Our People

We couldn't do this without lots of people being involved. It all happens thanks to our story ministers.


Lucy Macnab, Co-Director

Lucy has a background in participation, writer development and teaching and learning. Her work is about finding ways to help people tell their stories: in print, performance, digitally, through collaboration. Most recently, Lucy was Participation Producer at Southbank Centre, where among many projects she made a Global Poetry System, a children’s production of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and an oral history of the Royal Festival Hall.

Ben Payne, Co-Director

Ben Payne is a writer, director and dramaturg, specialising in new writing for theatre. He was previously Literary Manager and Associate Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre where he established Transmissions, the company’s ground-breaking young playwrights’ scheme and programmed the work of The Door, the Rep’s new writing theatre.

Ilona Leighton-Goodall, General Manager

Ilona spent a decade in television production before leaving to manage an independent bookshop. She went on to become a Centre Director at Arvon’s residential creative writing houses, first in Shropshire then Yorkshire, returning to London to join the Ministry of Stories. She’s hopeful that her Masters in Taxonomy and Biodiversity will come in useful when catering for the monster customers at Hoxton Street Monster Supplies.


Emma Joliffe, Creative Learning Manager

Emma has over 7 years’ experience as a drama and English teacher, four of them leading secondary school drama departments.  Her passion has always been engaging young people through the arts, helping them find a voice and feel valued.

She is also a successful performance poet, appearing at gigs and festivals across the country, winning slams, and appearing on Channel 4. She is very happy to be joining the team at Ministry of Stories!

Laura Rae, Writing Programme Leader

Laura has recently left her home town of Hull, where her work for Hull Truck theatre included facilitating youth theatre workshops and directing original plays as part of Hull Truck Young Writers Festival. She is proud to have set up Hull Truck’s writing group for adults with learning difficulties and disabilities. Laura has delivered creative writing workshops in schools, youth clubs, day care centres, homeless activity centres, adult education centres and prisons. She is delighted to be in London and working for the Ministry of Stories.

Rich Catty, Administrator

Rich has over seven years experience in administrative roles but made the switch from the office to the Ministry following a delightful year of shop and mentor volunteering at MoS. He enjoys writing and attending his weekly reading club where the group share great novels and classic poetry. He is also a massive music fanatic and claims to be the biggest psych-rock enthusiast this side of Bethnal Green.

Emily Murdock, Trading Manager

Throughout childhood Emily longed to someday run a shop selling supplies for monsters and could hardly believe it when she discovered such a shop existed right on her doorstep in Shoreditch.  Prior to supplying goods to London-based werewolves, Emily worked in the fields of community conflict resolution and counseling, including as a volunteer counselor with children with the children’s mental health project Place2Be.   Emily is passionate about the value stories and myths as tools for creating joy and healing.

Ruth Davey, Fundraising Manager

After over 10 years in media sales and event organisation Ruth found her way to combine work with her love of the arts and moved into fundraising. She worked in a busy London theatre fundraising team raising awareness of the benefits of theatre and then for a youth arts festival before joining the Ministry to help change the lives of young people through writing. 

Her passions include reading, music, theatre and films and she’s especially proud of her near encyclopaedic knowledge of the Back to the Future trilogy.

Kelda Lyons, Community Engagement Coordinator

Kelda has a playwork and inclusion background, and has spent many years working with children on adventure playgrounds. Kelda is from London, and loves Hoxton Street and the local street life. She is looking forward to getting to know the area, and finding out how the Ministry of Stories can keep connecting with local people.

When she is not at the MoS, Kelda writes about play, and works with schools to help them to offer more creative play opportunities for children. Kelda loves music and dancing, and is currently learning how to disco!