CREATIVE PEOPLE WE HAVE WORKED WITH
Here we feature some of the people we have worked with over the years, at Festival Stoke.
From the West Midlands Kirk Sylvester is an artist animator who studied Fine Art at Walsall College in 2007 - 2008 and Animation Arts at the University for the Creative Arts, Maidstone 2008 - 2011. During his fine art studies, conceptual art and the process of creating left a heavy impressions on him, to which he brought over those teachings to his animation course, where he tried to deliver works that were equally conceptual but also entertaining, developing works with the duality of both schools.
After education Kirk currently works as a freelancer in TV, film and media in the art and visual effects department; working on arrange of projects including: BFI, BBC and Pinewood.
Still a practitioner of animation, Kirk continues to explore his Gunslinger Rhapsody style and was commissioned by the musician Minute Taker to create animated visuals for the Wolf Hours tour - 2018 and more recently the Mysterious Moth mini’s for Festival Stoke.
Ophelia is a writer, singer and actor and has achieved success as an actress and performer from a young age – winning multiple awards in Arts Festivals across the Midlands. In 2012, one of these festivals even named two categories and trophies after her before the age of 21. The Ophelia Charles Award is allocated every year for excellence in performance and The Ophelia Charles Public Speaking Trophy is awarded to an excellent orator at every festival. Ophelia has also performed at London’s iconic Old Vic Theatre.
Amy Cutler is a a geographer, painter, artist and filmmaker who works with social and ecological histories of British landscapes, including material and analogue site-specific experiments for ways of thinking about human and nonhuman elements. Her artist’s films include Dartmoor Interlude, which was given an international award for ‘foreign experimental film’ at the Museum of Yugoslav Film Archive festival and Incantations from Yin Valley filmed in Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park as part of Sanctuary Festival. In 2019, The Observer described her art practice as “resembling a film told from the point of view of a butterfly”.
Amy has aPhD in Cultural Geography which affects her innovative approaches to public art and teaching.
Steff D'Arcy is a contemporary dancer, choreographer and filmmaker based in South London. Steff has worked across the UK and Europe for both screen and stage, her work appears in films, music videos, adverts and live performances. She has danced and created work for a variety of choreographers, brands and artists including: Adidas, Russell Maliphant, Holly Blakey, Vodafone, Ray-Ban, Ministry Of Sound, Boots, Reading Music Festival, Three Mobile, Glashier, Freddie Long, Syn Cole, Channel 4 and The Institute of Contemporary Arts.
Jack Philp & Hannah Bracher-Smith
Jack works nationally and internationally as a choreographer, movement director and freelance dance artist. Centred around the collaboration of forms, his work focusses on the meeting point between dance and academia. Jack has created commissioned work for several companies and universities as well as developed and toured productions with his collective; Jack Philp Dance. He recently became an associate artist with The School of Biosciences at Cardiff University and was named a Resident Artist at National Dance Company Wales in 2019. www.jackphilpdance.co.uk
Hannah is a multi-award winning birth, lifestyle and concept portrait photographer based in Cardiff. With a love of raw authenticity and intimate photographic storytelling, her work has been featured in publications globally including Vogue Italia, Phlock Live and The Doula UK Magazine. in 2020 Hannah was awarded the Birth Becomes Her Silver Award and named Photographer Of The Year by the Wales CASA in 2019.
Paperfinch Theatre creates adventure theatre: immersive adaptations of fairy tales for children and families with puzzles, games, puppetry and live music.
Led by artistic director Joe Bunce, our team of designers, performers and technicians strive to tell playful stories with an emotional core. We empower our audience to become a meaningful part of these stories; designing rich, playful worlds for them to step inside and explore.
These worlds can be nestled in unexpected places: a secret garden grows inside a high street café, monsters invade a suburban playground, or a child’s dreams unfold across a theatre’s hidden hallways. We love to work with technology, often using binaural sound design, AR and other digital aspects within the adventures we create.
Visual Artist, Designer, Poet
In 2019, Kandace launched her own design brand, KaySiobhan. The brand produces clothing, gifts and stationary that centres and celebrates the beauty and strength of black people. The messaging is drawn from Kandace’s personal lived experience and aims to uplift and empower members of her community as well as educating others about our excellence and experiences.
Playwright, Poet, Singer, Actor
Prior to lockdown, Jordan had just begun his tenure as Resident
Artist at Islington Mill in Manchester where he was completing his second musical, OYA. An afro-fantasy musical drawing inspiration from the Orisha mythologies of West Africa. This was preceded by Jordan’s 3-year stint on BBC One Primetime television. First he was featured as a contestant on Gary Barlow’s Let it Shine where he performed with Dannii Minogue and the Kaiser Chiefs. A year later, he was cast as a Judge on BBC One’s All Together Now where he worked alongside Spice Girl Geri Horner.
Dominic booked his first professional job at the tender age of 19, only a week after graduating in Musical Theatre in 2017. He set off on his first contract with iconic cruise company, Carnival Crui es as a part of their award-winning production roster. Since then, he has worked 10 months of the year across the world performing in a total of 62 countries for both Carnival and Celebrity Cruises. When he’s not at sea, Dominic works as a dancer on land and has performed at legendary venues and events including the Dance World Cup, The Olympic Stadium and Wembley Stadium.
Rachel Ho has a passion for creating conceptual porcelain work that evokes mystery and beauty. Her work is mostly wheel based but she also uses other techniques such as paper clay and plaster moulds. Her work expresses and explores aspects of our human condition. Rachel receives a first class honours in Fine and Applied Art at the University of Ulster in Belfast. She graduated from the Craft Council of Ireland pottery course in Co. Kilkenny. Rachel has further developed her skills by working for potters in Ireland and New Zealand. Her work has recently been exhibited in Manchester, Macclesfield and London. Rachel lives in Macclesfield with her husband and two young children.
Uncaged Aerial Theatre
Uncaged Aerial Theatre are a female-led contemporary circus company specialising in high level aerial, movement and impactful storytelling.
We formed in January 2019 after seeing a distinct lack of UK circus companies dealing with issues we feel strongly about including, but not limited to; positive images of women and female empowerment; giving voice to the working class.
Uncaged has 3 directors/performers: Emma Bloomfield, Sarah Dobbs and Rosie Vleugels.
Website: Uncaged Aerial
Fully Booked Theatre
Fully Booked Theatre is a children’s dance theatre company formed by Canadian dance choreographer and BENCH fellow Jennifer Essex and award-winning poet Harry Man. Their artistic backgrounds and practice, working in combination, oﬀer a unique experience to family audiences, encouraging creativity, play and collaboration. In 2019 they received an Arts Council grant to develop Once Upon A Wall with creative input from children at Priory Woods School, with further commissioning support from Middlesbrough Council and Stockton International Riverside Festival. An inclusive, interactive work for children and families, loosely based on the nursery rhyme of Humpty Dumpty, Once Upon a Wall toured to festivals across the UK last summer. The company’s previous work, Space Rebel Princess has toured for three consecutive years
Miss High Leg Kick
Francesca Baglione (Miss High Leg Kick) is an established live artist whose work uses collaboration and unusual approaches to audience engagement to create ambitious, accessible performances. Large-scale outdoor works (e.g. Fashion Bus and Audition Project) and interactive pieces (Olivier Award winning show C’est Barbican/Duckie!) are marked by humour, a love of spectacle, dance and the celebration of the everyday.
Alice Cunningham is a visual artist with a diverse practice and the ability to sensitively work in many mediums.
Cunningham has worked and exhibited throughout the UK, Europe, Asia and Africa. She was shortlisted to represent the UK in the first UK Young Artists Biennale in Europe.
Alice has lectured in Fine Art at Universities throughout the UK and works with charities organising creative events to engage hard to reach or marginalised groups.
In 2017 Alice created 'Let by' incorporating stunning portraits of local people along with quotations - as 'Let by' signs outside properties in Stoke.
Jodie Gibson & Richard Redwin
Artist/Sculptor Richard Redwin and Socially-Engaged Artist/Creative Producer Jodie Gibson created the Essences installation for 2020. Jodie oversaw the selection of and engagement with the twelve members of the public and Richard made the heads from recycled materials. A dynamic collaboration bringing together socially engaged participatory arts practise with skilful 3D sculptural techniques and practical making-skills.
Scratch & Sniff Theatre
Emily Andrews and Toby White together form Scratch and Sniff Theatre and have provided engaging and fun street theatre at two of our festivals.
To quote them
"Scratch & Sniff are two average humans stepping blindly into the world of theatre. They come to entertain, enthrall and generally make a mess. Join them."
Laurel’s work investigates processes of transformation and metamorphosis. Her paintings capture states of flux between illustration and abstraction, chaos and control; abstract layers of dripping paint inviting us to look through worlds of possibility and build our own reality.
In 2017 Laurel created 'Follow the Birds', big, bright, bold, beautiful birds around the town.
The Cultural Sisters is a participatory arts organisation. We work with people in community, education and health settings.
Established in 1995 and based in Stoke-on-Trent, we have a core group of experienced professional artists who design, deliver and manage creative workshops, consultations, Arts in Health projects, outdoor performance, events and commissions.
In 2017 artists Debs and Fiona hung bright coloured lampshades in unexpected places around the town for 'Inside Outside'.
Richard Redwin is a multi-disciplinary artist working in visual, three-dimensional, and interactive mediums. Once an aspiring writer, now his artistic work explores ways to tell stories and engage audiences that move beyond the written word. His recent obsessions include mask making, kinetic sculptures, and light design.
Behjat Omer A
Behjat worked with us over two festivals in 2012 and 2013 when he exhibited his wonderful and evocative drawings as part of Open Air Gallery.
Behjat Omer A
Adam Pryce & Nic Winstanley
In 2017 Rachel created a surprising small garden for 'Greening Church Street'; incorporating a recycled filing cabinet as a plant container, with picket fence and lawn, it created a stir in the town. During 2018 Rachel joined with artist Anne Kinnaird to deliver 'Greening Church Street' as part of Kew Garden's Grow Wild project. Incorporating recycled and reused items such as filing cabinets and colanders turning them into various planters and hanging baskets that add splashes of colour around the town, turning unwanted materials into homes for nature to flourish. Rachel is now working alongside Letting in the Light's Anne Kinnaird to extend the project into 'Greening Stoke' in 2019.
In 2014 Chris Oldham interpreted used digital composites using multi-layered collages weaving in visual journeys and mental puzzles. "My pictures ask the viewer to spend time reading the images and decoding the clues to the locations in the pictures or be absorbed in the shapes, textures and spaces inside the images."
Letting in the Light + Denise O'Sullivan
In 2014 Letting in the Light joined with Denise O'Sullivan to 'site-vibe' the festival site - creating massive windmill structures and hosting windmill making workshops. Hundreds of colourful windmills were planted over the weekend.
Artist in Residence at Art Stop during August - November 2018, with her final exhibition in January 2019. During her residency Alice used the time to research and experiment with new techniques, in addition to hosting workshops. Alice creates beautiful paper porcelain artworks.
During March 2018 artist Shiv went out into the local pubs and cafes of Stoke with her easel and paints. She created her own unique and bold artworks and engaged the locals in arty-conversations.
Sylvia Bull graduated with an MA in Childrens' Book Illustration from Anglia Ruskin University in 2008. Having spent over 10 years as a Story Artist for Aardman Animation, Sylvia's work often has a story to tell. Drawn from childhood memories, or from classic Myths and Children's Fairy Tales, her prints prints evoke remembered emotions, people and places.
Sylvia is working with Festival Stoke on the Werburgh and the Wild Goose project. sylviabull.com
In 2017 Oliver, along with Samuel Freeman, used technology with creativity to create three sculptural LED light pieces which hung outside shops along Church Street.
Dan Thompson is an award-winning social artist, writer, and speaker living in Margate.
His work is about people and places, and the stories that connect them. Exploration, walking, and leading guided walks form part of my practice. My work often touches on themes of migration in the UK.
He is also interested in the creation of social capital, in activating abandoned or underused spaces, and in DIY approaches to art, culture and social action.
From 2014 - 2015 Dan Thompson spent a year visiting Stoke on a collaborative residency with Appetite Stoke. He researched stories about London Road and created the book 'It's all about the Road', reading presentations at the London Road Festival 2015.
Visit Dan's website here.
In 2013 Anna Macdonald brought 'Car Conversations' to Open Air Gallery. Working with children from Stoke Minster School she created a fun and colourful artwork involving 6,000 small cars.
In 2014 Adam Pryce created striking repeat pattern graphic banners interpreting Stoke traditions in a fresh way. They adorned the buildings along London Road and the town centre for Open Air Gallery.
In 2017 Artist Mitchell designed hand created beautiful gift bags, using Lino-cuts, featuring well-known potters across the eras: Josiah Wedgwood, Susie Cooper and Keith Brymer-Jones. They were available with customer purchases in selected local shops around the town centre of Stoke during December 2017.
The Roaming Poets, coordinated by GKA Gay, performed at bus stops, in pubs, outside shops during January 2018. Their poems were installed in the bus stops of the town centre for a month.
Dr. Kate Robinson BA (Hons) MRBS
Sculpture, drawing and the spoken and written word using body, voice, stone, metal, wood, ice, sand...
Meaningful social engagement...Art can be in an approach as much as it can be a thing.
Contexts range from galleries to parks to prisons and public squares, from archaeological sites to public and private memorials.
Creative and academic writing and the telling of stories through word and image...
Kate is working with us on the Werburgh and the Wild Goose Project.
'Woman Man Sun Moon' pictured
Peter is a skilled ceramicist, but we also know that he is is very clever at installing artworks safely in public spaces; Peter was tasked with installing our spring Art Street exhibition around the town centre in a non-disruptive and effective way.
Goldpeg & Malarky
Grafitti artists Goldpeg and Malarky transformed four sites along London Road in Stoke during the summer of 2013 with their bright and bold illustrations.
The Unknown Artists
Over the years at the festivals we have had guerrilla artworks appearing. We love them, but have not yet discovered their creators.
Artist Rebecca Davies created a pop-up cinema on Church Street Stoke in November 2017. Showing a selection of independent films, Rebecca also reworked 'Everything but Flowers' by Talking Heads, especially for Stoke-on-Trent. Featuring local artists and filmed in the atmospheric former Spode Pottery board room.
In 2017 Photographer Polly Shave installed echoes of autumn on the pavements outside Stoke Minster with her beautiful leaf patterns as part of 'Botanica Decorus'. Pedestrians encountered stunning artworks under their feet.
Nic is contributing to the Werburgh and the Wild Goose project.
Whilst being a true daughter of the city, Nic has lived in the town of Stoke for just over three years. "I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to challenge my own perception of the town and discover things that not even I knew about or had ever really thought about deeply. I have been devising ideas that lean away from expensive material constructions and more towards participatory, experiential, thought provoking and accessible (in the physical sense) interventions that highlight what is worth coming to Stoke for, and how Stoke can become more open and inviting to others."