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The Chris Johnston Memorial Fund

The Chris Johnston Memorial Fund


Chris Johnston was a co-founder and co-director of Rideout between 1999 and 2017. He was a passionate exponent of theatre and social justice, with a particular interest in the development of programmes within, and about, criminal justice. Furthermore he was a pioneer in the development of longer-form drama improvisation strategies to help communities explore themes of local and national concern. Chris was a long standing and founding member of the Alliance steering group.

The Memorial Fund 

This fund is being set up as a result of Chris’ untimely death in January 2017. Its purpose is to celebrate his life by furthering the professional development of graduate theatre practitioners who share similar interests to those of Chris and Rideout. It has been developed through discussions between Rideout’s co-founder Saul Hewish, Chris’ wife Maggie Gordon Walker, and Colin Ellwood from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance where Chris was a visiting director.

It is proposed that the fund will offer up to four options for support:

  1. Individual graduate: proposal for a project using improvisation in a relevant context
  1. Support for a placement or internship of a graduate with an existing professional company working in a relevant context
  1. Support for a Rose Bruford Graduate Company application wishing to run a project in a relevant context
  1. Support for expenses of ‘in-kind’ masterclass workshops from Rideout and/or other companies or individual practitioners with expertise in the use of drama within relevant contexts

The fund will be open to applications for a limited time period, once per year. The size of financial awards given will be subject to resources available within the fund. It is anticipated the fund will launch in early Spring 2018 with a view to beneficiaries undertaking work in 2018/19.

In view of this, Rideout’s co-founder Saul Hewish is raising money to support this endeavour by doing a sponsored walk to all the prisons in Staffordshire where he and Chris did much of their work. He has set up a JustGiving page to accept donations and would very much like your support, both with sharing details of the fund and by making a donation, no matter how small! As part of the walk, Saul will be sharing stories of arts projects in prison. These can be viewed here.