The Simply Square Players:
Austen Shiels Heath, Ben Cole & Claire Kinson
Claire trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and subsequently went straight into The Mermaid Theatre. TV and film roles followed before Claire left the theatre to raise her daughters. Ten years ago following a chance meeting she found herself in cabaret. This was followed by a one woman show Tallulah and the Boy before London and The Pleasance Theatre beckoned and the role of Heidi Schiller in Follies. More Sondheim and another cabaret Sadie and the Faded Ladies appearing in Leicester Square Theatre. These days Claire can be found behind a microphone as she records audiobooks, gaming voices, and narrates documentaries with the odd film cameo thrown in!
Austen Shiels Heath originates from West London and graduated from LAMDA in 1986. Having got his Equity card with a single line at The Riverside Studios he went into productions at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and the Harrogate Studio. Followed by fringe productions at the Theatre Museum, Latchmere. Travel beckoned and a new life running boutiques for Paul Smith and Calvin Klein. Now firmly back on the acting scene Austen is a founding member of The Simply Square Players.
Ben Cole was born in 1960 and grew up in the UK around London and began his professional acting by training at The Drama Centre from 1989-9. He was spotted in his final year and invited to join a company formed from Joan Littlewood’s company and went onto join many companies in the UK repertory system including York Theatre Royal, Colchester Theatre and The open Air Theatre in Regents Park where he performed alongside actors including Raiph Fiennes, Richard E Grant and was directed by the Cheek By Jowl directors in Romeo and Juliet.
But the 90’s was a time of Arts Council grant cuts and many Rep Companies became touring theatres. Ben’s last company experience was as a leading player in Jane Eyre alongside Tim Pigott-Smith which transferred from Theatre Clwyd to The Playhouse in London’s West End.
He went onto playing leading roles in drama feature films alongside Anthony Perkins, Christopher Lee, Carol Baker and many more. After a few years playing roles on TV, Ben took a break from acting and began two decades of film making, beginning with cult films including 1 Giant leap nominated for 2 Grammies and Time Of The Sixth Sun, dramas such as ‘Winterlong’ nominated for Best British Drama at Edinburgh Film Festival. He coaches and mentors new film makers at The Screen and Film School in Brighton.
He has recently begun a new venture as a director and coach, his first drama ‘Frosted Glass’ won a silver award at the LIIFAwards in Los Angeles.
Plus directing ‘The Square players’ – a group of professional actors from his home town of Hastings dedicated to recording classical plays for radio and podcasts.