Nothing gives me a buzz like bringing great theatre to people – that thrill you get from seeing something amazing and sharing it with others – which is exactly what my role at Activate allows me to do. I come from a teaching background, but having found myself getting more pleasure out of leading activities away from the classroom I needed a different challenge. After a period working freelance, running theatre workshops in schools and for arts organisations, I joined Activate in 2009.
I am excited by theatre and love to engage with young people, but I’m not a natural performer. My strengths lie in facilitating others to take the spotlight. As an organisation Activate plays to people’s strengths so I have been able to transfer the skills I acquired in teaching to this new role and am actively encouraged to explore and develop those skills at the same time as learning new ones.
We have enjoyed tremendous success with The Remix, our groundbreaking performance group for 11 to 19 year olds that integrates young people who are disabled and those who are not. Activate now supports two groups, The Remix East and The Remix West, covering the whole of Dorset and performers have worked with nationally and internationally acclaimed companies including CandoCo Dance Company, Stopgap Dance Company, Trestle Theatre and disabled artists Jamie Beddard, Dave Toole and Alex Bulmer.
My work also encompasses the associate programme for Inside Out Dorset, which is now an intrinsic part of the biennial festival. We have two associate schools – Queen Elizabeth’s School at Wimborne and Winton Arts and Media College in Bournemouth – that means there is on-going, year-round work regardless of the actual festival. Dorset has a very active and energetic arts community and an audience for the arts that is both enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Activate has a vast network of contacts and enjoys a well-earned reputation for responding to enquiries promptly and communicating quality information. One of the great joys of my job is to be able to connect people with arts professionals, or venues, or funding opportunities and see new collaborations come to life.
It all comes back to what I love about the theatre – by working as part of a team it is possible to achieve wonderful things.