Community Development Manager
Tony is busy working out in the thick of various Hull communities, making new partnerships, forming Hubs, and finding new venues to perform work in.
He used to be nifty on a pair of roller skates, loves golf, and even has a caddy-shaped lunchbox. Don’t get him started on how many calories are in a packet of Nik Naks.
Since she first wrote a poem about her dog escaping and stealing a pair of knickers from the neighbour’s washing line (funnier than it sounds), Chrissie’s had the writing bug.
She first came to Hull in 2009 as writer-in-residence at HMP Hull, working with offenders to engage them in different forms of writing. She stayed there until 2013, going on to work alongside Beverley Literature Festival, Bridlington Poetry Festival, Amy Johnson Festival, Humber Mouth Literature Festival (she really likes festivals), and the Land of Green Ginger for Hull UK City of Culture.
She was Producer on Poetry and Parkour, a Beverley Literature Festival initiative to engage young people in Withernsea with sports and art, Writer on Three Minute Heroes, a project by the Warren to explore mental health through creativity, and has worked with First Story since 2016, running writing residencies in schools and colleges across Hull. She specialises in working with and engaging young people who are hard to reach.
Chrissie believes marketing and engagement sit closely together – to sell something, people need to feel part of it. They need to know it and have confidence to buy a ticket, walk into a space, and enjoy it. She’s developed the Back to Ours tone of voice to be friendly and open over the past two years, something which helps people to feel more comfortable when they first start to engage with BTO.
She’s fond of books, cheese, typewriters and dansette legs on furniture, sometimes all at the same time.
Back to Ours simply wouldn’t function without Nesta. She looks after the whole team and office, puts processes in place to make sure everything is as organised as possible and makes sure all our artists get paid on time! She also assists Louise and the Producing Team with all aspects of Back to Ours planning, keeps our volunteers fed and watered, and helps evaluate everything we do.
Nesta loves art in unusual spaces, Vegetable Nannies, Rupaul’s Drag Race and independent film.
Brought up on a mix of the finest working men’s club turns South Leeds had to offer, it’s no wonder took to a career in the arts: she started her acting career as 1970’s cabaret performer ‘Fanny Rogers’, going on to work in TV and theatre whilst teaching acting and directing at Thomas Danby College, Leeds.
Louise went on to Arts Development Officer at Hull City Council, where she was instrumental in the first conversations about creating what is now Middle Child and Silent Uproar. Her passion for engaging new audiences was born out of working with the Hull Events Team on large scale events across the city, such as the Lord Mayors Parade and the Christmas Lights switch on – it was here she developed those very Back to Ours ingredients of mixing the familiar with the unfamiliar.
As Producer for Hull UK City of Culture, her commitment and passion for engaging communities was evident through Back to Ours and Land of Green Ginger. Placing herself very firmly in areas across the city to find out how people could be engaged and what connected with them, she produced 7 Alleys and The Gold Nose of Green Ginger for the latter by placing herself in the heart of these communities and talking to anyone and everyone.
As Director of Back to Ours, it’s now all about cementing those ingredients of the familiar with the unfamiliar, i.e. Putting Black Grape in North Point Shopping Centre for a banging gig, but then putting Ockham Razor’s Tipping Point in two school sports halls. Using venues that are comfortable and familiar to people is key, and removes one of the barriers from engaging with cultural events.
And the future?
Back to Ours is looking forward to an October half-term of two huge shows – DNA by Casus Circus, who we’ve been working closely with over the past year, and our own in-house written, produced and directed Back to Bransholme. We spend a lot of time in Bransholme, and our chat shop The Living Room has just been awarded three years of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund.
We’re also working with Hull City Council to deliver the Rugby League World Cup 2021, engaging communities across Hull to bring sports and arts together
And when she has time – with a love of indie music, dogs and nights out down the club with her family, Lou’s fave place in the world is Singapore, followed closely by Lloret De Mar.