In light of current events – all gigs, tours and face to face work have been cancelled/indefinitely postponed.
I have not removed the listings on the events page – I want them to stand as a testament to the organisers, actors, venues and creatives who put in such hard work and are now faced with hardship and uncertainty.
We’re not okay until we’re all okay – keep fighting until everyone is safe and financially secure. In these times disabled people are more at risk than ever before – we need you as our allies. I will be yours.
Keep safe everyone. I’m leaving a light on so that we will come back x
For an overview of the areas in which I work, which include as a workshop facilitator, writer-in-residence, community writer etc please see my Creative Practitioner page.
Here you will find a much more detailed look at just a few of the recent projects I’ve been involved with and some that are currently ongoing. There are many, many more, you’ll find a list at the bottom. The projects shown here are chosen as an eclectic encapsulation of the varied work I undertake. Do please get in touch if you feel we’d be a match to work together, if it’s anything to do with words, I’m your gal!
At the bottom of this page you will find information about my qualifications and professional memberships, as well as a list of all recent projects.
Art Assembly – Co-Curator
MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art) was invited by Art Fund to be part of Art Assembly – a one day festival showing how art can make a difference as part of Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019. I work a lot with MIMA on a freelance basis and was delighted to be invited to co-curate this event. I spent a day in MIMA working with all the community groups and created a charter for every one. We took over an empty space in Walthamstow High Street which we turned into a mini MIMA on tour, in which the charters were beautifully and proudly displayed. As well as loads of makings and doings, I also talked to all the people who came to visit us, and asked them what they believe makes a community. This work will be turned into a charter for Walthamstow, to share our learning and to say thank you for having us.
Get creative with MIMA’s innovative programme, live in the heart of Walthamstow. A colourful pop-up display, co-curated with disabled activist Lisette Auton.
The Little Shed of Forgotten Dreams – Commission for Hartlepool Waterfront Festival
Vici Wreford-Sinnott and I spent the summer working with members of Artrium Studio in Hartlepool to create the Little Shed of Forgotten Dreams. Artrium is a unique art studio using arts and crafts to improve mental health and well-being. We invented and created local myths and legends inspired by the stories of Hartlepool and those of the members. We made and collected items to store in the Little Shed which became a living museum and art installation for 6 weeks.
An Evening With – Host, Curate and Perform
I curated, organised and hosted An Evening With Lisette Auton at the fabulous Thought Foundation. BSL interpreted and audio described, it was an evening to give voice to incredible disabled artists, poets, writers, musicians and spoken word performers who live in the North East.
Social Action Speaker
With New Writing North I went into schools and delivered a talk to different year groups about Disability Arts, social action, my journey as a writer and changing the world with words. This was followed by workshops with selected students.
Belonging – Poetry Commission
I was commissioned to create new work reflecting the local identity and the meaning of ‘belonging’ within the post-industrial area of Middlesbrough. To work with a community group to create new narratives around the term ‘belonging’. I worked with Creative Age at MIMA, a group from the traditionally working-class areas that inspired the paintings of Teesside artist David Watson (born 1944). The piece will be recorded to form video installations, these will exhibit alongside Watson’s paintings (20) at an exhibition Dorman Museum in 2020. The new narratives will also form the exhibition guide.
Vital Xposure – Medicine’s Monstrous Daughters – Actor
Well that didn’t go according to plan… I’m so very sad we didn’t get to show the world the incredible piece of work the whole team made, having spent three weeks rehearsing in Hackney. I hope we get to come together again, I hope we stay safe, I hope the venues and staff and freelancers are all okay.
Julie McNamara, artistic director of Vital Xposure, wrote about the rehearsal process, it feels even more important now that this testament to this important piece of work is read. LINK TO ARTICLE HERE.
Spring 2020 – four weeks rehearsal in London and then four weeks national tour in the role of Mad Mary with the acclaimed Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, Vital Xposure.
Two plays by Julie McNamara and Omikemi. Directed by Penelope Freeman
Different women. Different times. Same system.
Two powerful plays, inspired by real life events, are woven together across time to expose unpalatable truths about the treatment of people deemed ‘different’ or ‘damaged’ and asks how much of our humanity do we lose in search of the cure?
Together, these plays tell some of the untold stories behind medicine’s ‘magical’ gains.
Age recommendation: 14+
The Wrecklings – Author
The WRECKLINGS is a middle grade lyrical adventure novel. The main character is eleven year old Alpha Lux, the first Wreckling, who lives at the lighthouse on the rugged North East coast with the mermaids and agoraphobic Cap’n with a kitten in his beard. Alpha wants to know why her mam abandoned her. When a mysterious stranger threatens to destroy the secret world she loves, she realises she doesn’t need to know the answer in order to belong; that friendship and the families we make for ourselves are the most important things to fight for. Alpha is disabled, as are all the characters who live at the lighthouse, but this book is not ‘about’ disability, nor is it ‘inspiration porn’. It’s a cracking and glorious middle grade literary adventure story with a spiky strong female at its heart. It’s missing from book shelves.
I am represented by Molly Ker Hawn at The Bent Agency and this novel won me a coveted place on Penguin Random House’s Write Now programme. I am currently working with Puffin Editor, Emma Jones.
Disconsortia – Writer-in-Residence, Workshop Facilitator & Performer
Invited to be writer-in-residence, to devise and facilitate a workshop, and perform as the Crip Mistress at a 2 day event for twenty disabled artists in the North East. I produced a piece of creative writing about the event which has been published on Disability Arts Online. The workshop was devised to be completely accessible and allow cross-artform collaboration. The performance was written especially for the cabaret, a twenty minute headline spot in character as the Crip Mistress which included spoken word. The Crip Mistress is available for future performances…
Recent & Upcoming Projects
New Writing North – Lead Writer on 8 week schools poetry project
Belonging – Poetry commission – see above
Puffin/Penguin/WriteNow – Author of middle grade novel THE WRECKLINGS – see above
Disability Arts Online – multiple commissions as writer and reviewer
Vital Exposure – Actor – see above
New Writing North – Social action speaker and workshop facilitator in schools – see above
Arts Council England – Mentor for Develop Your Creative Practice
Disconsortia/DAO/D4D – Writer-in-Residence, workshop facilitator and performer – see above
MIMA Creative Age – Lead workshop facilitator working on a two year project with older people living with dementia
MIMA Cloth Club – one off writing workshop to create a group poem based on their freeform knitting project to go on tour
MIMA/Art Assembly – Co-Curator – see above
Crossing the Tees Book Festival – Writer-in-Residence – design and deliver a masterclass, 3 workshops, and workshops in 5 schools, attend events, create a poetry pamphlet.
Dear Mrs Pennyman – Devise and deliver a writing workshop based on the Pennyman Letters
Little Shed of Forgotten Dreams – commissioned by Hartlepool Waterfront Festival – see above
MIMA – writer on Who Are We Project culminating in exhibition and words upon table tops
The Forge – Poet – design and deliver two day workshop and performance in schools
Evening With Lisette Auton – Host, curate and perform – see above
Let’s Discuss Disability – Artist and panel member
Disability Arts Online – Guest Editor – commission, edit and write articles to cover a 4 week take-over
BBC Bitesize – Guest artist on schools tour
DaDaFest – Panel member on the Future of Disability Arts
North Ormesby Hackathon – Writer-in-Residence and community writer
Full Circle Academy – writer and drama practitioner with learning disabled theatre academy
Occupation – Movement Facilitator for OCCUPATION with professional, disabled, and community cast
MIMA – Writer-in-residence – create schools programme
Qualifications & Training
BA Hons in Theatre Acting: Devised Performance
MSc with Distinction in Community Development and Youth Work
JNC Professional Qualification in Youth Work
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)
Greater Tees Practitioner Training Programme – strengthening skills and tools to effectively facilitate creative practice with socially excluded communities such as: young people including NEETs and PRU pupils, older people, disabled people, people experiencing homelessness, and refugees and asylum seekers
Introduction to Community Organising
Writers’ Block Mentoring Programme – 18 month long intensive mentoring course on how to write a novel
Current Enhanced Portable DBS
All relevant local Safeguarding Qualifications
Public Liability Insurance
Member of the Society of Authors
Member of the National Association of Writers in Education