WHO ARE HEART TO HEART ANYWAY..?
JOE AND MEL BALL WERE BORN AND BROUGHT UP ON THE SAME STREET IN SOUTH WEST LONDON IN THE NINETIES. DESPITE UNWITTINGLY SHARING A SECOND NAME, GOING TO SCHOOLS NEARBY AND HAVING A FEW MUTUAL FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK, THEY DIDN'T MEET UNTIL THEY BOTH WENT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF HULL IN 2010 TO BEGIN THE DRAMA AND THEATRE PRACTICE DEGREE. SINCE THEN, THEY'VE BEEN THE VERY BEST OF FRIENDS.
WHILE AT UNIVERSITY, JOE AND MEL DISCOVERED THAT THEY BOTH HAD AN INTEREST IN THE THERAPEUTIC AND HEALING POTENTIAL OF CREATIVITY, AND IN PARTICULAR DRAMA. THEY SET UP HEART TO HEART IN THE QUEST OF MAKING WORK WHICH TELLS STORIES THAT MIGHT OTHERWISE GO UNHEARD, CHALLENGES ASSUMPTIONS AND GENERATE MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE AND CONNECTION BETWEEN THE PARTICIPANTS AND AUDIENCE.
DESPITE THEIR 'PRIMARY ROLES', JOE AND MEL SEEK TO WORK AS COLLABORATIVELY AS POSSIBLE AS A COMPANY- SWAPPING IN AND OUT OF THEIR DESIGNATED POSITIONS TO ADD DIFFERING PERSPECTIVES TO THE CREATIVE OUTPUT. THEY MAKE THE INVITATION THAT PARTICIPANTS ON THEIR PROJECTS ALSO DO THE SAME, GENERATING A SHARED OWNERSHIP OF THE WORK CREATED AND A TRUE MELTING POT OF IDEAS AND CREATIVITY DURING THE PROCESS.
THE WRITER ONE
Co-founder and resident playwright at Heart to Heart, Melanie Anne Ball has always been interested in creative work that carries a pressing social message. As a playwright, Melanie has had work performed all over the country, including two productions successfully received at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. She has written collaborative commissions for asylum seeker and refugee group ARKH and the Samaritans to create productions that celebrate the work of the services and those who access them. Since beginning work within mental health services in 2013, Melanie has led creativity workshops with service users in South West London and St. George's Mental Health Trust and West London Mental Health Trust. She has also delivered consultancy and psychological education sessions in various trusts, taught undergraduate nursing students and undertaken work alongside Second Shot Theatre in HMP Thamesside as a playwright. Melanie is particularly interested in the role of creativity in health and social care services and wrote her Masters degree dissertationat Oxford University, on the therapeutic potential of playwriting.
THE DIRECTOR ONE
Co-founder and resident director at Heart to Heart, Joe Ball's primary focuses as a director are immersive and community theatre projects, forum theatre, new writing and seeking to engage audiences with political and sociological thinking through theatrical experience. He cut his teeth working with immersive specialists Punchdrunk theatre in 2007 on their prolific sell-out show "Masque of The Red Death" at Battersea Arts Centre, where Joe has been a regular performer since his teens. He has since directed many immersive performances, and is an associate director at High Rise Theatre, who he directed in Arts Council funded show "Big Smother" and has enjoyed critical acclaim for a number of his productions. He has worked extensively in schools nationally delivering Theatre In Education performances and workshops, and with theatre company Demonstrate! who deliver dance led participatory arts programmes for children on the autistic spectrum and/or with complex and profound disabilities. He has also run workshops for children and young people alongside a number of his commercial theatre projects, including "The Concrete Jungle Book", which focused on the plight of young people affected by immigration and homelessness, and "Early Days (of A Better Nation)", a political show which re-imagining the formation of society. He is also an associate director at Co-Lab Theatre, who deliver bespoke corporate immersive experiences.
Heart to Heart have previously been commissioned to create performance by Camden Clinical Commissioning Group, and have a number of projects, including theatre groups for service users, topical commissioned pieces and Forum theatre performances in various stages of development with a number of Mental Health Trusts and community interest companies across London.