ANTHONY MATSENA / CO-ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Anthony is a Zimbabwean-born and Welsh-raised choreographer,
performer and director working between the mediums of dance,
theatre, music and poetry. His work often is politically charged,
hoping to make sense of his experience of being brought up in an
Afrocentric house and having Eurocentric schooling. He has built a
love and curiosity for telling stories that express themes of culture,
race, change and belonging.
Anthony co-founded Matsena Productions with his brother Kel in
2017 as a reaction to the lack of representation they were seeing in
schools, on stage and on screen. They both felt there were very
few companies that made work around black stories while using
their different skills in African dance, hip-hop, contemporary, rap,
theatre and poetry.
Anthony’s break-out moment came as a Sadler’s Wells Young
Associate in 2018, creating works for Lilian Baylis Studio Theatre
and the main stage. Recent commissions include Sadler’s Wells,
BBC, National Dance Company Wales, Jasmin Vardimon 2,
Messums Wiltshire, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and
CAPA College. He is also an associate artist with National Dance
Company Wales and Messums Wiltshire. Anthony sits on the board
of National Youth Arts Wales, also chairing the Diversity and
Inclusion board for National Youth Dance Wales.
More recently, he has directed and choreographed Shades of Blue
which visited Sadler’s Wells, DanceEast and RWCMD in Spring
2022 as well as premièring Matsena Productions' first feature-length
film, Error Code 8:46 in Swansea at Taliesin Arts Centre. Alongside this, his work for National Dance Company of Wales, Codi, toured extensively
throughout the UK this year.
KEL MATSENA / CO-ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Kel Matsena is a Zimbabwean born and Welsh raised actor, dancer and writer. Kel began dancing in a street dance trio with his brothers Anthony and Arnold, performing at festivals, charity events and appearing on television. He then began ballet and contemporary dance with Turning Pointe Dance Academy and County Youth Dance Company, later discovering his love for acting at Gower College Swansea.
He graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and has appeared on television series’ for BBC & Channel 4 and feature film Mad Heidi as well as BOING at Bristol Old Vic and the UK/US Tour of Oliver Award Winning A Monster Calls. He co-founded Matsena Productions in 2017 with Anthony Matsena and since then they have used the company to create a platform for bolder and more diverse storytelling. He co-wrote Are You Numb Yet which won the “International Infallible Award” for “Best Show” at 2020’s Digital ED Fringe Festival. This was followed by his co-direction on Error Code 8:46, the company’s first feature-length film which premièred in Swansea in Spring 2022.
This year he co-directed and co-choreographed DREAM for RWCMD and also assisted on the creation of Codi, a new work for National Dance Company Wales which toured the UK extensively.
More recently, Kel co-directed and co-choreographed Shades of Blue which visited DanceEast, RWCMD and Sadler’s Wells, receiving critical acclaim.
ARNOLD MATSENA / ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Arnold Matsena is a choreographer, musician and model. He was featured on BBC Move it like Micheal Jackson live finals, ITV Britain's Got Talent and Sky Tv for dancing. He is the recent winner of the “Wales youth award winner for best performer”. He teaches workshops in colleges, schools and dance schools around the United Kingdom. Arnold was crowned Mr Wales in 2012 and since then he has been focused on pushing the arts in Wales to the world stage, supporting and encouraging the next generation of artists to go further than before.
GAVIN MCCAIG / MARKETING MANAGER
Gavin is a Junior Soloist and Creative with Northern Ballet. His varied performance career has included performances on some of the biggest stages in the UK, including The Royal Opera House and Sadler's Wells. Gavin's choreographic and directorial work for stage and screen has gained critical acclaim and he works across the sector coaching, choreographing and engaging with organisations at board level. Outside of his creative career, he works with SME's to grow their following, create and manage content distribution and develop their brands through web and content design.
MARITA ANASTASI / INTERN
Marita (she/her) Cyprus raised, London based dance artist. At the moment she is engaged with choreography, performance, writing and producing and like a lot of fellow artists in London makes the bulk of her money in the hospitality sector. She holds a double Bachelor’s degree in History and Dance from American University, Washington DC, a Master's in Contemporary Dance from the London Contemporary Dance School as well as a Graduate Diploma in Law. She has worked for over 2 years as a choreographer, performer and production assistant with various organisations and collectives in Cyprus and the UK such as Dance House Lemesos, Dance House Lefkosia, Buffer Fringe Performing Arts Festival, The Place and Inklingroom. As an immigrant in the UK, from a previously colonised island with limited infrastructure for the arts, Marita wants to help uplift other artists from similar backgrounds. In the long run she hopes to use her toolkit to positively influence legislation and funding structures for the arts.
DECLAN MCCARTHY / APPRENTICE
Declan McCarthy is a writer, director and puppeteer. He is interested in telling stories of unfulfilled potential and unlocking unbefore ideas. They trained as an actor at Chichester College; playing Nick in Carrie’s War & Olaf in Pillars of the Community while concurrently gaining experience as a member of the Chichester Festival Youth Theatre; performing in Sleeping Beauty as a Forest Creature, Crossing Lines as Sony (leading audiences around a city in the promenade show) and as flying monkey Nikko in Wizard of Oz.
They currently are training as a director at University of Plymouth; having recently been assistant director for Above Bounds' The Pizza Inspector, created a short extraterrestrial version of Romeo & Juliet, and directed an online production of Tom Wells’ About a Goth, during lockdown. Simultaneously, he writes in his spare time, and is a member of the British Puppet & Model Theatre Guild, and has trained under Parker Puppetry to become a puppeteer; making short films starring a fox called Magnus.