Born in Liverpool, I’m an actor/writer with roots in dance, fringe theatre and comedy.
Via a Laban movement and dance training and radical theatre immersion at Oval House initiated by visionary artistic founder Peter Oliver, I worked as an actor with experimental theatre companies in the 70s and 80s, later creating myriad, comic characters for TV, stage, radio and film.
I founded theatre company Ship of Fools to develop and tour my own cabaret productions including the multi-dance extravaganza: Sympathetic Magic.
In fact, fiction and drama I have written about my post-war, radical Russian/Jewish/Liverpudlian heritage. Other published work for print and radio includes non-fiction books, short stories, poetry and sketches. As a freelance arts education journalist, I was Dance Editor of TES and Health Editor for City Limits.
I’m currently working on a memoir on my life in dance: The Stretch and developing a play set in Palestine, inspired by an intensive tour of the West Bank and Israel just before lockdown. With a cast of Middle Eastern & North African actors, MD/composer Gemma Storr, Palestinian composer/oud player Saied Silbak & Venezuelan percussionist Elizabeth Nott, an early work in progress performance played to a packed audience at P21 Gallery, Kings X & recently New Beacon Bookshop.
My dance, theatre, comedy and journalism background influenced me in setting up Vital Sparks workshops. Building on a lifetime’s experience teaching and choreographing, these have helped people develop confidence and interview skills to find meaningful work and make creative changes in their lives: www.vitalsparks.co.uk.
2023 acting work includes Nana G in Swiped (TV), The Wrong Sort of Jew (film/stage); OTTO (Berlin), The World Cup and Choice Funeral Plans (ads).
As compère, I’ve worked with writers, actors and poets to deliver their work to audiences at bookshops, festivals, jazz nights, cabarets and zoom benefits.
Interviews: https://tinoorsini.podbean.com/ (2018) http://www.unfinishedhistories.com/interviews/interviewees-a-e/norma-cohen/.
Member of Equity, NUJ and English PEN
Photo left: Leszek Halasa
with thanks to Frog Morris @ Purple Network