the story so far

Potential Difference is a theatre company with a passion for creating new ideas-led work. Our mission is to inspire, excite and engage people with ideas they may not have previously encountered and to turn these ideas into powerful, thrilling stories and experiences.

Each project starts with a particular idea that we believe has a significant impact on our lives, a compelling potential for storytelling and a need to be part of conversation. We consult closely with specialists, feeding their input into every part of the creative process and finding ways for both the story we tell, and the form in which we tell it to respond to the ideas we are exploring. Through this unusual creative process, we aim to create work that is visually arresting, viscerally exciting and inspires audiences to think as well as feel.

Potential Difference grew out of the collaboration between director and technologist Russell Bender and writer Rose Lewenstein. Our first production, Game of Life, was developed through workshops at East 15 Acting School and the National Theatre Studio and produced at The Yard in 2012. Since then we've developed and produced work at Battersea Arts Centre, Cambridge Junction, Ovalhouse, Southwark Playhouse, and lead talks, seminars and workshops for Kings College Maths School, The Open University and the University of Essex.


Our work straddles theatre-making and technology. We believe technology is one of the biggest forces shaping our present and future and we're excited to make work that demystifies it and interrogates its role in our lives. We are also excited to explore the boundaries of theatre-making and technology and find new ways to incorporate technology into live performance and create new experiences for audiences, implicate them in the narrative of a piece and fire their imaginations.

We also provide creative technology consultancy to other artists and theatre-makers who are using technology in their work. We are used to working with the processes, budgets and time frames of artists, and in using technology in a way that it becomes an integrated part of a creative project rather than a tacked on gimmick. If you’re interested in knowing more about this side of our work and whether we could work with you, please get 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). He has developed work at Ovalhouse, Battersea Arts Centre and the National Theatre Studio. Russell is Creative Associate at multi award-winning arts producers Penned in the Margins. He has been a director, dramaturg or consultant on more than 15 new performance works for them. He was also an outside eye / consultant director for 2 productions by Made in China. In 2011 he was a staff director at the National Theatre. He has assisted directors including Simon McBurney, Bijan Sheibani and Tom Morris. He has taught at UCL, East 15 Acting School and Central School of Speech and Drama.
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.

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 this year’s recipient of the Clare McIntyre bursary and is developing a new play for the Royal Court in association with Kenyon College, Ohio.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

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 137 Rosendale Road, London SE21 8HE

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