Vital Xposure’s new Artistic Lead

A white man with blue eyes, blond hair, glasses and facial hair. They are wearing a grey t-shirt.

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Stephen Bailey as Vital Xposure’s new Artistic Lead!

Stephen is an award-winning neurodivergent director and producer, with longstanding experience in creating new accessible work. He won the 2022 Royal Theatrical Support Trust Sir Peter Hall Director award. He directed The Real and Imagined History of the Elephant Man by Tom Wright for Nottingham Playhouse. He’s a Barbican Open Lab Artist and Oxford Playhouse EVOLVE Artist. Stephen was resident assistant director at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2020 and has previously worked with theatres including the National Theatre, Graeae, Hampstead and the Kiln. Stephen runs ASYLUM Arts whose credits include FlawBored’s multi-award-winning It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure and this year are touring Papatango Prize Winner Tom Powell’s Surfacing and Covered in Jam’s That’s Not My Name.

Stephen joins the company this month, as the team prepares for the next stage of the VX Labs programme, following last autumn’s consultation period, and the completion of the second year of Wellspringour writers development programme.

Stephen’s message on his appointment:

“I am thrilled to join Vital Xposure as Artistic Lead. Working with the board and current team, I’m excited that we’re embarking on an ambitious new chapter which considers disability as a lens rather than a subject. Over the past year, VX conducted an impressive information gathering operation for our Labs programme. Time and again, we found D/deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent artists and audiences yearning to present and see themselves as complex individuals with multi-faceted lives. On February 23rd VX will showcase the newest work from our Wellspring writers’ programme which demonstrates the range of topics disabled and neurodivergent writers want to explore.

Following VX’s mission to share vital stories and expose hidden truths, we will pursue an artistic policy of disabled artists collaborating with other marginalised groups. In the coming year, we’ll forge new partnerships with organisations within and beyond the theatre sector to access untold narratives of celebration and persistence. I am eager to employ the skills and expertise of the disabled arts community to uplift essential, untold stories from other communities.

It’s an honour to build on Julie McNamara’s artistic legacy, which elevated VX to international acclaim and paved the way for myself and fellow disabled peers to work in this industry. In these challenging times for the sector, I believe a nimble company like Vital Xposure can play a key role in developing under-served audiences.”

Stephen Bailey, Artistic Lead, Vital Xposure


Message from the Chair of Trustees:

“We are excited to welcome Stephen to Vital Xposure. His commitment to uncovering new stories and ways of making theatre chimes with VX’s pledge to bring sector change through disabled-led work and beyond. Stephen’s appointment marks our direction of travel for more bold ideas, and strategic partnerships across our work.”

Sue Williams, Chair, Vital Xposure


Message from the Executive Director:

“I am delighted that Stephen will be joining the Vital Xposure team. He brings a wealth of directing credits, including most recently The Real and Imagined History of the Elephant Man at Nottingham Playhouse, and I look forward to working with him.”

Theresa Veith, Executive Director, Vital Xposure