Michelle is a director and playwright from Essex recently working on artist-led programme Future Forms with the Donmar Warehouse under the guidance of Sacha Wares.


Michelle was a 2019 recipient of the Regional Theatre Young Directors' Scheme completing a three month residency at the Mercury Theatre Colchester. Here she assisted Ryan McBryde on Cinderella which was nominated for Best Pantomime at the Great British Panto Awards. 


In 2020 her immersive, site-specific dance play Squad Goals at Dagenham & Redbridge F.C. received multiple 4 & 5 star reviews and features from theatre and national press before being published by Salamander Street in April 2021.


Recent Directing Credits:

Childish Things (London College of Music - BA Acting & Theatre-Making), Mind Over Matter Untitled Musical Project (previously M@n Enuff) by Emy.P & Michelle Payne (R&D for Mind Over Matter, Theatre Peckham + Finalist: The LET Award 2022), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Alexandra Theatre, University of Chichester - Musical Theatre Performance), Dear Dead Jason by Jen Moss (Bruised Sky Productions, R&D), The Liberators by Michelle Payne (PPA 3rd Year Acting for Stage & Screen), My Three Sisters by Holly Rose Hawgood (The Bush, R&D), Jess by Stephanie Silver (The Space UK Online) which received an ONCOMM for Digital Theatre at The Offies, Squad Goals by Michelle Payne (Dagenham & Redbridge FC), Find Me by No Fixed Address (VAULT Festival 2020) and Ordinary Days (Rose & Crown).


Recent Writing Credits:

Enthusiastically, Yes! A New Musical w/ Craig Webb (Long List: ALP & Aria Entertainment Chamber Musical Competition) at The Garrick West End, Chelsea for The End of the Line Podcast (InkJockey), Memory Box (winner: Mercury Monologues), Sad About the Cows at Tristan Bates Theatre).

Assistant/Associate Directing Credits:

Headcase by Kristin Mcilquham (Dir: Laura Keefe), Princess Essex by Anne Odeke (Dir: Robin Belfield), Cinderella at the Mercury Theatre Colchester (Dir: Ryan McBryde).

Michelle is Creative Engagement Co-ordinator for the WildChild Organisation (Oli Lansley & Christa Harris) and a show-watcher & assistant for acting agency Artlen House Associates.

Michelle is also an acting teacher for various drama schools. 

Michelle is represented by Helen Mumby at The Soho Agency.

Twitter: @chellesta / Insta: @chellestaa

Awards & Achievements



FINALIST (MAn ENouGH by Emy P & Michelle Payne)


Spirit of the fringe

Ingenuity in lockdown (Online @ TheSpaceUK)

Nominated (Walk of Shame by Stephanie Silver & Amelia Lovesy, director)


Mercury Monologues (w/ Josef Weinberger)

Winner (Memory box by Michelle Payne, writer)


Best new writing

best actress - 

Moors Theatre

Orchid by Michelle Payne & Daniel Len (writer, actress)


Vault Five

Long List (Michelle Payne, creative)


The Offies: ONCOMM for digital Theatre

Jess by Stephanie Silver (Director)


Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme

3 month placement (Mercury Theatre Colchester, director)


Adam Lenson Productions & Aria Entertainment Chamber Musical Competition

Long List (Enthusiastically, Yes by Payne & Webb, writer)


The MonoBox: Play start

Long List (Well-Groomed by Michelle Payne, Writer)


Best In Fringe: The Brewery Fringe

Full Circle by Michelle Payne (Writer/director)

 Thank you 

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Steve Thompson, Peter Freund & all at Dagenham & Redbridge F.C. for supporting my career in such a generous way. This club does so much for the local community and I will always be immensely grateful to them.

to my brilliant mentors: Ryan McBryde, Kate Hall, Kate Golledge & Christa Harris.

To good eggs at the mercury Theatre Colchester (Tracey Childs, Steve Mannix, Elodie Gilbert, Joseph Rawlings, Dilek Latif & Antony Stuart-Hicks).

I'd also like to thank Katy Lipson & Adam Lenson for their belief in my musical theatre book writing.