Our Story

Potential Difference was sparked by 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. Why is an ant colony can be so sophisticated when one ant is such a simple creature?

Experimenting in workshops at East 15 Acting School and the National Theatre Studio led to Game of Life, which ran at The Yard in 2012. Thrilled with audience responses, Russell was excited to explore more ideas from science with theatre, and so Potential Difference was born.

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

The company has led talks, seminars and workshops for Kings College Maths School, The Open University, the University of Essex, and the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, and delivered projects in primary schools in three London boroughs.

Digital Technology

Potential Difference also provides creative technology consultancy and app development to other artists and theatre companies.

In much of our work, we look for new ways to incorporate technology into live performance to reflect on how stories are being told today -  and find new approaches too.

Potential Difference has developed iPhone and Android apps, implemented custom video streaming solutions, developed innovative augmented reality projects and set up high performance closed WiFi networks for audience members.

Our aim is for the technology to become a fully integrated part of the work. As developers, we want to gain a full understanding of the theatrical experience intended for the audience, and develop the technology from there. As theatre-makers, we work responsively alongside artists' processes, time-frames, and budgets.

If you are interested in knowing more about this side of our work and whether we might be able to help your project, 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 Siddhartha 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 Siddhartha Bose (Rich Mix / Norfolk and Norwich Festival), GAME OF LIFE by Rose Lewenstein (The Yard). 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.

Natalie Allison - Associate Producer

Biography coming soon

Jess Mabel Jones - Associate Artist

Biography coming soon

Rose Lewenstein - Associate Artist 2013 - 2016

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' received its world premiere at the Orange Tree Theatre in February 2019, directed by Chelsea Walker. Rose is currently developing a number of TV projects.  

Henry Garner - Associate Artist 2015 -2018

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

Iltaph Khaliq

James Baggaley (Chair)

Jane Martin

Ligia Osepciu

Tina Strack

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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