A BOSS is returning to her Essex roots as her leading theatre company is moving its base to Maldon.

The Paper Birds was established almost 10 years ago as a socially and politically engaged theatre company with a vision to provoke change.

Its relocation from Leeds to Maldon is a homecoming for Paper Birds co-founder and artistic director Jemma McDonnell, who is from Essex.

Jemma runs the company with fellow founder Kylie Perry, who is the creative learning director.

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Since establishing itself in the area The Paper Birds has worked with most of the south east’s cultural hubs, including Colchester’s Mercury Theatre.

Jemma said: “We are proud to be a small but mighty team with a great reach – something perfectly embodied in our most recent project, The School of Hope.

“Now we are moving to Maldon, I am so excited to continue to expand our reach nationally and internationally but also to bring the work of The Paper Birds to the south east.

“We have brilliant partnerships, friendships and support in the region and look forward to making more in the future.”

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The Paper Birds will be working with young people in Essex at The Mercury and Queens Theatre in Hornchurch as part of its new show Feel Me.

Ryan McBryde, creative director of The Mercury, said: “The Mercury has been fortunate to collaborate on several projects with the inspiring team at The Paper Birds - most notably their hugely successful The School Of Hope - and we are delighted that they have taken up residency in the South East of England.

“The pandemic demonstrated how adept The Paper Birds is at pivoting and its use of innovative digital technology to reach new audiences and tell fresh stories in pioneering ways also makes them an exciting company to partner with as we move into our 50th year at the Mercury.”