Julie McNamara is Artistic Director of Vital Xposure, one of UK’s leading disability led theatre companies within Arts Council England’s national portfolio. As both an artist and activist, she is a lead voice within Disability Arts on international stages. A self proclaimed Mad Woman Made Good, her work is driven by social justice, with a life long preoccupation with excluded voices from locked in spaces. Her particular interests are in discourses and representations of madness on stage and writing disability into the heart of theatre with her own unique access aesthetic. With long-time collaborator Caglar Kimyoncu, she founded the well loved London Disability Film Festival hosted at BFI on South Bank for 8 years.
She is an award winning playwright (Best of the Fest 2018, Picture This Film Festival Performance Award 2017, Unlimited 2014, Southbank Show Award ITV 2010 / DaDa Writers Award 2009 etc.) Her work is widely published in poetry anthologies and non-fiction discourses on Disability and Mental Health. She has an extensive theatre production history both in the UK and on international stages. Recent work includes Let Me Stay, created alongside her Mother, an extraordinary love letter celebrating a life lived well with Alzheimers and the extraordinary award winning documentary: Voices from the Knitting Circle. She has just been directing a sell-out UK national tour of The Butch Monologues by Laura Bridgeman.
Chas de Swiet
Chas is a creative producer and artist.
Since 2000 he has worked for a number of organisations including London Disability Arts Forum, Mental Health Media, The Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company, Audio Addiction Guy Bar-Amotz, Creative Routes, LOCOG (London 2012), Arts Council England, DaDaFest and Core Arts. Chas worked for Greenwich+Docklands Festivals as a Producer on outdoor arts festivals including four Liberty festivals.
He has worked in a variety of roles including General Manager, Head of Operations, Project Manager, Producer and Trustee; there has often been a specialism around disability arts and diversity.
As well as working for Vital Xposure as Executive Director he is currently Chair of Core Arts (Hackney), is an Artistic and Quality Assessor for the Arts Council England, and is a founder and Co-Artistic Director of the Liminal Wood.
As an artist Chas works primarily with sound and music. His musical progression has been from a classical violinist through to a world music and ambient DJ and then on to playing in bands and producing music for film, dance, theatre and events.
Commissions have come from Historic Royal Palaces, Drake Music Project, Graeae Theatre Company, Half Moon Young People’s Theatre, Rachel Gadsden and Rupert Goold.
He has played in many bands with performances at Glastonbury Festival, the Big Green Gathering and the Atomium in Brussels.
In film and digital media, Chas created the film Water, competition short listed at the KynnysKIN06 festival, Helsinki, and was the subject of an Animated Minds short, broadcast on Channel 4. He was the recipient of an Artsadmin digital bursary which resulted in the experimental website nutter.tv. which was exhibited at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington DC.
Isobel Hawson is a freelance theatre producer, consultant and Director of On Tour Ltd., a national and international arts consultancy. She has worked in arts funding, young people’s theatre, participatory arts, touring, organisational development, project management and strategic planning; has worked in the UK, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and South Africa. She has set up bursaries, international exchanges, provides mentoring support and advises companies on their creative, infrastructural and touring developments.
As a senior officer at Arts Council England she led on the strategic and policy development of cultural diversity and theatre, young people’s theatre and the DCMS funded national programme, developing young people’s participatory theatre practice.
She continues to work with a number of diverse companies, delivering a variety of projects.
In 2016, Isobel produced Dervish’s acclaimed production THE CROWS PLUCKED YOUR SINEWS (nomination Alfred Fagon Award 2016), written by Hassan Mahamdallie. In 2015, Isobel managed the national tour of INSIDE OUT OF MIND (ACE Strategic Touring), collaboration between Meeting Ground Theatre Company, Nottingham Lakeside Arts, University of Nottingham. (Finalist National Lottery Awards 2015 (Best Arts Award).
Isobel is Producer with fingersmiths, a Deaf-led national touring theatre company, engaging with Deaf/disabled audiences with the integration of BSL/ English presented equally on stage. She is Strategic Associate at 20 Stories High, whose award winning professional and participatory work with and for young people, tours regionally and nationally. Isobel is also on the Board of Quarantine, Manchester.
She is currently producing Cultural Co-operation’s new commission by writer, Racheal Ofori; working with Kali Theatre and with 30 Bird.
Marketing and Administration Officer
Other roles at Vital Xposure included that of Assistant Director to Terry Galloway on Hold the Hearse!
Emilia has been part of the team at Vital Xposure since 2014.
She is also Artistic Director at Odd Eyes Theatre and works as a freelance director and playwright. Her new play Close Up is due to showcase at Richmix and New Diorama in January. #Haters has recently completed its second tour. Since 2000 Emilia collaborates with Cardboard Citizens, the homeless people theatre company, recently assisting on the touring forum theatre production Cathy.
As a Lecturer and drama facilitator she has taught programmes at London Metropolitan University, the Roundhouse, ISCaD, Midkent College and education institutes in the UK, Turkey, Italy and Malta.