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Roberta Jean Ways of Being


Roberta Jean
About Ways of Being

Ways of Being is a cosmic adventure and love letter to those who have experienced depression and struggled with suicidal thoughts. Informed by historic therapeutic practices and future healing modalities, the work is a tender and euphoric dance full of hope, inviting the audience to go inwards and reflect on their own thoughts and memories. 

This production contains themes of depression, mental health issues, suicide, and drug use. 

A chill-out room for rest and quiet reflection is provided. Please follow the signs along the corridor past the toilets or ask a member of staff who can help you find your way. Further information is provided in the Visual Story linked here and you can find our recommendations for further support at the end of this page. 

Artistic Team & Credits

Choreographer & Director Roberta Jean
Rehearsal Director & Dance Artist Stephanie McMann
Writer & Narrator Jude Christian
Art Director & Costumes Hollie Miller
Dramaturg Victoria Gray
Dance Artist, Text Research & Contribution Katye Coe
Dance Artist Maëva Berthelot
Dance Artist Nicole Nevitt
Sound Designer & Music Direction Jonathan Webb
Lighting Designer Grant Anderson
Consultant Dr Ben Sessa
Music by Martina Lussi, Kali Malone, Kristin Oppenheim, Tom Recchion, and Ingar Zach 

A Sadler’s Wells Commission. Supported by Creative Scotland, FABRIC, Tramway, Dance Base, Déda and Bonnie Bird Choreography Fund.

Roberta Jean’s Brocade Films 

Roberta Jean’s Sadler’s Wells debut happened in May 2018 with an ensemble work called Brocade. This stage work was later adapted into a trio of beautiful films; Lace, Thread and Rope.

This work was born from a desire to explore the alchemy that occurs when movement and sound are combined. A poetic response to historical and contemporary notions of craft and physical work, it arose from a period of experimentation and practice, with an ensemble of female contemporary dancers and sound-based practitioners working in the same space.

You can find these films on Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage.


Roberta Jean
Roberta Jean is a critically acclaimed choreographer who works collaboratively across disciplines to produce dances for a diverse range of contexts. Her choreography is centred around poetics and is often underpinned by anthropological research. Roberta won the Bonnie Bird Choreographic Development Award in 2020 and has been artist in residence at Critical Path Laboratory in Sydney, Australia, Dance Limerick in Ireland, Dance City in Newcastle, Dance Base in Edinburgh, Dance4 in Nottingham and Dartington in Devon.

Stephanie McMann
Stephanie McMann is a movement director, choreographer, and dancer/performer from London. Working in live performance, film, television and theatre, Stephanie develops movement vocabulary, choreography, and behaviour both to perform and direct. Stephanie has worked professionally for over 15 years and has worked extensively with artists including Roberta Jean, SERAFINE1369, Oona Doherty, Seke Chimutengewende, Theo Clinkard, Damien Jalet, Neve Harrington, amongst many others. She has toured throughout the UK and Europe and teaches professionally all over the world. She works regularly with Alex Reynolds and Charlie Mayhew in the TV, film, and commercial industries. She has most recently been working on a short film with Actor/Director Mackenzie Davis as Choreographer, called WOACA, due for release Autumn 2023.

Jude Christian
Jude Christian is a director, writer, and theatre maker. Jude was previously Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio, an Associate Artist at The Yard and the Lyric Hammersmith, and Dramaturg at RWCMD. She is an Associate Artist at the Gate Theatre. In 2019 she was appointed Associate Director at Manchester’s multi-art form centre HOME.

Hollie Miller
Hollie Miller is a performance artist with an interdisciplinary practice using her body as her primary medium to inquire into embodiment. Through the energetic she explores the psychological, political, and mythological. She often creates rebirth, metamorphosis, and embryology imagery around the state of becoming. She has performed internationally in the UK, Europe, Finland, Switzerland, Argentina and Japan in contemporary art galleries, museums, land art and performance art festivals.

Victoria Gray
Victoria Gray is an artist and practice-led researcher. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally throughout the UK, Europe, USA, and Canada. With an initial conservatoire training in dance and somatic practice, her primary medium and material is the body. Her work includes actions, interventions, time-based sculpture and video, being presented in museums, galleries and festivals in performance art, fine art, and choreographic contexts.

Katye Coe
Katye Coe is a UK based dancer, teacher, and facilitator in many different contexts. She has been working and practicing in contemporary dance and performance for over 20 years. Her work as a performer spans over 20 years of international performance practice and as a dancer she collaborates currently with Joe Moran, Florence Peake, Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion, Keira Greene, Charlie Morrissey, Stefan Jovanović, Matthias Sperling and Carolyn Deby (Sirens Crossing). Katye also works as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, and she contributed to the development of the text for this performance.

Maëva Berthelot
After graduating in 2003 from Paris Superior Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Maëva Berthelot has collaborated with artists and companies such as Emanuel Gat, Ohad Naharin, Sharon Eyal, Clod Ensemble and spent six years as a senior member with Hofesh Shechter Company, contributing creatively as an original cast member in numerous pieces and as a teacher.

Nicole Nevitt
Nicole Nevitt is a dancer/performer based in the UK. She joined National Youth Dance Company under the guest artistic directorship of Damien Jalet (2016-17). During 2017-2020 Nicole trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance. In 2020-21, she became an apprentice dancer with Scottish Dance Theatre under the directorship of Joan Clevillé. Nicole has been a freelance performer and collaborator since 2021.

Jonathan Webb
Jonathan Webb is a sound designer working across film, art, and narrative audio. His work is driven by an interest in the creative reuse of pre-existing and archival recordings, and the ways in which art, literature and cultural history can be imaginatively explored and interpreted through sound. He collaborates with artists, producers, directors, and storytellers, helping them to shape the sound of creative projects.

Grant Anderson
Grant Anderson is a lighting designer for the entertainment industry whose work covers the worlds of theatre, music, events, fashion, and architecture. Grant trained at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland receiving the Dean of Drama Award for Best Individual Work. Selected theatre credits include Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs, Light on the Shore (Edinburgh International Festival); The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (Unigram); The Steamie (Neil Laidlaw Productions); My Left Right Foot, Submarine Time Machine, One Mississippi, To Begin (National Theatre of Scotland); The Broons, Frankenstein (Sell A Door); Cuttin’ A Rug, (Macrobert, Stirling).

Dr Ben Sessa
Dr Ben Sessa is a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, working in adult addiction services and with custodial detained young people in a secure adolescent setting. He trained at UCL medical school, graduating in 1997. He is interested in the developmental trajectory from child maltreatment to adult mental health disorders. Dr Sessa is currently a senior research fellow at Bristol, Cardiff, and Imperial College London Universities, where he is conducting the UK’s first clinical studies with MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of PTSD and alcohol dependence syndrome. In the last ten years he has worked on several UK-based human pharmacology trials as study doctor or as a healthy subject administering and receiving test doses of LSD, psilocybin, MDMA, and ketamine. He is the author of several dozen peer-reviewed articles in the mainstream medical press and has written two books exploring psychedelic medicine; The Psychedelic Renaissance (2012) and To Fathom Hell or Soar Angelic (2015). In speaking publicly at universities and medical conferences, Dr Sessa is outspoken on lobbying for change in the current system by which drugs are classified in the UK, believing a more progressive policy of regulation would reduce the harms of recreational drug use and provide increased opportunities for clinical psychedelic research. He is a co-founder of the UK’s Breaking Convention conference. Within this works text we have featured a direct quote from Ben about MDMA therapy from the conversation Ben had with Netværk for Psykedelisk Terapi & Medicin in January 2022, called ‘Ben Sessa on the Future of Psychedelic Therapy.’


We have been engaging with Dr Ben Sessa (MBBS BSc MRCPsych) throughout the development of this project, learning directly from his experience conducting psychedelic therapy in research settings.

The aim of this work, Ways of Being, is to reflect on emerging clinical and academic research into medicines and therapeutic interventions, including the safe use of psychedelics in healthcare systems around the work. This work does not endorse illegal drug use, or advocate drug use for therapeutic purposes outside of a controlled medical setting.

Further Support

If you are at all concerned about your health or the health of a friend or family member, you may find useful information from one of the sources below.

Helplines & Crisis Contacts

Available 24 hours a day to provide confidential emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of distress, despair, or suicidal thoughts.
116 123 (free to call from within the UK and Ireland), 24 hours a day

Mind offers advice, support, and information to people experiencing a mental health difficulty and their family and friends. Mind also has a network of local associations in England and Wales to which people can turn for help and assistance. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm (except bank holidays).
InfoLine: 0300 123 3393 to call, or text 86463

Rethink Mental Illness works to help everyone affected by severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, recover a better quality of life. It provides effective services and support and campaigns for change through greater awareness and understanding.
National Advice Service: 0300 5000 927 (Open 9:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday)

Papyrus is the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide. They support young people under 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide, as well as people concerned about someone else. Their HopelineUK service is open 9am – midnight every day of the year (including weekends and bank holidays).
Helpline: 0800 068 4141
Text: 07860039967

A helpline for people in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. Available 5pm to midnight, every day of the year.
Helpline: 0800 58 58 58

Sane services provide practical help, emotional support and specialist information to individuals affected by mental health problems, their family, friends, and carers.
Support Forum:
Call 07984 967 708 and leave a message, giving your first name and a contact number, and someone will call you back as soon as possible.

Frank is a free practical drug advice service for adults and children.
Helpline: 0300 123 6600 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Text: 82111

Harm Reduction

DrugWise promotes evidence-based information and non-judgemental support on drug, alcohol, and tobacco issues.

Release is the national centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law. Through their services the team provides free non-judgmental, specialist advice and information to the public and professionals on issues related to drug use and to drug laws.

Roberta Jean_Ways of Being
Roberta Jean_Ways of Being | Photo: Emil Bendixen