The critical voice that advises and cajoles within earshot of others to gain support for a position.



Loud Talkin’ is a focus for a critical voice and distinct combination of skills. The experience of making opportunities for marginalised voices in the arts enables us to make projects that are exciting, innovative and challenging.

Loud Talkin’ celebrates the voice of the less ‘predictable’ and ‘harder to reach’ whether they audiences, artists or creatives.

Loud Talkin’ aims to challenge the face of leadership and normalise inclusion by creating greater visibility and be a strategic catalyst for change.


The Team

Karena Johnson has worked for many years as a theatre director, producer and facilitator of emerging artists, consultant and commentator. Her pioneering career includes being CEO/Artistic Director of The BROADWAY in Barking, Acting Artistic Director of Contact Theatre in Manchester, Artistic Director of touring theatre company Kushite, Associate at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nottingham Playhouse, NOW Festival and Head of Theatre Programming at Oval House Theatre.

Her work has been recognised with TMA award for diversity and a nomination for a special award for ‘theatre with cojones’. She has also won a Jerwood Young Directors Award and Highly Commended Business Person of the year B&D Business Awards.

Karena’s directing work includes: Time Out Critic’s choice UNDER THEIR INFLUENCE by Wayne Buchanan, sold out production of FORTY by Angie La Mar at Hackney Empire and SWEET YAM KISSES by Courttia Newland and Pat Cumper critically acclaimed UNDERNEATH – NOTHING AS SILENT AS SNOW commissioned for the Seas Festival in the Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania and THE KEY GAME by Pat Cumper.

Karena is currently the Artistic Director and CEO at Hoxton Hall


Kate Sarley Born Inaam Catherine Salih bin Alhashmi in Baghdad Iraq, grew up in Newham East London.

Kate trained in Technical Theatre and Stage Management at RADA before studying Arts Admin at Birkbeck College, University of London. She then spent over ten successful years as a Stage Manager working for a variety of companies including the RSC, Unicorn Kids Theatre and in the West End.

Having move into administration Kate worked for English Heritage, Soho Theatre Company and Theatre Royal Stratford East, before undertaking senior management contracts with Colchester Arts Centre, Talawa Theatre Company, Oval House, Daily Life Ltd, Jacksons Lane, Discover Centre for Children, Eastern Angles, Shape East Architectural Centre and Hoxton Hall.  Current clients include Culture&, Hans de Krester Associates and tiata fahodzi.

Kate is the proud mother of two amazing young adults and a couple of cats



Susannah Henry (Designer) trained at Wimbledon School of Art and Central Saint Martins.

Her designs include The Royal Duchess Superstore (Broadway Theatre Barking), War Game (Bristol Old Vic), Scan Artists (Roundhouse), Nothing Is The End of the World (Except the End of the World) (Finborough Theatre), Being Tommy Cooper for Franklin Productions (UK Tour), 179 Hackney Road (Brighton Fringe and Bussey Building) Gianni Schicchi  / Zanetto (Opera Holland Park), The Wright Brothers (Oxford Playhouse), Daniel Kitson’s It’s Always Right Now Until It’s Later (NT and Traverse Theatre) and C90 (Traverse Theatre and Sydney Opera House), Little Voice (Hull Truck), Alice in Wonderland (Brewhouse Theatre), Pushing Up Poppies (Theatre 503), The Tempest (Guildford Shakespeare Co), Trilogy Part 2 by Nic Green (Arches Glasgow, BAC and Barbican), Grumpy Old Women Live 2 and Fifty Shades of Beige (National Tour and West End), The Christ of Coldharbour Lane (costume design, Soho Theatre) and Sweet Yam Kisses for Kush Ensemble (Lyric Hammersmith).

Further details are available at www.susannahhenry.co.uk


Prema Mehta (Lighting Designer) trained at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and has since designed the lighting for over one hundred drama and dance productions.

Designs for drama productions include The Great Extension (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Snow Queen (Derby Theatre), The Husbands (UK tour), Calcutta Kosher (Arcola Theatre), Fourteen (Watford Palace Theatre) and The Electric Hills (Liverpool Everyman). Designs for dance productions include Hercules (New Art Club at Nottingham Playhouse and UK tour), Penguin Café in collaboration with The London College of Fashion (Cochrane Theatre), Jugni (UK tour,) Bells (Mayor of London’s Showtime event), Sufi Zen (Royal Festival Hall), Dhamaka (O2 Arena) and Maaya (Westminster Hall). She also collaborated with an artist to create a glass, mirror and light installation for a project called Shared Memories (Arcola Theatre).

Further details are available at www.premamehta.com


Andrew Williams (Sound Designer) won a bursary 25 years ago to train as a stage manager for one year with Black Theatre Cooperative and sound engineering at Red Tape Studios in Sheffield

He has worked with several companies including GYPT, Theatre Centre, The Posse, Black Theatre Co-op, Straight to Audience, Kushite Theatre Company,   Hackney Empire and GeeStor Productions. He has worked in all aspects of Theatre from Stage /Production Manager, Set designer, set builder Lighten and of course sound and that is where his passion lies. He has his own home recording studio where he not only creates sound scapes and music for theatre productions but also jingles and remixes for DJ’s up and down the country. He is currently Technical & Venues Manager at University of Bristol Students Union.

Andrew DJ’s and runs his own internet radio station, Soulful Sundayz 21.00-00.00 on Bouce88  http://bounce88online.listen2myradio.com


Kala Simpson (Company Stage Manager) trained in Stage Management at Central School of Drama

Since graduating in 2001 Kala has worked primary as a Deputy Stage Manager or  Company Manager in many theatrical environments, from repertory to mid scale touring; in the West End and with youth and community groups.   Contracts include working with companies such as the Young Vic, Royal Court, English Touring Theatre, Headlong , Eclipse Theatre Company, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Broadway Theatre Barking and more recently for Loud Talkin.