Paper Dolls and Ready Steady Go! (Polka Theatre); We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Little Angel Theatre); Moonfleet and The Secret Garden (Angel Exit Theatre Company). 

What have been your favourite projects to work on? 

I enjoy being part of a team turning great stories into productions which all ages enjoy. Taking Emily Brown and the Thing to Broadway and across America was also incredible.  

What’s your favourite food? 

I like scampi so much it has become my nickname! Plus any pudding or cake! 


Olivia Jacobs


Meet Olivia
What do you like best about your job?

The people I get to work with. I’m lucky to be in a room with so many talented and creative people. It’s hard and physically demanding – but we laugh all the time and what could be better than that?!

What was your favourite story as a child?

I loved being read Mr Tickle by my dad. The anticipation of him tickling at the end was almost unbearable…

Why did you want to work in theatre?

I learn best through stories and am inspired by getting lost in a brilliant tale. To be part of making great stories come to life for a living is a real treat.




Toby Mitchell


Meet Toby
What have been your favourite projects to work on?

As a director, ‘The Smeds and The Smoos’, ‘The Snow Dragon’ and ‘The Snail and the Whale’; as a writer/performer, ‘Future Perfect’ (a show I performed with my then 10-year-old son).

What was your favourite story as a child?

‘Alice in Wonderland’ (for its nonsense and intelligence) and ‘Winnie the Pooh’ (for its silliness and philosophy).

Isla Shaw


Meet Isla
Say My Name: I-la sh-or sounds like roar
What have been your favourite projects to work on?

I designed ‘Macbeth’ at Shakespeare’s Globe. It’s incredibly exciting to have 1600 people responding to work in that space! It’s raw and exciting!

What do you like best about your job?

I really enjoy how every day is different. From research and problem solving, to working creatively with the director, and being part of a team to create a show.

James Whiteside

Lighting Designer

Meet James
What have been your favourite projects to work on?

I’m very lucky to have worked on all sorts of projects, so it’s very hard to pick a favourite. But I did have a blast the first time I went to New York with Tall Stories!

What was your favourite story as a child?

My favourite story as a child was ‘The Wind in the Willows’, and it still is! One day I would like to light it on stage.

Martin Rodges

Costume Supervisor

Meet Martin
What have been your favourite projects to work on?

One of my favourites was ‘Anything Goes’ at the Barbican, because it was the first proper theatre job I did after lockdown and so it felt like I was finally getting back to normal.

Why did you want to work in theatre?

I tried every single job in theatre and finally settled on costumes – I enjoy realising the designers’ drawings on stage. 2024 will mark 35 years of working in the costume industry.

Jon Fiber & Andy Shaw

Music & Lyrics

Meet Jon Fiber & Andy Shaw
What have been your favourite projects to work on?

We’ve enjoyed all of the shows we’ve worked on with Tall Stories but I think our favourite experience was working with actor-musicians, devising songs and music for ‘Wilde Creatures’ and ’The Canterville Ghost’.

What was your favourite story as a child?

Jon’s favourite story as a child was ‘Peter and the Wolf’ (although it terrified him!) and Andy’s was ‘The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse’.

Luanna Priestman


Meet Luanna

What have been your favourite projects to work on?
Working on something from the very start of an idea to when it lands on stage is always such a joy. One of those shows was How the Giraffe Got its Neck.

What was your favourite story as a child?
The Owl Who was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson. Like Plop, sometimes you have to close your eyes, take a deep breath… and fall off your branch!


Director: Olivia Jacobs
Dramaturg: Toby Mitchell
Designer: Isla Shaw
Lighting Designer: James Whiteside
Choreographer: Luanna Priestman
Choreography by: Morag Cross, Luanna Priestman & Bex Allingham
Costume Supervisor: Martin Rodges
Music and Lyrics: Jon Fiber, Robin Price, Olivia Jacobs, Andy Shaw
Music Production: Jon Fiber and Andy Shaw for Shock Productions
UK Production Manager: Nick May
Marketing: Jane Morgan Associates

Adapted by the company from the picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (Macmillan Children’s Books)
The Gruffalo © Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler 1999 – Macmillan Children’s Books 

Previous team members


Sharon McArdle (original production), Claire Knight, Hilda Gardner, Alice Parsloe, Samantha Barron, Emma Manton, Michaela O’Connor, Becky Kitter, Abbey Norman, Karina Garnett, Sharon Thompson, Louise Mai Newberry, Caroline Garland, Naomi Said, Crystal Hegedis, Alex Tregear, Josie Cerise, Susanna Jennings, Luanna Priestman, Ellie Bell, Angela Laverick, Lauren Scott-Berry, Rebecca Newman, Mia Ward

The Gruffalo

Felix Hayes (original production), Scott Ironside, Ben Phillips, Colin Adrian, Derek Elroy, Nick Ash, Mark Peachey, James Gitsham, Duncan Foster, Ross Hugill, Alan Park, Tamlyn Henderson, Scott Armstrong, Tom Crook, Tim Hibberd, Owen Guerin, Aaron Millard, Steve McCourt, Elliot Rodriguez, Ashley Sean-Cook, Adam Jay-Price

The Predators

Tom Warwick (original production), Robert Evans, Michael Lambourne, Andrew Hoggarth, Gareth Farley, Sean Kempton, Alex Perkins, Austin Mitchel Hewitt, Joseph Carey, Jonathan Race, Alex Scott Fairley, Tim Stedman, Rob Copeland, Paul Lancaster, Napoleon Ryan, Stephen Anderson, David Garrud, Daniel Foxsmith, Will Towler, Tim Richey, Charlie Guest, Neil Jennings, Alastair Chisholm, Jake Addley, Katie Erich

Associate Choreographer

Bex Allingham


Paul Matania, Jeremy Randall, Alastair Chisholm, Emily Waters, Laura Goulden

Company Stage Manager

Benjamin Luke, Jules Millard, Charlie Hodsdon, Rachel Pryce, Emma Eldridge-Doyle, Cat Pewsey, Nicky Bathgate, Gemma Scott

Associate/assistant director

Luanna Priestman (associate), Sam Conway (associate), Emily Howlett (associate for BSL version), Joe Hancock (assistant)

Original design/construction

Zahra Premji, Katie Avis, Neil Gavin and Gus Houssein