Daniela Essart, Artistic Director

Daniela is the artistic director and co-founder of Scarabeus Aerial Theatre. Since 1988, she has directed and co-devised all of the company’s production. Daniela graduated in Theatre and Film Studies at Turin University in Italy, and completed an MA in Performing Arts at Middlesex University. She trained in Physical Theatre with Jacques Lecoq, Philippe Gaullier and Monica Pagneux, as well as acrobatics, stilts, aerial techniques, abseiling and yoga.

With Technical Director Søren Nielsen, Daniela has developed a vision for a performance language that fuses aerial dance and stilts choreography with visual theatre with a narrative. She creates site responsive and touring performances, which have an intensely visceral response to space, place and text. Daniela has worked collaboratively with a range of established and up and coming artists from different fields and has collaborated with companies such as Candoco Dance Company, National Youth Theatre, Little Angel Theatre, Srishti Dance Creations and more.

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Søren Nielsen, Technical Director

Søren is the technical director and co-founder of Scarabeus Aerial Theatre, a long established multidisciplinary aerial performance company, and one of the UK leading exponents of site responsive aerial performance in unusual places. Søren started as a performer specializing in stilt dance, acro balance on stilts and aerial techniques such as trapeze and harness (vertical dance).

In the last 10 years Søren’s work for Scarabeus has involved site specific shows rigged in unusual location such as buildings, trees, tall ships, aerial structures and even a disused satellite dish. Søren also works regularly as a rigging consultant, rigger and trainer for other companies including: WacArts, Walk the Plank, Graeae Theatre and Greenwich and Docklands Festivals, The Circus Space, High Performance Rigging, Wildworks and Battersea Arts Centre, The Generating Company, Gravity and Levity, Emergency Exit Arts, and Cirque du Soleil.


Katie Shahatit, General Manager

Katie is the General Manager of Scarabeus Aerial Theatre.  Katie has worked in theatre for over ten years, most recently as the Head of Producing & Programming at Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST) where she programmed a range of work from aerial theatre through to musicals and plays across two venues, oversaw the community and engagement activities, and developed and produced in-house productions.

Prior to NST, Katie was the General Manager & Associate Producer for ebp where she worked on the much loved immersive productions Alice’s Adventures Underground, Adventures In Wonderland and Dinner At The Twits. Katie has also worked as the Finance & Administration Manager at the Lyric Hammersmith and as a Producer for The 99 Club.

Katie studied Drama & Theatre Studies at the University of Kent and spent a year studying Drama & Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.