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Director and Cast

Playout is run by Becky Simpson who became a pioneer of theatre-based training over thirty years ago. Playout was formed in 1996. Courses are created by Becky. Playout have a large and diverse database of established professional role-playing actors and presenters who have worked both on stage and television. They all combine their professional backgrounds with training expertise to create dynamic projects.


Becky Simpson has worked extensively in corporate sector training. She has an expert understanding of the health service and public sector training needs. She will take your brief and create a focused and challenging training programme.

She is an excellent speaker and sensitive facilitator. She originally trained at the Guildford School of Acting after which she worked both as a professional actor in repertory theatre and as a television and radio presenter for independent TV companies and the BBC world service. Becky has also written for various journals about her work and is also a scriptwriter.



Zoe Bywater trained as an actor at Middlesex and has done a variety of work since.She has performed in productions at The York Theatre Royal, The Belgrade, Sadlers Wells, TheGate Theatre, The Tate Modern and The Little Angel Theatre amongst others. She toured nationally with the English Shakespeare Company and toured Italy with Il Palchetto Stage and ran workshops alongside these productions.

She has performed in Murder Mysteries on The Orient Express and in a castle for ElleMacPherson and performed in the Alain Flower Festival in Dubai. 

TV includes: Dead Ringers (BBC), Peak Practice (Carlton TV) and The Human Zoo (LWT) with Ricky Gervais. She has taught at Arts Ed from Foundation to MA Level and at ACT, Brighton on their summer course for children as well as regular adult classes and Stagecoach in Eastbourne. She has co directed at The Bridewell and The Young Vic, London. 

Zoe has 20 years of experience in Communication skills work. She works extensively for Playout as Simulated Patients at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School .


Tom Cotcher trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama circa 1968-1971. After successfully completing the acting course, he went straight into repertory theatre around the UK for the next 5 years, including 3 years with the famous Dundee Repertory Theatre Company. Moving south he joined the British American Repertory Co. for a tour of Holland, then the Cambridge Theatre Co's tour of England and India before veturing onto the Off Broadwy stage of the East 59th Street Theatre in New York.  
Wanting to work in front of a camera, Tom landed varied and many roles on televison including Eddie Fraser in the Thames Television 's news drama MAKING NEWS.  Then followed 2 TAGGARTS, umpteen DOCTORS and HOLBY CITIES, Catherine Cooksons' THE SECRET, THE C WORD, KILLING EVE etc etc etc and most recently in the highly acclaimed series TED LASSO. But he is probably best known for playing D. C. Woods for 4 years in THE BILL. Films include BLOOD MOON, DEATH DEFYING ACTS,  S.N.U.B. etc etc etc.
He is also narrator of many books including the Inspector Rebus novels and is the voice on many televiosn documetaries including 10 years narrating ICE ROAD TRUCKERS for The History Channel. Tom is also an artist and exhibits in both London and Glasgow his home town. He calls his own style of work 'Naive Matisse'.  "Matisse because they are highly colourful and Naive because I don't know what I'm doing" he says!


Shaila Alvarez ia a professional role-playing actor who has worked on TV shows including 'Peaky Blinders' and 'Gangs of London' where she played a doctor (thanks to the work she has done with Becky). She is regularly involved  in medical role-plays for Playout in particular at Brighton and Sussex medical school. Shaila is half Spanish and half Indian which brings a level of diversity and realism into medical student's training. Shaila is also a  Spanish teacher and uses a unique method called the SpanishRap Method.  She has just launched an app for people to Start Speaking Spanish in only 6 weeks. Shaila also plays Beach Volleyball at National Level.