New women leaders join arts organisations

A PROGRAMME designed to bring more women into arts management and address the gender imbalance in the sector has resulted in 16 new associates for eight south west regional arts organisations.

Women Leaders South West (WLSW) the new associates from more than 350 applications for a training opportunity at the eight arts organisations – The Point, Activate Performing Arts, Art Asia, Diverse City, Kaleider, Pavilion Dance South West, Strike a Light and the Arts Development Company.

The organisations will host two associates each over the next 18 months, supported by social entrepreneurship and business training from Southampton Business School and mentoring from Jude Kelly and The WOW (Women of the World) Foundation. The programme is funded by the Arts Council’s Transforming Leadership scheme.

Natasha Nixon, who is joining Dorset’s Activate, is an international theatre director and practitioner based in Bridport. Her work is cross-disciplinary with previous projects including an experimental dance theatre show exploring trauma, a queer adaptation of Macbeth, circus, new writing and mask projects, as well as a broad range of outreach work including an immersive clown dance show for children with special educational needs and disabilities. She has worked at the National Theatre and the National Youth Theatre.

Ruth Pitter., who is also joining Activate, is based in Bristol and is co-founder of Black Women Let Loose Theatre Company, Breathing Fire Black Women’s Playback Theatre Company, and Our Stories Make Waves collective for artists of African Diaspora heritage. She has performed, written, produced, taught and directed productions locally, nationally and internationally. Ruth has also worked in the voluntary sector for many years in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion.

The 16 successful candidates come from many different backgrounds with a diversity of perspectives. They live across the South West – from Newlyn in Cornwall to Southampton; Bridport to Gloucester.

Kate Wood, executive and artistic director at Activate, says: “We are delighted to have Ruth and Natasha join our team as part of their training for the Women Leaders South West programme. We will learn lots from these inspiring and dynamic women and will support them in developing their leadership skills over the coming months and beyond.”

The other selected women associates are: Adrienne Dove Armstrong; Shenice Ellis; Fee Francis Hudson; Vrushali Harihar; Daisy Higman; Zahra Hoccom Anjali Mavi; Vandna Mehta; Natasha Nixon; Rosanne Robertson; Lorna Rose; Romana Syed; Amber Weyman and Abby Young.

Pictured: Natasha Nixon and Ruth Pitter.