Lance Steen Anthony Nielsen (Leath Heaton, to use his African name) hails originally from the town of Kingston-upon-Thames, or Surbiton if you wish to be really precise, where he was brought up by an English mother and Danish father who were unable to have any children of their own and adopted him at the age of one from South Africa. He personally cannot remember this initial episode of his induction into his new family but enjoyed many a Danish themed Christmas in his childhood years. During his school years, he spent much of his time engaged in designing fictional worlds for role-playing games, rolling dice, renting videos, going to the cinema and forgetting to tell his mother what time he would be home when he went out. While under the influence of several pints of JRR Tolkein he made his first attempts at writing a book series called ‘The Prophecy of the Witch-King’ but prophetic it was not and his handwritten volumes painstakingly inscribed into school exercise books went unpublished and are rumoured to be located somewhere in the garden shed. He then studied Audio Visual Design at Epsom School of Art and Design (Now Surrey Institute of Art and Design) where his ambitious epic projects were often thwarted by his uninspiring tutors who would tell him to go and photograph ‘Some hands’ instead. He has still yet to do any photographic or film projects involving hands or indeed any other human appendage.
To support himself during and after college, he worked at his local cinema. His passion for watching films would even result in him traveling to see more films in central London on his day off, much to the incredulity of his fellow ushers, who thought this was just plain stupid. After a brief stint as an actor, he turned to directing in 1997 and also began making films with any type of camera he could get his hands, as well as and writing and directing plays for London’s off West-End Theatre scene. He continued to act on stage and do occasional small parts in films. Most recently he played the role of Chris Aujard & Auditor 2 in False Accounts, the play about the Horizon Post Office Scandal.
Lance was the resident playwright for the Jacksons Lane Theatre from 1997 until 2002 where his first play ‘Waiting for Hillsborough’ won him the Best Talent in New Writing, at the Liverpool Arts and Entertainment Awards. Following on from this much of his work began to focus on topics set within social and political arenas. He would write and direct several original works over the next decade. His next play, ‘Sticks and Stones’, covered three families’ lives over four decades during the conflict in Northern Ireland and brought him much critical acclaim. It is written as a television series. ‘The Victoria Climbie Inquiry’ earned him Time Out magazine Critics Choice, while his play 'Making Time' won him a Peter Brook Empty Space Award. Additionally, he won a Peggy Ramsay award and has had plays produced at The Hackney Empire, Bridewell, Landor, Lion and Unicorn, The Mask. The Stratford Arts and Old Red Lion Theatres. He also wrote & directed the play about the inquiry into The Marchioness Disaster. He recently just completed writing a play about the making of the original The Magnificent Seven movie entitled ‘The Seven Young Guns of Hollywood’. He also directed two plays for Tom Hardy’s short-lived Shotgun Theatre Company, 'Two Storm Wood' and 'Blue on Blue'. Following the passing of his former mentor Graham Fletcher Cook, he co-founded The Outcasts Creative, an acting workshop & Theatre Company. Under the Outcasts he wrote, and co-produced & co-directed the play Borderlands set in immigration at Heathrow, where the audience voted to release or detain the suspect in the narrative. The second production was False Accounts about the Horizon Post Office Scandal. The Outcasts students performed a number of Live streamed productions via YouTube during the 2020 lockdown, during which Lance also wrote 30 scripts. In 2022 he re-orientated his YouTube channel into a Podcast focusing on interviewing those in the Creative Industries, film production and reviews of plays, films, books and even clubbing nights.
In 2013 he wrote and directed the indy feature film 'The Journey' starring Jason Flemyng and Lindsey Coulson. It has won numerous awards at various Film Festivals Worldwide, including bagging one for Lance as Best Director. Since then he has written numerous feature film & television screenplays including scripts about Colin Stagg, Paratrooper (About the first black Paratrooper in the British army) and the pilot for Diamonds In The Sky, which he always conceived as a television series. After being unable to get in the room to pitch it to broadcasters, he wrote it as a novel. fiction/drama series to be told over six volumes. Lance has spent a considerable portion of his time in Greece, a country which he credits for ‘Saving his life’ in the summer of 2009. He resides in North London alongside a rather large collection of Lego and numerous board games.