Kevin Finnan MBE, Artistic Director
Jo Valentine, Programme Manager
Jane Bailey, Communications and Development Director
Amelia Bruce, Marketing and PR Manager
Alex Earle, Digital Communications Officer
Amy Belfield, Programme Co-ordinator
Sarah Lewis, Office & Finance Administrator
Aaron Watkinson, Dancer and Community Programme Leader
Megan Hamer, Marketing & Development Assistant
Simon Wales, Chair
Simon Wales is the General Manager of Waddesdon Manor, the historic National Trust property based in Buckinghamshire which is managed by a Rothschild family charitable trust. With a background in music and the performing arts, Simon previously held the position of General Manager of Town Hall Birmingham. He was the founding Centre Director of LSO St Luke’s, the London Symphony Orchestra’s music education centre. He was also a Clore Fellow in the second year of the Clore Leadership Programme.
Amy Dalton-Hardy is the Project & Development Manager at Culture Central, the cultural development agency for Birmingham and the West Midlands; which is a membership organisation advocating for and on behalf of the arts and cultural sector. With a background as a community dance artist and former aerialist, Amy previously held the position of Head of Dance & Circus Development at artsNK in Lincolnshire. She was specialist dance advisor to Transported; an Arts Council Creative People & Places project, led numerous events as well as multiple successful dance programmes for children and young people. She is currently undertaking the very first UK Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree, focused on Arts & Culture.
Caroline was Strategic Projects Manager at Birmingham Hippodrome from 2010-2016 and is now a freelance producer, based in Birmingham. During her time at the Hippodrome, she was involved in the Southside Business Improvement District and 4 Squares Weekender. She is now the Executive Producer of Birmingham Weekender 2017.
Sarah is co-founder and Managing Partner of Indigo Ltd, a leading marketing and fundraising consultancy working with creative sector organisations. She previously worked in a variety of roles in the music business, most recently as Director of Communications for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO). In 2009 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts.
Dr Ceri Gorton
Ceri is a Cultural Consultant and Co-Director of Bird & Gorton, empowering cultural organisations, cities, creative businesses and universities to develop collaborative working, imaginative leadership, and new strategies to enable innovation, with a focus on how digital technology can help people connect with excellent cultural experiences. Clients include the British Council, RSC, Royal Opera House Bridge, Nottingham Strategic Cultural Partnership, English Heritage, Midland 3 Cities, and King’s College London.
Naveen Gupta is a qualified accountant and has undertaken senior level finance roles for over 15 years. Naveen’s professional finance experiences are across various sectors including live theatre, concert hall management, estates management, higher education, conferencing, utilities and financial services.
Chris Lillington is a journalist with more than 20 years’ experience in the industry. He worked on papers in the West Country and London before moving to the West Midlands 14 years ago. He is currently with BBC Digital News, and was previously editor of the Leamington Spa Courier Series – Motionhouse’s local paper – as well as other titles in Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and Leicestershire.
Rachael is currently Development Manager for Individual Giving and Trusts at Birmingham Hippodrome. Prior to this she was Managing Director of Pentabus Theatre Company, working jointly with Artistic Director Elizabeth Freestone on a new mission to become the nation’s rural theatre company. She has also worked in a variety of roles at Arts Council England, including Relationship Manager for Combined Arts and Touring for the West Midlands region.
Rakhi Rajani is an Innovation Consultant with a background in engineering, design and psychology. She helps organisations think forward to identify white space and determine what they can do next. She has worked in a variety of sectors across the world and for organisations spanning the arts, hospitality, emerging tech, sports, retail, automotive and smart cities. Rakhi is a Chartered Psychologist and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Currently with Greenwich+Docklands International Festival and Without Walls Consortium, Toby Smith has over 20 years’ experience of programming, commissioning and producing in venues of different scales, multi-arts and music-focused festivals. He was Festival Director at the Salisbury International Arts Festival between 2014 and 2017, and has previously worked at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) as Director of Performance and Programming, at Cheltenham Arts Festivals and at the Barbican Centre.
Josie Stevens is a brand marketing and communications consultant with 25 years in the arts, sport and entertainment industries both in the UK and overseas. She began her career in the arts spending three years with Birmingham Royal Ballet as its first Press Officer. She has held senior positions in house and in agencies globally including: Board Director, Sports Marketing & Sponsorship at Hill & Knowlton UK and Director of Global PR for adidas Group’s Reebok brand in the US. Most recently, she campaign managed Sport England’s multi-award winning, behaviour change campaign, This Girl Can.