About Different Planet Arts

How we started:
Different Planet Arts sprang out of multimedia/theatre collaboration between Paddington Arts, Same Sky and Turtle Keys Arts. After a very successful 6 years running theatrical events for people with special needs and learning difficulties based on Outer Space a new company was born. Different Planet Arts is an exciting cross-arts initiative aimed at hard to reach individuals and communities. We have combined our skills and experience as performers, visual and digital artists, musicians, drama therapists, storytellers, and facilitators to create this vibrant new company. We encourage reverse inclusion in the projects, with the aim of providing a diverse cultural platform that is accessible to all. We undertake a range of cross arts and commercial commissions. These include participatory theatre and performances, installations, site-specific and touring shows, and workshops. We can offer expertise for your project and events (creative direction, project management, specialist facilitation, production and creative learning). We offer bespoke, affordable projects and events for all ages and abilities.

Working with creatives:
We work with a wide variety of artists and practitioners including visual artists, actors, dancers, storytellers, digital artists, musicians, and arts therapists.

Working with volunteers:
We involve volunteers across the operational and creative aspects of our work, they are valuable members of our team. If you are interested in volunteering please get in touch!

Different Planet Arts Team:

Ari smiling on Marshes

Ariane Hadjilias - Artistic Director

Ariane is a qualified dramatherapist graduating from  Roehampton University in 2007. Before becoming the Director of Different Planet Arts Ariane worked widely as a dramatherapist with children and adolescents in several settings including Whippersnappers and Kids Company as well as working in adult mental health in a variety of settings including therapeutic communities and primary health care. She has a passion for inclusive arts and the power of creativity to transform and bring joy to our lives. Ariane has worked extensively within cross-arts initiatives in community led arts as a workshop facilitator, producer and project manager in areas of theatre participation, engagement, and diversity. She studied physical theatre at the Desmond Jones School of Mime and Physical Theatre, and Commedia dell Arte and Mask Theatre at Centre Selavy in France and apprenticed in traditional storytelling with Ben Haggerty. She has pursued further training in Playback, Forum Theatre, fooling and clowning.

Ariane has also worked as a  freelance traditional storyteller for 15 years and devises and performs shows for adults and children, for the street, festivals, and stage in the UK and further afield. She has worked for The Southbank, The Round House Theatre, Liverpool Children’s Festival, The Komedia in Brighton, Ray Mears, The National Trust, WOMAD,  Groundwork and Edmonton International Storytelling Festival.

Different Planet Arts Board of Trustees:

Gavin Taylor

Gavin Taylor - Chair

Gavin holds a BA in Theatre from the University of New Hampshire and qualified as a drama therapist at Roehampton University in 2008. He has nearly two decades of experience developing theatre projects, primarily working in stagecraft, technical theatre and puppetry. His arts in education and disability credits range from work with the Edinburgh Science Festival through the Little Angel Puppet Theatre to the City of London Festival. Since 2007 Gavin has helped manage advice, welfare and disability services at St. George’s, University of London.

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Claire Rose - Secretary 

Claire holds a BSc in Computer Studies and is a Director of Technology for a Global Financial Services company. She enjoys bringing skills gained in the corporate environment to community projects and has previously set up a partnership with a local special educational needs school enlisting volunteers from the corporate world to help pupils with lessons. She is also a STEM ambassador and is passionate about encouraging girls to consider careers in IT. She has also previously served as a trustee for Same Sky, a local community arts organisation.

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Jenna Khalfan

Jenna Khalfan is an experienced director of communications with nearly 20 years experience working in media, campaigns and stakeholder management. She is currently Director of Communications and Engagement at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. Prior to that Jenna spent a number of years leading the communications for a number of health and social care organisations. Jenna began her career working in political relations for a number of campaigning organisations.


Sophie Gaston

Sophie Gaston has over 15 years’ experience of education and charity leadership and development, both in the UK and internationally. Originally a languages teacher, she has school leadership team experience and has also held several senior education charity sector roles in the UK and India. In recent years she has worked freelance for charities advising on education policy and strategy as well as caring for her son who has autism and PMLD, which is how she became involved with Different Planets Arts. Sophie has been both a school governor and charity trustee throughout her career.

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Keith Popple

Keith is Emeritus Professor of Social Work, London South Bank University. A former practitioner Keith has for many years taught, researched, and written in the areas of social work, social policy, and community development. Previously a trustee of the Barbican Theatre, Plymouth, and the Community Action Network based in Bournemouth, Poole, and Christchurch, he is author of several key articles and books including Analysing Community Work published in 2015 by the Open University. Keith is now researching into what we mean by democracy in the UK. He is Chair of Brighton and Hove Fabian Society. 



Debby Norris - Treasurer

I have challenged for inclusion since I was 7 years old having had a close friend excluded from my school for having leg braces. I am delighted to join Different Planet Arts as Treasurer. I am a Fellow Chartered Accountant and bring experience from working in FTSE-plc 100 companies to running my own Chartered Accountancy practise for the past 14 years.

We are a registered charity no. 1180547


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