Conference Biogs 2018

Abi Collins – Fool Britannia

Abigail Collins is a hula-hooping clown, acrobatic social provocateur and comedy envelope pusher, smashing the barrier between artist and public for more than two decades. She has performed her unique brand of physical comedy in three languages on four continents and received numerous awards, including ARCA Young Jury prize (Spain), CAV Best Street Performer (Australia) and Fool of Muncaster (UK).

Andrew Loretto – Hat Fair

Originally from Belfast, Andrew is currently Director for Hat Fair in Winchester – an annual summer festival of outdoor and site responsive arts, supplemented by the festive edition, Woolly Hat Fair and touring projects. Previously Director for Right Up Our Street – Doncaster’s Creative People and Places programme, including establishing the DNweekeND festival. Other projects include establishing Sheffield People’s Theatre as Creative Producer for Sheffield Theatres and devising The Great Big Donco – a Yorkshire Festival

Bettina Linstrum – ArtsAgenda

Bettina is a Consultant & Coach based in Brighton. Current projects: caravan – a showcase for new English performance at Brighton Festival, Sura Medura-UK, Artist Residencies in Sri Lanka, and working with Artists Jony Easterby, Denis Tricot (F) and Lola Muance (F). Alongside this Bettina runs a Coaching practice for Creative Professionals.

Billy Alwen – Cirque Bijou/ Extraordinary Bodies

Billy Alwen is co-founder and Artistic Director of Cirque Bijou, an experienced creator of outdoor spectacle, circus and street theatre since 1999. He started his circus life as an aerialist, performing all over the world, in tents in fields, parks and city centres, forming Cirque Bijou in 1999 with Julian Bracey. Since then Cirque Bijou have made thousands of shows across the globe for audiences of 50 to 50,000. In 2012 they made Battle for the Winds to launch the London 2012 Olympic Sailing events in Weymouth. It was a true epic, with 52 shows in 7 UK counties – with thousands of artists and hundreds of thousands of audience members. Significantly it bought Cirque Bijou into partnership with Diverse City. A year later the first Extraordinary Bodies show, Weighting, was made in only 10 days, with an exceptional company of disabled and non-disabled artists. Since that first commission in 2013 Extraordinary Bodies has grown and developed into a national and international circus project, working with the National Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, and Circus Oz in Melbourne.

Bill Gee – Activate Performing Arts

Bill Gee is a highly experienced producer, programmer and arts consultant. Since 2000 he has worked through his company BGA and produced work for a range of artists including Metis; Nutkhut; Fin Walker; New Zealand street theatre company GAIT Productions; Gob Squad; Jyll Bradley and Bobby Baker. He is co-Artistic Director of Inside Out Dorset; Artistic Associate for Bloomsbury Festival and was from 2009 – 14 the Creative Director for IF Milton Keynes International Festival. His other producing and programming work has been for organisations such as Artichoke; Imagineer Productions; OCM; Greater London Authority; National Theatre; De La Warr Pavilion he has regularly commissioned and supported many major new outdoor projects.  From 2000 to 2005 Bill Gee was the inaugural Co-ordinator of ISAN (now OutdoorArtsUK).

Botis Seva – Far From the Norm

Botis Seva is a freelance dance artist as well as artistic director and choreographer of hip hop theatre company Far From the Norm: a collective of individuals who aim to challenge and inspire audiences by taking them on a visual and visceral journey. His work is usually stylised as abstract and experimental movement with strong hip hop based foundations but has been acknowledged within the contemporary dance world. In addition to his own company work, Botis Seva is established as a creative upcoming choreographer who has the ability to work collaboratively with other forms to ingrain his artistic style.

 Celine Mckillion – Imagine Festivals

Celine works with Watford Palace Theatre as Project Manager for their outdoor arts festivals Imagine Watford and Imagine Luton, overseeing all aspects of programming, community engagement and event delivery. She has previously worked with Green Man Festival, Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Subtopia/Subcase Circus Fair in Stockholm.

Cerian Eiles – Achates Philanthropy

Cerian has worked across the cultural sector, as a high-level fundraiser for over 10 years. As an Associate with Achates Philanthropy, she specialises in developing programmes and strategy to access funds from trust and foundation sources. Clients include Theatre Royal Stratford East, Talawa, The Old Vic, The Royal Court, The Mosaic Rooms, and Soho Theatre, amongst many others.

Charlie Bunker – WildWorks

Charlie is Producer at WildWorks and joined the organisation in 2011 as their General Manager. She has produced WildWorks’ programme for the past 4 years including Wolf’s Child – NNF 2015 and Cornwall 2017, A Great Night Out – Sunderland 2016, Once Upon A Castle – Belgium 2014-15 and100: The Day Our World Changed – The Lost Gardens of Heligan 2014.

Claire Hodgson – Diverse City/ Extraordinary Bodies

Claire is a Theatre, Dance and Circus Director, committed to achieving social justice. Claire founded Diverse City in 2005 and is the co-founder of Extraordinary Bodies, the UK’s leading professional integrated circus company. Claire was a Clore Fellow in 2012 and writes for The Guardian online. She is the former head of Performing Arts at London Metropolitan University and was awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to inclusion in the Performing Arts. Together with Jamie Beddard, Claire won the Clore Duffield 50th Anniversary prize, which they used to tour Extraordinary Bodies across the UK and support 10 ‘Unexpected Leaders’ who have faced barriers to entering the industry.

Daniela Essart – Scarabeus Aerial Theatre

Daniela is the co-founder and artistic director of Scarabeus Aerial Theatre since 1988.  She believes in the transformative power of the arts, in creating experiences that endure in the collective imagination and promote a sense of belonging.  Fearless about experimentation, she regularly collaborates with a wide range of established and up and coming artists and scientists from different fields.

Doug Francisco – Boomtown Fair

Doug is Director of narrative and spectacle for Boomtown Fair one of the Uk’s most diverse and creative music festivals where a site wide story is told across the weekend to an audience of 60,000, including large scale circus spectacles, multi media story telling elements and immersive theatre across 300+ venues.

Emma Jane Clark – Gertrude and Ivy

Social Media Strategist, Trainer, Thinker, Speaker, Campaign Manager & Enthusiast. Founder of Digital Marketing agency @gertrudeandivy: the very British Social Media specialists. Emma Jane delivers bespoke Social Media training to professionals from a range of organisations, such as LIVE events, entertainment, hospitality, retail, lifestyle, and luxury.

Freya Bennett-Nielsen – Global Grooves

Freya (17) is the newest member of the Global Grooves team. She completed the ‘Future Leaders’ programme in 2016, and has dedicated her time to honing her dance and project management skills with Global Grooves, managing her own community event ‘Celebrate Festival’ in the summer. Freya’s enthusiasm and talent make her a shining advocate for cross-arts collaboration, with developed skills in dance, percussion, and project management.

Graham Daniels – Addictive TV

TV producer turned artist, Daniels is one half of electronic act Addictive TV.  Currently touring Orchestra of Samples, their AV project described as “ingenious and compelling” by The Times, the digital duo filmed over 200 musicians around the world, sampling them all to create a live show where audiences see the sampled musicians. They’ve now performed in over a staggering 50 countries, including outdoor events at London’s National Theatre, Shanghai’s Museum of Contemporary Art and Mexico City’s Centro Nacional de las Artes.

Holly Prest – Global Grooves

Following more than 20 years of participation and management of widespread performance and training initiatives, Holly has helped nurture and maintain lesser-known global music and dance traditions in a UK context. As the lead project manager of the “Future Leaders – Arts Apprenticeships” programme, Holly is passionate about facilitating the discovery of young and emerging artists honing their artistic talents and realising their potential as active, inspired young individuals.

James Macpherson – Artizani

James Macpherson has been running Artizani, a dedicated outdoor arts company for 28 years. He is currently also conducting doctoral research into contemporary outdoor arts at Edgehill University. His research methodology uses time-lapse video to analyse the relationships between Performers, Audience and Social Space. Time-lapse can also be a cost-effective tool in capturing data around numbers and engagement.

Jamie Beddard – Diverse City/ Extraordinary Bodies

Jamie is Co-Artistic Director of Diverse City, and Lead Artist in Extaordinary Bodies.  He is also an Agent for Change at The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich. As a performer, he recently performed in the Messiah at Bristol Old Vic, played the role of Mathias in The National Theatre’s production of The Threepenny Opera, and performed in ‘Weighting’, a big outdoor circus show made by Extraordinary Bodies. He is a Clore Fellow, and has previously been a Diversity Officer (Arts Council), Associate Director (Graeae Theatre Company) and Editor of ‘Disability Arts in London’ magazine (DAIL).  His directing credits include ‘The Last Freakshow’ (Fittings), ‘Can I Be Frank With You’ (‘Datco’) and ‘The Trouble With Richard’ (Graeae).  Acting includes Quills, I.D, All the King’s Men, Wonderful You (Film/TV) and Ubu, Alice in Wonderland, Flesh Fly (Graeae), 15 Seconds (Traverse) and Waiting for Godot (Tottering Bipeds).

Jeanefer Jean-Charles – Independent Dance Artist

Jeanefer is a Mass Movement Director, Choreographer and Creative Consultant who delivers large scale performances and training for artists and organisations. Her unique creative process brings to life the talents, strengths and shared stories of local communities and artists in inspiring and unforgettable ways. Highlights include: London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies, Manchester Day Parade 2015-17, Derry London-Derry UK City of Culture, the First World Record Breaking Big Dance in Trafalgar Square, The Queen’s Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace and Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected.

Jude Kelly – Southbank Centre

Jude Kelly is Artistic Director of Southbank Centre.  She founded Solent People’s Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, and was the founding director of West Yorkshire Playhouse.  In 1997, Jude was awarded an OBE for services to theatre and in 2015 she was made a CBE for services to the Arts. In 2002 Jude founded Metal, where artistic hunches can be pursued in community contexts.  She created the WOW – Women of the World Festival in 2011, and it is now in its 8th year at Southbank Centre as well as taking place in other parts of the UK and in other countries all over the world.

Katherine Webb – Difference Engine

Katherine is a producer and events manager, and has recently completed a Masters at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She has a wealth of experience in creating outdoor and site specific events having worked for Imagineer Productions in Coventry, and Brighton Dome & Festival where she was Assistant Outdoor Producer for the Festival. Katherine has also worked extensively in fundraising, having had her first roles in this area at Brighton Dome she then headed up the Development Department at Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells.  Additionally Katherine has her own company, ArtsEdge Productions, which aims to extend immersive opportunities to young audiences and those with disabilities.

Leon Patel – Global Grooves

Leon is at the helm of Global Grooves, having committed over two decades to sharing his passion and knowledge of percussion and song from around the world – Brazilian, South Asian, West African, Cuban, and Western musical styles to name a few. Leon’s entrepreneurial insight and sense of community spirit has led to the development of a series of national Carnival commissions and leading the organisation to become one of Arts Council’s newest NPOs.

Mandy Dike – And Now:

Mandy has been an artist, designer, maker, pyrotechnician, deviser, collaborator and creative director for over 30 years. Mandy studied at Dartington in the late 70’s and since then has been  building, making and Composing site-specific, event-specific and touring performance, mixing technique and art forms to create an aesthetic that works outside and in. Conjuring up beautiful, purposeful, fleeting experiences to inspire optimism and hope. She was co-founder, Principal Designer and an associate director of The World Famous Fireworkers and has worked extensively with other leading UK arts companies, significantly: Welfare State International, Walk the Plank, Theatre of Fire, Ludus Dance, Acme Productions and the development of the early outdoor productions at the Dukes Playhouse Lancaster. Mandy formed And Now: with Ben Rigby  in 2013 to consolidate decades of their working together.