Karen has both a charity and commercial background and continues to support local charities with her experience in business management from her exposure to national and international operations. She has worked closely with trustee boards and executive teams, and throughout her business career has worked alongside creative and marketing teams working on many high-profile projects. She is looking forward to helping FFAT further develop the narrative and programme for the issues it seeks to represent for Hull and Freedom On Tour.

Kate Denby has been Executive Director and joint CEO of Northern Stage in Newcastle since 2015, where she leads the strategic, financial and operational development of the company. Under her tenure the company increased audiences by 35% in four years, expanded acclaimed programmes of work with young people and independent theatre makers in the region, and established embedded partnerships in community settings. Kate’s background is in theatre producing and management. She was previously Executive Producer at the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill and Producer/Head of Programming & Talent Development at Hull Truck Theatre. She has led theatre tours to Europe, the USA and Southern Africa, and was involved in developing and delivering Hull’s successful bid for UK City of Culture 2017. Kate has been a member of the Freedom Festival Arts Trust Board since 2015, and became Chair in 2019.

A Hull girl through and through, Trish retired as Deputy Chief Executive from Hull City Council in 2019. Since retirement, Trish has continued her commitment to the City in a number of voluntary roles, including taking on the Chair of Generation Hull in 2021, the city’s Local Cultural Education Partnership. Generation Hull has a mission to support schools and creative organisations in Hull to work together making sure that our children and young people get the best creative experiences possible and access to the wonderful cultural opportunities in our city.

A business development specialist, Samantha has a wealth of strategic experience working in regeneration and economic development for local government, private sector and not for profit organisations, including launching the £200m Hull St Stephens development and managing high value projects at the University of Hull. Skilled in bringing together partners to achieve a common purpose, she has managed many large-scale events like Bizweek and created development strategies, including for the Fruit Market in Hull. Samantha now provides her multi-level experience to businesses as a freelance Management & Marketing Consultant.

Neil is a chartered accountant who was instrumental in the development of The Deep, an aquarium-based visitor attraction in Hull which is governed by a registered charity. In a book on the project, Neil was described as having had “as big an impact on the project as anyone”. Since opening in 2002, The Deep has welcomed almost 9m visitors through its doors, having proven itself as the most successful Millennium Commission lottery-funded project in the country. Neil came to Hull in the late 1980’s to study Pure Mathematics at the University of Hull and then studied at the Leeds Business School of Leeds Metropolitan University to become a Chartered Public Finance Accountant. Having taken the City to his heart, Neil decided to make his life in Hull after graduating, joining Hull City Council in the early 1990’s and was promoted rapidly through the organisation to the role of Group Technical Accountant, being responsible for the treasury management and capital programme of the Council. Within this role, Neil had the lead financial role in securing over £50m of funding for the establishment of The Deep and remains its Finance Director to this day. Neil is passionate about improving the life chances of the young people of Hull, having been a school/college governor for more than 20 years. Neil is currently Chair of the Constellation Trust, a £70m Hull-based Multi-Academy Trust including the secondary schools Sirius Academy West and Sirius Academy North, along with Rise Academy and seven primary schools. Neil is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy, a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics & its Applications, a member of the Association of Accounting Technicians and a member of European Mechanics Society.

As Assistant Director – Major Projects, Culture & Place at Hull City Council, Garry manages the city’s £400 million public/private capital investment programme, including highways, cultural venues, leisure and retail developments, public spaces, parks and schools. As Invest Hull’s visitor economy lead, he oversees the city centre product, branding and inward investment along with tourism, conferences, events and delivery of the city’s cultural strategy. Garry’s team previously delivered the regeneration of the city centre and its cultural venues in the lead up to UK City of Culture 2017 and the £450 million Building Schools for the Future programme. Future projects include continued investment in leisure facilities and parks, retail and housing, highways and cycle routes, school expansions and the creation of a major heritage maritime attraction.

Rob feels honoured to live in Hull and has had a varied career, from starting out working in retail, working as a nurse, bank clerk, chief officer of several voluntary and community organisations, and now a City Councillor. He has a passion for his city and loves being involved in making it a better place to live. He loves the arts in all its forms, and feels privileged to be the Portfolio Holder for Culture, where he gets to meet amazing people from around the city and beyond. Rob believes he wouldn’t have achieved half as much as he has without his amazing wife Linda, who he has been with for over 30 years.

Sally is passionate about festivals, live events and the Arts, with a particular knowledge of festivals and over twenty years of experience and industry knowledge, including working on Glastonbury Festival, Norfolk and Norwich Festival and Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Sally is also a fan of large-scale events and mass participation projects, having worked as part of the Big Dance 2010/12, the Ceremonies teams delivering London 2012 and Rugby World Cup 2015. Sally has a variety of roles under her belt along with a Masters in Arts Management and Cultural Policy and Undergraduate Degree in English Literature and Drama.