Warm & Welcoming Workshop Co Facilitators:
Laura McDermott – Creative Director, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts. The space (formerly Gardner Arts Centre) is an interdisciplinary arts hub connecting University of Sussex to Brighton & Hove and the wider national and international arts and research community. Laura is also working as an associate producer with Situations on The Tale a journey of discovery project across Torbay, unfolding through the landscape via a series of public artworks, performances and installations. Previously (2009 – 2015) Laura was Joint Artistic Director (with Harun Morrison) of Fierce Festival – an international festival of live art, queer politics and activism in Birmingham. The Fierce Festival programme takes place in formal arts venues (IKON Gallery, Birmingham Town Hall & Symphony Hall, mac, DanceXchange and Birmingham REP) and found sites (car parks, warehouses, Edwardian swimming pools and underneath Spaghetti Junction). The festival brings international artists into dialogue with the context of the city – its history, places and people. In 2012-13 Laura was awarded a Clore Fellowship in Arts Participation and Engagement, supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. As part of the Fellowship she completed a secondment at Collide@CERN an artist residency programme at CERN – the particle physics laboratory, located just outside Geneva in Switzerland. The artist in residence at that time was sound sculptor Bill Fontana. Laura was a creative producer at BAC (Battersea Arts Centre) in London, from 2005 – 2009, where she programmed seasons, festivals and was lead producer for the Punchdrunk and BAC co-production TheMasque of the Red Death.
Naomi Alexander – Brighton People’s Theatre. Brighton born Naomi Alexander is the Artistic Director of a brand new CIC called Brighton People’s Theatre (BPT). Our mission is to be a catalyst to change the way theatre is made and consumed so that social divisions are eroded and new forms of theatre are created. We are driven by a love of theatre and a belief that it belongs to everyone. Naomi has a unique background as she has spent half her working life in community development, (Hangleton and Knoll Project, The Scarman Trust, The Community Sector Coalition and Locality) and half in theatre (Jellyfish, The Old Vic, Battersea Arts Centre). She brings knowledge and experience of both sectors to the creation and workings of BPT. In 2016 BPT’s first show, Tighten Our Belts, played to sold out crowds gaining 4 & 5 star reviews at Brighton Dome. In 2017 BPT partnered with Brighton Festival to create Your Place, two weekends of arts activity in Hangleton and East Brighton. BPT has exciting plans to work year round with theatre and community sector partners in the city to create original, high quality theatre. Naomi is a Fellow at the Birkbeck Centre of Contemporary Theatre and holds a BA in Theatre from Warwick University and an MA in Applied Theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. You can find her on Twitter @naomi_ontheatre and Brighton People’s Theatre @BtnPeople