Who we are.

When insularity grows and borders start closing, we need a way to connect the world. As a women-led production company, we believe theatre can do this.

“The problems we’re facing feel less and less ‘people-sized,’ and that weakens the connections between problems and solutions… Storytelling is a way to close that gap.” - From playwright Tatty Hennessy's article Why should we care about stories?

Our mission

We take risks to challenge our ideas of self and the world in which we live. We encourage our audiences to do the same.

45North champions, develops and produces work by female-identifying and non-binary artists. Led by artists from a variety of performing and producing backgrounds, we continue to reinvest in emerging creatives who are beginning and expanding their practices.

Music, movement and more

We are a women-led production company who thrive on diversity. We cover:

Jekyll & Hyde – Ali Wright-22

Based in London, touring the world

Here in Hackney Down Studios we have an amazing space available to creatives and makers. Our productions tour the world from Edinburgh to Australia.


Our pledge

In 2020, 75% of 45North’s creative teams will be female-identifying or non-binary people.

Why 75%?

51% of the UK population is female. 65% of UK theatre audiences is female. But only 28% of playwrights, 36% of directors and 39% of actors are women. Source: Purple Seven survey 2012 – 14

How can theatre truly represent society when at least 10 – 20% of it is missing?

Rufus Norris of London’s National Theatre guaranteed that it would reach 50% representation for female writers and directors by 2021. Our aim of 75% helps compensate for theatre production companies who don’t have such targets in place.


Team: Jessica Rose McVay (She/Her)

45North Creative Director, CEO

Born and bred in Minneapolis, USA and based in London, Jessica is passionate about collaborative, ensemble-based work focusing on underrepresented and unheard voices.

She is a graduate of UCLA’s School of Theater Film and Television with a BA in Theater Arts with a specialization in direction, and a minor in Asian Humanities. Jessica is fluent in Mandarin.

Jessica earned her MA in Drama Directing at the UK’s Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. She also won the Elsa Roberts Directing Award for her production of Sarah Kane’s Crave.

You can read more about Jessica’s decision to choose London as her base in An American in the UK – for Producer’s Perspective

UK experience

Bristol Old Vic, The Vaults, The Space, Gilded Balloon, Assembly Festival, Redgrave Theatre, Wardrobe Theatre, and White Bear Theatre.

USA experience

Broadway, Guthrie Theater, Victory Gardens Theater, Jungle Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Ars Nova, Balcony Theatre, and Open Eye Figure Theater.

Experience in Russia and Italy

In 2013 Jessica spent the winter in Taganrog, Russia co-directing Romeo And Juliet, which also toured in Italy. She then created and directed a studio piece based on the experiences of the international acting company entitled … Or What I Found Across The Border.

Professional membership

USA: Associate Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society UK: Member of Stage Directors UK, Equity

Discover more on Jessica’s website

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Team: Charlie Lees-Massey (She/Her)

45North Director of Culture

Joining the 45North Events team in 2021, Charlie has a background in acting and video production based in London and Bristol. She is passionate about human connection, immersive storytelling, and accessibility.

Charlie trained at East 15, where devising and creative storytelling became her focus. She used these skills to later move into video production, where she was able to transform client briefs into creative video content, connecting with interviewees from all walks of life and effectively tell their stories.

She has been lucky enough to work with a wide variety of clients, from interviewing children for Greenpeace, hiking across Ireland for The Sunday Times to filming undercover with LBC.

She is hugely excited about moving into events with a focus on transforming briefs into creative immersive and interactive experiences, particularly looking at sustainability, collaboration and inclusivity.

Why are we called 45North?

We founded our production company in 2018. We wanted a strong and memorable name. 45 degrees North is the latitude of Minneapolis, the home town of our founder. As we’re all about direction and moving forward, it works as a compass bearing too.


“It would be easy to manipulate the audience to tears, but director Jessica Rose McVay holds back here, and it works to her advantage.” - The Reviews Hub

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Taking risks to challenge our ideas of self and the world in which we live.



Studio 44

Hackney Downs Studios
London E8 2BT
England, UK