Meet the Board

Camille Bensoussan (Upswing)

Camille was studying digital imaging when she got into the world of theatre. After taking an internship at LIFT, she went on to earn an MA in Enterprise Management for the Creative Arts from University of the Arts, London. Camille then managed a talent agency for Continental Drifts and worked with ISAN (now OutdoorArtsUK) producing the conference Brilliance and Resilience in 2011 with Julian Rudd. After a freelance career producing various other outdoor festivals and music events, Camille joined Upswing in 2012 as Executive Director, where she has innovatively progressed organisational development and produces their strategic projects and touring shows. 

Sarah Bird (Wild Rumpus / Just So Festival)

Sarah Bird is a founder Director of Wild Rumpus, a community interest company based at a woodland creation centre near Stoke-on-Trent. They deliver a range of festivals and events that aim to take audiences on creative adventures that help inspire a passion for nature conservation. Their events include Just So Festival, the weekend camping family arts event, Timber Festival in partnership with the National Forest which celebrates the significance of trees and woodlands, and the Lanterns at Chester Zoo. Wild Rumpus also host a local cultural forum for artists, producers and programmers across Cheshire. Sarah is on the board of the Association of Festival Organisers, her local secondary school and Weave the Cheshire digital and creative industries network. She’s currently undertaking a Clore Leadership Fellowship and lives in Macclesfield with her 3 daughters, husband and dog Calamity.    

Graham Callister (Birmingham Hippodrome)

Graham is Director of Festivals at Birmingham Hippodrome, a unique not-for-profit UK charity that receives no regular public funding however fundraises and reinvests profits into free and low cost arts activities for the benefit of the city’s communities.  Graham directs in-house festivals that include B-Side Hip Hop Festival, Summer in Southside and Chinese New Year, has produced and directed the bi-annual Birmingham Weekender, and was Creative Producer for the 2018 Commonwealth Games Handover Ceremony.  Graham has previously worked in Local Government and management consultancy settings, and is a Board Member for Sense, Culture Central, Southside BID, Birmingham Festivals Group and MBD Ltd.        

Ajay Chhabra (Nutkhut / Mela Partnership)

Ajay Chhabra is an actor and producer. A proud son of a partition survivor and the great grandson of an indentured labourer. Born and raised in London, his curiosity with life and death has unearthed hidden histories, by bringing people together, under single, universal experiences, resulting in the creation of festivals, digital artworks and theatrical moments. Ajay is the co-founder of award winning outdoor arts company Nutkhut. He founded Europe’s largest South Asian outdoor festival, London Mela, the Best Live Event 2019 at the Asian Media Awards. Ajay is an ambassador of the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board, Civil Society Governor of the Commonwealth Foundation representing the Europe Region and Chair for the National Mela Partnership. In all of his roles he encourages entrepreneurialism, innovation and talent, through access, inclusion and equality. 

Amaya Dent (Emergency Exit Arts)

Amaya Jeyarajah Dent is a Creative Producer working across the arts and cultural sector. This includes producing large scale outdoor work such as spectaculars containing giants or pyrotechnics and lots of carnivals too. Amaya also works producing public art installations and experiences which allow people to interact with new technologies such as AR and VR in playful ways in the public realm. Cocreation with the community and platforming the voices of lesser heard groups are generally at the heart of Amaya’s work. She currently works at Emergency Exit Arts as well as freelance. 

Jackie Elliman (Independent Theatre Council)

Jackie Elliman is Legal & Industrial Relations Manager at the Independent Theatre Council. Jackie comes from a theatre management background and has worked for a range of performing arts organisations, including outdoor arts. She has also worked for UKTheatre/SOLT and for Equity and for eight years ran her own business providing arts administration, marketing and events organisations services. Jackie has a Drama Degree from Manchester University and studied Law at the College of Law. She is also a board member of Stagetext and Lambeth Mediation Service and is a qualified Mediator. 

Phill Hargreaves (Freelance Producer / Déda Derby Feste)

Phil Hargreaves is a freelance producer with a specialism in Dance, Circus and Outdoor Arts; he currently works with Déda as a Creative Producer and with a variety of artists under his company producingphil including Joss Arnott Dance, Highly Sprung, Dan Daw Creative Projects and Southpaw Dance Company. Over his career Phil has worked in a variety of roles involving UK & International touring, strategic development, fundraising, artists development and programming/curation. Phil is passionate about placing audiences at the core of all the work he undertakes to create relevant and punchy cultural experiences. 

Lou Lomas (Freelance Producer / Talking Birds / Fabularium)

Lou Lomas is a Freelance Creative Producer currently working with: Talking Birds Theatre Company, Imagineer Productions (Festival of Imagineers, Bridge), The Fabularium, and Ascension Dance, Steph Ridings (Tappin ‘In). She is also the Associate programmer for the Festival of Imagineers, and former senior producer (Advanced programme) for Coventry City of Culture Trust 2021 Bid. In 2018 Lou was the producer of the First ever Shop front festival in Coventry with Theatre Absolute and Orit Azaz working with local BID Teams Coventry City of Culture Trust and the Great Places partnership. More recently (2017- 2020) Lou is working on Bridge project as an Associate Producer with Imagineer Productions. Lou is passionate about the development of Outdoor work, which she has supported since 2010. 

Deb Mullins (Freelance Director, Creative Producer & Arts Consultant) – Chair

Deb Mullins has an extensive and distinguished career in outdoor and participatory arts. She is  currently Chair of Outdoor Arts UK.  Deb is also a founder member of Emergency Exit Arts  (EEA), a  pioneering outdoor  arts organisation based in London since 1980. For  the last  three  decades, until 2019, she was  EEA’s Artistic Director responsible for building the organisation’s outstanding reputation for  community engagement,  spectacular events for civic celebrations and culturally diverse festivals including  processions,  pyrotechnics, fire, mechanical puppets, comedy and physical performance. She has  worked  throughout  the UK and Europe. Currently a freelance arts  consultant, director  and  creative producer,  Deb is  developing  new  projects  and  continues to mentor several diverse artists. She has recently joined the board of Scarabeus. 

Lorna Rees (Gobbledegook Theatre)

Lorna is an artist, director and performer. She is the Artistic Director of Gobbledegook Theatre who create innovative, cross art form outdoor work. Her work is often inspired by Earth Sciences and Landscapes. Ear Trumpet was commissioned by Inside Out Dorset and Without Walls in 2015 and Cloudscapes has been touring nationally since 2016. Lorna is also an activist, creating projects under the banner of ‘Disruption and Joy’. Lorna trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and moved back to Dorset in 2006 with her partner and company co-founder Adam Coshan. 

Alan Richardson (Surge Scotland)

Alan has been working in the outdoor arts sector for 30 years as a producer, director, teacher, performer, musician and musical director. He has created and delivered outdoor arts training courses in Porto (European Capital of Culture 2001) and Liverpool (Hope St LTD). He has programmed street theatre festivals in Porto, Liverpool and Glasgow.  He has also directed multiple outdoor and indoor performances, that have enjoyed international touring success. Alan is currently Director of Surge, dedicated to the promotion and development of outdoor arts, physical theatre and circus across Scotland. In this role, he develops and delivers professional development, masterclasses, residencies and outreach programmes across Scotland, and Surge Festival, Scotland’s only outdoor arts festival in July in Glasgow. 

Andy Stratford (Freelance Producer, Project Manager, Consultant & Mentor)

Inspired by Archaos, Andy joined anarcho-community outfit Dogs of Heaven leading to a freelance career in production. He joined Walk the Plank in the late 90’s, eventually becoming MD from 2011-2016. Three years as MD at FutureEverything followed – as from 2019 Andy operates as a freelance Producer, Outdoor Arts Project Manager, Consultant and Mentor and is currently working with Global Grooves on a capital project to refurbish ‘The Vale’ – the new ACE centre of excellence for Carnival Arts for the North.