From big ideas to small enterprise – growing a successful business in the arts

28 Feb 2017

Event times

18:30 – 20:30

Cost of entry

This event is free but please register to be sure of getting a place.

Methodist Central Hall

England, United Kingdom


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A unique opportunity to hear from artists and creative practitioners about developing your career in the independent arts sector.


We invite you to meet a panel of experts who have made a huge success out of growing their creativity into well-known and sustainable organisations. Speakers will include Pete Gunson from PifPaf, Andrew Kim from Thingumajig and the Handmade Parade, Maggie Clarke from XTRAX, Ali Pretty from Kinetika and Anne Marie Crowther from PANDA.

After a brief introduction by each speaker to their personal career path, the floor will be open for your questions and subsequent debate.

Artists of all levels of experience are welcome: from those too apprehensive to start or about to make their first ACE application to successful artists needing tips on how to sustain development and achieve investment of a growing portfolio of projects.

This is a great opportunity aiming to give insight into how to develop your practice to new levels in a challenging era for the arts.


Maggie Clarke, Director, XTRAX

Maggie is the Director and founder of XTRAX, an organization founded in 2001 that develops and runs showcases, events and festivals, and offers producer support to selected artists. Maggie is the producer of the large scale outdoor show As The World Tipped by Wired Aerial Theatre, Directed by Nigel Jamieson, and is a founder member of the Without Walls consortium, a partnership of outdoor festivals that has commissioned and supported more than 100 new projects by UK artists.

Anne-Marie Crowther, Director, PANDA Arts

Marie Crowther is an accredited coach, learning facilitator and experienced business mentor and Director of the Performing Arts Network and Development Agency (PANDA), a membership and support organisation for those working, or aspiring to work, in the performing arts and related sectors. Services include coaching, mentoring, peer learning/support groups, networking and exchange events, training in business and communication skills and online information resources such as latest jobs and training.

Pete Gunson, Artistic Director, PifPaf

Established in 2003 in Manchester, PifPaf has evolved through several different forms to be a highly respected cross-artform outdoor theatre company. They work across small scale outdoor touring shows, midscale indoor theatre, parade commissions, and circus and theatrical engineering. The company is still at its heart two artistic directors, a sketch book and a laptop. Pete will talk about using successful planning to deliver artistic ambitions without getting overwhelmed.

Andrew Kim, Artistic Director, Thingumajig Theatre

Andrew is the artistic director of Thingumajig Theatre who tour puppet plays and walkabout giant puppets, and Handmade Parade who create community parades and lantern events in Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and beyond. He has created, directed and performed in puppet and mask plays, parades and large-scale outdoor performances for over 25 years in the UK, USA and throughout Europe and Asia. Andrew will discuss the two different business structures of his 2 companies: one which is largely run on earned income and the other which is run largely on grants and fundraising and outline the benefits and limitations of each.

Ali Pretty, Artistic Director, Kinetika

Ali is best known as the founding member and artistic director of the international outdoor arts company – Kinetika, which she founded in 1997 after a long established career in carnival arts and a growing commitment to community engagement work. Ali has collaborated with, and led teams of artists to deliver large-scale events to diverse audiences all over the world; from WOMAD (1985 – 1991), FIFA World Cup (2009), the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Her artistic direction and textile design is renowned for its quality, both in its individual style as well as its ability to engage and leave lasting legacies in communities and individuals alike.


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