One of Dawn’s favourite things about working for Applause is the variety of jobs there are to do. Her background in managing arts for over 20 years has been built up through a combination of artist and public facing programmes and projects. Working with the public has been a common thread through all of her experience to date including her rather lapsed practise as a visual artist. She likes practical things, making, walking, cooking as well as coming up with ideas to make the ordinary a little extraordinary.
Sally’s passionate about life and never happier when visiting a gallery, theatre or music venue. She’s extensive experience of working in the arts as a freelance producer and project manager and recent highlights in her career include commissioning and producing a community Opera ‘PUSH’ with Glyndebourne, bringing the Winter Giant to Battle Festival and managing Hastings Fat Tuesday Music Festival. Having spent a few years managing the Outdoors programme at Applause she now leads on our artistic programming, working with some of the UKs most exciting artists and companies to create and curate shows for our rural promoters. Her love of the arts is nearly matched by her love of food (eating not cooking), walking (especially the South Downs) and yoga (the gentle type). A perfect day is when she can combine them all.
Alice is the Community Engagement Lead at Applause. She does what it says on the tin: works with members of the community – from promoter to audience – to make sure that we are supporting and entertaining people across our programmes. She also books in the shows, so tends to be a good person to talk to if one of our shows catches your eye. Alice also loves data and can often be found with her head in a load of numbers, doing some interesting analysis into our audiences!
Alice has worked in the arts for a number of years, covering roles in marketing, audience engagement and audience development. Alice also loves to write, direct and make theatre happen, so, when she’s not working at Applause, she can often be found turning her head to her own creative projects. Alice also enjoys: painting, singing, dancing, walking in nature, sunsets and photography (taking photos of sunsets in nature is an utter joy).
Julie is our Marketing and Communications Officer. Prior to joining Applause, she worked for seven years at Komedia Brighton, an award-winning independent arts venue. As well as that role, Julie performed stand-up comedy for 10 years. This led to her gigging at many venues, some in remote locations, that wouldn’t fit the stereotypical idea of a theatre. Seeing the joy that performance can bring to an audience who may not usually have access to shows is one of the many reasons she is thrilled to be working at Applause.
Julie now enjoys being an audience member rather than a performer at a wide variety of shows. She is a keen runner, entering the Yorkshire Marathon in October 2021 after a 10-year marathon break.
As Project Manager for Inn Crowd, Samantha is based with the Applause team but also works nationally alongside our great suite of partners, especially project co-founders Creative Arts East and National Centre for Writing. She has a professional background in Project Management and an educational and extra-curricular background in the arts. Her love for live shows in pubs stems from witnessing first-hand the impact that telling stories in comforting, casual, local settings can have on communities. She has volunteered with a local pub-theatre company for years to share potent and powerful stories that bring vibrant worlds to life in people’s locals and now she is thrilled to be helping these moments of magic occur countrywide via INN CROWD. She loves pubs, pints and pouring over any arts that she can get her hands on, preferably accompanied by her Corgi, Paddy.
Sam is the Finance Manager at Applause. She is responsible for maintaining and managing all aspects of Applause’s day to day financial operations as well as supporting the Director and Trustees with reporting to funders and statutory reporting. Sam is a Chartered Accountant specialising in charity accounting and over the last 20 years has worked with a wide range of charities of all sizes from large national to small local charities. Her favourite thing about working with Applause is seeing the impact it makes on communities and artists and the wide range of work carried out by the brilliant Applause team. There’s never a dull moment!
Kat Portman-Smith has worked as a producer for theatre and event production for nearly 30 years. As associate producer with Seabright Productions she worked on productions including: Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, Hardeep Singh Kohli and Potted Potter and Potted Panto. As well as working on their Festival Highlights program for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 2005 to 2012. In 2012 Kat founded KPS Productions and was awarded a Society of London Theatre’s Stage One Bursary for emerging producers. Highlights have included producing multiple national tours, sold-out Edinburgh Festival and London productions of …And This is My Friend Mr Laurel, a New York run of Playing with Grown Ups, as well as a London production and UK/Ireland tour of a A Spoonful of Sherman in 2018.
Since 2015 she has been the Theatre Manager at the EM Forster Theatre in Tonbridge, Kent.
I am a former local government senior manager specialising in wellbeing, leisure and culture. Currently a director of a small HR and Training company. I am passionate about enabling people to have the opportunity to access high quality cultural experiences and overcoming geographical, financial and social issues to achieve this.
Helen has a background is psychology and research and is based in rural East Sussex. She is firm believer in the importance of arts and culture to health and wellbeing and more specifically in local arts as a means of creating togetherness and belonging. Helen is currently most interested in how to reach the hard-to-reach and is putting together a PhD proposal looking at just that. Helen is also a Trustee of a rural community support charity and a keen gig rower.
Julie is a leadership and team development consultant, facilitator and coach based in Canterbury, with a background in public services management and the third sector. She is also an improviser and specialises in bringing greater flexibility, creativity and adaptability to the workplace. She believes strongly that all communities should have access to high-quality live performance, to provoke thoughts and enrich lives.
Rachel has been a nurse for 20 years and has a huge passion and experience in health and well-being. Rachel has seen the huge impact that access to arts has on people’s health and well-being and the wider community especially at this time. Rachel has been involved in charities and fundraising for many years across multiple sectors, including schools and has a real interest in supporting access to the arts for children and young people.
Hannah is an arts manager and consultant, and a professional recording artist based in Bexhill-on-Sea. She is an advocate of rural touring and recognises the benefits of taking quality art forms into underserved communities. As well as releasing five studio albums and touring across Europe and America, she has produced multiple rural tours, concerts and festivals, including tours of tin tabernacles, village halls and by canal boat. She is also the General Manager of Hastings International Piano.
Dan is a marketing and communications specialist. He has worked with some of the best-known arts and culture organisations in the country including Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Donmar Warehouse, Roundhouse and Sadler’s Wells. He believes in the genius in all of us and in the power of the arts to transform communities, previously leading the communications for Fun Palaces, a lobbying organisation for cultural democracy. Outside of work, he is a keen (slow) marathon runner and has a cocker spaniel, Charlie.
Louise has a passion that art should be accessible for all. Before Covid she ran concerts for children, taking place in libraries, children centres, churches and preschools. She has also run pop up art community hubs in Tonbridge high street.
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