Tell us about your role in PtJA
I am the Project Manager for PtJA. I’m responsible for overall planning and oversight of the project and its day-to-day management. I work closely with the research team to manage the logistical coordination of the project, including a suite of five international performance festivals, project conferences and symposia, one off performances, events and educational projects. I’m also responsible for coordinating a programme of project evaluation, managing the liaison with external partners and supervising the Festival Coordinators.
What were you doing before working on PtJA?
Working as a Project Officer in the Lifelong Learning Centre at the University of Leeds. I was part of the ‘Communities and Partnerships team’ and I organised and ran study days, summer schools, seminars and conferences for adult learners from areas underrepresented in higher education. It was a great job and I gained a lot of experience that enabled me to make the move to my current role.
What’s the best thing about working on a project like PtJA?
It’s been a wonderful opportunity for me to combine business and pleasure. I’m a project manager by trade and a keen amateur musician outside of work, so when I saw a job asking for a PM with knowledge and experience of music and theatre I couldn’t wait to apply. The fact that I have also been able to contribute to choral performances at project events and festivals has been an added bonus. I’m very aware of how lucky I have been to work on a project like this and I’ll be sad when funding for the project in its current form comes to an end.
What do you get the most satisfaction from professionally?
Seeing an event, especially a large scale festival or international conference, come together successfully. Anyone in event management knows just how much work is involved – it should look flawless but there is usually a fair amount of frantic paddling going on just under the surface! Receiving positive feedback from your audience and seeing what you can do to improve next time is very satisfying.
What’s the biggest challenge for you on this project?
The sheer size and scope of the project – 5 international festivals, conferences, academic outputs, a project exhibition, multiple one-off performances and public engagement events and an international team located at all four corners of the earth. It’s huge and as word about the project has spread so have the opportunities for collaboration. With the best will in the world we can’t do it all and an important (and sometimes challenging!) part of my role is to remind team members to consider what is possible given the project scope, limited time and limited resources. Basically, I have to be bad cop!
Outside of work, what are your interests and hobbies?
I’m a passionate mountain climber/walker, runner, climber and general all round outdoor and fitness enthusiast. In particular, I love endurance sport – the challenges of long distance running, multiday expeditions and high altitude climbing are considerable but utterly addictive.
I am also a keen amateur musician and I currently sing soprano with the Clothworkers Consort of Leeds, a chamber choir based at the University of Leeds. Through them I have had the opportunity to perform a vast amount of repertoire in some amazing venues both in the UK and overseas.
Finally, I have two young daughters (a 3 year old and a 16 month old) who keep me on my toes and make my non-PtJA days entertaining. I am busy indoctrinating them into the joys of music and the great outdoors.
Outside of work, what are the top things on your ‘bucket list’?
Finish climbing the 7 summits (the highest peak on each continent). I’ve done 2 (Kilimanjaro and Mount Elbrus) but sense the others might need to wait until my children are a little older! Complete all 214 of the Lake District Wainwrights (165 done so far) and Munros, run more marathons, complete an ultra-marathon, live in the Lake District, travel the Trans-Siberian railway, round the world trip with my girls….the list is endless and I’m always adding things to it!
If you were stranded on a desert island what three things would you want with you?
Whilst I should probably say my husband and two daughters, I’m a practically minded person so I’ll go for my 4 season sleeping bag, full set of waterproofs and steel fire lighting flint. No matter how stunning your surroundings, being cold and wet is no fun after a while.