About US

Our mission is to fight for equality in every artistic arena. The boardroom, the audience, backstage and centrestage should all be truly representative, and we’re here to make that happen.

Diverse City’s work as an associate company of Bristol Old Vic has helped us to change and enrich the way we think about accessibility and integration on stage and off. We’re excited for the future of our partnership together.”

– Tom Morris, Chief Executive, Bristol Old Vic.

Jamie Beddard
The Elephant Man, Bristol Old Vic
Let's change the arts

What is Diverse City?

Diverse City is a performing arts company where social justice and culture meet. For the arts to fairly reflect and shape society, we believe all voices must be heard and all audiences welcomed.

We do this by making and touring new shows, nurturing new creative voices and engaging communities in artistic activism. Our circus performance company Extraordinary Bodies (led in partnership with Cirque Bijou) exemplifies truly representative performance. 

Whether it’s ensuring that all work is audio-described and BSL interpreted, or creating inclusive rehearsals and auditions, we think creatively to make sure art can be made by any body, for every body.

our core values

WORK WITH DIVERSE CITY

There are not currently any vacancies at Diverse City, but when there are, this is where you’ll find all the information on how to apply.

Meet the team

Diverse City Team

Alexa Ledecky

Content Creator - Bristol

Alexa is a content creator, photographer and audio describer. She has worked for companies such as The Pleasance at the Edinburgh Fringe, Beltane Fire Festival, The Island. Alongside her job at Diverse City, she is constantly developing her freelance portfolio, working on projects that elevate communities.

Born in France to an English mother and a Czech father, Alexa grew up in a creative and multi-cultural environment. After completing her studies in Edinburgh, she travelled through South America, lived in Glasgow and settled down in Bristol to contribute to its thriving cultural scene.

Diverse City Team

Alice Chutter

Children & Young People Producer - Dorset

Alice is a Producer and Arts Manager who has worked on a variety of performance projects for Diverse City and other arts organisations in the South West including Activate Performing Arts, Lighthouse Poole, Pavilion Dance South West and Youth Dance England. Alice obtained her BA in Performing Arts and Literature from the University of Winchester in 2005 before training in Prince2 Project Management methodology.

Alice has built up a portfolio of arts and cultural projects – many of which have a focus on working with integrated groups of young people. She brings her organisational strengths, creativity and warm personality to the company.

Board of Trustees

Ayad Al-Ani Mosab

Board Member

Ayad was an asylum seeker who was granted refugee status in June 2016. His background was in corporate governance and administration as an auditor in his past life in Iran. Ayad does not have an arts background, although since coming to the UK has become involved in various projects that have made him aware of the positive impact the arts can have on both individuals and communities.

Ayad was a major contributor to the ‘Leads’ networking events held during the Extraordinary Bodies tour of Weighting in Stoke-on-Trent in 2015. He became an important gatekeeper for sections of the Stoke community, discussing and promoting Weighting within his networks and then gathering substantial feedback from those communities and translating it for our use. Ayad returned to work with the events team again, as the Extraordinary Bodies tour finished in Bristol as part of Doing Things Differently 2016.

In 2017, Ayad was invited to become a member of the Diverse City Board of Trustees.

Senior Management Team

Becky Chapman

Executive Director - Bristol

Becky is a Producer, Fundraiser, Facilitator and Theatre Director. Becky joined Diverse City in 2012 for Breathe in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony Weymouth. She has worked in the UK and internationally in theatre, performance education, engagement and diversity in regional venues, producing companies and touring theatres.

Becky has previously been Producer for The Theatre Orchard arts development charity North Somerset, Artistic Associate with the Australian Theatre for Young People and Arts Development Producer Accessible Arts Sydney Australia. Becky has a BA and PGCE in English and Drama and is a graduate of the National Fundraising School.

Unexpected Leader

Berni Molton

Unexpected Leader

Berni is part of Funky Llama and also a Connecting Communities Unexpected Leader. She has experience in radio and when we asked her if she would like to host a podcast, she was on board from the get go. She sat down with Claire, our Co-Artistic Director, and a cuppa to talk about what it’s meant to be a woman in lockdown – further epiosdes of In The Moment to be released soon.

Diverse City Team

Caro Boss

Communications Manager - Bristol

Caro Boss is the Communications Manager and arrived at Diverse City in 2019 after many years at Clean Break, a theatre company committed to raising the voices of women in prison.

After beginning her career in commercial London theatres, she quickly transferred her allegiance to working in applied arts and never looked back.

Senior Management Team

Claire Hodgson

Joint Artistic Director - Dorset

Claire is a Theatre, Dance and Circus Director, committed to achieving social justice. Claire founded Diverse City in 2005 and is the co-founder of Extraordinary Bodies, the UK’s leading professional integrated circus company.

Claire was a Clore Fellow in 2012 and writes for The Guardian online. She is the former head of Performing Arts at London Metropolitan University and was awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to inclusion in the Performing Arts. Together with Jamie Beddard, Claire won the Clore Duffield 50th Anniversary prize, which they used to tour Extraordinary Bodies across the UK and support 10 ‘Unexpected Leaders’ who have faced barriers to entering the industry.

Diverse City Team

Daisy Higman

Women Leaders South West Associate

Daisy is a disabled theatre-maker, writer, voice teacher and musician living in the South West. She is a graduate of Graeae’s Write to Play programme and a current member of Theatre Royal Plymouth’s Eggbox Writer’s Development scheme. Her first play, Grapho, premiered at the Theatre Royal’s Lab space in 2019 for Dip the Nib Theatre. In 2020 she was selected to write for Graeae’s Crip’s Without Constraints project, directed by Jenny Sealey. Daisy also composes for theatre, and has previously written for the Narwhal Ensemble (Whey Down South and 2021: A Cornish Space Odyssey),  Above Bound’s Theatre Collective (Atishoo Atishoo), Kick The Dirt Theatre (Bulls***), CEDA (Total Immersion), Far Flung (The Soul Bird, Tidal Surge) and for Emma Latham’s Lady of the English. Daisy regularly works as a facilitator, teaching voice and theatre skills at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, the Barbican Theatre and leads the Coffee Cup Choir for Far Flung. 

Board of Trustees

Dave Young

Board Member, Writer and Theatre-Maker

Dave’s creative career began through attending The Remix, where he met Diverse City Co-Artistic Directors Claire and Jamie. In 2012, he performed in Breathe at the opening of the Olympics in Weymouth with Diverse City. Since then, Dave has grown into a professional artist and has become one of our Board members. Dave has worked as an artist for Seen but Seldom Heard at the Paralympic games opening, Inside Out Dorset, Funky Llama Festival and Plymouth Theatre Royal. Most recently, he created his first show Grow Up and Just Love Chocolate and performed at Salisbury Playhouse and The Lighthouse in Poole. He stated: “Diverse City has given me my whole creative career and life as I know it. The team have given me the passion to listen and create content out of what I am hearing and experiencing all the time. Diverse City changes lives.”.

Board of Trustees

Dimitrios Tourountsis

Board Member

Dimitrios is the Head of Impact and Learning at Brook (a charity that provides well-being and sexual health support to young people), where he helps the organisation to develop an evidence-informed practice. Before Brook, Dimitrios supported a range of public and third sector organisations to develop and implement research and evaluation strategies and systems. He has a particular interest and expertise in supporting people to improve their decision-making by using appropriate and proportionate evidence.

Board of Trustees

Diye Wareibi

Board Member

Currently the CEO of DigiBridge CIC, a not for profit social enterprise based in London, Diye serves on the board of the London Community Resource Network, Diverse City and On Road Ltd. Diye was born in Liberia and schooled in England from the age of eleven. He earned both a BEng (1992) and MSc in Civil Engineering from the University of Manchester in 1996.

Diye began his professional career as a graduate engineer with the engineering consultancy firm Sir Alexander Gibbs and Partners. As a civil engineer, he worked on diverse projects ranging from the Devonport Nuclear Dockyards to the Jubilee Line Extension. In 2000, he left civil engineering to pursue a career in information technology. He attended the School of Social Entrepreneurs, in 2005, after which he setup DigiBridge CIC.

In 2011, DigiBridge CIC established the first re-use and repair service on small waste electrical and electronic equipment in London in partnership with the London Borough of Islington. In 2013, DigiBridge was recognised as finalist for 2 national awards for this initiative. Diye visited Liberia in 2011 and returned to the UK committed to transforming the failing educational system in the country. As a result, in September 2013, Diye launched the Wariebi Academy in Monrovia, Liberia, with a capacity for 1000 students, from K1 – 12th grade. Diye has been a Director of Diverse City for 12 years.

Diverse City Team

Eddy Farrar

Accounts Assistant

Eddy left Bristol for rural Dorset 12 years ago where she lives with her family, Monty the Red Setter and Olive the Cat!

Eddy is a qualified and practising Hypnotherapist based in The Isle of Purbeck. With a firm foundation in Finance roles covering the last ten years or so, Eddy has joined us as our Accounts Assistant working closely with Liz our Finance Manager.

Walking Monty on the beach, fire pits in the warm Summer evenings with friends and family are what keep Eddy relaxed, which is important to her. Although now and again she likes to challenge herself so in 2018 she trekked to Everest Base Camp and stood on top of the World.

Diverse City Team

Eilís Bevan-Davis

Artistic Director: EBYA - Dorset

Eilís is a facilitator, director and theatre maker. She is an inclusive movement specialist bringing together people of all abilities to participate in creative processes. Eilís graduated from the European Theatre Arts programme at Rose Bruford College in 2011. She now combines theatre with her extensive knowledge in creative support and is focused on developing theatre-training practice for young people with access needs. Eilís is the Artistic Director of Diverse City’s youth company, Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists.

Diverse City Team

Flora Alwen

Aerial Coach and Circus and Theatre Director

Flora first came across Diverse City at the 2008 South West Arts Award ceremony. She saw a performance by The Remix, the Dorset youth company that inspired us to create Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists (EBYA). Since then, she has worked with us as an Aerial Coach for EBYA and a Circus Director for Becoming and our youth company’s most recent show Till We Win. Flora brings to Diverse City a broad range of dance, theatre and circus, and teaching skills, as well as a passion for supporting individuals to grow and shine. She said: “When working with Diverse City, you learn something new every time you step into the rehearsal room. You need to constantly challenge yourself on your preconceptions and find fresh ways to approach ideas and physicality. From shows to community workshops and seminars, I always meet amazing people and come away inspired.”. 

Diverse City Team

Gemma Alldred

Co-Evaluation Producer - Communities & Unexpected Leaders

Gemma is a theatre maker, and community artist, specialising in arts and wellbeing practice. She is passionate about creativity in all its forms, and enjoys nothing more than bringing her love for the arts and its unique ability to connect us, to places and people helping to grow communities, and support individual development.Gemma has been working in the arts since 2007, and in that time has benefitted from a wide range of roles and experience; she has co-founded two arts and health organisations, been artistic director to a theatre company, led artistic engagement programmes for charities to theatres, led socially engaged festivals, programmed for an arts centre, and taught at HE and FE levels.
It is this breadth of skills, experience and devotion to community arts that Gemma brings to her role developing and producing exciting and ambitious community led work with DC

Board of Trustees

Graham Devlin

Board Member

A creative artist, senior arts manager and cultural strategist, Graham was an opera and stage director and writer until 1999 when he became Deputy Secretary General and Acting Chief Executive of the Arts Council of England. He ran the successful new writing and music-theatre company, Major Road, for over 20 years whilst also working in dance and opera, directing and writing freelance for, amongst others, the National Theatre, Scottish Opera, Glyndebourne, Sydney Opera House and the Aldeburgh Festival. Overall, he has directed more than 90 theatre shows. He was appointed CBE in the 2010 New Year’s honours list.

He has served on numerous Arts Council and Government committees and worked for many public agencies, including all four UK Arts Councils and a number of government departments in England, Scotland and Wales and local authorities such as London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. His international consultancy includes projects in the USA, Australia, India, Hong Kong and across Europe. Clients also include the British Council, IFACCA, ISPA, The National Theatre, the RSC, the Edinburgh Festivals, the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, the LSO, Tate, V&A, The Science Museum and National Theatre of Scotland. He also lectures and has authored or co-authored a number of publications.

Unexpected Leader

Harry Basset

Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists Company, Composer and Unexpected Leader

Harry found his love for music at just three years of age after seeing the Bournemouth Carnival Band, who dress as Spiderman. Little did he know that, after a year of following them obsessively, they would make him an honorary member. Harry began playing bugle in the band at age seven, and quickly transitioned to cornet, taking regular lessons at school.

For a number of years, he played with the Spidermen, attending all their performances and quickly realised he wanted to make more of his music. At age eleven, Harry joined Ferndown Concert Brass (FCB) band on 2nd cornet. Not being able to read music at this point, he wanted to see what life was like as a percussionist, so transitioned to auxiliary percussionist for FCB. After a further year or so, Harry had worked hard to develop his musical skills and returned to the back row, this time playing Repiano cornet. 

At the age of thirteen, Harry was invited to join the Dorset Youth Jazz Orchestra (DYJO). This led him to perform a solo in the famous Rocky theme ‘Gonna Fly now’ at the Royal Albert Hall, alongside 500 other young musicians. His time with DYJO was short but certainly memorable. 

In 2014, Harry joined a street band called Gugge 2000, starting on 2nd trumpet and progressing through the ranks to solo trumpet in 2015. By this point Harry had formed a number of connections within the local music scene and had been appointed as Principle Trumpet of Christchurch & District Band where he continues to play as soloist for a number of prestigious events including: Town twinning tours abroad, remembrance services and charity concerts. 

At sixteen, Harry took on his first paid position in James Emmett’s Ragtime Revellers, a dixieland jazz group, as well as joining the Decatonics as dep trumpet player. Playing in these groups allowed Harry to take on a number of musical challenges and develop his abilities across very different styles. 

Harry went onto college in 2015, and achieved a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Popular Music. Again, he found himself facing new challenges by taking up keyboards to help him on his course and beyond. 

Immediately after leaving college Harry was invited back to his school, Victoria Education Centre, to work as a music technician and resonance board leader, working with young people aged 3-19 through the use of technologies including: iPads, Soundbeam and Eyegaze. He continues to work here in varied roles across the creative arts, not only in music, but also working alongside drama specialists to integrate music into sensory drama sessions, whether this be composing songs tailored to a particular theme/storyline or working as a support actor.

More recently, in 2018, Harry joined the Decatonics as full time trumpet player in addition to establishing himself as a freelance musician. He now offers his services as a trumpet player, brass tutor and workshop facilitator.

Since becoming a freelancer, Harry has worked with many artists in studios and on shows, as well as supporting well-known names such as: Doreen Shaffer, the Skatalites and the Dualers. 

His biggest achievement to date is being appointed as Musical Director of Extraordinary Bodies Young Artist to lead the development of musical elements for their shows, which are toured around the UK, through the support of Extraordinary Bodies and Cirque Bijou.  

Harry is continuing to develop his skills both as a player and director. In September 2021, he will be embarking on the next step of his journey by starting studies on the BMus Trumpet Performance course at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, London. 

Board of Trustees

Helen Costello

Board Member

Helen’s ambition has always been to show that being a chartered accountant can mean having fun…and she has!

Helen trained with KPMG and then went on to take a number of interesting projects in the NHS and local government, whilst raising her four children. She ran Alex Polizzi’s five star hotel for nearly 10 years, looking after all sorts of amazing and interesting people. Wanting to get back to her financial roots, Helen looked after the finances for the UK arm of an international resort company, working between Malaga, Gleneagles and Cornwall, before joining Theatre Royal Plymouth as Head of Finance at the end of 2014.

Within a few weeks Helen had been moved into the role of Operations Director. This meant she was involved in the Agents for Change pilot project for Arts Council England…and so met Diverse City!

Senior Management Team

Jamie Beddard

Joint Artistic Director - London

Jamie joined Diverse city as Co-Artistic Director and is also part of the Creative Team behind Extraordinary Bodies. Jamie grew up in a time when opportunities for disabled people in the arts were limited, but was offered an acting role by the BBC that kicked off his professional career. Since then Jamie has taken the arts world by storm.

In 2011 he left his role as Diversity Officer for the Arts Council to concentrate on developing his freelance portfolio. In 2012 he directed Breathe for the opening ceremony celebrating the Olympic Sailing, and in 2013 he became a Clore Fellow. Jamie recently completed a six-month run at The National Theatre in Threepenny Opera and played the Leader in the return of Bristol Old Vic’s production of Messiah.

Diverse City Team

Jess Edney

Support Worker
Diverse City Team

Jesse Black Mooney

Company Manager - Brighton

Jesse is a creative practitioner who loves making wonderful things happen. As company manager, she helps ensure operations run smoothly and systems are in place to ensure everyone has what they need to do their best work. Prior to joining Diverse City in 2018, Jesse was a freelance cultural producer and managed the Brighton Digital Festival – as well as tackling public arts projects with Create London and working in partnership with organisations like the Barbican, the V&A and Waltham Forest Council. Outside of working with Diverse City, Jesse has an independent creative research practice focused on examining digital culture, and lectures on the Digital Media Arts MA course at the University of Brighton

Unexpected Leader

Jessica Skelton

Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists Company and Unexpected Leader

Jessica is a member of Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists.

Unexpected Leader

Josh Ward

Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists Company & Unexpected Leader

Josh is a member of Extraordinary Bodies Young Artists.

Diverse City Team

Kate McStraw

Producer

Kate is a Producer & Agent for Change with Extraordinary Bodies. She is currently producing two of our new show in development ‘Human’, which will tour from Autumn 2021, and ‘Delicate’ which will tour in 2022.

Kate’s journey with the company began in 2012 whilst she was graduating from her degree in Performance Design at the Arts University Bournemouth. She managed the design and creation of 80+ costumes in a large-scale community performance called ‘Breath’ on Weymouth Beach, which was part of the opening celebrations of the Olympic Sailing events.

Outside of her work with Extraordinary Bodies, Kate is a freelance creative producer working with a number of other brilliant and status quo challenging artists and artist-led companies. These include Viv Gordon Company, Anna Berry and Green Ginger. She has also collaborated with Strike A Light, Inside Out Dorset Festival, Made by Katie Green, Cohan Collective and Butterfly Theatre Company.

Kate is particularly passionate about removing barriers to arts and cultural activities, through supporting diverse artists and audiences.

Diverse City Team · Senior Management Team

Liz Craig

Finance Manager - Dorset

Liz is our Finance Manager. She has been with Diverse City since 2014 after meeting Claire at a local toddler group. Liz is a Chartered Management Accountant with 20 years experience of Management Reporting and Budgeting.

Liz moved to Dorset from London and enjoys summers on the beach and winter country walks with her family. She also loves drinking prosecco and scoffing a good curry!

Diverse City Team

Louise Holloway

Executive Assistant - Dorset

Louise lives in Dorset with her 2 teenage children and scruffy labradoodle dog. She is fiercely proud to have worked for the NHS for the last 20 years in Administration, even with all the challenges it faces. Louise joined the Diverse City team in 2017 to support Liz, our Finance Manager and Claire, our Joint Artistic Director in Swanage. Louise finds the whole philosophy of Diverse City wonderfully refreshing.

In her spare time, Louise loves to run and also has a passion for adrenaline activities. A tandem skydive, paragliding, micro lighting, hot air ballooning, abseiling, gliding and a few flying lessons are some of the incredible things she has done!

Board of Trustees

Mel Allwood

Board Member

Mel is an Associate at Arup. Her team within the Building Engineering group in London focus on sustainability credentials of new and refurbished building designs. The role involves working with a variety of stakeholders to develop strategies to reduce energy, water and material use in buildings. Prior to joining Arup, Mel worked at Brixton Cycles Co-op between 1985 and 2004, with roles that included managing finances, developing marketing strategies and fixing bicycles. The shop has been a successful social enterprise since its creation in 1981, and continues to demonstrate how a commitment to inclusivity and collective decision making can create robust, sustainable business.

Mel completed a degree with the Open University, an MSc at UCL and has also worked for a circus, as a bookkeeper for a catering company, a columnist for several cycling magazines and taught bicycle maintenance classes for women. She has published several popular handbooks on bicycle repair.

Her other non-executive roles have included a board member for the London Cycling Campaign, Wheels for Wellbeing and Social Enterprise, Lambeth. Mel worked with founder Claire Hodgson on developing the original business plan for Diverse City, and has been involved with the company as a Director for 12 years.

Diverse City Team

Paula Birtwistle

Production Manager and Covid Marshall

Paula has worked in the live events industry for over 25 years, after studying BA Popular Music and Recording at Salford. Following years of work in sound engineering and lighting design she now combines her technical and logistical  knowledge as a Production Manager. Since the pandemic she has been finding ways to continue working whilst keeping people safe and has helped to produce a number of Covid-secure outdoor events.

She has the role of Covid Marshall for Diverse City to enable us to keep producing exciting work safely for everyone.
She is also the Production manager for Human. Paula is passionate about making live events more environmentally responsible and is the Green Champion for arts organisation Theatre Orchard.

Diverse City Team

Richard Moy Thomas

Support Worker
Board of Trustees

Shaista Aziz

Board Member

Shaista Aziz is a former BBC News, Aljazeera and CNN journalist and has worked as a communications specialist for a number of international organisations including Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and Oxfam. Shaista has worked extensively across the Middle East, Pakistan, East and West Africa.

Shaista’s writing and journalism has been published in publications including The Guardian, Globe and Mail, Huffington Post and New York Times and others. She is an award-winning stand-up comedian, documentary television presenter and broadcaster, making regular guest contributions to national radio and TV panel discussions including newspaper reviews.

Shaista is the founder of the anti-racism, anti-bigotry digital platform, The Everyday Bigotry Projectand is co-founder of the Women’s Advancement Hub (WAH), Pakistan.

Diverse City Team

Vandna Mehta

Women Leaders South West Associate

Vandna is a creative producer, events organizer, arts activist and community worker as a whole. She co-founded the Diverse Artists Network, a development agency for diversity in the arts, promoting cultural competency and representation in the sector. She is well known for collaborative work in the city.