Meet The Team

Diverse City Team

Claire Hodgson, Joint-Artistic Director of Diverse City

Claire Hodgson

Joint Artistic Director - Dorset

Claire Hodgson

Claire is a Theatre, Dance and Circus Director, committed to achieving social justice. Claire founded Diverse City in 2005 and is the co-founder of Extraordinary Bodies, the UK’s leading professional integrated circus company.

Claire was a Clore Fellow in 2012 and writes for The Guardian online. She is the former head of Performing Arts at London Metropolitan University and was awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to inclusion in the Performing Arts. Together with Jamie Beddard, Claire won the Clore Duffield 50th Anniversary prize, which they used to tour Extraordinary Bodies across the UK and support 10 ‘Unexpected Leaders’ who have faced barriers to entering the industry.

Claire@diversecity.org.uk
07795 247 216

Claire Hodgson, Joint-Artistic Director of Diverse City
Jamie smiling and looking to camera

Jamie Beddard

Joint Artistic Director - London

Jamie Beddard

Jamie joined Diverse city as Co-Artistic Director and is also part of the Creative Team behind Extraordinary Bodies. Jamie has Cerebral Palsy and having grown up in a time when opportunities for disabled people in the arts were limited, Jamie was lucky to be offered an acting role by the BBC that kicked off his professional career. Since then Jamie has taken the arts world by storm.

In 2011 he left his role as Diversity Officer for the Arts Council to concentrate on developing his freelance portfolio. In 2012 he directed Breathe for the opening ceremony celebrating the Olympic Sailing, and in 2013 he became a Clore Fellow. Jamie recently completed a six-month run at The National Theatre in Threepenny Opera and played the Leader in the return of Bristol Old Vic’s production of Messiah.

Jamie@diversecity.org.uk

Jamie smiling and looking to camera
Becky Chapman smiling

Becky Chapman

Executive Director - Bristol

Becky Chapman

Becky is a Producer, Fundraiser, Facilitator and Theatre Director. Becky joined Diverse City in 2012 for Breathe in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony Weymouth. She has worked in the UK and internationally in theatre, performance education, engagement and diversity in regional venues, producing companies and touring theatres.

Becky has previously been Producer for The Theatre Orchard arts development charity North Somerset, Artistic Associate with the Australian Theatre for Young People and Arts Development Producer Accessible Arts Sydney Australia. Becky has a BA and PGCE in English and Drama and is a graduate of the National Fundraising School.

Becky@diversecity.org.uk
07952 619 763

Becky Chapman smiling
Alice Chutter smiling in front of a wall

Alice Chutter

Youth Producer - Dorset

Alice Chutter

Alice is a Producer and Arts Manager who has worked on a variety of performance projects for Diverse City and other arts organisations in the South West including Activate Performing Arts, Lighthouse Poole, Pavilion Dance South West and Youth Dance England. Alice obtained her BA in Performing Arts and Literature from the University of Winchester in 2005 before training in Prince2 Project Management methodology.

Alice has built up a portfolio of arts and cultural projects – many of which have a focus on working with integrated groups of young people. She brings her organisational strengths, creativity and warm personality to the company.

Alice@diversecity.org.uk

Alice Chutter smiling in front of a wall
Profile of Louise Brown smiling.

Louise Brown

Creative Producer - Gloucestershire

Louise Brown

Louise Brown is an Artist, Producer and Consultant, specialising in working inclusively. Louise has worked for and with a range of organisations and artists across the UK, including Ludus Dance, GDance, Dance South West (PDSW), Candoco, Department of Health SW and most recently, Diverse City.

Louise has a Post Graduate Diploma in Education and has worked extensively as a teacher, trainer and mentor both to young practitioners and emerging companies. She is passionate about collaborative approaches and working across disciplines. Louise has a young daughter and lives in Gloucestershire.

Louise@diversecity.org.uk

Profile of Louise Brown smiling.
Eilis smiling and looking at the camera

Eilís Davis

Artistic Director: EBYA - Dorset

Eilís Davis

Eilís is a facilitator, director and theatre maker. She is an inclusive movement specialist bringing together people of all abilities to participate in creative processes. Eilís graduated from the European Theatre Arts programme at Rose Bruford College in 2011. She now combines theatre with her extensive knowledge in creative support and is focused on developing theatre-training practice for young people with access needs. Eilís is the Artistic Director of Diverse City’s youth company, Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists.

Eilís is also training as a Biodanza Practitioner. Biodanza is an organic integration system that consists in leading vivencias through music, singing, movements and group encounter situations.

Eilis@diversecity.org.uk

Eilis smiling and looking at the camera
Claire Teasdale smiling to camera

Claire Teasdale

Extraordinary Bodies, Executive Producer - Bristol

Claire Teasdale

In 2017, Claire joined Extraordinary Bodies circus company as Executive Producer to steer forward the What Am I Worth? project over the next two years. She has been working in the arts for 25 years, for community theatre venues, outdoor arts and within the public sector. Claire is superb at fundraising, programming and promoting arts events. Professionally she values honesty, equality and great work with a wide appeal.

Claire Teasdale smiling to camera
Liz Craig smiling to camera

Liz Craig

Finance Manager - Dorset

Liz Craig

Liz is our Finance Manager. She has been with Diverse City since 2014 after meeting Claire at a local toddler group. Liz is a Chartered Management Accountant with 20 years experience of Management Reporting and Budgeting.

Liz moved to Dorset from London and enjoys summers on the beach and winter country walks with her family. She also loves drinking prosecco and scoffing a good curry!

Liz@diversecity.org.uk

Liz Craig smiling to camera
Jodie Curley smiling

Jodie Curley

Company Manager - Bristol

Jodie Curley

Jodie is a creative problem solver specialising in marketing and communications. She studied BA Visual Communication at Leeds College of Art. Jodie was Project Manager of a team of 20 students, responsible for developing, curating and promoting an exhibition presented alongside Damien Hirst’s ARTIST ROOMS On Tour, at Leeds Art Gallery in 2011. Her career then followed Communication and Marketing roles at Balbir Singh Dance Company, Swanswell Charitable Trust and ASDA’s head office.

After leaving the Corporate Marketing world in search of more fulfilling work, Jodie joined Diverse City in 2015. She also launched her Illustration business Sunshine for Breakfast in 2016 with the support of the Prince’s Trust. Jodie is the Captain of the Bristol Etsy Team and strives to encourage other young women to follow their creative dreams.

Jodie@diversecity.org.uk

Jodie Curley smiling
Profile of Louise Holloway smiling to camera

Louise Holloway

Administration Assistant - Dorset

Louise Holloway

Louise lives in Dorset with her 2 teenage children and scruffy labradoodle dog. She is fiercely proud to have worked for the NHS for the last 20 years in Administration, even with all the challenges it faces. Louise joined the Diverse City team in 2017 to support Liz, our Finance Manager and Claire, our Joint Artistic Director in Swanage. Louise finds the whole philosophy of Diverse City wonderfully refreshing.

In her spare time, Louise loves to run and also has a passion for adrenaline activities. A tandem skydive, paragliding, micro lighting, hot air ballooning, abseiling, gliding and a few flying lessons are some of the incredible things she has done!

Louise.Holloway@diversecity.org.uk

Profile of Louise Holloway smiling to camera

Michael Actman

Access Consultant & Personal Assistant - London

Michael Actman

Michael is a filmmaker and Access Consultant who often works one-on-one providing access support for Deaf and disabled artists. As Access Manager at Graeae Theatre Company from 2006-2013, he coordinated access for artists, staff and audiences. Other key accomplishments include pioneering the model of the Creative Enabler, as well as the rollout of audio description and captioning across theatre, performance and digital arts.

Michael is an effective communicator and has designed and delivered successful workshops on access and inclusion. His prize-winning film Awake, starring two blind actors, has screened at over 30 international film festivals.

Michael@diversecity.org.uk

Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists

Emily Cutler, smiling to camera

Emily Cutler

Emily Cutler

Emily Cutler, smiling to camera
Josh Ward smiling to camera

Josh Ward

Josh Ward

Josh Ward smiling to camera
Profile of Anthony Periera smiling.

Anthony Periera

Anthony Periera

Profile of Anthony Periera smiling.
Rebecca Gear, EBYA member

Rebecca Gear

Rebecca Gear

Rebecca Gear, EBYA member
Clarissa Hustler, EBYA member

Clarissa Hustler

Clarissa Hustler

Clarissa Hustler, EBYA member
Freya Garner, EBYA member

Freya Garner

Freya Garner

Freya Garner, EBYA member
Profile of Luke Davies smiling, EBYA member

Luke Davies

Luke Davies

Profile of Luke Davies smiling, EBYA member
Profile of Jessica Skelton, EBYA Member

Jessica Skelton

Jessica Skelton

Profile of Jessica Skelton, EBYA Member
Profile photo of Kieran Procter, EBYA Member

Kieran Procter

Kieran Procter

Profile photo of Kieran Procter, EBYA Member
Profile of Shane Masterman, EBYA Member

Shane Masterman

Shane Masterman

Profile of Shane Masterman, EBYA Member

Unexpected Leaders

DJ jumping on stage with arms lifted.

Housni Hassan, aka DJ

Unexpected Leader 2015 - Southwark

Housni Hassan, aka DJ

DJ was the first person with a learning disability to get a personal development grant from Arts Council England, which he used to embark on his Silver Arts Award, overseen by Corali Dance Company. Following this, DJ has worked with Wayne McGregor/Random Dance, Jonzi D ProductionsNew Adventures, Spare Tyre, CandoCo 2, Oily Carte Theatre Company, Greenwich Dance Agency, and State of Emergency.

DJ is a showman who had a hugely positive influence on the Extraordinary Bodies company in Southwark. He became a role-model for younger choir members and he supported the delivery of the ‘Extraordinary Bodies Plays’ workshops within the community in Southwark.

DJ jumping on stage with arms lifted.
Profile of Shiya, with a pink floral headband, smiling.

Shiyalini Mohan

Unexpected Leader 2015 - Stoke-on-Trent

Shiyalini Mohan

Shiya was an active college student and Barathanatyam dancer back home in Sri Lanka, until a serious accident severely affected her health. Her family relocated to the UK, where she had four major brain operations. Shiya now uses a walker to help her mobility and since becoming disabled has kept as active as possible; “When I sit down and do nothing I feel isolated.

Shiya acted as a gatekeeper, spokesperson and representative of her community, focusing on activating, promoting and advocating the Weighting project. She was also an integral member of the Extraordinary Bodies Community Choir in Stoke-on-Trent and Fleetwood.

Profile of Shiya, with a pink floral headband, smiling.
Rachel Lambert - Unexpected Leader - Extraordinary Bodies 2015

Rachel Lambert

Unexpected Leader 2015 - Fleetwood & Stoke-on-Trent

Rachel Lambert

Since graduating from the University of Lancashire with a 2.1 BA Honours degree in Photography, Rachel has investigated the image of disability in media. Rachel was nominated for the Positive Role Model – Disability Category as part of the National Diversity Awards 2016.

As an Unexpected Leader, Rachel photographed Weighting in Fleetwood and Stoke-on-Trent. In May 2016 Rachel travelled to Portugal with the Diverse City Team for The Completed Freedom of Truth residency, documenting the International Festival de Música in Setúbal.

Rachel Lambert - Unexpected Leader - Extraordinary Bodies 2015
Profile of Keziah Benbow

Keziah Benbow

Unexpected Leader 2016 - Bristol

Keziah Benbow

Keziah was one of our Unexpected Leaders in 2016 and supported the planning and delivery of Doing Things Differently, an event by Diverse City and Bristol City Council. Kez is a performer and dance artist. After joining Gloucestershire Dance Youth Company she chose to specialise in contemporary dance and choreographed and performed in dance film The Ferryman, aged 16. She has recently graduated with a degree in Dance, she has been interning as a community dance practitioner for Strike a Light Festival with a variety of professional companies.

Kez recently accompanied EBYA with The Complete Freedom of Truth residency in Sarteano, Italy and is also working with Wyldwood Arts.

Profile of Keziah Benbow
Elana Binysh looking to camera

Elana Binysh

Unexpected Leader 2016 - Bristol

Elana Binysh

Elana studied theatre at the University of Bristol and completed the Bristol Old Vic’s Made in Bristol programme in 2015. She works as a theatre-maker, dramaturg and performer and has worked with Arts Admin, Scram, Theatre Royal Bath and the Bristol Old Vic. In 2016, Elana performed in her company Propolis Theatre’s show Spill: A Verbatim Show about Sex at Edinburgh Fringe.
Elana is was one of our Unexpected Leaders in 2016 and supported the planning and delivery of Doing Things Differently, an event by Diverse City and Bristol City Council. Elana now works with Diverse City and Cirque Bijou, as Assistant Producer for Extraordinary Bodies.

Elana Binysh looking to camera

Board of Trustees

Profile of Helen Costello, smiling to camera in front of a blue wall.

Helen Costello

Trustee

Helen Costello

Helen’s ambition has always been to show that being a chartered accountant can mean having fun…and she has!

Helen trained with KPMG and then went on to take a number of interesting projects in the NHS and local government, whilst raising her four children. She ran Alex Polizzi’s five star hotel for nearly 10 years, looking after all sorts of amazing and interesting people. Wanting to get back to her financial roots, Helen looked after the finances for the UK arm of an international resort company, working between Malaga, Gleneagles and Cornwall, before joining Theatre Royal Plymouth as Head of Finance at the end of 2014.

Within a few weeks Helen had been moved into the role of Operations Director. This meant she was involved in the Agents for Change pilot project for Arts Council England…and so met Diverse City!

Profile of Helen Costello, smiling to camera in front of a blue wall.
Claire Hodgson, Joint-Artistic Director of Diverse City

Claire Hodgson

Joint Artistic Director - Dorset

Claire Hodgson

Claire is a Theatre, Dance and Circus Director, committed to achieving social justice. Claire founded Diverse City in 2005 and is the co-founder of Extraordinary Bodies, the UK’s leading professional integrated circus company.

Claire was a Clore Fellow in 2012 and writes for The Guardian online. She is the former head of Performing Arts at London Metropolitan University and was awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to inclusion in the Performing Arts. Together with Jamie Beddard, Claire won the Clore Duffield 50th Anniversary prize, which they used to tour Extraordinary Bodies across the UK and support 10 ‘Unexpected Leaders’ who have faced barriers to entering the industry.

Claire@diversecity.org.uk
07795 247 216

Claire Hodgson, Joint-Artistic Director of Diverse City
Jamie smiling and looking to camera

Jamie Beddard

Joint Artistic Director - London

Jamie Beddard

Jamie joined Diverse city as Co-Artistic Director and is also part of the Creative Team behind Extraordinary Bodies. Jamie has Cerebral Palsy and having grown up in a time when opportunities for disabled people in the arts were limited, Jamie was lucky to be offered an acting role by the BBC that kicked off his professional career. Since then Jamie has taken the arts world by storm.

In 2011 he left his role as Diversity Officer for the Arts Council to concentrate on developing his freelance portfolio. In 2012 he directed Breathe for the opening ceremony celebrating the Olympic Sailing, and in 2013 he became a Clore Fellow. Jamie recently completed a six-month run at The National Theatre in Threepenny Opera and played the Leader in the return of Bristol Old Vic’s production of Messiah.

Jamie@diversecity.org.uk

Jamie smiling and looking to camera
Profile of Dave Young, in front of a blue wall.

Dave Young

Board of Trustees

Dave Young

As a member of The Remix, Dave performed in Breathe at the opening of the Olympics in Weymouth and travelled to Brazil to work with disability dance groups. Dave performed his poetry at the opening of the Paralympic games as part of the ‘Seen but Seldom Heard’ project and at Funky Llama Festival, Plymouth Theatre Royal.

Dave was a Fixer on ITV Meridian in 2014 where he explored perceptions of disability and asked people not to write off wheelchair users. He has written a book of poetry called the Shouting Mute and made several films. Dave is involved in several Diverse City projects including The Complete Freedom of Truth and Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists, and has documented the work of Extraordinary Bodies through poetry and film.


 

Profile of Dave Young, in front of a blue wall.
Diverse City company logo

Ayad Al-Ani Mosab

Trustee

Ayad Al-Ani Mosab

Diverse City company logo
Profile of Dimitrios Tourountsis, smiling to camera

Dimitrios Tourountsis

Treasurer

Dimitrios Tourountsis

Profile of Dimitrios Tourountsis, smiling to camera
Diverse City company logo

Diye Wareibi

Board of Trustees

Diye Wareibi

Diverse City company logo
Profile of Mel Allwood, smiling to camera.

Mel Alwood

Chair

Mel Alwood

Profile of Mel Allwood, smiling to camera.
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Graham Devlin

Trustee

Graham Devlin

A creative artist, senior arts manager and cultural strategist, Graham was an opera and stage director and writer until 1999 when he became Deputy Secretary General and Acting Chief Executive of the Arts Council of England. He ran the successful new writing and music-theatre company, Major Road, for over 20 years whilst also working in dance and opera, directing and writing freelance for, amongst others, the National Theatre, Scottish Opera, Glyndebourne, Sydney Opera House and the Aldeburgh Festival. Overall, he has directed more than 90 theatre shows. He was appointed CBE in the 2010 New Year’s honours list.

He has served on numerous Arts Council and Government committees and worked for many public agencies, including all four UK Arts Councils and a number of government departments in England, Scotland and Wales and local authorities such as London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. His international consultancy includes projects in the USA, Australia, India, Hong Kong and across Europe. Clients also include the British Council, IFACCA, ISPA, The National Theatre, the RSC, the Edinburgh Festivals, the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, the LSO, Tate, V&A, The Science Museum and National Theatre of Scotland. He also lectures and has authored or co-authored a number of publications.

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