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CJ Simon, Academia, and Fire and Folie Theatre

Based in both London and Sheffield, I am first and foremost a writer. From academic articles and blogs to spoken word poetry and scripts, I care passionately about the power of words to shape the world around us. It is, for this reason, most of my projects - but certainly not all - are led by me in my capacity as a writer.

As Artistic Director and CEO of my new theatre company Fire and Folie Theatre, I will champion scripts and stories that are research and impact focused. This is the case with our projects in development (The Fire This Time and Phantasy and Pheremones) which are going through long and intensive R&D processes with Sheffield Theatres and Theatre Deli, respectively. This company hopes is to develop a creative developmental practice that is both effective and fulfilling in its aims to politically, emotionally, and intellectually challenge our audiences.


This principle has also true for much of my previous works. From my plays Stuck and The Importance of Being (Somewhat) Earnest, performed at the Southwark Playhouse and Spotify respectively, to my spoken word poetry which has been performed across the UK and awareded Best Individual Poet, UniSlam 2021 and BBC Words First Finalist, 2022. This is to say that I have a long history of creative writing which I can only hope has given me the experience neccesary to continue to make great work.

Scholastically, I have been passionately involved in academia for the last four years. After graduating from the University of Sheffield with a first-class degree, I embarked on work as a researcher and research assistant on a variety of projects. With this experience, I have taken to conducting my own research projects with a focus on investigating the intersection of culture, economics, and psychology.

In 2021, I conducted a six-week investigation into how the depiction of Civil Rights History in cinema was shaped by various funding models. Work like this sits at the foundations of my ongoing PhD which investigates the psychological mechanisms that work on audiences of art and culture to understand how theatre, film, poetry, and other cultural artefacts influence our political opinions and behaviour. My PhD focuses on how art has enabled the production and resistence of white supremacy.


This research, funded by the White Rose DTP Studentship and the Stuart Hall foundation, has an intense focus on both interdisceplanry and co-produced research. On the latter, I will be working with a number of freelancers, creatives, and audiences over the next few years to shape the project. On the former, this research relies on a variety of authors and theories to ground my knowledge. From Stuart Hall and Edward Said to Susan Strange and RD Laing, my influences are broad. My focus however, is on finding points of synthesis between cultural studies, emotion studies, and ontological security.

My latest projects

My Latest Projects

Theatre Production: The Fire This Time
R&D at Sheffield Theatres

In August of 2023, Fire and Folie Theatre embarked on their first R&D of the play The Fire This Time.


In this one-man show, we follow a young boy on trial. For what we do not know. He is questioned by an intimidating judge with the voice of James Earl Jones. He is accused with anger by the prosecution with the voice of Candice Ownes. And defended by the incomprably awful Kanye West. With every new piece of evidence we hear more of his story.

This is the story of a boy adopted into a white family who on finding out about his parents affair is thrust into a world of death, viagra, and violent protests. Where does he fit in this collapsing world? Did he really light the match?

This August, CJ Simon as writer-performer, Mariella Dychoff as director-projectionist, and Vato Klemera as sound designer-composer work to find the audio-visual language. 

Academic Research: How Hollywood Shaped Our Memory of Civil Rights History

From 2021-present, I have been slowly investigating the relationship between finance and the presentation of history in cinema.

Since watching Steve McQueen's Small Axe films, I have been interested in both how history is visualised and how different visualisations of history enter into the world. What is the difference financially and substantively between Selma and Hidden Figures? Have the financial structures created a discusrive difference between Mangrove and Trial of the Chicago 7? 


Whilst the project is ongoing, the work so-far suggests that film financing does impact the eventual output. Using companies house records, filmic discourse analysis, interviews, and literature reviews I hope to produce a number of articles and video essays outlining the eventual findings of this work.

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