Ben SantaMaria, Tom Shennan, Elizabeth Twells, Theo Harrison
Symptoms May Include
Symptoms May Include is a film created and shot remotely by a group of artists in Epping, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Studland. It explores the wide-ranging effects of post-COVID syndrome through a deliberately ambiguous narrative, which reflects the complexity of the issues raised. A woman in Manchester fights to separate fantasy from reality as she deals with some of the syndrome’s symptoms. But how far are her symptoms also linked to pre-existing mental health issues, losing her girlfriend and job, or the broader social pressures of 2020s England? And would an escape from the city solve her problems?
Ben SantaMaria – Writer
Ben is a writer based in Epping. He also directs and produces for his company, Flaming Theatre. His Arts Council-supported UK tour of his play Really Want to Hurt Me visited venues including Soho Theatre, Theatre503, Sheffield Crucible and Nottingham Playhouse. His play Lulla was longlisted for the Verity Bargate Award. He completed the National Theatre Studio Directors’ Course and Criterion New Writing Programme. Other work includes Jarman Garden (Riverside Studios – Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award finalist). Assistant directing includes Shakespeare’s Globe, Kali Theatre and The Wrestling School. His PhD is published as Cruising Culture (Edinburgh University Press).
Tom Shennan – Director
Tom is a filmmaker and video artist from Liverpool. He studied first at Oxford and then got his MA in Film Directing at Edinburgh College of Art. His narrative films are otherworldly and explore themes of anxiety and neurodivergence. During lockdown he has been working on 28 YEARS / 28 DAYS, an autobiography in 28 pieces of video art and photography. Tom was head of digital video at Comic Relief (2018–2019), creating
original sketches, documentaries and live entertainment. Other highlights include a guest appearance speaking at the Annual BAFTA Television Lecture and directing live-action and animated adverts for Greenpeace.
Elizabeth Twells – Performer
Elizabeth is an actor from Nottingham, based in Manchester. She trained at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. This year, she’s been a part of the National Tour of Holes (Fiery Angel/Nottingham Playhouse/Royal & Derngate). Recent acting credits include: Emmerdale (ITV); Death of a Salesman (Royal Exchange Theatre) and The Importance of Being Earnest (Octagon Theatre). Elizabeth is an Associate Artist for New Perspectives and a Mentor for the charity Arts Emergency.
Theo Harrison – Performer
Theo is a born and bred Londoner. His love of acting was fostered through several Edinburgh Fringe Festivals whilst studying at Durham University, before completing his drama training at ArtsEd. Recently he was part of a national tour of Italy with Pygmalion (Erasmus Theatre) before COVID struck. Since training, he has appeared in a couple of exciting commercials, as well as The Wayback (Thomas Thomas Films) – a virtual reality film series helping those who are suffering with dementia as well as their carers.