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Charlie Barnes

Creative Director

Hi, abit about me...

I trained in acting, graduating from Bretton Hall college (University of Leeds) in 1999. Since then, I've had a wide variety of creative and drama based jobs as a freelancer practitioner. 

In 1999, I performed for the first time with Dead Earnest Theatre and have worked with the company ever since, becoming Creative Director in 2011.

Dead Earnest is a Sheffield based Applied theatre company, established in 1993. We specialise in creating and making new work, for and with a broad range of organisations, within the public and charitable sectors. This includes the NHS, National Charities, Councils, Universities and Schools. We are particularly interested in creating theatre that challenges the audience and provokes conversations and often use Forum theatre as a vehicle for change.

Our main areas of focus are:

Health and well being

  • Developing plays and forum theatre to provoke conversations for medical staff, patients and carers. 
  • Roleplay and staff training for medics
  • Long term projects for adult groups who may have a disability or mental health condition.


  • Collaborations with University academics, bringing research 'to life' through new and original plays and performances. 
  • Educational programmes for primary and secondary schools, FE colleges, home educated children, special schools, PRUs, and young people on training courses. 

Social change

  • Forum theatre performances and projects that often challenge the 'status quo' on issues such as economic inequality, social deprivation, climate change. Clients include charities, social firms, unions, forensic secure settings, and activists.

As Creative Director, I write and direct new pieces of work for organisations locally and Nationally. I also deliver workshops and training and am particularly interested in empowering those who may live with disabilities and mental ill health. 

As a creative practitioner, living in Sheffield, I love the vibrant and supportive community in which we work. Generally DET employ local actors and practitioners and are always keen to find out about those out 'on the scene' or are looking to get more involved in drama or theatre based practise. 

As part of the Guild, I hope to meet new people, share and exchange knowledge and skills, as well as have some fun! 

If you'd like to get in touch, let's chat 🗣


Or call 07855 866292