difficult|stage exists for the sole purpose of making relevant theatre from anything that excites and inspires us.

Founded by Katy Owen, François Pandolfo and Ben Tyreman, difficult|stage is a new Welsh Theatre Company based in Cardiff with a desire to create distinctive and exciting work. Sometimes we will do this by revisiting existing or neglected works of literature in order to breathe new life into them. At other times we will start from scratch, using vibrant new writing to create entirely original material.

We will always aim to create an unpredictable, uncompromising and unique audience experience with every performance.

Here’s a little more information on the people that make up difficult|stage:


difficult|stage: Ben, Katy and Francois
Ben, Katy and Francois

Ben Tyreman

After receiving my BA (Hons) in Drama from the University of Hull I then went on to train as an actor at the Webber Douglas Academy, which sadly no longer exists.

Since then I have worked as an Actor, Director, Writer, Production Manager, Lighting Designer, Stage Manager, Company Manager and Producer. I can’t say which role I enjoy the most, other than to say I love doing whatever I’m doing at the time! Most recently I’ve started working for the Royal Shakespeare Company as a Company Manager and my first job took me from Stratford to the West End, around the UK, to Moscow, then to New York and finally onto Ohio. It’s a great way of seeing the world and I look forward to more International touring in the future.

The formation of difficult|stage with Francois and Katy is the realisation of a long-held desire to be able to create original work, to own and nurture it and to see it grow. What excites me is the wealth of experience the three of us bring to the company and hopefully we have many things covered; Where we don’t, we’ll bring in those skills and so begins the thrill of collaboration…

Katy Owen

I trained at The Royal Welsh College Of Music And Drama and have been operating as a working actor (functioning, housebound, alcoholic and neurotic) for the last ten years. Some of my highlights include: Plum, CityScape and Cinders for Sherman Cymru. Under Milk Wood for The Royal and Derngate Theatre in Northampton. The Tempest for Theatre Iolo and The Drowned World for F.A.B Theatre.

In 2011 I created my first self-made piece – A Cold Spread a dark comedy performed by a cast of sixteen professional actors, supported by ACW and performed at The Riverside Conservative Club in Cardiff. I appeared in Casualty for the BBC and enjoyed a short sabbatical at The Marriot Hotel in Bristol where I telephoned Reception several times to ascertain the very best of the local amenities.

For BBC Radio 4, I took part in numerous afternoon plays all of which were listed in The Radio Times, extracted, highlighted, mounted on sugar paper and attached through the medium of Blue –Tak to the kitchen wall by my mother.

Along with Francois and Ben, difficult|stage is a chance for me to develop my comic voice and diffuse my ever growing fascination with the ‘Prawn Ring’ at Iceland. I also ran a marathon once. F**king killed.

Francois Pandolfo

I am Co-partner of difficult|stage and graduated from East 15 Acting School back in 2004. Since then I have been lucky enough to work in various theatres across the UK including, several plays for Theatre Clwyd: A Small Family Business & Macbeth with Terry Hands, A History Of Falling Things by James Graham, directed by Kate Wasserberg & The Voyage with Tim Baker to name a few. I played ‘Puck’ in Mappa Mundi’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Torch Theatre, Played a woman for the first time in Muscle for Shock ‘N’ Awe Productions at The Sherman & a refugee in The Container at Chapter Arts. A Cold Spread for Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard saw me working alongside Katy for the first time since college, but before then just after Drama school toured Bad Girls for The Polka Theatre Wimbledon & Watershed Productions.

My other selected TV credits include Andy in Baker Boys, Quintus in Doctor Who & Martin Fowler’s Italian exchange student in Eastenders playing, wait for it...Sonia Jackson’s first boyfriend! Thus began my catalogue of foreign parts, mainly Mediterranean in Tati’s Hotel for ITV and The House That Eileen Built & My Own Private Gondolier for BBC Radio 4 alongside Fiona Shaw. I have been waiting patiently for the right platform to expose my own brewing ideas and am extremely excited about what the future holds for difficult|stage.

“Life is a brief walk between two periods of darkness and anything that helps cheer that up is valuable”

- Joan Littlewood.