Literally thousands of fantastic people make Freedom Festival happen each year. At the heart of the wider Freedom family are our core team.
Mikey, Jenny, Siana-Mae and Sally are all based at Freedom Festival HQ in Hull’s Fruit Market, and for Freedom Festival Arts Trust to co-ordinate all aspects of the festival as well as year-round programming.
The team works with freelance directors and artists, our Trustees, community groups, sponsors, volunteers and everyone else involved who helps make our festival such a success each year.
Mikey has worked in the arts festival industry for more than two decades, across Europe, Canada and Australia. He has worked on numerous high-profile national and international cultural events and organisations, including Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Winchester Hat Fair, Out There Festival, Casus Circus (Australia) and Theatre Bristol. Mikey is also on the steering group for the IN SITU network and sits on the Board of Surge (formerly Conflux) in Scotland. Mikey moved to Hull after taking up his appointment as CEO and Artistic Director; Freedom Festival 2016 was the first with Mikey at the helm.
Jenny began her career in the arts sector before making the transition into publishing/events where she worked for over 16 years, developing skills in event management, stakeholder engagement, sponsor development and marketing. She has extensive experience in conceiving and taking to market large-scale events. Having witnessed first-hand the positive impact that cultural events and experiences can have upon people and places, Jenny is passionate about developing a sustainable event that touches and inspires all those in attendance.
Siana-Mae graduated from The University of Hull’s Drama Department in 2015 and has worked with numerous theatre companies in Hull & across the region. Since 2016, she worked as the Assistant Producer & Arts Programme Co-ordinator with Hull UK City of Culture 2017. Her main projects were WOW Hull, Slung Low’s Flood & the Creative Communities Programme. Having seen the transformation of Hull in the last couple of years, she cannot wait to work with a festival that is so integral to Hull’s cultural identity.
Sally is a qualified accountant with 15 years experience across a range of industries. She was the Finance Officer with Hull Truck Theatre from 2008-2011. Since December 2015 she has been the Treasurer of Artlink Centre for Community Arts and was an integral part of turning The New Adelphi Club in to a Community Interest Company, of which she is now a Director.
Sally is also a musician and can be found on stage as her alter ego The Dyr Sister, or playing in her band The Immigrants. Occasionally, she can also be found being a producer, a promoter or even a durational performance artist.
Laura has ten years’ worth of experience working in the arts sector. In 2017 Laura worked as an Assistant Producer for City of Culture on a number of projects including BBC Contains Strong Language, dreamthinkspeak’s site specific show One Day, Maybe, the Philip Larkin New Eyes Each Year Exhibition and outdoor installation Where Do We Go From Here.
Before starting work in Hull, Laura was the Programme Coordinator at Ilkley Literature Festival in West Yorkshire, an organisation she started working with during her time at the University of Leeds studying English Literature. She is excited to be continuing to work in Hull, especially for a festival so important to the cultural offer in the city.
Yasmin Knowles has recently graduated from The University of Hull with a degree in Drama and Theatre Practice. Throughout her three years at the University she was involved in numerous productions as part of her degree as well as extra-curricular opportunities as part of the Stage Management teams. One of the projects she is most proud of being a part of is ‘Weathered Estates’ for Women of the World Festival as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 where she worked as an Assistant Stage Manager. As part of her degree, Yasmin also led production teams, such as working as the sole stage manager on a devised production named ‘Tainted’. Since moving to Hull and discovering the city and the community feel Yasmin is looking forward to working on the festival and bringing a wide variety of arts to the community as Freedom Festival’s Production Intern this year.
Hannah is currently studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Hull. Alongside her studies Hannah co-edits the Music section for the Hull Fire university paper and won the ‘Best Review’ award for her critique of Justin Hayward at Hull City Hall. Hannah has also been involved in several volunteer projects, working with companies such as Arco in producing City of Culture related content and with Viking Radio. Hannah especially enjoyed working on the BBC Contains Strong Language Festival, where she promoted ‘Quake,’ a virtual reality experience as well as assisting a variety of artists. She is most excited about inspiring and encouraging people to be part of as much as possible at the Freedom Festival and can’t wait to contribute to such a community focussed event. Hannah is also a pianist and usually spends her free time learning new music, reading, writing and travel planning.
Want to know what life is like for an intern? Check out Yasmin’s story here.
Images courtesy of Anete Sooda and Alison Robinson.