The story so far

It all started with a curiosity shared by director Russell Bender and writer Rose Lewenstein.

Russell and Rose were fascinated by the idea of 'emergence' - the way complex patterns can emerge out of simple rules. Emergence explains why an ant colony can be so sophisticated when one ant is such a simple creature. They wondered if they could make a show about this phenomenon applies to our lives- while literally using the properties of emergence to make the show.

Playing in workshops at East 15 Acting School and the National Theatre Studio led to their making  Game of Life, which ran at The Yard in 2012.

Thrilled by audience responses, Russell was keen to explore more ideas from science with theatre, and so Potential Difference was born.

“The ideas explored in the play seem to have infiltrated through the entire process of its creation, and there is an impressive rigour to the way the form expresses the content and the content plays with the form. Making complex ideas emotionally engaging and allowing philosophical concepts to be looked at in fresh and subtle ways, Game of Life is a fascinating play… ” - Exeunt Magazine

Since 2013, the company has developed and produced work at Battersea Arts Centre, Cambridge Junction, Ovalhouse, Southwark Playhouse, and The Old Fire Station, Oxford.

Potential Difference facilitates collaborations between artists, thinkers, and scientists who share goals of bringing ideas from academia to a wider audience. The company has led talks, seminars and workshops for Kings College Maths School, The Open University, the University of Essex and School of Advanced Studies.

Our work spans theatre and digital technology

Potential Difference also provides creative technology consultancy and app development to other artists and theatre companies who are using technology in their work.

We believe digital technology is one of the biggest forces shaping our present and future. In much of our work we look for new ways to incorporate technology into live performance to find new approaches to telling stories.

Our experience as theatre-makers help us to first develop a full understanding of the experience intended for the audience, and we develop the technology from there. As makers ourselves, we are able to work responsively alongside artists' processes, time-frames, and budgets, while we aim for the technology to become a fully integrated part of the work. We have developed iPhone and Android apps, implemented video streaming solutions, and set up high performance closed WiFi networks for audience members.

If you are interested in knowing more about this side of our work and whether we might be able to help your project, pleaseget in touch.

Who we are

Russell Bender - Artistic Director

Russell is a theatre director, producer and dramaturg with a background in technology.His work as a director includes FAIR FIELD (Commissioned by Shoreditch Town Hall / Ledbury Poetry Festival), NO DOGS, NO INDIANS by Siddartha Bose (commissioned by Brighton Festival, Southbank Centre, Live Theatre, Newcastle), DARKNET by Rose Lewenstein (Southwark Playhouse), KISS OF THE EARTH (Concert Theatre, 25 venue UK tour), THE SHROUD by Siddartha Bose (Rich Mix / Norfolk and Norwich Festival), GAME OF LIFE by Rose Lewenstein (The Yard). As a technologist, Russell has ten years experience in web and mobile applications. He was a senior developer at leading arts ticketing and marketing providers Spektrix from 2008-2011 and continues to work as a freelance consultant and creative technologist. Russell is Creative Associate at multi award-winning arts producers Penned in the Margins.

Kendall Masson - Associate Producer

Kendall is a freelance theatre producer and arts fundraiser. She has been Associate Producer with Potential Difference since 2016. Kendall has worked with individual artists and organisations including Convergence (music + art + technology festival), Village Underground, Sophie Woolley, Di Mainstone and Tonic Theatre, Actors Touring Company and Told by an Idiot.

Rose Lewenstein - Associate Artist

Rose is a writer for stage and screen. She trained at the Central School of Speech & Drama and has participated in various Royal Court writers programmes, including the 2012 Supergroup. Plays include: ‘Darknet’ (Southwark Playhouse), ‘Now This Is Not The End’ (Arcola Theatre), ‘Psychoslut’ (Women @ RADA reading), ‘Game Of Life’ (The Yard), ‘Only Human’ (Theatre 503) and ‘Ain’t No Law Against Fish ‘n’ Chips’ (Royal Court Young Writers Festival reading). Short plays include: ‘Fucking Feminists’ (Hampstead Theatre/Theatre 503), ‘Brit-ish’ (Southwark Playhouse Young Company) and ‘Spunk’ (Arcola Theatre/Latitude Festival/Pleasance Edinburgh). Her play 'Cougar' will receive its world premiere at the Orange Tree Theatre in February 2019, directed by Chelsea Walker. Rose is currently developing a number of TV projects including THE GENDER GAMES (Sunnymarch), which is an adaptation of the memoir of the same name by Juno Dawson, original series TROLLS (Hillbilly Films), SELF and 2121 (both with Kudos) and THE DROP (Red Production Company). She recently wrote THAT GIRL, a drama single that formed part of the Channel 4 new crime drama anthology ON THE EDGE.  

Henry Garner - Associate Artist

Henry is a freelance web developer, data scientist and creative technologist with a background in fine arts. For 4 years he was director and chief technologist of his own medium-sized business providing marketing advice to multinational companies & government organisations based on crunching large quantities of user website data. He's currently a freelance consultant and has recently published a book on data science &machine learning. His background is in fine art however, and he also helps artists realise their creative visions with technology. He's done so in locations as diverse as the Tate Britain, Great Eastern Hotel and the Cicely Saunders Institute. For Potential Difference he was lead developer on Android based video streaming technology used for DARKNET, and on the cross platform mobile app developed for STILL. He has coached web development for software bootcamp “Makers’ Academy”.

Our board of trustees

James Baggaley (Chair)

Susan Hitch

Felicity Sang

Ligia Osepciu

Company Info

Potential Difference Theatre is a company limited by guarantee (no 08674697) and a registered charity in England and Wales (no 1166204). Our registered office is 160 Wynford Road, London N1 9SW

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