At Freedom Festival Arts Trust, we support the development of ongoing works by artists that align with our trust's aims and visions. Some of the works you'll have seen at our festivals or at partner festivals, and others are still in development stages.
On this page, you can explore the artists we are currently working with. You can explore past works we have supported over on our Commissions page. If you're an artist or arts company creating work that you think would be a good fit, hop over to our Artist Development page.
Lee Karen Stow
Lee Karen Stow is a visual journalist, artist and PhD Researcher in Media Studies through the North of England Consortium for Arts and Humanities (NECAH) at the University of Hull. Working with and alongside women forcibly displaced by war, conflict and persecution to explore the roles of photographic images and photography in self-representation as visible activism. She began in journalism in 1989 and since first working with women survivors in Sierra Leone in 2007, she has devoted her visual practice to recording the personal narratives of women survivors, focusing on how women rebuild after the aftermath. She works alongside women to co-create exhibitions, installations and research using non-linear, multi-vocal, visual conversations in which all female voices occupy the space.
You'll recognise Lee Karen Stow's work through Something to Breathe (part of Freedom Festival 2020), an online article and conversation with women survivors of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and their descendants, and Our Freedom Online Talks in 2021 "You Don't Look Like a Refugee".
“Freedom Festival created a space for me as a Hull-born female photographer and visual artist, working long-term with women survivors of war, conflict and persecution. Their commitment and respect for the importance of our work and voices encourages us to advocate for greater freedom and recognition for women survivors everywhere.” - Lee Karen Stow
Kaleider are producers Katie Keeler, Jocelyn Mills and Irene Urrutia, manager Peter Vanderford and artist Seth Honnor. They combine installation, live performance and digital in their work. Working in collaboration on projects conceived and directed by Seth, they are a studio based in the UK and have toured venues, festivals and public spaces all over the world. In the past five years, they have performed 274 gigs in 12 countries on 4 continents to more than 120,000 people. Kaleider is also an IN SITU artist. Read more about IN SITU here.
We have featured Kaleider at Freedom Festival in previous years, including Pig and A Portrait Without Boarders, and we are currently supporting the team on their current new work for international touring in 2023, Arch - an exploration of humans and materials, revealing the beauty and flaws of the global systems we imagine, build, and come to rely on.
"It is hard to imagine what Kaleider would look like without the support and association of Freedom Festival and the European In Situ network. Our association has formed a foundation for much of the work we have created in recent years, supported its development, and helped it meet audiences. Presenting Pig at Freedom Festival 2018 is legendary at Kaleider.
We have presented more of our work in Hull than anywhere else in the world and we LOVE Hull audiences. We can’t wait to return." - Seth Honnor, Artistic Director @ Kaleider
Via Berlin is a young, Dutch music theatre group founded in 2008. Their trilogy on WAR was awarded the important Dutch Charlotte Köhler Prize in 2014. Since then, they have reached over 50.000 people with 13 productions and have grown to be an extraordinary independent company, touring the world to countries such as China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa and Norway.
"The Freedom Festival Arts Trust helps Via Berlin immensely with bringing our work, both our music theatre and our Arts-Based Science method, overseas to connect with new audiences. Sharing our work with students at universities abroad and exploring new landscapes, social issues and other audiences, gives us the opportunity to grow massively in understanding how the triangle of art-society-science works and needs to be shown.
For the last 14 years, we created a totally different form of music theatre, with music and choreography as the main storyteller to address hot social topics, no songs. This created a very emotional reaction with our theatre audiences all over the world, and we want to reach further by addressing the social topics that people in the streets experience and bringing our shows to them. We create social artistic interventions in public space accompanying our shows, which helped new audiences to find their way to the theatre and to our shows. This new way of working, combining Arts-Based Science and social artistic interventions that lead up to developing new shows, creates a bigger conversation about these important social topics.
The ability to have a greater connection with Hull, and the opportunity that Freedom Festival Arts Trust has provided, has allowed us to come and work in the city for several years. We are excited to continue to research and deepen our connection with the city, the university and a variety of audiences. It is really amazing!" - Dagmar Slagmolen
Ten years of creativity, expansion and development have seen The Broken Orchestra morph into more than just a music production duo. Regularly receiving air play from the likes of BBC Introducing’s Tom Robinson & Steve Lamacq on BBC Radio 6 Music. They have also played live in some of the UK’s most prestigious venues during the last three years, including Hare and Hounds (Birmingham), Band on the Wall (Manchester), Hifi Club (Leeds) and Hoochie Coochie (Newcastle).
We have supported and commissioned Broken Orchestra on outdoor arts and digital projects including Re:Score and Fair Winds and Following Seas, as well as collaborating with the duo to create a brand new podcast exploring arts and artists alongside music in tiny conversations.
"One of the most difficult aspects of what we do creatively is getting ideas from our heads into a tangible form. As music producers who sit slightly outside of the standard parameters, we've always found it difficult to know where we fit and how to best deliver what we have to offer. Our development has benefitted from a support system of like-minded people pushing us into new ways of working and helping us see potential in what we do. Having the support of an organisation such as Freedom Festival has really allowed us to think outside the box and push our creative boundaries further. The team offers huge support, encouragement and a real positive can-do attitude which adds reassurance to our ideas and significant weight to our output." - Pat Dooner
Middle Child Theatre
Middle Child is creating theatre that makes a noise, capturing the electrifying moment when the beat drops, mixing original live music with bold new writing. Known for making gig theatre and breaking down barriers, ensuring that theatre is affordable and accessible for all.
Through Freedom Festival Arts Trust’s support, they were able to bring our Hull 2017 UK City of Culture production, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, back to the city in the summer of 2018. This multi-award winning, sell-out show played to our largest ever home audience in the Big Top in Queen’s Gardens. Additionally, in 2022 Freedom Festival co-commissioned their first-ever outdoor show, There Should Be Unicorns, which premiered in Hull at Stage at the Dock in May, before touring the country and finally returning to a packed out family audience in that year’s festival. They are working with the Warren Youth Project to present their Three Minute Monologues project for Freedom Festival 2023, working with young people from Hull to share new writing on the subject of mental health.
"Freedom Festival is always a highlight of the cultural calendar in Hull, and we’re delighted to be working more closely with the brilliant Freedom team as associate artists. Working with Freedom in the past has allowed us to think bigger, reach more people and grow our profile both locally and nationally – we can’t wait to continue doing so." - Paul Smith, Artisic Director and CEO
The Herd Theatre
The Herd Theatre brings children, young people and families together in playful spaces to share exceptional experiences. They play alongside children to create shows, installations and experiences that celebrate, interrogate and nurture the joy of childhood. Work includes two national tours of SLIME, How to Fly Like a Reindeer at Hull Truck and Ducklings at The Royal Exchange, The Last Dinosaur at Arc Stockton and The Herd are associates at Back To Ours and Hull Libraries. As well as shows The Herd have an annual schools programme opening up careers in the theatre to 7-11yrs, published a picture book, created an early years digital play tool, and developed a programme of play work. They are currently under commission from the Southbank Centre to design a play space installation for children 0-11yrs made entirely out of waste materials.
The Herd were first programmed by Freedom Festival with their audio storytelling adventure Hidden Winter in 2021. This was a co-production with SBC theatre, a project co-created with families who are seeking sanctuary in the UK, all taking place online during the Coronavirus Pandemic. They were then commissioned to create a bespoke a roaming adventure for families in Hull, located in, made in and performed in Hull City Centre. The audio show was co-written with 8 children aged 8-11yrs from Hull, who are currently looked after in the care system, in partnership with Hull and East Yorkshire Children’s Univeristy. The shows stars BAFTA nominated comic actress Lucy Beamount.
"Working with Freedom Festival has allowed us to experiment more with the form of our work and to make a piece of outdoor art for the first time, in doing so it has opened up the possibilities of what families can expect from a Herd show. The support and commissioning power of Freedom has encouraged us to be braver and keep finding new, unexpected, ways of making stories in playful spaces.
We’re hugely excited by our association with Freedom as it comes from a shared passion for creating exceptional moments for families that sit outside of the everyday." - Ruby Thompson, Co-Artistic Director - The Herd Theatre
Described as a producer, composer, pianist, and arranger, whose music spans intricate, often uncompromising electronic textures and delicate instrumental timbres. Mark's production, writing, and contributions to other projects as an arranger, has been released on The Leaf Label, Brownswood Recordings, Wah Wah 45s, Real World Records, Ninja Tune, and E2 Music (the publishing offshoot of Edition Records). In the UK, his music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 Music and on BBC One.
Recently Mark's work with Nightports has appeared as part of our digital programme for Freedom Festival 2022 and with a phenomenal set of live performances in Trinity Minster for The Awakening 2023.
"The Freedom Festival Arts Trust has helped me share my work in music and sound with new audiences, and it has given me vital opportunities to develop ideas and create connections for future work. In 2022, my works were included in both the digital and live programmes of the Freedom Festival, which meant I could share some ambitious and challenging projects with the people of Hull and beyond. I was also supported to attend a 10-day residency in Copenhagen during which I worked with 9 other artists to develop ideas around landscape while honing some vital technical skills to make immersive digital works. All of this support has helped me clarify my direction and make plans for future works." - Mark Slater