About us

Positive Stories for Negative Times is produced by Wonder Fools in association with the Traverse Theatre.


Wonder Fools

“One of the most vibrant young companies to emerge onto to the
Scottish theatre scene in recent years”

The Scotsman

Wonder Fools SCIO (SC047673) are a registered charity and arts organisation.

Established in 2014: Wonder Fools tells untold stories that need to be heard throughout Scotland and beyond. They create exceptional arts experiences relevant to the communities they work with. Their belief is that theatre is for everyone. They work with young people and communities, on stage and off, as collaborators, participants, and audience members to ensure their stories are heard and their potential is realised.

The company’s work takes many forms, shapes and sizes; whichever is most suited to the stories we are telling. They have produced 8 productions performed in rural town halls and on Scotland’s most famous stages, 5 digital projects including audio plays, short films, interactive installations and an international participatory project reaching over 58,000 people in 16 countries across 5 continents since 2020.

They believe in young people and all Wonder Fools’ work is accompanied by creative learning packages to engage new audiences and empowers them to tell their stories too. They offer career development opportunities to young people from across Scotland including paid apprenticeships, workshops, and have a youth board made up of 20 young people who guide our work.

For more information please visit: www.wonderfools.org


Jack Nurse (he/him) – Artistic Lead

Jack is a director and theatre-maker. He co-founded Glasgow-based theatre companyWonder Foolsin 2014.

Jack was recently an Origins Artist with Headlong (2021-2) and is currently Creative Engagement Director at the Ayr Gaiety, Artist in Residence (Creative Development) at the Traverse Theatre and artistic lead of the international participatory project Positive Stories for Negative Times.

Training: Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the National Theatre Studio Directors’ Course.

As Director/Writer:
549: Scots of the Spanish Civil War, The Coolidge Effect (Wonder Fools); When the Sun Meets the Sky (Traverse Theatre/Capital Theatres)

As Director:
And Then Come the Nightjars (Wonder Fools); Lampedusa (Citizens Theatre/Wonder Fools); Meet Jan Black (Wonder Fools/Ayr Gaiety); The Essence of the Job is Speed (Almeida Theatre); Larchview (National Theatre of Scotland); The Lost Elves (Citizens Theatre/RCS); The Mack, The Storm (Play, Pie, Pint/Traverse Theatre).

As Associate/Assistant Director:
Red Dust Road (National Theatre of Scotland/HOME); The Broons (Sell A Door); Dr Dolittle (Music & Lyrics); Oresteia: This Restless House (Citizens Theatre/National Theatre of Scotland), Blackbird (Citizens Theatre); The Winter’s Tale (Royal Lyceum); Hay Fever (Royal Lyceum/Citizens Theatre).


Robbie Gordon (he/him) – Artistic Lead

Robbie Gordon is a theatre-maker born in Prestonpans specialising in making work with and for communities. He trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduating in 2016 with the Drama in Education Award.

He is the co-founder of the critically acclaimed “fiercely curious” (The Herald) Wonder Fools, Creative Engagement Director at the Gaiety Theatre and a Creative Development Producer for the Traverse Theatre.

Selected credits include: Producer of Class Act (Traverse Theatre); writer and movement director of 549: Scots of the Spanish Civil War (Wonder Fools in association with the Citizens Theatre); writer and movement director of The Coolidge Effect (Wonder Fools); writer and director of McNeill of Tranent: Fastest Man in the World (Wonder Fools); writer of When the Sun Meets The Sky (Traverse Theatre and Capital Theatres); creator of Open Your Lugs (Ayr Gaiety); associate director of Square Go (Francesca Moody Productions); lead artist (Ayrshire) on Danny Boyle’s Pages of the Sea (National Theatre of Scotland).

Steph Connell (she/her) – Executive Producer

Steph Connell is a freelance Producer working in theatre and events across the UK. Her experience includes live theatre, digital and outdoor work across new writing, circus, dance and children’s theatre.

She is Executive Producer for Glasgow based Wonder Fools recently producing flagship participation programme Positive Stories for Negative Times, 549: Scots of the Spanish Civil War (national tour) and Lampedusa (Citizens Theatre). She is also Producer of Manchester based company ThickSkin for which credits include Shade, Petrichor, How Not To Drown, AWOL, Chalk Farm and as Assistant Producer for The Static. She has recently worked as Associate Producer for Raw Material.

Steph was Stage One Producer at the Citizens Theatre in 2017. Other producing credits include No Way Back (Frantic Assembly), Surreal Carnival Experience (Frantic Assembly/ Underworld), Leaper – A Fish Tale and Finding Victoria (Tucked In), Full Stop and Playground Victories (Light The Fuse/ Scribbled Thought) and Superhero Snail Boy (Scribbled Thought).

Steph has also worked for Artichoke, National Theatre of Scotland, Greenwich and Docklands International Festival and National Centre for Circus Arts and has recently left the Tron Theatre where she was Artist Development Coordinator since 2018. She has an MA in Arts and Cultural Management from Queen Margaret University and is a graduate of the Clore Emerging Leaders Course in 2017.


Serden Salih (he/him) – Marketing Manager

Serden Salih is a freelance Marketing Manager, Events Coordinator and Film Historian/Artist, with 10+ years experience in both the film industry and creative arts sector. He graduated with an MA in Film, Television and Screen Media from Birkbeck, University of London in 2015 and went on to work as a Distribution Manager handling press/marketing for one of the UK’s most recognised LGBT film distributors, Peccadillo Pictures. Serden has also worked at various festivals across the UK and internationally, including the Berlin International Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Edinburgh Film Festival. He also has a background in film production and programming.

In 2015, Serden worked as a 2nd Assistant Director and played a small role in the infamous short film Trouser Bar which premiered at the BFI Flare: London LGBT+ Film Festival in 2016 and went on to appear at film festivals worldwide including NYC, Helsinki, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Torino, Madrid and Berlin. The film won ‘Best International Short Film’ at MixBrasil film festival in São Paulo. Furthermore, he helped win the Screen Award for ‘Specialist Film Campaign of the Year’ for Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent and achieved the highest grossing film for Peccadillo Pictures at the time.

He is the Marketing Manager for Glasgow based Wonder Fools who has marketed the flagship participation programme Positive Stories for Negative Times as well as previous productions of And Then Come The Nightjars and 549: Scots of the Spanish Civil War (2022 national tour). He has also worked for ThickSkin Theatre on Blood Harmony and is currently a Digital Content Associate at the Traverse Theatre and Communications Manager for Scotland based film programmer, CinemaAttic.



Gemma Nicol (she/her) and Lisa Williamson (she/her) – Participation Associates

Gemma Nicol and Lisa Williamson are co-artistic directors of hidden route theatre company and the Positive Stories for Negative Times Participation Associates.

Collectively they have been working within the participatory arts sector for over twenty-five years, collaborating with communities and organisations such as Stellar Quines, V&A Dundee, Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, National Theatre of Scotland, Dundee Rep Theatre, macrobert, Perth Theatre, The Point and AMATEO.

Gemma and Lisa love to create work that is driven by collaboration and curiosity and are passionate about bringing young theatre-makers and audiences into non-traditional theatre spaces. Fundamentally, the work they make is about amplifying the voices and creative potential of the young people they work with.