Tony Cealy

Social Justice Practitioner and Trainer for Drama and Theatre. Producer of Programmes, Workshops and Theatre Projects.

I bring over 30 years of first-hand and learnt experience; working mainly in the voluntary & creative sectors, focusing on building equity in community engagement & development and service design.

I’m a drama facilitator, theatre practitioner, arts activist, and creative producer who makes projects and programmes designed to engage the public in issues that are important for social and behavioral change. I am inspired by the creative arts and I work collaboratively with communities, artists, organisations and institutions to plan deliver and evaluate projects, programmes and arts experiences within the public realm.

As a member of the Solution Room I have recently been commissioned by SLaM, Healthwatch & Lambeth Public Health to work with Men around issues of Mental Health and Wellbeing –  I use powerful creative tools that are open and accessible to all. I’m interested in co creating and co delivering community driven policy making events that lead towards and promotes equity and social justice.

I have built a body of work which falls under the title ‘Community Dialogue and Transformations’ and seek to explore how community interventions can both provide insight and incite action.

I have worked for over three decades with disadvantaged and disaffected groups locally, regionally, nationally, in Europe and Internationally. I  have won contracts developing drama-based projects and learning programmes in project delivery, development and management, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, community arts, local authority, education and social services. These projects and programmes brings a wide range of people and stakeholders together to spark creative structural change within institutions and systems.

As founder member of Noh Budget Films (est. 1991) and  I have project managed numerous creative projects from conception to completion. Through NBF I have won contracts with organisations and funders focusing on health and wellbeing, mental health, social care, substance misuse, housing and regeneration, youth services and community development, prison & probation, special educational settings across the UK.

I have been directly trained by various teachers, directors, mentors, and creative practitioners globally over the years as much of the work I do is because of them including Keith Johnstone, Alan Marriott, Mick Napier, Augusto Boal, John Wright, Saul Hewish, Chris Johnston, Clark Baim, Adam Blatner and practitioners from the Theatre in Prisons & Probation Network, Applied Improvisation Network and Psychodrama & Sociodrama Network and Playback Theatre. I undertake regular contracts with NGO’s (Nicaragua, Australia, Hawaii, Bolivia, Slovenia Canada, India, Jamaica, South Africa, and throughout Europe) and was recently commissioned by National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance, the National Body for Arts in Criminal Justice and Social Inclusion to run a series of train the trainer training programmes for educators.

I use drama and theatre to encourage self-awareness and to assist individuals in exploring the idea of change and the impact that it may have on their lives. Within this framework they consider the complex web of connections between personal behaviour, choice and responsibility and broader social, economic and political factors.

I also develop multimedia based projects and programmes that explore the impact of behaviour on adults & young people and people at risk, their families and others. This is achieved by, looking at the causes and consequences of the actions that have led them to act/offend.

The projects and programmes themselves vary from more recreational, usually drama-based activities leading to theatre or digital multimedia productions, to projects and programmes that analyse and challenge behaviour and help them resist the forces of exclusion and institutionalisation as well build and develop key social/life skills.

Within these projects and programmes personal histories of a person can become the content of the session(s). Drama methodologies are used to explore the behaviour in question: what factors led to the offending behaviour/criminal action, could different decisions have been taken? Who suffers? What are the underlying drives?

I believe in the notion that individuals have the capacity to respond in different ways to pressures from friends, families or environment. Anti social behaviour is not always an inevitable consequence of personal difficulties, nor can it be validated as a career option. Other strategies are always available. To access and understand these however requires the participant to use imagination to deconstruct and critique what is familiar, and to envision alternative behaviours. The creative and performing arts have a particular appropriateness in offering a language within which these arguments and speculations can take place.

In my opinion and experience the most commonly cited benefits of my work (listed below) falls into two categories. One relates to the creative activity itself (e.g. participation in a drama workshop resulting in an improvement in performance skills). The other is by-product of the activity (e.g. an increase in self-confidence or communication skills).

  1. Educational achievement (learning about through an arts subject – basic and key skills)
  2. Improved attitudes and behaviour
  3. A reduced rate of re-offending
  4. Better ways of relating to other people
  5. Artistic, personal and social development (self-expression, communication, problem solving skills, team work etc)
  6. Fosters family and community ties
  7. Enhances learners’ ability to lead fulfilling lives in the community
  8. Emotional Justice & wellbeing

In addition to teaching I am a visiting lecturer at Central School of Speech and Drama, Goldsmiths, Bristol, Leicester, UCL Rose Bruford, East 15, CSM and Birmingham Universities in Applied and Social Justice Theatre.

I created the UK’s only weekly forum theatre on the air Afro-Caribbean radio soap opera drama

I am currently working pan London delivering training to young people in the use of role play and interactive theatre techniques for creative ‘round table‘ workshops with officers and staff from Metropolitan police.

I’m working with NPO’s Businesses, Community Groups, Residents, Artists and local Activists to sustain and develop commemorative events that celebrate the ongoing anniversaries of the 1981 Brixton Uprisings for ttps://

I have secured a two-year fellowship as a Artistic Agitator for ((Oval House Theatre)  in Brixton.

I am the founder of a project that supports Black men affected by Mental Illness. We are currently delivering performances through the generous support from and

Facilitator & trainer at using arts culture & heritage for community development 

Reference Group Member at 

Graduate from GLA Community of Practice Network for working across public health, local authority, voluntary and community sectors throughout London with the shared goal of improving health inequalities

Lead Creative Trainer for Tutu Foundation UK deepening conversations for change with the Metropolitan Police and Young People