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Janys Chambers



I’ve directed dozens of plays: main house shows, studio plays, rural touring pieces, community plays, indoor and outdoor shows, site-specific work, student actor showcases, youth theatre plays, and work with and for young people and the community (see also Participation and Education).  It’s the different challenges I like.

Below...  one play I've directed for a studio tour, and one I've directed for rural touring...

Three Mothers this is the right one! e-f
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Nominations and Awards for Directing

Nominated Best Director, Jacob Reviews (for Three Mothers)


Nominated Best Production for Children, Manchester Theatre Awards 2017 (Co-directed with artistic team, Secret Garden, Octagon Theatre)


Award for Service to the Arts in Rural Communities from Cheshire Rural Women (for directing The Harmonettes Go Into Orbit and Cross Your Heart)


(Click on any blue title below to see a poster and sometimes rehearsal or production photos of the project)

For Edgeways Productions with TWO WOMEN Theatre 














Directed a new production of this marvellous play by Chris Salt, about the survival of hope and friendship in rural isolation.  It opened at Baron’s Court in Oct 2023, then toured nationally playing dates including Lancaster Dukes, Alnwick Playhouse and the Arcola.

'A well-crafted story, sensitively directed and performed with integrity' Broadway Baby

'Much credit to the actors, director Janys Chambers, and designer Jane Linz Roberts for creating such a compelling and expressive presentation' The Reviews Hub

'Director Janys Chambers has shown that she has an eye for detail and creating a powerful play' Theatre and Art Reviews

'Janys Chambers sensitively directs with watchful eye to every primal pulse and flush of the central growing relationship' Lost in Theatreland


TWO WOMEN Theatre 

The Wasteground Circus

I directed the Arts Council of England funded pilot tour of this cross-form theatre and circus piece in July 2022 (following on from an ACE funded R&D). It was performed at Invisible Circus Bristol and The Roundhouse Heart of BS13 .   A tour of the UK is next!


"It is a highly unusual mix of drama and circus. It has great circus technique and also characters that we care about and feel for. The piece is really easy to engage with because it has comedy and simplicity.  At the same time it takes the audience to a place where they have to think about the nature of relationships, how the future might be and what a poorer world it would be without circus and art" Audience member


"The aerial work was superb, the acrobatics, the clowning, and the story telling/acting. There was a real message of hope here about the human heart" Audience member

"Last night was stunning. The venue, the narrative, the actors and those costumes- just something else.  At the end- I was leaking emotion with tears and a very wobbly chin" Audience member

"This evening I took my 8 year old daughter (who has sensory issues) to see The Wasteground Circus performance........ It was absolutely incredible! I was unsure what to expect but both myself and my daughter loved every minute of the performance and walked away with so much to talk about. My daughter is an incredibly anxious child but this really touched her and she thoroughly enjoyed herself asking “Can we go back?” – for her, this is huge! The whole thing was amazing! Incredible performance, very talented cast, superb story! Thank you for a lovely evening! Audience member

For TWO WOMEN Theatre 

A Day In The Life Of Us


Directed and performed in April 2022, this was funded by the Welsh Government via its Winter of Well-being Fund, in partnership with CADW. 


An original play with songs, movement and dance, it was inspired by stories shared by young people in workshops across Wales, with a particular focus on mental health: true stories; made-up stories; hopes and dreams; stories about the many challenges of being young and living in Wales – and the world – today.  Performed by a young cast working alongside professional actors Paislie Reid and Arthur Bostrum.


"It was a fabulous play. I wasn't expecting it to be quite so good or emotional" Audience member 

"I loved it. The dialogue was so real, you could identify with all of the characters" Audience member 


"I LOVED the bus scene. And the singing – the choreography, the simple yet descriptive set. The neon ties – THE TALENT! WOW. The sleep scene at the end had me crying" Audience member 


For Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Naked Productions

Sophia by Frances Poet, an online audio play with theatre elements

★★★★★ Broadwayworld ★★★★ The Reviews Hub ★★★★★ Theatre Weekly

'The careful direction from Janys Chambers keeps the audio play energised and interesting. Each character is clearly defined, and the relationships between the characters are alive and real. The play is fresh in its sound, script, and dynamics. There is variety in the scenes that are each a journey within the bigger journey of the play'  Theatre Weekly

'The direction (by Janys Chambers) is wonderfully crisp. Clearly the product of much thought, it ends up seeming effortless' 

All Edinburgh Theatre

For Pitlochry Festival Theatre

North and South (as Associate Director, also adapted from Elizabeth Gaskell)

★★★★ The Guardian /★★★★ The Scotsman

‘Adapts electrically to the stage’ The Guardian

For Octagon Theatre Bolton

Flight by Nuzhat Ali, an early TWO WOMEN partnership for the Octagon

Trailer for Flight:

The Secret Garden (co-directed, also adapted from F. Hodgson Burnett)

★★★★★ What's Good to Do

'My expectations were high – would it be comparable to my childhood memories of such a classic novel? Well, I wasn’t disappointed… what a fabulous community summer production!' What's Good to Do

Nominated Best Production for Children, Manchester TMA Awards

Top Five (2 seasons of rehearsed readings of the winning five plays from the Octagon's International New Writing Competition)

The Railway Children (co-directed, also adapted from E. Nesbit)

Dirty Face by Josie Byrne (dramaturg and director, a play for the 50+ community theatre company, On The Go)

Best of Bolton (annual live performance of winners from Octagon's Competition for contemporary literature)

Spurt by Jackie Hagan (rehearsed reading with Graeae at the Royal Exchange)

For National Rural Touring


Three Mothers (second production) by Matilda Velevitch (a TWO WOMEN project)

★★★★★ The Spy In The Stalls ★★★★ British Theatre Guide  ★★★★ London Theatre

‘Fine, engaging performances.  A compassionate, optimistic play’   British Theatre Guide

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Above, Janys with Susan Aderin in rehearsal for Three Mothers by Matilda Velevitch for the Waterloo East Theatre.  Three Mothers was subsequently produced by TWO WOMEN as a national tour with Clare Perkins, Victoria Brazier and Roberta Kerr 

Fell by Chris Salt (a TWO WOMEN project)

★★★★ North West End UK

As you step into the theatre space with fresh brown trout cooking on a camp stove in the centre of the set you are transported to the hills above Cockermouth’ North West End UK

Trailer for Fell:

The Harmonettes Go Into Orbit  (also wrote, 5 rural UK tours and Edinburgh Festival)

★★★★ Edinburgh Fringe Review /★★★★★ Big Issue 

'An expertly crafted feel-good musical, laced with charming self-deprecating humour and a sprinkling of tongue-in-cheek feminism' Edinburgh Fringe Review


Dorothy’s War (also wrote, 3 UK tours)

‘Great show last night, really excellent'  Sian Kerry, Arts Alive Rural Touring Network

'Laughs galore' Chester Chronicle

Cross Your Heart (this play was also the subject of a documentary film; also wrote)

For Waterloo East Theatre


Three Mothers (first production) by Matilda Velevitch (a TWO WOMEN project)

★★★★★ The Spy In The Stalls/★★★★ British Theatre Guide

'Three days after watching it, Three Mothers is still with me, which should tell you something about the tremendous power of the talents of Matilda Velevitch’s script, Janys Chambers’ direction and Clare Perkins’, Roberta Kerr’s and Victoria Brazier’s acting' The Spy In The Stalls

For the New Vic (as Associate Artist)

A Christmas Carol adapted by David Holman from Charles Dickens

★★★★★ The Guardian - Guide to Christmas shows

Pat and Margaret (also adapted from Victoria Wood)


For CADW (Historic Monuments in Wales)

Shakespeare’s Kitchen (with Trefor Lloyd Roberts producing, site-specific to Plas Mawr Conwy, also wrote)

The production at Plas Mawr was fabulous’ Adele Thackray, Lifelong Learning Manager CADW


Richard II by William Shakespeare (site-specific to Flint Castle)

‘Well done to all for this great performance’ David Hanson MP

For Flintshire Arts/Arts Council Wales

Plays for 100 Children

(13 plays over 9 years in primary-schools, funded by Arts Council Wales and Flintshire Arts, reaching over 2000 children, many performed at Theatr Clwyd)

'The best performance given by children I have ever seen' Margaret Madoc Jones, Head Teacher Trelogan and Gronant Schools

'I was mesmerised' Jenny Nimmo, author of children's classic The Snow Spider


The Secret Garden (also adapted)

The Snow Spider (also adapted)

For Phyzzical Productions

The Happy Hijabi by Shahid Ikbal Khan (for the New Writing Festival Imagine Asia)

For The Arden School of Acting, BA Degree in Acting, Manchester University


Morelight by Bryony Lavery (Final Year show)


Jane Eyre by Shared Experience (Final year show)


The Passing Out Parade by Anne Valery (Final year show)

For Shed Theatre


Ranger Wooley - site-specific outdoor show

For 24:7 Manchester


No Place Like Home by Rebekah Harrison

★★★★ The Public Reviews ★★★★ What's On Stage 

'Tight direction by Janys Chambers moves conf'idently between the different women's stories' Cultural Shenanigans

'A great ensemble piece' The Public Reviews

For Theatr Clwyd

Through The Magic Door (foundation age piece, also wrote)

Moving On (primary age piece, also co-wrote)

For Theatre In The Quarter

Handbag - The Musical! (also wrote)

Fantastic show last night. Brilliantly written and directed by Janys Chambers and featuring the spectacular all-woman choir Handbag of Harmonies. Funny, very moving (I cried buckets) and uplifting. I’d be telling anyone in the NW to hunt it out and get a ticket but the rest of the tour is completely sold out’ Martin Jameson blog

For Action Transport Theatre

The Mask (collectively written piece)

For the NHS in Wales (BCHUB)


The D-Word (2 tours North Wales, also wrote, poster below)

An outstanding interpretation of the impact of dementia. The decline of the individual suffering from it and the equally heart-wrenching impact on the life of the carer are portrayed with skill, sensitivity and poignancy. An incredibly moving performance’ Cheryl Hesketh Library Service Manager for Inclusion

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For Oldham Coliseum


Love Me Slender by Vanessa Brooks


For Avon Touring


Easy Prey - The Witch of Wookey Hole by Nick Stafford


For New Perspectives


Molecatcher Bodysnatcher by Julie Wilkinson

Piece At Any Price by Julie Wilkinson

Nott Island (devised)

For Wolsey Ipswich Theatre In Education


Home Sweet Home (devised)

For Theatre Centre

Zulu Hut Club by Bryony Lavery

Janys with Claire Barron and Non Haf as Simmy in rehearsals for Ranger Wooley by Claire Barron, directed by Janys Chambers for a commission for outdoor performance in parks in North Wales 

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