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School of Arts and Media

Jo Combes

Academic Fellow in Theatre and Television Drama 0.5

Biography

After university and drama school, I won a trainee directorship to the Orange Tree Theatre, where I
then directed Women of Troy and Alison’s House. I assisted Dominic Cooke at the Royal Court
and was subsequently appointed by Marianne Elliott to the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
as Channel Four Young Director. After a traineeship there, I directed Knives in Hens in the Studio
and was made Associate Director in 2004.
During my six years as Associate Director at the Royal Exchange, my productions included the
50th anniversary production of A Taste of Honey and a major revival of Roots, when I worked with
the late Sir Arnold Wesker. Other productions for the Exchange were The Vortex, Pretend you have
Big Buildings, co-directed with Sarah Frankcom, Salt, and Maybe Tomorrow. I also directed and
adapted Electra in the studio.
Alongside directing duties at the Exchange, I was also Literary Manager and was responsible for
establishing the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting which has since uncovered the next generation
of new writing talents.
Following my passion for working with writers took me to the BBC in 2010, where I ran the
northern office of the BBC Writersroom for a year before being headhunted to join the BAFTA and
Emmy award-winning Lime Pictures as a Development Executive. In 2016 I was made Head of
Development at Lime, and then spent two years championing writers, script editing commissions
and developing for/pitching to multiple television networks.
I joined the team at Salford University in summer 2018.

Teaching

I am currently teaching on Acting Methods 1 and 2, Playwriting and also supervising Level 6
PRP.

Research Interests

Writing for stage and screen, gender balance/representation in the creative industry

Qualifications and Memberships

BA and MA in English, Oxford University
Postgraduate Diploma in Directing, LAMDA