For the past six years I have been combining my work in the arts sector with a lifelong commitment to human rights activism, through participatory arts projects. I have an MA in Applied Theatre (awarded Distinction) from Goldsmiths University. I am currently the National Touring Director for Raw Material, a youth arts charity based in Brixton, South London.
I have a particular interest in developing ‘open source’ models for creative arts projects that seek to benefit marginalised individuals and compromised communities. The models I’ve been working on to date include:
THIS IS REAL – a highly versatile and effective model that uses immersive theatre as an arts engagement stimulus for socially excluded young people.
SM:ART HUB:S – a model that facilitates the creation and sustainability of a network of marginalised young people’s local hubs, or societies, where creative projects are the focus of a social activity that enhances its participants community and life skills.
BROAD/CAST – a model that harnesses the creative resources of a community to devise and present a show that explores a real societal concern, as well as celebrating community empowerment.
My participatory arts activities to date include:
RADIO LUKULLUS: Freundliche Propaganda für wandelndes Publikum [Friendly Propaganda for the Wandering Public] – a new theatre work for FRECH – die Freilichtspiele Chur, Switzerland, a theatre that is based on the engagement of community members in the making and performing of its shows. The play was written specifically with and for the 20-strong mixed ensemble, aged 16-66, and explores local locations and history. (Dramaturg, Co-Director & Co-writer)
Raw Roads: Imagine – an adapted version and the follow up to Raw Roads: Invisible, the successful 2014/2015 touring project. A team of facilitators worked with hard to reach young peopled through residencies in three cities, in a programme that offered creative workshops, mentored devising and public showcase events. (Artistic Director and Project Manager)
At the Jungle camp in Calais, France, I was involved in organising and delivering wellbeing, playfulness and music activities to residents of the camp of all ages, alongside volunteers, grass-root organisations and charities.
Raw Roads: Invisible – based on a new short play by rapper Potent Whisper, this is a national touring project designed to get young people to create artistic responses to in/visibilty, their own as well as others. It is a Raw Material project, supported by Arts Council England. Watch the project’s culmination showcase here. (Artistic Director & Project Manager)
Theatre Group – 12 weekly creative and joyful workshops for and with the clients of the homelessness charity The Connection at St Martin-in-the-Fields. (Co-deviser and Facilitator)
Shafted?! – a cabaret/performance/variety show about the realities of life with HIV in the UK. Co-written by and performed by a large cast of HIV positive community members and allies. Premièred as part of the Arches LIVE Festival, Glasgow in 2013. A new version with new protagonists and stories played in Edinburgh in 2014. (Dramaturg/Co-writer/Director)
In 1995 I co-founded Positive Nation, the first UK-wide monthly magazine for, of and by the HIV/Aids community. This venture included the creation of a supportive hub for HIV positive individulas, where the making of the magazine became a practice lab/rehearsal space that allowed people to re-integrate into society following long spells of illness and isolation. I worked as Producer and Designer on issues 1-50, until 1999.
Since 2012, I have become increasingly engaged in collaborating with visual artists. These projects include:
Collectif EnSuite – working with French set-designer and photographer Claire Pasquier, we are developing multidisciplinary creative projects for live and online audiences.
An Infinite Centre – a performance work by Jack Tan in relation to the idea of gallery as cave, to accompany Flora Parrott’s exhibition Fixed Position, Tintype Contemporary Art gallery (March 2014).
Before You Know It – a video piece by visual artist Sharon Whyte; shown at Unperforming, Departure Foundation, London (2013) and online at http://vimeo.com/68493735
Speak To The Eye – an installation by visual artist Sharon Whyte; shown at Thought Machines, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Vienna and Show 2013, Royal College of Art, London (2013).
The Bird – an installation by photographer Michal Baror; shown at Show 2013, Royal College of Art, London and online at http://www.michalbaror.com/thebird/
It’s Lovely Isn’t It? – a video piece by visual artists Louise Ashcroft and Noga Inbar; shown at Show 2013, Royal College of Art, London and online at http://vimeo.com/68528656
I Think The Problem… a performance in 42 parts by The Hut Project, Gallery Vela, London (August 2012).